True Detective is back with it's penultimate episode of season 3, we all wanna know who Tom Purcell saw in the pink palace, right? So let's get right to it.
We open in yet ANOTHER time period, oh come on, True Detective! We've already got:
- 1980, when children Julie and William Purcell went missing, William later found dead and Julie presumed the same. Detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) was the lead investigator, ably assisted by Detective Roland West (Stephen Dorff).
- 1990, the Purcell case is re-opened due to evidence that Julie is alive and a challenge from the family of the person convicted for her and her brother's murder. Wayne is no longer lead detective and follows Roland
- 2015 with Wayne who is battling dementia while being interviewed for a television program about the case. New evidence is found and disclosed, but at a trickle.
I pretty much differentiate the time slips by Wayne's hair but I don't recognise it when we open with him taking his daughter to college/university. It's got to be some time after 1990 because there is grey in his hair, but not as much as 2015 when he is completely ashy.
THROW ME A SUBTITLE, HBO, THERE'S A GOOD LAD.
Well we didn't stay long anyway, we're back to 1990 with Wayne and Roland finding the body of Tom Purcell (Scoot McNairy) so we're not going to find out what he saw in the pink rooms of the Hoyt mansion.
Quick overview: when Julie was (sorta) found in 1990, she said she was a princess from the pink palace/rooms and had lost a brother. Her uncle Dan O'Brien (Michael Graziadei) gave Tom a name and he ended up at a mansion that I believe belongs to the local Hoyt Foods magnate.
Wayne heads home but doesn't get a chance to tell his wife Amelia (Carmen Ejogo) about Tom because she's been waiting to tell him about the one-eyed black man who crashed her book reading (she's written a book about the case) to shame her for not having a theory of what happened. Back in the day, there was talk of a one-eyed black man associated with the kids. Wayne and Roland investigated one man, but apparently there is more than one one-eyed black man in that small town.
Oh but when Wayne speaks, he tells her that Tom committed suicide. I just don't think that's very likely and neither does 2015 TV producer/director Elisa Montgomery. She had another medical examiner go over the report and find a bruise that is inconsistent with shooting oneself in the head.
She compares the death to the massive shootout that ended the 1980 investigation, because Tom's death brought the 1990 case to a close as well. "A sudden act of violence, a dead man and the case is closed."
Wayne said he hadn't thought of it like that, but then we cut to 1990 where he says that exact same thing.
Roland is struggling with Tom's death, he feels responsible after he and Wayne braced Tom so hard about what Julie said on the radio call-in. She said he wasn't her father and she knew "what he did." Roland takes his frustration out on Wayne, he only brought him back as a detective to help him out, do a favour. He doesn't want to keep looking for an angry one-eyed black man with Wayne, he wants to chill out and feel bad about Tom killing himself, maybe because of what they said to him.
For once, Wayne is the reasonable one focused on the task at hand and Roland is emotional and all over the place.
We zoom back to 1980 with Tom leaving town, Roland was worried he was going to take his life then too.
In 1990 Amelia is working on her second book by interviewing Margaret (Emily Nelson), who was Lucy Purcell's best friend. Lucy was the mom of Julie and William and married to Tom, but died in between 1980 and 1990. Dan O'Brien was her cousin and he believed she was murdered to cover up what happened to Julie.
At any rate, Margaret doesn't remember Lucy being friends with a one-eyed black man who gave Julie a doll at Halloween. Amelia gets thrown out, mostly, but manages to get a picture of the kiddos on Halloween. We find out in 2015 that Amelia never wrote the second book and Elisa suggests there might have been a larger conspiracy at play.
In 1990 the detectives are looking for Dan O'Brien who offered that important name to them for $7,000 but he's cleared out of his hotel room. Or has he? He's probably been murdered.
After Tom's death, Attorney General Kindt (Brett Cullen) overturned the conviction in absentia they had for Brett Woodard (Michael Greyeyes) and have decided to pin it on Tom.
Back in 1980 Amelia and Wayne are navigating the beginning of their relationship, he does dishes and she contemplates writing a book about the case. He encourages her, someone needs to tell the real story and how it was closed only because they wanted it closed.
In 2015 they have uncovered more about the one-eyed black man looking for Julie, now we can call him Watts, yay! Elisa thinks Watts was a procurer and if this turns out like True Detective season one...
Wayne's son Henry (Ray Fisher) has come to see Roland, who is worried about what Wayne's doing late at night in his wife's office. Paranoia has definitely replaced some of Wayne's cognitive functioning.
Oh for the love of
Elisa brings up the pedophile case from True Detective season one.
I promise to only use this power for good!!
The rest of the conversation doesn't go as well as Elisa had expected, she specifically wanted to interview Wayne because rumour was that he didn't agree with the official record of things. He does not buy that there was a pedophile ring, but he doesn't want to scream at the thought of them combining the first and third season as I do.
He walks away, stopping Roland to ask him to remember the name Watts because he probably won't.
As Wayne is leaving the investigation in 1990, an officer comes up with the 1988 phone records he asked for. I think those were Lucy's phone records, but I'm sure we'll find out for sure. Wayne ignores his wife paging him and uses Roland's badge number to ask for private plane passenger manifests.
Amelia had plans but since Wayne's not answering the phone, she has to take the kids with her. To a bar to ask about Lucy? On a school night? I don't know if these are great choices. She does find out that Dan, not Lucy knew someone matching the description of Watts.
1990 Wayne knocks on Roland's door with the information he's uncovered tying former policeman Harris James (Scott Shepherd) to Lucy's death. By the way, we also saw Harris James slip into the room behind a befuddled Tom right before he died. AND there's been a suggestion that Harris James was murdered by our two intrepid detectives. We do know he went missing.
In 2015 elderly detectives Roland and Wayne interview former Hoyt housekeeper about Harris James. They mostly hear about the troubled Hoyt family, apparently there was a one-eyed black man named Mr. June with full run of the house and a Miss Isabel who had a hard life.
In the middle of the interview, Wayne mistakes a young woman for his daughter Becca (Deborah Ayorindae) and then after apologizes to Roland for guilting him into chasing after Harris James lo those many years ago.
Back in 1990, to be exact, where we're watching Wayne and Roland follow Harris James. They're thinking they will take him out to the farm and beat the truth out of him.
*preeeeeety sure that's illegal no matter which side of the blue line you're on
Wayne and Roland pull Harris over on the side of a deserted road, it's surprisingly difficult to get him out of his car. Maybe because he knew what he was in for, an hours-long beating at the farm.
As usual, Wayne does the talking and Roland does the beating, but Harris is in extremely bad shape. Or is he? Nope! He's playing possum, grabbing Wayne's gun so Roland has to shoot him.
So they DID kill Harris James after all. Shame they didn't find something out first.
Roland is furious after, he killed
ROLAND ALMOST CALLED WAYNE AN N-WORD. I was so shocked!! HE SAID UPPITY!! Nobody actually says uppity, not even in 1990!!
And then he didn't say it, but he wanted Wayne to know he was thinking it!
Holy. Okay, Roland was angry that he killed someone AND lost any possible information that was with Harris.
Back in 2015, Wayne talks to Roland about his wife telling him things just the other day, I've assumed pretty much all along that Amelia is dead, so Roland's disbelief doesn't surprise me.
It does surprise me that the car stalking Wayne stays outside long enough for Roland to get a license plate, though.
Suddenly that's gone and Wayne is watching himself burn his clothes in 1990, getting rid of the evidence of murdering Harris James. Amelia comes out to check on him and
Wait: does Wayne kill Amelia??
Nawww, he'd be in jail.
The next day he doesn't want to discuss it with Amelia, but he does acknowledge that their relationship is in danger.
The phone rings; Edward Hoyt (Michael Rooker) is outside and would like to discuss the events of last night with Harris James and right now. Hoyt scares Wayne a little with his talk of going to the authorities and naming his family, so Wayne agrees to go outside for a meeting. Amelia watches from inside, terrified, as Wayne is swallowed up by the limousine of doom. We're out.