So far True Detective season 3 has been considered a solid bounce back from the poorly-received season 2, but the latest episode has to go down as a disappointment. Creator Nic Pizzolatto wrote “The Hour and the Day” with Deadwood mastermind David Milch, probably the second best addition to the show behind Mahershala Ali. But the episode doesn’t live up to the expectations and instead spins its wheels until an explosive ending.
Last week concluded with Wayne and Roland reuniting in 1990, but we start here with them in 1980. The photo of Will’s first communion has brought the detectives to the local church, where the priest tells them that Julie was excited about seeing an aunt, which is suspicious since she doesn’t have an aunt. Roland is suspicious of the priest, questioning any man who is celibate. “Everybody’s f—ing something,” he declares. The priest also directs them towards Patty, an older lady who made those dolls for the church fair. She reveals that a black man with a dead-eye bought 10 for his nieces and nephews. She assumes that he lives over the tracks “with the rest of them.” Will and Roland agree that this was all about Julie and that Will was protecting his sister.
The duo head over to Davis Junction and, eventually, to the home of Sam Whitehead, a black man with a dead eye. He immediately gets defensive and causes a scene on his lawn, leading his fellow trailer park residents to gather around. As they all get riled up, Roland is hit with dirt and pulls his gun. They make it out, but not before Roland’s car window is smashed. They soon return to the church to look out for the dead-eyed man, but instead, Roland finds some “serious ass,” including Lori, who he takes a liking to. The love continues later when Wayne and Amelia go out to dinner, which includes probably more murder talk than is ideal on a first date. But it must be going pretty well since they end up getting married and all.
Speaking of, in 1990, Wayne returns home excited about his new gig and the reopening of the Purcell case, but Amelia is still pissed about his recent treatment of her. Their argument moves upstairs, prompting Wayne to turn up the volume on the TV so that the kids won’t hear them. That ends up being a smart idea considering where the argument leads. After Wayne demands that she stop “talking s—” about him or he will start crying, she wants to finish this by having sex, which they do.
With that settled, it’s officially time for 1990 Wayne to get back to work. He meets with Roland and the higher-ups to learn the expectations for him and the task force. Kent, who is now the Arkansas AG, is very salty towards Wayne. “We’re not going to do any of that s— they just said, right?” Wayne asks once they leave the room, to which Roland responds, “Wasn’t planning on it.” The bad boys are back at it! We knew that Julie and Will’s mom Lucy died, but now it’s revealed that her cousin Dan, the maybe peeping Tom, has been MIA. And Wayne finally gets his hands on the Walgreens tape and is shocked to see a girl who he’s sure is Julie.
Fast forward to 2015 and Wayne is back pursuing the case. He stops by Henry’s precinct to ask for his help with a few details and finding Roland, insisting that this has been good for his memory. “This right now is my way of staying alive,” he admits. Wayne then asks Henry about the documentary director Eliza, which seems weird, but when Wayne visits Eliza’s hotel room and spots two wine glasses, it sure seems like he believes his son is sleeping with her. Wayne wants to know what she knows about the case and why she is doing this now. She can’t show all her cards yet, but reveals the remains of cousin Dan, who apparently did end up resurfacing in 1990. Later, Wayne is recording himself and saying he needs to tell Roland about this latest intel, but he’s more worried about the Vietcong that he’s seeing surrounding him and the sedan that he spots outside. He definitely does need Roland’s memory.
Back in 1980, we get a little bit of the back story to Tom and Roland’s 1990 friendship. Roland gets a call to pick up a drunk and beaten Tom at a bar, which is run by a guy who was sleeping with Lucy. Venting in the car, Tom says the n-word in reference to Wayne and quickly apologizes. “You’ve gotten your ass kicked enough for now,” responds Roland, who didn’t appreciate the comment. With Tom saying his house reminds him too much of his kids and that he wants to die, Roland lets him sleep on his couch. Meanwhile, Amelia does make a stop at the Purcell house, where Lucy opens up to her. The kids’ mom is taking the blame for what happened, admitting that this wasn’t a happy home. She even quotes the note that was sent: “Children should laugh, right?” The interactions flip, though, when Amelia suggests talking to Wayne.
Wayne is off in his own feisty conversation with young Freddie, who has just turned 18. The cops joke that they chipped in and got him life in prison for his bday. He admits to taking Will’s bike and seeing the boy come around looking for his sister. Will would then go into the woods and Freddie chased after him, but allegedly was too drunk and got lost. The thought of jail sends him into uncontrollable sobbing, especially when Wayne tells him what will happen to him in there. “That prison rape is a real go-to for you lately, huh?” cracks Roland when they step outside. “Something you want to tell me?”
The interrogation becomes the least of their worries after they get word of what’s going on at Woodard’s. Men again came for the trash man, who sprinted home to grab his bag full of guns, which will go nicely with the explosives he has set up. Wayne and Roland pull up just as a man kicks down Woodard’s door and the screen cuts to black as we hear an explosion.
This week’s Truest Detective: 1990 Wayne is back and already making progress.
What did you think? Am I too down on this episode? Any guesses on the case?