S02.E06: Church In Ruins 2015.07.26

Desperate to locate a missing woman with intel on Caspere, Frank meets with Mexican drug dealers. Ani infiltrates an exclusive inner circle, with Ray and Paul keeping close tabs.

 

Promo:

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo.

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With an astoundingly subtle title like that, the episode could be pretty much about anything. Anything at all. I hope VV references something completely bonkers, like the fall of Constantinople.

(I am down with anything after seeing R McA assault people and wearing those clothes.)

 

Who thought that "Sometimes a thing happens that splits your life. There's a before and after." line was worthy of a promo? It does encapsulate the writing and line delivery for most of the show though; it just isn't a good thing.

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...Who thought that "Sometimes a thing happens that splits your life. There's a before and after." line was worthy of a promo? It does encapsulate the writing and line delivery for most of the show though; it just isn't a good thing.

Since the promos for this show have been better than those of the average promo bear (monkey), and sometimes better than the whole episode, maybe the use of that line (of course spoken by poor VV, who is probably so tired of reading "poor VV") is hinting that the final 3 episodes are, IDK, good?

Is it really wrong for me to want Ray to shoot Frank in his progeny-making zone (sounds more NP-ish than "balls")?

Edited by shapeshifter.

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I like McAdams, felt she was underrated for a while and am happy she is getting a different kind of role that she is doing a more than competent job with lackluster writing.

That said the cliche of "badass female cop" who is just written to have stereotypical "masculine" characteristics (she likes casual sex! With coworkers! She busts balls! She says dick and girth! She plays with knives! She possibly experienced sex abuse or at least it points that way with her sister! Her hair is kind of a mess but she is still stereotypically beautiful! She smokes! Etc etc etc) who then vamps it up to go uncover in some seedy sex ring is all kinds of blech. It's such a fucking trope and McAdams deserves better than this.

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Maybe the hard drive is in a Church in a town named "Ruins"

 

Or it is the hard drive password

Edited by paigow.

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Is it really wrong for me to want Ray to shoot Frank in his progeny-making zone (sounds more NP-ish than "balls")?

It might cure his unique case of ED

Who thought that "Sometimes a thing happens that splits your life. There's a before and after." line was worthy of a promo? It does encapsulate the writing and line delivery for most of the show though; it just isn't a good thing.

Is Pizzolatto writing the Hotels.com ads featuring Captain Obvious?

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Who else got flashback to season 1 when reading this title ?  

 

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The lyrics to "Church in Ruins": http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leralynn/achurchinruins.html
written for the show:

For all the songs, Nic Pizzolatto gave us cues for writing them. I can't tell you what the relevance is to the plot, if any. Or if there's deeper meaning. If I had to guess, with that guy, everything means something! For "Church in Ruins," that was the cue that we were given: He wanted a song about a church in ruins. You can take that wherever you want. It could mean a million things.

Edited by shapeshifter.

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Chekhov's knife and Ani did not disappoint, even while fucked up. Who was the Manson looking dude in her drug-induced flashback? Was he with her dad or something?

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Who did Ani spot at the sex party that she turned away and tried to get out of that room?  It happened too fast.

Edited by LilaFowler.

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Another really uneven episode.  The first half, I guess, is supposed to give us ironic contrast between Ray and his son and Frank and son of Stan.  We spend lots of time hearing conversations of Stan, who almost none of us remember, with Mr.Stan and son of Stan.  It was pretty awful, I'd say the worst part of the series so far.  Then the party scenes are much better, though a bit cliched (memories of Rasputin at the hippie commune!), off-focus shots mean drugs!  But someone Ani fights through it to save her stray and knife some big guy.  Meanwhile the bad guys conveniently leave their plans in the desk drawer.  Maybe it wasn't so good after all.

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Who did Ani spot at the sex party that she turned away and tried to get out of that room?  It happened too fast.

McCandless, the head of the company running the land deal. They questioned him earlier.

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Ray said goodbye to sobriety and his son.

Ani escaped the Eyes Wide Shut Mansion, with her missing person.

Joseph Gatt has been busy.

Thenn on GOT last season.

The Albino on Banshee, the first season.

Aryan prison dude, harassing Terry on Ray Donovan this season.

Now a henchman, at the orgy tonight.

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Well, finally Ani got to use the knives, such precision even while drugged. Girl's got skills and finally it has clearly been confirmed that she was molested by some dude on that commune. I knew this sex party would trigger what happened to her because in last week's promo I saw the little kid's hand taking the adult hand and I thought it might be childhood memory of hers.


 

McCandless, the head of the company running the land deal. They questioned him earlier.

Toni  Chesani was in that room too and even though she had a wig on he might have remembered her from when she went to the Mayor's mansion.

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Well, finally Ani got to use the knives, such precision even while drugged. Girl's got skills and finally it has clearly been confirmed that she was molested by some dude on that commune. I knew this sex party would trigger what happened to her because in last week's promo I saw the little kid's hand taking the adult hand and I thought it might be childhood memory of hers.

Toni  Chesani was in that room too and even though she had a wig on he might have remembered her from when she went to the Mayor's mansion.

 

I thought I also spotted one of Ray's superiors, the African-American dude who's always in uniform.

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I think we were told who Birdman is this episode: the son of the murdered jewelry store owners. (Kids wore masks, retired cop says.) He'd be around thirty with black hair. I'm not sure any of the current suspects fits that description, although Paul comes closest. But would his mom have actually taken in a kid from foster care? Or maybe Chessani Jr. Were he and his sis the two kids, adopted by the mayor because his machine was involved in the robbery?  Birdman seems to be a cop, though, and Tony's no cop.

This gives us the personal motive for Birdman's very personal murders but not much else. Were Caspere, Frank and Stan all robbing jewelry stores in 1992? Also we discover that the vulture bait is not leftovers from Caspere's torture but from the death scene of a woman. The women being sought, Irina and Vera, are accounted for. So who is this?

 

Every time we think we get close to a motive for something, it goes up in smoke. Now it turns out Frank was set up to set Ray up on the fake rapist. (Thank heavens Chad will be spared that story now.)

 

Pedophilia at the hippie retreat. Of course.

 

I thought I also spotted one of Ray's superiors, the African-American dude who's always in uniform.

 

He was definitely there. I also thought I saw Ani's boss from the sheriff's department.

Edited by Cardie.

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I don't know anything about cocaine ingestion other than what I learned from watching episodes of Intervention and Scarface, but the amount of cocaine that Ray took in such a short period, as someone who was no longer an active user, seemed lethal to me. Combine that with exercising while massively intoxicated, and...I don't know. At some point it appeared as if he was going to give himself chest compressions because he was going into cardiac arrest.

I also didn't know that vomiting reverses the effects of MDMA.

Unrelated: Ray's son is a dullard.

I hate this show.

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That wasn't filmed. That was just footage of Colin in his dressing room.

Ok GaryE, I laughed, but I didn't feel good about it.

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Might as well start by saying the trite line that I never comment, (hence the user name).However, I think a trite comment is fitting for this trite season. Sigh. This episode made me recover my lost password just to finally admit this season is sub par, amateurish, cliched and unimaginative. No, I couldn't do a better job - but that's the key word, it's not my job to create an interesting engaging plot, characters and dialogue.

So much was wrong with this episode. The tedious tensionless scene between Frank and Ray. The appearance of Mrs. Stan. But the final 20 minutes were the absolute worse! So Ani gets in the party, conveniently sees the missing girl, stabs one or two men, walks out with missing girl, and hey!, Paul is conveniently right there waiting to help them get away!, Velcoro is conveniently coming with car, they all pile in...and oh no! Don't forget Paul conveniently overheard a very incriminating conversation, and has driven off with the conveniently locked up contracts with conveniently incriminating signatures...THE END!

Sigh!

Can this season's decline be solely due to Corey F.'s departure? It's truly inexplicable!

I will watch final two episodes but it will be a 100% hate watch.

Edited by voyeur.

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McCandless was in the room with Tony Chessani? There was a shot of a grey-haired man in a white shirt that she seemed to look at for a split second longer than other people. Who was that?

I agree with the speculation that Ani was molested at that commune as a child.

The first 40 minutes were not compelling, particularly Frank and his wife visiting Mrs Stan and his son. I guess we were supposed to feel Frank's compassion for Stan's son but ehhh. With each passing episode, I become less and less interested in Frank and whether he finds what he is looking for. (I'm not even sure what that is, at this point.) He seems to be a few steps behind every other bad guy in the show. Of course, his inability to properly assess a situation gets Irina killed. Lots of short-sighted decisions.

Those last scenes at the lodge/orgy were well - done. Suspenseful. Love our three detectives together.

Since Vera was not killed in the bloody cabin, who was?

Also, didn't Irina tell Frank that the man that gave her the money and the items to pawn was "white, thin...a cop?" That sounds like James Frain to me.

Edited by Ellaria Sand.

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I thought Retired Cop said that the murderers/robbers were the ones wearing masks, hence why the kids couldn't identify them?  The Show made such a big deal out of those two kids surviving the ordeal and then going into foster care that it makes me wonder if they are somewhere else in the show.  Chessani's kids?

 

The revealation that Ani was molested at the commune was possibly the least surprising thing that's happened in either season.  I'm willing to bet that her sister was, too. 

 

So some currently unanswered questions that this show has two hours to answer:

1. Who killed Caspere?

2. Who shot Ray/who is Birdman?

3. Who set up Frank to set up Ray in regards to his wife's rape? (Is that significant?)

4. Who is ginger's real dad?  (Is that significant?)

5. How is Ani's father involved in all of it?  A dude that creepy who has photographs of the main players from yesteryear clearly must be involved somehow.

6. Who has the missing hard drive?

7. Who is on the missing hard drive?

8. Who stole Frank's $5 Million?

9. Who set up the Mexicans to look like they killed Caspere?

10. Who was the cop-looking guy who gave Irina Casper's stuff?

11. Where are the blue diamonds and how do they factor into all of this?

12.  Who died in the cabin in the woods?

 

I mean, it just goes on and on.

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I'm wondering if some posters who had theories on Frank and his girlfriend somehow being involved with the redheaded kid might be right. 

 

When Ray left Frank's house after their discussion about his son and the rapist, Jordan came out of the shadows and the look they exchanged seemed to indicate the conversation affected her.  Also, the rapist turned about to be dark skinned, possibly Hispanic.  With the mother also being Hispanic, where did the red hair and pale skin come from?  I don't think they cast a redheaded kid randomly.

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Two episodes left and I still don't understand what's going on with Paul.  Yet there is time for scenes with Stan wife and Stan junior grieving a red shirt character I basically only recall as a dead body and from being lampooned here.

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That score at the end reminded me of something out of an 80s fantasy film.

 

I noticed Joseph Gatt was in the credits.  Who did he play?

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I thought Retired Cop said that the murderers/robbers were the ones wearing masks, hence why the kids couldn't identify them?

 

Oh, that makes more sense. Still, presence of masks at traumatic event signals Birdman to me.

 

The show is like a Venn diagram. One circle is the generations of Vinci fraud and corruption, currently pre-occupied with profiting from the rail corridor. An intersecting circle is sicko sexual behavior that apparently every powerful man in the area engages in. The commune seems to have been the breeding ground from which it sprung and went corporate, useful now for ensuring patronage for the Chessanis by the rich and powerful, either out of gratitude or blackmail. Then there's the corruption of the entire state law enforcement apparatus; they are tasked primarily with covering up the real facts behind Caspere's murder and recovering the hard drive. Indeed, the hard drive seems to be the Maltese Falcon of this story. Cops paid Irina to set up the Mexicans so as to close the books on the Caspere case. But Birdman may be a cop also. The same cop? Who knows.

 

Birdman is out for revenge and however much (or little) he's part of any of these intersecting circles, the killings and theft of the hard drive appear to be his own actions that no one else is aware of.  

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That score at the end reminded me of something out of an 80s fantasy film.

 

I noticed Joseph Gatt was in the credits.  Who did he play?

The guy who collected the ladies's purses on the bus.

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That score at the end reminded me of something out of an 80s fantasy film.

 

 

 

That music annoyed the crap out of me.  It distracted me from the show because it was so out of place. And loud.

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That score at the end reminded me of something out of an 80s fantasy film.

 

I rarely notice film/TV scores, but I noticed that weird music, too. 

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I rarely notice film/TV scores, but I noticed that weird music, too. 

 

I know, I didn't think you were supposed to really notice it in scenes like that, it should kind of subconsciously set a mood.  That music was grating. 

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I remember watching the last episode of TD Season 1 and being massively, massively disappointed (except for the fact that Rust was still alive). I thought it was a very mundane solution to something that had so many interesting threads tangled together. Then in an interview NP said it wasn't ever about the mystery, it was about the detectives and how the case affected their lives. So I don't know that we may ever get answers to all the questions. 

 

Oh, and did anyone else realize that Frank loved Stan? I'm beginning to think it's "the love that dare not speak it's name".

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I thought I also spotted one of Ray's superiors, the African-American dude who's always in uniform.

And Matsuka was there too (the state's attorney who just announced a gubernatorial run for those who don't know him from Dexter).

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Two episodes left and I still don't understand what's going on with Paul.

 

Take off the words "with Paul," and that goes for me.

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...the amount of cocaine that Ray took in such a short period, as someone who was no longer an active user, seemed lethal to me.

 

 

That was the conversation in my household, too. Give me a break. Ray is no longer a young person. That should have been the END of him or at least made him wish it was the end when he sobered up... but nope, next scene he's perfectly fine, lah-dee-dah.

 

Unrelated: Ray's son is a dullard.

 

 

I see him as a microcosm for this season. 

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Speaking of inaccurate portrayals of drugs, if that was supposed to be MDMA, or something similar to it, then I have to call bullshit on Ani hallucinating, and having flashbacks to a repressed molestation.

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You know what this show needs?  More Birdman. At this point nothing is gonna save this shit stain of a season but I would at least like that plot point explored or have him be more prominent in the show. You know people actually knowing he exists and trying to track him down and shit. We haven't seen him since he shot Velcoro full of riot bullets.

 

These 3 allegedly 'true detectives' are reaching Scooby Doo mystery levels for me. Ray might as well have pulled up in a van with a pocket full of Scooby Snacks to let Shaggy (Paul) and Velma (Ani) in. The rescue from sex party night was just ridiculous, although Ani cutting up a John and a thug was pretty awesome. 

 

The lighting in the scene where Velcoro was confronting his ex-wife rapist was a bit wonky. Was he Asian? Whatever his race or ethnicity it didn't immediately scream I am the descendant of redheads. Opie he ain't.  And this can't be the end of it. After all this rigamorale Velcoro and his wife went through and put me through watching it, after diving nose first into a mountain of coke he is just gonna drop it? Really son? I don't understand Ray's reasoning especially after the prison visit and seeing that the likelihood that the rapist was the daddy was low to none. I also can't imagine this being an ideal situation for the boy either. Now he can feel abandoned by the man he believes to be his father? Great idea. Ray probably shouldn't have unsupervised visits with the kids but his ex-wife strikes me as incredibly selfish.

 

Ray vs Frank was so incredibly lackluster and lukewarm. Sorry can't have one actor doing all the heavy lifting in a scene. Colin was good but once again VV just ain't bringing home the bacon. 

 

When Frank's wife sidled into the room after Ray left,  it struck me what is so wrong with her character. She is acted and betrayed like a gangster moll from an early 1930s movie. She also isn't getting much play. I had my closed captioning on during the show and during the scene with Frank, his wife and Stan's wife, they captioned Stan's wife name as Joyce and Frank's was just "woman." LOL!!!

 

Oh Stan we hardly knew ye. Seriously, we don't know your ass at all. Frankly, I don't even know if you were ever filmed alive or had any lines to warrant this level of hand wringing and gnashing of teeth over your demise. Why do I need to know that not only did he have  a wife and child but also totally earned any #1 dad cup he might have received for father's day.

 

Finally got a name for slim red dude who works for Frank: Blake.


Also, didn't Irina tell Frank that the man that gave her the money and the items to pawn was "white, thin...a cop?" That sounds like James Frain to me.

 White and thin cop? Not as good as a fingerprint but that ought to narrow the suspects considerably.

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The main Russian mob bypassed Frank and dealt directly with Catalyst.

If running for Governor, always go to orgies hosted by guys you just shook down as A-G.

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Oh well. My DVR messed up this episode so I had to download it but I am not sure it was worth it.

Did I see it right that the two guys managed to not only sneak in a fortress unnoticed (yeah I know he is ex black ops but this ain't the Gulf) and somehow see Mccandless spilling evil plans and nab the "secret bad land deal plans" to boot? I mean disbelief much?

And as mentioned earlier - music score almost took me out of the show. It sounded like some hokey 1980s horror mix with maybe about 10% Miami Vice thrown in to mix things up. (Yeah I know - Collin from 2006 - I thought the movie version sucked)

Ovey this cannot end soon enough.

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I really enjoyed this episode.  I laughed hysterically all through the scene with Ray partying alone in his apartment.  Then twice as hard when he began to cry.

 

My husband said, "You are probably the only one across the country laughing your ass off right now.  It is pretty funny though."

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I'm confused.  Was that the real plan with the Eyes Wide Shut party?  That Ani would go in and, I dunno, have a look around for something incriminating?  And to keep her from having to actually sex-up some old rich dude, Ray and Riggins were just gonna sneak up and find her by peeping in windows?  What if some guard took a shot at them, they gonna shoot back?  How they gonna explain that to the tough lady DA?

 

And did they really go with 'character overhears exactly the type of incriminating conversation he needs to overhear'?  Just how are they supposed to present this 'evidence' in court?  'Don't worry where we got it - it's all right here!'?  

 

Speaking of such, it sounded like Riggins got a hold of signed contracts.  Question: are not these the type of things that become public record at some point?  This is corruption between private enterprises and government money right?  If it's incriminating super-secret behind-doors dealings between mobsters - do they even have contracts they sign?  Do they include stuff like 'bribe money will be listed as 'consulting fee''?  I mean that would be incriminating but who writes that down?

 

This 'plan' seemed ready-made for disaster - way too many things had to go just right in order to accomplish anything at all.  I doubt even Col. Hogan woulda green-lit this. 

Edited by henripootel.

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Speaking of inaccurate portrayals of drugs, if that was supposed to be MDMA, or something similar to it, then I have to call bullshit on Ani hallucinating, and having flashbacks to a repressed molestation.

Up until the flashbacks, I thought it was one of the more accurate portrayals I've seen, so I give kudos to film editors, special effects, and/or whoever. I suppose if the kids in the Bad Commune were given similar drugs, maybe the flashback to that time would happen. IDK.

The lengthy screen time spent on Chekhov's knife practice paid off. I could believe Ani was able to grab and use the knife effectively with that much muscle memory.

The orgy party planner, however, ought to rethink the silverware selections, heh.

Yes, the escape from Orgy Castle was very 20th century cliché right down to the turn on two wheels, but it was fairly well done for what it was.

BTW, is the Orgy Estate a recognizeable or Twitter-announced location?

I don't know anything about cocaine ingestion other than what I learned from watching episodes of Intervention and Scarface, but the amount of cocaine that Ray took in such a short period, as someone who was no longer an active user, seemed lethal to me.

That's what I thought too, but the one line I did about 35 years ago almost killed me, and 2 drinks make me violently ill, so I'm no expert either. Does anyone know if that level of built up tolerance is in any way realistic--especially with the coordination the next day to successfully pull off a Mutant Ninja Turtle escapade? Edited by shapeshifter.

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Shortly into the party sequence I, too, realised I had no idea what the actual plan was supposed to be.

 

I hope Ani sends her sister Athena somewhere safe because 'Athena' is who the party security will be searching for.

 

Ignoring the Ray & Paul contrivances, Ani at the party was intense!

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Everybody knew that Frank would say he believed the info he gave Ray to be good, and we all knew that Frank had to know that if he knowingly set up just anybody that the real rapist might get caught, which is a reason to believe Frank. 

 

It's pretty clear James Frain set up the Mexican (whether or not it was supposed to kill off the Three Not-without-tears.) But as a Vinci cop he could have gotten some of Caspere's effects after the fact, so it's not clinched that he's Birdman. 

 

The blue diamonds being stolen in a double homicide suggests that Caspere and Stan did the robbery, and the son is Birdman taking revenge. That can explain why Caspere had the diamonds, but not who has Semyon's money,nor who has the hard drive. Or how he knew who the men were, nor why he would bother to shoot Ray at all. Nor would it explain who has the blue diamonds now, a point that would be of interest to Birdman. Seems like a bad deal. Balzac's principle that a crime is the foundation of every great fortune would have been a much more suitable for the thematic material of this show, assuming I'm guessing correctly about what that is meant to be. After all, it's not obvious.

 

As for the absurdity of the commando tactics, etc., everybody who saw Rust Cohle demand and get a beer during an alleged interrogation knew this series would never make any sense as crime solving. The point is not that Rachel McAdams couldn't have escaped this mess, or even that she was stupid for doing it in the first place. The point is that she is a dual victim, a child victim of hippie predation and a righteous hero victim of being forced to kill. 

 

The only way the show will make any sense is if some of the plots are only coincidentally related, as in Birdman is a revenge story and the land deal corruption is only connected by a fortuitous intersection with Caspere.

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Does anyone know if that level of built up tolerance is in any way realistic--especially with the coordination the next day to successfully pull off a Mutant Ninja Turtle escapade?

 

I'd probably have to rewatch to get a better sense of the timeline, but I thought that Ray's personal party was days before the other party.  Maybe the day after was the brief meeting of the three amigos where Ray seemed pained, and Antigone asked him if he had been working on anything and he said no.

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I thought Retired Cop said that the murderers/robbers were the ones wearing masks, hence why the kids couldn't identify them?  The Show made such a big deal out of those two kids surviving the ordeal and then going into foster care that it makes me wonder if they are somewhere else in the show.  Chessani's kids?

 

The revealation that Ani was molested at the commune was possibly the least surprising thing that's happened in either season.  I'm willing to bet that her sister was, too. 

 

So some currently unanswered questions that this show has two hours to answer:

1. Who killed Caspere?

2. Who shot Ray/who is Birdman?

3. Who set up Frank to set up Ray in regards to his wife's rape? (Is that significant?)

4. Who is ginger's real dad?  (Is that significant?)

5. How is Ani's father involved in all of it?  A dude that creepy who has photographs of the main players from yesteryear clearly must be involved somehow.

6. Who has the missing hard drive?

7. Who is on the missing hard drive?

8. Who stole Frank's $5 Million?

9. Who set up the Mexicans to look like they killed Caspere?

10. Who was the cop-looking guy who gave Irina Casper's stuff?

11. Where are the blue diamonds and how do they factor into all of this?

12.  Who died in the cabin in the woods?

 

I mean, it just goes on and on.

 

All this plus ... the one question I have been struggling with the whole time:  Why Frank!

 

Frank is a guppie in a sea of sharks.  He was an easy mark for Caspere...5 million seems awful low for something that could change the face of 2/3 of the state of California.  How he let himself get played seems odd, too.

 

Even at his best, Frank is a harmless mosquito compared to the other characters.  Easy to swat away.  Why kill Stan?  No warnings needed for mosquitos. 

 

The story has focused around 3 cops and Frank.  Why Frank in that mix?  He's not really in the group making the deals nor is he a cop.

 

Why is Frank so central to the storyline?

 

Despite his insignificance "on paper" in terms of both the land deal and the investigation,  I am most interested in his story.  I would like to see him get land and go straight.   I would like to see he and Ray partner up down the road and get on solid ground.

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I don't know if it's relevant to the title or not, but Blake's last name is "Churchman" (per IMDB.)

 

Josh Clark, who played the retired cop (the one who investigated the theft of the blue diamonds during the LA riots)  is also playing Hildy and Junior's father (also a retired cop) on "Murder in the First"

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Everybody knew that Frank would say he believed the info he gave Ray to be good, and we all knew that Frank had to know that if he knowingly set up just anybody that the real rapist might get caught, which is a reason to believe Frank. 

 

It's pretty clear James Frain set up the Mexican (whether or not it was supposed to kill off the Three Not-without-tears.) But as a Vinci cop he could have gotten some of Caspere's effects after the fact, so it's not clinched that he's Birdman. 

 

The blue diamonds being stolen in a double homicide suggests that Caspere and Stan did the robbery, and the son is Birdman taking revenge. That can explain why Caspere had the diamonds, but not who has Semyon's money,nor who has the hard drive. Or how he knew who the men were, nor why he would bother to shoot Ray at all. Nor would it explain who has the blue diamonds now, a point that would be of interest to Birdman. Seems like a bad deal. Balzac's principle that a crime is the foundation of every great fortune would have been a much more suitable for the thematic material of this show, assuming I'm guessing correctly about what that is meant to be. After all, it's not obvious.

 

As for the absurdity of the commando tactics, etc., everybody who saw Rust Cohle demand and get a beer during an alleged interrogation knew this series would never make any sense as crime solving. The point is not that Rachel McAdams couldn't have escaped this mess, or even that she was stupid for doing it in the first place. The point is that she is a dual victim, a child victim of hippie predation and a righteous hero victim of being forced to kill. 

 

The only way the show will make any sense is if some of the plots are only coincidentally related, as in Birdman is a revenge story and the land deal corruption is only connected by a fortuitous intersection with Caspere.

Agreed on just about every count. But, two things...I read a really compelling theory about the birdman which I don't believe fits with him being a vengeful son. 

 

Second, was Stan working with Caspere?  Was that shown somewhere??? I have missed quite and bit and wouldn't be suprised if I missed it, but I need to be pointed in the right direction!  Thanks so much in advance!

Edited by Jextella.

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Why is Frank so central to the storyline?

 

Frank set up two of the major, intersecting, corruption stories: He set up Ray to kill his wife's (assumed) rapist, "go bad" as a cop & become part of his team. Then his waste company devalued the land under the future rail corridor, making it easier for the partners to buy up the land at a cheap price.

 

So, let's try this out: Suppose James Frain and the newly dead chick were the kids in the diamond heist story. And maybe Caspere and Stan pulled it off. But why would Caspere still be holding the diamonds 20 years later?

Edited by FemmyV.

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So, it sure looks like Ani was molested back when she was a child, if those drug-induced visions are any indication.  If so, then I find that to be another obvious story-line, that I would have expected better from this show.  But I guess I really should have known that after all the Paul crap, this season really is just another typical drama, that is hiding behind the HBO logo in order to look "prestige."

 

I honestly try not to compare the seasons so far, but I just couldn't help it this time: while different on some levels, I just thought that Ani's adventures at the sex club really wanted to be this season's version of Rust with the gang bikers.  Both heroes are forced to take drugs, the other lead(s) are nearby with a car, shit suddenly starts falling apart, and the episodes ends with them having to flee, while dragging someone along.  Eh, I just wasn't feeling it for some reason, even though Rachel McAdams gave it her all.

 

Meanwhile, Colin Farrell continues to somehow be amazing in what could be trite material.  Even him snorting up an unrealistic amount of cocaine was saved by his acting.  And while I know Ray has a ton of issues, I really think less of his ex for all of this.  I can understand not wanting to give him much responsibility, but it really ended up becoming "He never sees his son again or everyone has to find out he might be the product of a rapist" scenario, and I can't see why she wouldn't just let him see his son on a limited basis. Instead, he's agreeing to never see him again, and while she feels somewhat conflicted, seems content to let it happen.

 

I got hopeful for the Ray/Frank showdown, instead I thought Colin just out-acted Vince Vaughn with ease.  Again though, Vince gets saddled with the worst dialogue, so I don't know how much I can put on him.  For all his flaws, Ray at least feels like a character.  Frank just feels like some boring dude here to spout off gibberish and stupid-ass phrases, in an attempt to come off "compelling." I don't care about him, this feud with the Mexican gang, and all that stuff with Stan's son.  I still don't know who Stan really was, except that he was the greatest man that ever lived, apparently.  The world is a darker place without his light!

 

So, the diamonds got to the pawnshop by the girlfriend of the guy in the shoot-out, and she claimed a guy paid her to do it.  She also said she was pretty sure it was a cop.  We'll see, but the way she described him, I so think it's Lieutenant James Frain.  It's always James Frain!

 

Two episodes left.  I bounced around these past few episodes between hopeful and pessimistic, but I think after tonight, I've accepted that this season just didn't work for me.  Unless these two episodes somehow really change the game, I don't see myself really caring about anybody outside of Ray and Ani.

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If so, then I find that to be another obvious story-line, that I would have expected better from this show.

Ani being molested (or worse) at the camp doesn't have to be a storyline in itself, could just be character background that goes a long way to explaining her feelings towards her father and the camp. Or maybe I just don't want David Morse to be a Bad Guy in this.

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