Watching season three of True Detective is a lot like listening to a 6lack album. Aesthetically speaking, it’s dark, uneasy and engaging. It’s the type of thing that keeps you going and from time to time, there’s a splash of a love story. Above all else, it’s a showcase of skill in making you feel like you can relate to something that’s all to separate from your everyday life. Whether you’re the school teacher, the detective, the high school outcast or the detective’s son, True Detective‘s third season returns to the roots of his first season by making you relate to the characters in an uncanny way.
The first episode of the season opens up in a very familiar way by time travelling from decade to decade with a particular detective. This season, we’re side by side with Detective Wayne Hays played by Mahershala Ali Ali as he follows the case of two missing children, Julie and Will Purcell. We find him going from the year 1980 to 1990 and then, 2015, pursuing the Purcell case.
Unlike most mysteries, there’s little time wasted finding out what happened. Within the first five minutes, the Purcell kids leave their home for the park and never return home. By the end of the first episode, we find the body of Will Purcell in the woods surrounded by trail of pagan like figures. While this is the biggest break we find in the case of the initial missing children, we soon find that the aspect of the third season that’s most intriguing is that some of the biggest questions have little to do with the initial case.
Throughout the episode, we see that Hays has a partner that we don’t see in the future depositions that Hays undergoes. What is he doing now? Hays also has a daughter that he hasn’t spoken to in a while. Why? Detective Hays also suffers from memory loss. Is he even a trustworthy narrator? More importantly, there’s a question of whether or not one of the children is still alive. Not to mention, there’s a ton of allusion to satanic culture that police believed to be rampant in the 1980’s when Will and Julie Purcell go missing.
Season three appears to be setting up for a third season that has a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time. The season will be less about the case itself and more about how we got to this point. Well, that’s if Detective Hays’ memory is accurate enough to get us there.