We’ll need to consult some sort of medical doctor or mental health professional about it at some point but, for now, using only a layman’s perspective, I think it’s safe to say it is not too great to be haunted by visions of your deceased wife who is taunting you about potential misdeeds of years gone by. This would be true even if your misdeeds were, like, never getting the dishwasher fixed or forgetting your anniversary. It’s even worse when the haunting involves murder and missing children and things related to both you may or may not have “left in the woods” and are consuming you with guilt. And that’s before we even get to this:
“How much do I have to lose?”
“Everything, same as everybody else.”
So that’s not great for Wayne.
Also not great for Wayne? Most things, across many decades, but especially in 1990. That’s where we can really see all of this — his job, the case, whatever exactly happened between 1980 and 1990 that made him a pariah — getting to him. There’s a panic in Wal-Mart when his daughter briefly goes missing, which probably goes a long way to explaining the strain on their relationship in 2015. There’s him snapping at Amelia because she’s — in his opinion — a little too jazzed to be re-investigating the case. There’s, well, whatever there is between him and Roland. Something’s a little off there. And he’s drinking too much, often alone. I don’t know if that’s better or worse than “dead wife haunting you as you sit in your office with a gun on the table and your memories slipping away,” but it’s not ideal any way you slice it.
We’re at a fun point in the arc of the show, though. Every answer we get leads to about a dozen more questions. It’s great for now because it deepens the mystery and really ramps up the intrigue. Ronnie Boyle says the kids weren’t with him. Okay, then what were they doing in the woods and why did they lie? Something Wayne did tanked his career. Well, what? There may or may not have been a creepy sedan and a man with a scar, which was mentioned by a strange bearded man who lives off the grid but was apparently not investigated, according to the interviewer in 2015. What’s going on there? Roland has a pretty nice conspiracy wall going back in 1980 and I’m about to make my own just to try to keep up with the show.
At some point, though, and hopefully it’s some point in the not too distant future, the show is going to need to bring at least of few of these mysteries into focus, and that’s where it gets hard. Multiple weaving timelines with their own sets of questions and conflicts can be a blast for a while. The tricky part is paying them off in a satisfying and logical way without making it so obvious the audience gets ahead of you. Miss in either direction and you risk mass eye rolls and grumbling. I may have copied and pasted this paragraph from a Westworld recap.
But that’s a problem for another day. One that will come in a week or two. For now, let’s just focus on the hallucinations and creepy sedans. First things first.
1980 — The original investigation continues. Dice and a bag of strange toys are discovered in the woods not far from a rock with Will’s blood on it. The detectives find notes with disquieting messages on them (“Don’t listen,” “I’ll keep up safe,” etc.) and a Hoyt Foods bag filled with doll parts, both in Julie’s room. They meet the aforementioned bearded guy who lives in a big house in the woods and isn’t too keen on them searching his property without a warrant. At some point, all of this is going to end with an arrest and something about it will go sideways. The possibilities for both are endless.
1990 — We covered most of the important 1990 stuff already (the Wal-Mart thing, Wayne drinking alone a bunch, things getting tense with Amelia), so let’s clean the rest up quickly via bullet point.
- Roland is a big deal now, big enough to feel comfortable calling one of the guys handling the re-opened case “son” while defending his man, Purple Hays, and is using his power to bring Wayne back in for the new task force.
- Roland’s look in 1990 is in such dire need of a bolo tie that it almost took me out of the episode.
- Somewhere between 1980 and 1990, around 1985 if everyone’s math is correct, Roland helped get Tom Purcell clean, which led to him finding Jesus and losing the mustache. I mean, I’m happy for him if he’s happy. Dude has lived a tragic life between losing his kids and his wife dying in Vegas. But that upper lip looks nude, like a turtle without its shell. This is now a “Sam Elliott in the final season of Justified” situation.
This is the timeline that interests me most right now, probably because there are so many unknown on either side of it.
2015 — But this is the timeline where things are going to really go down, eventually. This interviewer is asking pointed questions like she thinks she might be onto something. And Wayne is trying to size her up for information at the same time she’s talking to him on camera. And why are the interviewer and Wayne’s son on such a seemingly cordial first-name basis? Feels fishy. We’re only three episodes in and I’m already side-eyeing everyone.