True Detective: 2.06 Church In Ruins

What the hell has happened to True Detective? It’s like Nic Pizzolatto took a whole heap of something he shouldn’t have whilst he was writing the script, making Season Two is one of the most batshit crazy things on television.

The early episodes were a confusing mess, but since the big shootout at the end of the fourth hour the show has improved immeasurably, though there are still plenty of issues. On the plus side the plots have simplified and focused, removing the mess of characters that clogged up early episodes and honing in on our central quartet, allowing them more time to breathe and for backstory to be given. Also gone are the multitude of red herrings and side plots, though the worrying thought is that they’ll be back before the end of this run.

Whilst Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams have been solid throughout Vince Vaughn has been labouring under some of the worst dialogue this side of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!. If there’s one thing that hasn’t seen an upturn in these last two weeks it’s the dialogue, and Vaughn’s Frank Semyon still bears the brunt. What’s changed though is that the Semyon story line has broken out of its rut and is starting to give Vaughn something to play off, though he’s still verging on hammy in places he’s a much more convincing gangster now. The scene between Vaughn and Farrell that kicked things off smoldered, despite the dialogue sinking to new lows. Though Vaughn also got his best line of the season so far: "That’s one off the bucket list; a Mexican standoff with actual Mexicans."

Most noticeable this week? The fleshing out of Ray Velcoro and Ani Bezzerides. Whilst Farrell and McAdams have been doing their best they were light on motivation, even allowing for tantalising hints about hidden trauma, in Church In Ruins Velcoro discovered more about his own past and tried to hide that of his sons, Bezzerides on the other hand remembered more of hers that she’d wanted to forget. What of poor old Paul Woodrugh though? Well Taylor Kitsch has definitely got the short straw, which is probably a good thing as he’s also the worst thing about this season, except for the scripts.

It’s a show you want to love, but it’s made it virtually impossible. Despite the improvements so far there’s not really anything that monumental going on behind the curtain and stripped of the first season’s stars (the stars, the mythology, and the setting) it’s really not up to much. Still, Pizzolatto has a third season already in the bank account so he still has time. Signing up movie stars may prove a harder task third time round.

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