Sometimes your worst self is your best self.
—Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn)
One of the most disconcerting plot twists in a recent film was in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2006 movie Babel. One plotline revolved around the character Amelia, played by Adriana Barraza. She was to have the day off for her son’s wedding in Mexico, but her employers had to extend their vacation leaving her in charge of the two children. She could not find anyone to watch them for her, so she decides to take them with her to Mexico. The first three-quarters of the story is a quite endearing story of the children being exposed to a different culture. Unfortunately, she then decides to engage in consensual sex with one of the wedding guests. This transgression against the great puritanical code of American movies cannot go unpunished. The story line ends with her penniless—abandoned in the desert in a torn and dirty dress. What seemed so strange was the entire movie was cast like an essay on the innate humanity of all cultures. This kind of misogyny is very incongruous with the theme of the movie. As True Detective continues to unfold, the same puritanical subtext emerges under the layers of lacquered cynicism.