True Detective didn't mess around for season 3, they released two episodes back to back on January 13 to get the party started. Here is my recap of the second, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.
We jump between three time periods on season three, lemme break it down. First is 1980, when William Purcell was killed and his sister Julie presumed to have met a similar fate (we think?). Then we're in 1990 with Wayne Hays being interviewed by FBI agents (I think?) about the case as the totally not-dead Julie popped up on their radar. Finally, we have 2015 with Wayne as an elderly man revisiting the case for a television show called True Criminal. Each time period is delineated by Wayne's hair, 1980 shows a slight natural curl, 1990 high and tight and 2015 white as snow.
We're back searching the woods for the still-missing Julie Purcell (Lena McCarthy), hearing about what happened to her poor brother William. His neck was broken and he was brought to that cave, to be found by Detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali).
They've brought in trashman Brent Woodard (Michael Greyeyes), who lost his family four years ago but swears he isn't one of those burnouts that came back from "overseas." Wayne and Brent discuss their time in service in Vietnam, Brent's admits to doing much more thinking about the choices made over there and when he got back.
Wayne's partner Roland West (Stephen Dorff in an unfortunate butterscotch hair system) interrupts to ask if Brent likes kids, generally. I laughed out loud as Brent's answer, "what the f*ck's the right answer to that??!" indeed. Macabre.
The FBI has arrived with both feet in West Finger county (I probably have that wrong), it's odd seeing a younger version of Alan (Jon Tenney) and meeting Agent in Charge Greg Larson (Brett Cullen whom I ALWAYS mix up with Chris Cooper). The locals want to know why they aren't rousting the areas where the queers hang out, I forgot that is used as a pejorative. I also forgot that people used to think that gay people are pedophiles, which is maybe where this particular local was going with that. He's shut down by the FBI quickly.
Also in the crowd is our Amelia (Carmen Egojo), which does not go unnoticed by Detective Hays. They talk after, she agrees to hand out pictures of the creepy doll to students and teachers. Before Wayne can make a move, a bearded gentleman calls her away.
Spoiler alert: it's not going to work out between the bearded gentleman and Amelia.
We're in 2015 with Wayne and his and Amelia's grown son Henry (Ray Fisher), he's been supporting his dad while he's being interviewed for a TV program, concerned about how much it's taking out of Wayne. Wayne's hanging on because he thinks the director has new information on the case and he wants to know what they know now. Everything already turned on its head in 1990, what new information could there be?
Apparently Wayne and Amelia had a daughter too! But she's estranged, perhaps, seems Amelia and Wayne had different ideas about (as yet unnamed) stuff.
Back in 1980 again, Wayne and his partner meet the FBI agents who assure them they won't be taking over the murder investigation, just the kidnapping. Then they'll all share their information and sing Kumbaya by the campfire.
Off to William Purcell's funeral, ah bloody hell he looks so young. Because he was so very young. I thought Wayne and Roland were going as a sign of respect, but I guess they're taking a more direct approach, interrogating Lucy's cousin Dan O'Brien (Michael Graziadei) who had been staying at the house.
Dan had left behind some magazines of the educational variety (early 70s Playboy mags) and maybe drilled a hole into Julie's room, which would be super duper creepy. Dan is the first family member to suggest that the kids ran away, which would be tricky with young William being killed.
**Side note: I love Mahershala Ali for many reasons, not least because of the slow, smirking up-and-down he gives Dan, who suggests his cousin Lucy just needed a "strong man."
Roland probes gently for an alibi, Dan's isn't perfect so it's probably true.
Back at the house, Wayne chats up Louise (Natalie Canerday) and Roy Purcell (David Jensen), Louise bursting to trashtalk her daughter-in-law. She goes as far as to suggest that Julie wasn't her son Tom's (Scoot McNairy) daughter, it seems he was welding offshore when his wife Lucy (Grace Gummer) fell pregnant.
**I wouldn't pay one penny for the negative opinion of any mother-in-law anywhere of her daughter-in-law. I will include myself in this iffin I am ever lucky enough to have one.
Right about now is when Tom kicks the detectives out of his house. All these family members think the police should be doing one thing and one thing only: out pounding the pavement looking for Julie, not asking awkward questions about THEIR alibis.
In 2015, director Elise (Sarah Gadon) shows Wayne what she knows, there is an online site dedicated to solving true crime mysteries with a big section on the Purcell case. The prevailing theory ties in with pedophile rings based in the area, Wayne disagrees.
Elise is surprised, countering with questions about why Wayne left the force in 1990. She wants to know if he thought it was motivated by racism. He exchanges a look with his son.
Amelia looks for information on the creepy dolls left at the cave and on the trail, young Mike (Corbin B. Pitts) who waved at the Purcells identifies them from Halloween. Someone was giving them out for trick or treating; Julie got one. Mike knows that because he was with her that night, he maybe had a crush.
Everyone's staring at Tom, who's back at work already. Literally everyone. Tom doesn't want to be at home with everything in his head, but he's not exactly safe at work right now. Distracted would be an improvement.
The foreman (Lawrence Turner) takes him aside, explaining kindly but firmly that Tom can't be here right now. Grief works in mysterious ways, with Tom blowing up over being the joke and quitting.
How...would having a child murdered and another disappear make you a joke?
Young Mike gets officially interviewed by Roland, but it's Amelia who draws out the most information. Wayne gets him to draw a map and understands what "two big ghosts" means. Teenagers.
Roland and Wayne pick up Tom, walking along the road. Tom cries over his kids while reminiscing about his marriage, "are we gonna find Julie or what?" Coz he can't live through this.
Wayne and Roland present a plan of attack to the FBI; they don't want to advertise the dolls on TV or in the newspaper in case someone gets spooked. But there are 144 houses that could be searched and kept under surveillance. The FBI looks increasingly skeptical, they'll need some time.
I'm pretty sure they don't HAVE time.
Wait: I guess since we know Julie's prints show up in 1990, they're fine, sure, drag your feet, Fibbies.
Roland's got another lead to follow up; a vice cop (Michael Papajohn with the interesting face) has heard of a couple of fellas looking for under-aged prostitute and special magazines. One is Ted Lestrage but I heard Robert, I imagine we'll meet one of them soon.
Amelia spies Wayne drinking a beer at the bar and comes over for a visit, he doesn't usually hang out there. She asks if he did reconnaissance on her, but no, so she fills him in on her protestor background and he talks about his life of (mostly) solitude. He's a hunter, she's a vegetarian and if she's a Democrat, he doesn't want to know.
**People think that opposites attracting is a good thing, the yin and yang, the complementary interests that balance each other out. But can you do it forever? Can you accept that you might spend the rest of your life never choosing a movie you actually like? How about everything in between?
They get to know each other in a suddenly meaningful way, how it is when the dam bursts, a connection obliterating boundaries. It's interrupted by the TV showing a press conference held by the FBI, advertising the dolls as Wayne and Roland specifically asked them not to.
This is the open and sharing teamwork the FBI mentioned earlier, I guess.
Not only do they show and mention the dolls, they publish the map of houses too so those people will be on their guard and Julie will be in much more danger, potentially.
Wayne takes his frustration out on his partner, he expects the FBI to not listen to him but damnit, Roland is white and he's responsible for sorting out his "tribe." Roland denies it's racist without saying it's racist; it's always a dicey proposition to explain that to someone who is actually affected by racism.
Wayne asks if there's anything else in the hopper, Roland brings up the possible pedophile and they decide to do bennies to stay up all night.
They approach Ted Lagrange (Shawn-Caulin Young) in a restaurant then taint their investigation some more by dragging him out to a barn and strapping him to a pole. Ted thinks this is a fantasy of Wayne, but we're not here to talk about Wayne's fantasies, are we? And now I understand, Ted is using the name Robert for a fresh start.
Ted/Robert's in for a hard hour or so, he doesn't have an alibi for the night in question and he is indeed the pedophile who just got released from prison. Wayne does the questioning while Roland does the punching.
We're in 1990 with Wayne and FBI agent Alan Jones (Jon Tenney), hearing more details about Julie's fingerprints showing up during a robbery investigation. The CCTV was useless as someone smashed the camera, nobody knows if she was part of the robbery or a customer. They chitchat about jurisdiction, seems Roland did well between 1980 and 1990.
Back in 1980, Roland is more than willing to kill the pedophile he's beaten bloody, but Wayne throws some graphic prison rape threats at Ted and leaves it at that. The thing is: it was gross and far too descriptive but Wayne didn't sell it at all. Weird.
A call comes on the radio: the family has received a note.
We skip to 1990, seeing Amelia, Wayne and their family after the deposition. The galleys of Amelia's book have come, Wayne looks uncomfortable.
In 2015, Elise once again broaches the subject Wayne sidestepped before. Did Wayne leave the police because they wouldn't listen to his theories surrounding "1990 and Julie and her father." What does THAT mean?
Back in 1990, Wayne is preoccupied, which Amelia takes to mean that he's drunk and since that's the second time she's mentioned it in the three minutes she's been onscreen in 1990, I assume this is a problem. Another problem is her book going to press when he just found out that Julie is alive.
In 1980, the note found by the family is textbook; letters cut out of magazines and the like and pasted on a piece of paper.
"DO NOT WORRY JULIE IS IN A GOOD PLACE AND SAFE. THE CHILDREN SHUD LAUGH DO NOT LOOK. LET GO"
Tom wants to know what it means??
In 2015 Wayne dines with his son Henry daughter-in-law Heather (Sola Bamis) there is definitely some type of estrangement between Wayne and his daughter Rebecca. He's also struggling with his memory, asking the same thing more than once and waking up in the middle of the night scared in the middle of a road. And we're out.
So. What do you think? Are you liking this season of True Detective so far? I could probably watch Mahershala Ali do anything, but I am finding myself drawn into the story more than I expected. The first two seasons of TD were much more about style rather than substance, and were fun in their own way, but this one is an actual mystery and I'm digging. Until next time!