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12 August 2015


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How did you like The Shield?



Never saw it. pl


Walton Goggins was over the top good in The Shield.



Your review of the second season of True Detective is spot on. When I was growing up, California was the sunny golden land to the south. Now it is on the fault line in the Clash of Civilizations between Western and Latin American cultures.

(Spoiler Alert)

The firefight between the outgunned but experienced Police and the Mexican Cartel half way through was the best I’ve seen on a TV show. The plot was disjointed and there were no good guys. But, the show had the guts to show the corruption of today’s crony capitalism, the cultural conflicts, and the Mexican Cartel winning. The San Andreas Fault will split California in half in time but drought, neoliberal austerity, and ethnic conflict will tear the Golden State apart first.



My point was that the California of the series is representative of a larger American problem. pl


Since my basic cable only allows me to watch tv channels with advertisement for starving children and abused animals, I had to wait for the show to end its HBO run to binge watch it. The Harrelson and McConaughey characters complexity and obsessiveness, and the interplay between the Christian and New Ager, are what first interested me in the show. Both actors were great. The corrupt and evil religious and political leaders blocking the two's investigation, which could only be solved after the they leave the force. The Borg is expert at hiding its true workings.

I just watched a 1962 Japanese movie called Hara Kiri that deconstructs that islands 1700th century Borg, the code of Bashido. In this movie the lowly Ronin are expected to follow the code when the Feudal Lords ignore it at will. Even when the Ronin exposes the lords hypocracy, the Borg creates its own reality by writing a fictional history that maintains their high status.

Green Zone Cafe

The Shield? I'd like the Colonel's review of "The Americans."



never watched it, sounded silly to me. pl

Green Zone Cafe

Grimly silly. The show has an incredible body count - the KGB couple kills someone almost every episode.


Sorry, but did anybody actually understand Season 2??!?

Maybe I'm thick as a brick, but I got lost after the third episode and a half, even though I kept watching.

So the main plot is that a wealthy semi-former-gangster guy gets badly shafted on a shady land deal, because the guy who sold him the land is found dead sitting on a roadside picnic table bench at night. So he tries to make up for it by personally muscling into his own rackets(?!?!). Then he gets into a rubbish deal with Mexicans who end up stabbing him on the side in the desert after he gave them a briefcase full of cash.

The guy who found the dead guy at the picnic table is a heavily closeted gay highway patrolman with gay identity issues. He eventually gets shot down in a tunnel by a tall black man who comes out of nowhere. Unless I missed a line in the dialogue or something.

There was also a policewoman called on the picnic table police scene. She is a hard policewoman with daddy issues, whose daddy is a hippie cult leader. Her sister is an internet porn star and a prostitute involved in horrible sex orgies where the dead picnic table guy who shafted the semi-former-gangster guy was involved. The sisters get to safety on a boat, to Mexico I think, although it doesn't sound that safe to me.

Another policeman was called on the picnic table scene. He's a terminal alcoholic and a drug user, yet handsome, fit, and athletic. He has daddy issues because his ex-wife thinks he may not be the father of their dysfunctional ginger son. He ends up riddled with bullets in the woods by Russians, I think, who put a tracking device under his car instead of shooting him in his bed whilst in the throes of hangover.

But maybe I missed a point here.
Please help me if I did.



Yes, you are thick as a brick. pl



This reminds me of the audience response to "Midnight Express" circa '79. The director thought it would highlight the dangers of heroin trafficking but instead it became a celebration of the main character's escape from a Turkish prison.


"Americans, especially flyover Americans are unaccustomed to spectacles that do not end well in reward of virtue."

As an Iowan, I would say on the contrary we are very accustomed to the corruption and venality of politics, the overall degradation of society, and the triumph of injustice. In other words Iowans, like most Americans imho are accustomed to virtue not being rewarded.

Eric Dönges

So far I've only seen the first season of True Detective (bought it on a whim on DVD). I really enjoyed it, but the ending was a bit of a letdown for me. Surely they could have come up with a more original, less stereotypical villain.


I thought the first series was much better written and played, besides being very much about redemption and, dare I say it, a bit of idealism. The crimes were so loathsome you ended up identifying more with the detectives.

The second was far too cynical for my taste, Maybe there was some implied redemption at the end, with the Times willing to post the story, but would it make a difference? According to worldview of the show, hard to see how. Lots of laying out of the story but a rushed ending, I thought.

Vince Vaughan grew in the story, as an actor I mean. At first I was waiting for his motor mouth, wisecrack delivery but it rarely appeared; when it did, it was the lightest bit of comic relief.

What about his ending? Homage to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge?



I watched the first episode of the season 2 "True Detective" (free HBO weekend promotion from satellite provider). NOT compelling and nonsensical.

Will attempt to watch season 1 episodes via Netflix Blue ray disks just to see if Woody Harrelson makes it worthwhile.

Also watched "The Americans" via Netflix. Stopped watching after Disk 1. Nothing but the "Borgian" agenda (e.g. female empowerment sexually and physically) inserted into the Reagan / Cold War 1980's. Pure fantasy for the masses.



Redemption? Redemption? Who said anything about the possibility of redemption? Pizzolato (the writer) sees little of that on the horizon. "The war-god" (here labeled a Broke Back Mountain cowboy) wished to be "redeemed" from his homosexuality. He tries Viagra to make it possible to function with women. He wants a family and to go "straight," but, alas he is struck down in the end, betrayed by his lover and shot in the back by another cop. All the protagonists want redemption, but, sigh... in the first season there is no redemption either, only the apprehension of a degenerate product of a degenerating culture. I thought you were a Muslim. There is no redemption in Islam, only obedience to God's will. pl

Paul Escobar

Mr. Lang,

If evidence of redemption is only materialistic & physical (ie. health, wealth, public reputation), then there was no "possibility of redemption" here.

But I felt that Pizzolato was quietly trying to convey that the "True Detective" men (of the second season) were redeemed in the end.

I thought the scenes where the women "feel it" when their men died were striking. This was a rare spiritual interjection, indicating that the lives & efforts of these men meant something - to some force we cannot see. And, interestingly, that force chose to convey itself & reveal that there was value to the loving relationships these men had with women. So there is redemption in that spiritual sense...and more rebellion in 'True Detective' than I originally gave it credit for.

Though I still feel that this is mostly lost on the audience, and what they will take away is the "lovers" warning that had "broke back cowboy" submitted and been "open about it"...he would have lived a long & happy life. Redemption in the worst sense.

Paul Escobar



"were redeemed in the end." I'll accept the idea of their individual spiritual redemption but it is set in a terrain of general decline. pl


James Frain was a "tall black guy"?

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Frain



It really doesn't matter that you think Woodrough the war god should have accepted his homosexuality. I suspect you think that because your society has conditioned you to think homosexuality is normal. Woodrough did not think so. Does his opinion not matter? pl

Paul Escobar

Mr. Lang,

You have misunderstood me. I am in agreement with you on that subject.

I was complimenting Pizzolato on the symbolism of the women feeling those deaths, and the elevated quality he gave male-female relationships through that imagery. I have decided that the writer maybe more of a Christian than I originally assumed.

We did not see any of Woodrough's male flings "feel" his death. Rather, it was the woman who he struggled for. The *general audience* may wish to dismiss her as a mere beard. But she is to Woodrough what Bezzerides is to Velcoro (Bezzerides also "felt" Velcoro's death).

My last paragraph may have caused confusion. I was actually saying that most of the *general audience* would side with the lament of the "boyfriend" who entrapped Woodrough. The boyfriend lamented that had Woodrough not been ashamed & resistive of such lusts, he would have avoided the trap set for him & lived.

The *general audience* may wish their hero to find redemption through mere survival & longevity. But I think it is Pizzolato's contention that it is the seemingly impossible struggle that redeems Woodrough in the end. And that struggle includes the efforts you describe (in the post that kicked off this line of conversation).

To be clear, I admire Pizzolato for what he has done in this aspect of the story. Though I fear there will be consequences for him once more realize his act of rebellion.



Or the French series "Spiral - Engrenages"?

I like Shield, this muddling throiugh from one crisis to the next, the nice mixture of private and service realted issues.

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