True Detective: The Hour and the Day
January 27, 2019 11:38 PM - Season 3, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Hays and West see a possible connection between the local church and the Purcell crimes. As the detectives search for one suspect and round up another for interrogation, Woodard is targeted by a vigilante group.
posted by fleacircus (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'm still waiting for the clue to drop on why the kids were trying to play AD&D with a backgammon die.
posted by FatherDagon at 5:34 AM on January 28


I was really happy that Wayne and Amelia's arguing did not include hitting.
posted by asperity at 9:30 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I guffawed OUT LOUD at the badass sprezzatura of "How you gonna wear that badge?" "It's got a little clip on it."

Absolutely the equal of any Dirty Harry one-liner.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:35 AM on January 28 [18 favorites]


I'm still waiting for the clue to drop on why the kids were trying to play AD&D with a backgammon die.

Clearly I've never played backgammon, because the doubling cube is new to me. My first thought: kids are dumb and make up their own rules ;) ... less snarky, maybe they're actually resourceful, and in an area that doesn't seem to be home to many gaming shops in 1980, they improvised, perhaps when they lost a die or needed one more?


I was really happy that Wayne and Amelia's arguing did not include hitting.

Their relationship, and particularly Amelia, feels like she was written by a man who is trying to both be more sensitive to women, while also make her attractive to men. And lo, this episode was written by two men, David Milch and Nic Pizzolatto. I hope there were women involved in writing this story, but it feels like their voices weren't heard well. "See, Wayne is a troubled man, so troubled that he sometimes has hard time realizing he has a hottie whose DTF, until she comes out and says it." -_- But i think they're doing better than last season, with the really intense lady cop, because that was ... not great.

This season is also decently diverse, though some of the racial tension feels like a modern version of the 1980s in the south, in that they're being much more sensitive than might have been expected? Or maybe that's my bias showing, finding Tom Purcell's saying he was sorry for saying the n-word, and sorry that Hays had heard worse, too polite. On the flip side, there's the redneck militia, who are ready to fuck up the native man with some serious PTSD. (And now we know why he was carrying that bag so gently, as I asked in the prior FanFare discussion -- it was loaded with sensitive explosives.)

Halfway through this season, I'm not sure what this episode cleared up. Brett Woodard is set up to take the fall, given his pretty aggressive form of (pre-planned) self-defense, which will appease the white folks in the area. Kid Black Sabbath is off the hook, after clarifying that 1) he only messed with Will and took his bike, and 2) Julie was separated from Will at some point, to the point that Will was worried and not sure where she was.

And if that video footage was of an older Julie, she was still running from someone. I'm still betting on my guess from the last episode, that Mr. Hoyt or some other Hoyt is involved, with the upscale brown car cruising through the poor neighborhoods, and the Hoyts' Ozark Children's Outreach, which usually helps families with children that needed medical treatment. The church angle seems like a false lead, unless some parishioner is better off than the rest of the flock.

I don't agree with this theory (TV Guide, spoilers), because the clues don't seem strong enough to me. But we'll see in a few weeks.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:06 AM on January 28 [3 favorites]


This season feels more like a noir than even Season 1, especially in terms of dead ends that reveal other crimes and social ills that contribute to, but are distinct from the crime that the detectives are investigating. Season 1 still had pretty competent detectives who were mostly right about the crime itself (even if they were shut down by the powers that be), whereas this one feels like Hays and West are kind of at sea.
posted by codacorolla at 11:34 AM on January 28


This is still better than season 2 though. (not a high bar, I know)
posted by Pendragon at 1:56 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Or maybe that's my bias showing, finding Tom Purcell's saying he was sorry for saying the n-word, and sorry that Hays had heard worse, too polite.

I'm trying to avoid settling into a strong opinion on this scene for the moment, but I'm leaning towards finding it a little cheap. The white people involved in this whole scenario are broken down into two camps, the ones with mostly laudable intentions as far as solving the Purcell case goes, like West and Purcell, and the ones with maybe nefariously self-serving intentions, like the future AG. And in this scene, we get told that the ones with good intentions re the Purcell kids are also open to questioning the racism around them! They're all comparatively decent folks, really, and there are no major complications that make them sympathetic along one axis and reprehensible along another. It feels...too easy.

I liked this episode overall, though, although I agree with filthy light thief about how Amelia was written here. I thought the "or what" moment in their fight was well done, though. Wayne grabs Amelia and we fear that he's going to hit her soon, and then he steps back from that with his body language, but he's embarrassed to admit that he'll cry even though the implicit alternative is physical violence against Amelia. One thing I think this season is doing better than any of the previous is really digging into how little these men are able to access their emotions, and how much that damages their relationships. There was some of that in the previous seasons, but in a lot of those cases the tone still made it seem like they were Cool, Stoic Badasses doing the Necessary Brutal Thing to Protect Their Charges even if it earned them the resentment of the people they loved. Here, we see a lot of awkward instances where a character experiences some hurt and swallows the impulse to talk about it because of fear of being vulnerable, ever, and it's much harder to interpret as the show endorsing Guys Being Dudes.
posted by invitapriore at 5:14 PM on January 28 [9 favorites]


Also, I liked the scene where Hays and West go into the church during service. I kind of jokingly asked my partner whether she thought they choreograph their dramatic entrances beforehand, and her response was pretty flatly of course, it's an intimidation tactic, and of course that's right. The cinematography plays that choreography up, and so what we end up seeing is a drama depicting some dramatists in their work. One might be tempted to see that as silly if it weren't so purposefully ominous. I feel like there are plenty of cases of that in noir, but the show does a good job of making it physical here.

I'm also still trying to decide if the depiction of Hays' Vietnamese ghosts is too on-the-nose, and what's keeping me from that conclusion is how visceral that scene is. Even if it's a well-worn tactic to depict being morally haunted, it's remarkably harrowing in its execution in this episode.
posted by invitapriore at 5:51 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


In that crowd of Vietnamese ghosts there was one white guy in a suit. So who is that going to be? At first I thought it was Roland, but Hays seems to think he may still be alive in 2015.
posted by arha at 11:54 PM on January 28 [6 favorites]


Who knows maybe Nyarlathotep does 2^(1d6) sanity damage. I think if you went around 1980 sampling what D&D kids had in their dice bags you'd find lots of non-regulation doodads. In a way it was the most believable thing.

"See, Wayne is a troubled man, so troubled that he sometimes has hard time realizing he has a hottie whose DTF, until she comes out and says it." -_-

I thought the date conversation was all right. Hays just seems old-fashioned, sending back volleys with extremely romantic spin while being coy about sex. Amelia calls him on it and he explains that sex doesn't work for him without romance. (Though he seems to be different by the time of their fight in the nineties.) Hays is aware of his limitations and trying to work around them, and he's open about it.

The fan theory from the previous thread included a bit about Amelia being something of a sociopath, and it seemed a bit true... When Lucy was having a breakdown Amelia didn't appear to have anything like a sympathetic reaction, and who else would be interested in an emotionally unavailable dude. Of course, it could just be BaD wRiTinG.
posted by fleacircus at 12:56 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


In that crowd of Vietnamese ghosts there was one white guy in a suit.

I noticed that, too. He appeared to be a fairly slight person, with dark hair. The suit seemed loose and not well-fitted to the figure. My guess would be either the skinny FBI guy or one of the dirtbag teens dressed up for church/court. I don't think it's the cousin because the body wasn't wide enough, and the jaw shape and hair didn't seem to match. Other comments I've seen about the episode are split over whether one of the ghosts was a dark-haired Asian woman, or a white or Native American man with long hair and a bullet hole in his/her face.

Damn, that scene with all the ghosts crowding around Hays was really well done. They way they shot the ghosts just silently stepping out of the darkness was so creepy. And then when he asked them if they still make Mercuries, it could have broken the eeriness of the scene, but somehow it didn't.

The fan theory from the previous thread included a bit about Amelia being something of a sociopath, and it seemed a bit true... When Lucy was having a breakdown Amelia didn't appear to have anything like a sympathetic reaction, and who else would be interested in an emotionally unavailable dude. Of course, it could just be BaD wRiTinG.

There is definitely something off in how her character is written. The fight was a totally believable marital fight, and a pretty accurate observation on Amelia's part that Hays is taking out his emotional flux on her instead of understanding his agency. She's justified to be upset by his obliviousness. Even the escalation of the "stop talking shit about me" exchange seems realistic. Hays responding with "I'm gonna cry" was a good twist, and did seem quite honest for him, if somewhat unusual considering he is so emotionally unaware at other times.

But then she just shifts into "let's do it" in a very mechanical way that didn't quite ring true. Yes, we've seen her "use" her sexuality in this way before, and perhaps the kids' smirks are meant to indicate that this pattern of yelling followed by crashing-about is a fairly regular thing in their household, but after making sincere critiques of Hays' position in their relationship, her turn to seduction feels forced. It would be one thing if the "I'm gonna cry" line made a visible change in her demeanor, or even if we saw a hint that she might have other motives for suggesting sex right then, but as it is, it was totally opaque why. It did seem odd from a storytelling perspective that instead of Hays having to deal with his wife's demands that he take more responsibility, he just gets to bone down. It was as if the narrative wanted to let us know that even though Amelia says she wants him to be responsible for his feelings, all she really wanted was a half-dressed quickie.

The scene at the Purcell's was also strange. Amelia suggested the mother talk to Hays in a rather clumsy and obvious way. Are we meant to think she really can't read others, or is she just single-minded in pursuit of whatever unrevealed goals she may have?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:32 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


It's probably sufficient that she's caught up with Hays and feels like she is part of the investigation, then oversteps and gets burned. I don't even think it has to be a conscious manipulation on her part -- she just honestly thinks that helping Hays out would be the most productive thing Lucy could do. People IRL are that callous all the time. However we know already it doesn't deter her from getting even more involved in the investigation.

(The moment of Amelia realizing there was nothing to do but turn and hurry away stuck in my mind a bit. I'm not sure why, I feel like I don't usually see that kind of social retreat depicted, where a main character turns tail like that.)
posted by fleacircus at 1:13 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


My read on that moment with Amelia is she says something you're supposed to say (If you need to talk, you can talk to me) without genuine expectation of a response and suddenly this woman who she, admittedly, barely knows is confessing this deep guilt to her. And so she says something awkward and insensitive because she had no idea what to do and she wasn't expecting to be that position.

My big fear is that the interviewer is going to end up being Julie whose trying to investigate, essentially, her own disappearance in order to finally solve her brother's murder. If that's the case, I'm gonna be really upset.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:44 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


My big fear is that the interviewer is going to end up being Julie whose trying to investigate, essentially, her own disappearance in order to finally solve her brother's murder. If that's the case, I'm gonna be really upset.

I had that thought, too, but wouldn't Julie be older than Elisa appears to be?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:30 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


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