With only two more episodes left, “Church in Ruins” had a lot to accomplish in an hour: the rather sluggish detective plot needed to make significant progress. In order to further investigate claims of secret hooker parties attended by rich and powerful men, Bezzerides decides to go undercover as a hooker in order to infiltrate one of these parties. The resulting orgy scene is probably one of the most suspenseful and disturbing scenes in television history. I was constantly fearing for Bezzerides’ safety as she wandered through a crowd of immoral men with no inhibitions.
Overall, this episode ratcheted up the tension through several Mexican standoffs, and placing its characters in uncomfortable situations, no doubt preparing for the finale. Velcoro goes on a drug-addled bender as his hopes for ever winning custody of his son wane. His pure despair over the hopelessness of his situation is only matched by his animalistic pleasure of indulging his cocaine and alcohol habits. At this point, it seems like Velcoro has very little to live for. Frank Semyon spends most of his time looking for leads in the criminal world while muttering more pretentious dialogue.
Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell both really showed off their acting chops this episode. Velcoro’s pain feel so visceral and relatable, despite the fact that Velcoro has done plenty of immoral things throughout his career. I have struggled to relate to Bezzerides for most of the season, since I felt her character was rather humorless and flat. However, her courage and fear, conveyed by McAdam’s carefully controlled body language really won me over. The only decision that worried me a little this episode was revealing that Bezzerides was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Nic Pizzolatto has long been criticized for his treatment of female characters, and if this revelation is not dealt with the sensitivity and respect it deserves, it could certainly damage his reputation.
All in all, this episode really resounded with me, as the season begins to close out. Darkness is encroaching on the detectives, and they will need to find a way to beat back the corruption. It finally feels like events of consequence are occurring, and hopefully this trend continues, so that this rather rocky season can have a strong finale.