Things are never simple on True Detective. That’s a good thing, generally, because the show would be pretty boring if they were. “Hey boss, we found a body in the woods. What should w-… hey look, there’s the murderer holding the murder weapon. Welp, case closed.” Going too far the other way can be trouble too, though. There’s always a conspiracy and there’s always crooked higher-ups and the case always slowly reveals itself to be more than it appeared. It’s a tricky balance. If you do it well, you get a wild ride with twists and turns and exciting reveals based on small clues dropped episodes earlier. If you do it poorly, you get a mortally wounded Vince Vaughn staggering through the desert while hallucinating mean teens from his youth. Not a lot of room in the middle, either.
This is the point we’re at with season three of the show. The reveals are revealing themselves and the simple answers are getting brushed aside. The murder of Will Purcell and the disappearance of Julie Purcell go, it appears, up to or near the top of society. This is the hard part. After this week, there are two episodes left to answer a lot of questions and those answers will determine if this was all a worthwhile experiment or not. I’m optimistic, but I’m an optimist. Fingers crossed.
Let’s dig into this week’s episode. It’s all getting very SVU out here. Part of me hopes Ice-T shows up to assist.
1980 — Another slow-ish week for the 1980 timeline. The biggest thing we saw was the shady district attorney — soon to be the shady attorney general — forcing the case against Woodard onto Hays and then the public in that press conference. What we still need to know is whether he was doing it to end the chaos around the case and get his name out there as the man who “solved” it or if he was trying to cover-up something bigger. Either way, he’s transparent and sleazy and we do not like him.
1990 — Second week in a row we’ve focused mainly on this timeline. Entirely too much happened to blurb in a short paragraph but between the pink room, the weasel Harris James, and the reveal of the angry man with the bad eye and the scar, it’s safe to say this remains the most interesting timeline on the show. At least two people, Cousin Dan and Harris James, will end up going missing. West and Hays will have a falling out. A bunch of dominoes still have to fall here. We’ll get into it in a bit.
2015 — Wayne stopped the interview when the director — who has been sleeping with his son, which is probably not the most journalistically responsible course of action — started pushing about Cousin Dan and Harris James, one of whom was found dead in a quarry and the other of whom has not been seen since 1990. Wayne and Roland are still doing a lot of worried glancing and referencing “that thing we done” whenever this comes up. Something is going on here. I’m not exactly melting any brains when I say that. I just want to know what.