I know I’ve turned into a bit of a broken record saying this week after week, but this season’s murder mystery just hasn’t reeled me in at all. However, if any episode this season was going to get me into it, this would have been the one. Let me explain.
The big shootout at the end of “Down Will Come,” was a lot of fun to watch, but it felt completely disconnected from the show we had been watching up until that point. As you all saw, “Church in Ruins,” featured another pretty memorable scene. And while it was quite different from a big Michael Mann-style shootout, it felt much more of a piece with the kind of show True Detective has come to be known.
I’ll be honest with you, I had to go back and check wikipedia to jog my memory as to who Vera was and why Bezzerides was looking for her. I’m still not sure I understand how it’s all connected (and even less sure that I care), but — interesting or not — it’s that search that brings Bezzerides to the fancy Hollywood sex party at which we spend a good chunk of the episode. You know that meme that was making the rounds online a year or so ago, the one that would show a librarian or something and say, “What the World Thinks I Do,” “What I Think I Do,” and then show pictures of a bunch of stereotypes? Well, this is what the world think people who are filthy rich do. They get together with all their other filthy rich friends, and they use all their power and influence and money to throw big, extravagant parties and have sex with hookers.
Bezzerides’ sister has gotten her into the party, because Vera’s gonna be there or something? I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention. Before she and the other girls head into the party, they’re forced to spray something into their mouths. Drugs (they come in a spray now?) to keep them nice and docile as the night progresses. As Bezzerides moves through the party and the drug’s effects begin to take hold, this gives the whole scene a very dreamlike quality, which is heightened by what we see going on around her and the film noir-esque music the entire thing was scored to. I think you could also replace, “dreamlike,” with, “supernatural.” And while the supernatural ultimately didn’t play a role in the resolution of the show’s first season, it definitely had supernatural undertones. Season 2 has been so different from season 1 in so many ways, this was one of the first times I felt like these two stories belonged in the same world.
The other interesting thing about the party, I suppose, is that it featured a few cameos from men we know to be pretty powerful, and who have figured into the story in one or another so far this season. We know that the men who go to these parties are being blackmailed, and that a few of them at least are involved in the land deal that Semyon has been screwed out of. So when Woodrugh and Velcoro (who are at the party to provide Bezzerides with some backup) find paperwork detailing exactly what’s going down, you get a sense that the season’s story is finally starting to contract a bit, and that hopefully everything is going to make sense when it wraps up two weeks from now. Hopefully. I mean, there’s gotta be some payoff, right?
Anyway, those are my big takeaway’s from the episode. A couple of smaller things I’d like to hit on, though…
A lot of people have thrown the show some shade in the past few weeks, with the story introducing Semyon’s murdered friend Stan, and asking why the hell any of us are supposed to care about this guy we’ve never met. I think that’s a fair question, but I wonder if there’s a larger point here that we’re all missing. Semyon and Jordan go to visit Stan’s wife and son to pay their respects, and Semyon has a talk with Stan’s son in which he tells the kid that while losing his dad is never going to get easier, it will get better, and that he’ll walk away from the entire thing a stronger person. I felt like this was the first time Semyon really looked at himself and felt convinced that he could actually be a good father. He told Jordan earlier in the season that he never wanted to adopt a child. “I don’t do someone else’s time,” he said. I wonder if, after this talk with Stan’s son, he may be reconsidering that. None of know who Stan is and have no reason to care about him. But that may not have been the point of the whole thing. Maybe Pizzolatto was just trying to get Semyon and Stan’s son in the same room together.
We FINALLY got to see Bezzerides’ whoop-ass skills with those knives. Earlier in the season we heard her say, “Fundamental difference between the sexes is that one of them can kill the other with their bare hands. Man of any size lays hands on me, he’s going to bleed out in under a minute.” Why would they say that if they weren’t going to show it? Well, they finally showed it. And true to her word, the guy bled out in under a minute. Good stuff.
Well, two episodes left. I really do hope that it all starts coming together, because I really need to know that these eight hours won’t have been wasted. So much television to watch. Time is so precious.