Reading Too Much Into ‘True Detective’: Details You May Have Missed From ‘The Big Never’

Entertainment Features
01.23.19 6 Comments


Welcome to our weekly breakdown of the minutia of Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective. While Brian Grubb provides his always excellent coverage of the series (here’s his write-up of the most recent episode), here — as we have in the past with Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Better Call Saul, and Mayans M.C. — we will look at some of the details viewers may have missed; references to other shows, movies or books; and theories on particular suspects. We scour Reddit threads, social media, and podcasts in an attempt to curate the best intel about each episode.

The Amelia Theory Takes Root Among True Detective Watchers

— One possible theory that emerged following this episode — in particular, while Hays was seeing the ghost of Amelia in 2015 — is that Amelia herself may have been the killer. It might explain why, during the stake-out at Walgreens, that Amelia proposed to Hays going back to a motel — she was not interested in finding Julie (perhaps because she already knew about Julie’s whereabouts). Curiously, she also asked both Hays and the police officer with whom she was sweet talking, “Were there any fingerprints behind the pharmacy?” Is there a particular reason why she wants to know? What does she know that would place Julie behind the pharmacy? Are there other fingerprints she’s worried about being discovered?

— Meanwhile, is there a reason that Hays won’t read Amelia’s book? Is he afraid of what he’ll learn (or not learn)? Will it confirm his own subconscious suspicions that his wife was involved in the murder of Will Purcell and the disappearance of Julie? Is this the real reason Hays’ resents Amelia’s work as an author, and not because he is envious of her investigative skills?

— That brings me to the “ghost” of Amelia that Hays interacts with in the 2015 timeline. Most people assume that Hays is suffering from dementia in 2015, but could it just be the effects of repressed memories? From Science Daily:

Hidden memories that can’t be consciously accessed may protect the individual from the emotional pain of recalling the event. But eventually those suppressed memories can cause debilitating psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or dissociative disorders.

That tracks, doesn’t it? His memory problems seem to revolve around both the Purcell case and what happened to his daughter, Rebecca. Could it not be traumatic memories creating “debilitating psychological problems”?

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