True Detective S3:E03 The Big Never Recap

I thought about True Detective quite a lot this week, I've been spoiled completely rotten by being able to binge shows when I like (except watching You felt more compulsive than that) so the big question marks pulled at me. Also, is it doing well?

You can find recaps of the previous episodes here:

S3:E01 The Great War and Modern Memory

S3:E02 Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye

Let's roll! Quick synopsis: Detectives Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) and partner Roland West (Steven Dorff) are investigating the disappearance of two young children, the Purcells. One child, William, showed up murdered, the other kiddo, Julie, was never found. We zip between three time periods on True Detective Season 3, 1980 when the kids went missing, 1990 when the case is reopened and 2015 when Detective Hays is interviewed by a true crime TV show.

We open in 1990 with Lieutenant Roland West who has apparently done well for himself in the decade since the Purcell case was closed. He got rid of that gawdawful yeller wig, anyway, woooo!

He's been interviewed by two FBI agents that are overseeing the re-opening of the case; the main reason is that Julie's fingerprints have shown up, meaning she's alive, but also because there are some questions about the prosecution of the case.

The FBI agents are Alan Jones (Jon Tenney) and Jim Dobkins (Josh Hopkins) or Handsome and Slimy, as I like to call them.

We're back in 1980 with the detectives and FBI examining the odd note sent to the family. It declared Julie alive and safe, but for everyone to stop looking.

They can't...think that would work, would they? Like street catcalling, nobody ever respects a positive response, do they?

Wayne and Roland were late getting to the house to review the note, they were busy beating a previously convicted pedophile almost to death in a barn. By that, I mean, they were interviewing a person of interest. But he doesn't quite remember, Wayne's memory might be better.

I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with you there, Rolly, Wayne's memory is awful and getting worse. We're in 2015 with Wayne seeing a doctor after waking up upstate in the middle of the night in his pajamas.

"I went up there for a reason. I just can't remember it."

His son Henry (Ray Fisher) is frustrated almost beyond ability with his dad's refusal to accept the reality of his diminishing mental state, he explains to the doctor the significance of where Wayne woke up. Wayne threatens to kill himself if his son tries to put him in a home.

Back in 1990, Wayne sits with his wife Amelia (Carmen Ejogo) outside the Walgreens where Julie's prints showed up. It used to be just a case, now it's got teeth and they're sunk deep in Wayne. He hasn't been able to get much information out of the Fibbies, she suggests she could go charm it out of the police who found the prints, but Wayne ehhhhs this "Afro Hart to Hart." She talks him into a night at a hotel instead of waiting there (parked sideways) in the middle of the empty parking lot.

Side note: I can't help but stare at Carmen Ejogo, I get her mixed up with Tessa Tompson all the time but now I'm struck by how much she looks like Drew Barrymore. They have almost the same mouth.

In 1980, Wayne's trying to figure out a new path to follow in the investigation, what about where the kids said they were gonna go? Will and Julie told their dad they were going to see some new puppies at a friend's house, friend said no plans. So what's the story there? Maybe Amelia could help...this is before Amelia and Wayne got together, see.

The Purcell dad, Tom (Scoot McNairy) was under the impression that his kids were playing three or four days a week with the puppy kid but a quick interview at the school shows that just wasn't the case. So what were Will and Julie actually doing three or four days a week instead?

Tom does not understand all this big picture stuff; why aren't the detectives out there finding Julie?? Lucy (Grace Gummer) doesn't say anything, but hey! She's back in the house!

Quick aside: it was hinted at last episode that Julie may not be Tom's daughter.

The detectives go through the kids' rooms again, finding some notes of support associated maybe with Hoyt Foods.

It's Roland who is telling us this story, he's already alluded to the FBI hanging Wayne out to dry over the case and now we learn he tried to bring Wayne over to the bigtime but was denied by the Mayor's office. I'm guessing Wayne was a big old targeted scapegoat for perhaps being the wrong colour.

Amelia's plan goes super well with the police detectives, she gets all kinds of information about Julie's fingerprints and where they were found. She was maybe a little toooo charming, as Constable Brushtace-Mustache wants to talk about it some more over a bite while Wayne takes the kids shopping.

Wayne loses track of his daughter and she's gawn. He panics, screaming at store clerks and then his thankfully fine daughter. I can't imagine how much worse that panic would feel if you were steeped in a case like the one Wayne has been.

Wayne and Roland run into some perhaps inconvenient news at Hoyt Foods, there will be a reward offered and that can muddy some waters and how. Wayne and Roland ask for all the hire records, maybe someone connected to Lucy as she worked there.

Is the president of Hoyt Foods indicated? He's in Africa on a safari (WHAT), when exactly did he go?

The searches of the national park continued, Amelia and Wayne searching together one day. They're still getting to know each other and were on opposite sides of the Vietnam war. He went, was in reconnaissance and still hunts, she protested. They're so different in everything, these two beautiful but oddly sad and isolated people, how did they get together?

We see the tenuousness and fragility of their togetherness in 1990, she's exhilarated and tipsy after pumping the police detective for information but he's been chewing on his liver all day after the stress of losing his daughter briefly. Fighting and drinking end their night.

One thing: there was a robbery at a Walgreens and they print the whole damn store? You know how many prints they must have had to run? Especially since Julie's prints were only found in the cosmetics aisle, how many thousands of other prints were found in each aisle? That's not realistic whatsoever.

Back in 1980, Wayne finds some special dice by the entrance to the cave where he found Will's body, is this a Dungeons and Dragons scenario?

He also finds a little bag full of kid stuff (action figures, etc), is he seriously the only person ever to search this area? He also finds blood and hair on some rocks then a clear path to a previously unknown farm road.

The farmer at the end of the road swears he's already been interviewed by the police, well, a man in a suit with a badge. He told the Suit he saw the kids a few times, as well as an interracial couple in a brown car. Hm. I haven't been counting, but I haven't seen any other persons of colour aside from our intrepid detective. At any rate, the farmer isn't letting anyone search his property without a warrant,  a surprisingly sticky viewpoint for a guy who just talks to anyone in a suit with a badge.

In 2015, TV show producer Elisa Montgomery (Sarah Gadon) has dug up a bunch more people that were not interviewed back then, including two separate people who saw a nice brown car driving through the neighbourhood.

We saw Wayne take pictures of tire treads and just witnessed him and Roland being told about the posh sedan, how did nothing ever end up in police reports? 2015 Wayne is struggling to remember. One of the people even said he saw a black man with a scar in a suit near the kids, I have to wonder that didn't pop up earlier. This was not what you'd call an enlightened area/era.

Wayne pushes for more information from Elisa but she's keeping all her cards close to her chest. Henry intervenes and shuts down the interview.

Remember what I said about not being enlightened? One of the only other people of colour is in for a bad time right now, indigenous Vietnam veteran junkman Brett Woodard (Michael Greyeyes) is forced off the road by a group of angry men who accuse him of pedophilia and beat him terribly.

I hate violence.

In 1990, Roland's tracked down Tom, who's heard about the fingerprints. He wishes Julie's mom was still alive to hear it, but Lucy died two years before in Vegas. Tom's been sober for 5 years, thanks to Roland pulling him out of a hole.


Tom asks Roland to pray with him in a jarring segue. He needs help controlling his anger.

Wayne takes notes about the brown sedan in 2015, was that who the kids were playing with? Amelia put the games and dice into the book, he's asking himself questions when her ghost pops up and asks him if he's figured out what he withheld. And maybe what he left in the woods.

An extremely agitated Brett Woodard pulls out a bag he's been hiding in his garage/shop, it looks startlingly around the size of a child.

Roland shows pictures of the toys found in the woods to Tom and Lucy, they don't recognise anything but the kids' prints were on them, as was another unknown persons'. Wayne digs out an old baby photo album, shocked to find a picture of Will in the exact pose as he was found when dead.

Wayne and Roland meet up in 1990, he's heading up a new task force, does Wayne feel like being a detective again? He just might do.

(First we sat through a BUNCH of racially charged banter)

And we're oot!

We're getting a lot of mumbo jumbo about time this series, I'm more interested in unlocking poor Wayne's degenerating brain but I guess two things can be true. How are you liking it?