True Detective: The Final Country
February 18, 2019 8:03 AM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Following up on new leads, Wayne and Roland track down a man who left the police force in the midst of the Purcell investigation. Meanwhile, Amelia visits Lucy Purcell's best friend in hopes of gaining insights into the whereabouts of the mysterious one-eyed man.

‘True Detective’ Season 3, Episode 7: Missing Pieces (Scott Tobias for New York Times)
The documentary-within-a-show in this season’s “True Detective” has served as half illumination and half meta-commentary, a way to tease new thoughts from Detective Hays’s addled mind while taking shots at the current wave of true-crime docs, which have a tendency to dally around unresolved tragedies.

Its director, Elisa Montgomery, may speak loftily about “the intersectionality of marginalized groups,” but she is passing through Hays’s life like a tourist, gawking at 35 years of dead ends, bad breaks and unfortunate lapses in judgment. And at the end of her stay, all Elisa can do is express disappointment over her visit: She knew he shared her skepticism over how the case was resolved, but he couldn’t provide her with “a missing piece.”

“Young lady,” he replies. “my whole brain’s a bunch of missing pieces.”

That sounds like a typical Nic Pizzolatto line, another salty lament from the bottom of the bottle. It’s a feature of the show that Pizzolatto’s detectives are broken people, because of either defining incidents from their past or their obsessions with the one big case that got away from them.

Yet when Hays describes his brain as “a bunch of missing pieces,” it accounts for the entire design of the third season, which reflects how memory works.
True Detective Season 3 Crosses Over Season 1 with Horrifying Possibilities -- On True Detective Season 3, True Criminal's producer follows a Crooked Spiral from Carcosa to True Detective Season 1 (Tony Sokol for Den of Geek)
posted by filthy light thief (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Two thoughts: first, I disagree with Scott Tobias's statement, or don't share his certainty, that Hays couldn't provide Montgomery with “a missing piece” of the story. Sure, he's not always coherent or clearly in this moment, but the way this episode was edited, plus Wayne's pauses and looks seem to imply that he is either actively recalling details, or is choosing to withold information. It's clear that old man West knows details that would be significant to this new true crime documentary.

That said, I share Scott's hope: "the third season and the first season do exist in the same televisual universe. Let’s hope the Marvel-style crossovers end there." -- Emphasis mine. I hope we don't aged Cohle and/or Hart in the final episode, coming in to share insights into their Carcosa case in the possibility it breaks this one open, too.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:17 PM on February 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Well now we know what he and Roland did together that shattered their partnership.We also know the identity of the ghost in the suit.

I also don't want much of a crossover. But we have one episode left and I'm wondering how in the hell they are going to tie this all up.

I also think Purple knows more than he's saying, and he's withholding that information for a reason.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:02 PM on February 18, 2019

We also know the identity of the ghost in the suit.

The one-eyed man? With Dan O'Brien, scouting kids for Hoyt and co?
posted by filthy light thief at 1:38 PM on February 18, 2019

Eyyyy, pretty close to 100%! Also yes, it's pretty clear that Purple is holding back, possibly because so much of the '90 investigation was related to 'who else is looking for Julie'. There are still things that Hays can't discuss because of his work outside the lines, and also because there are power players who may still be operational who may have an interest in whatever is said/done. Perhaps even going so far as to finance a new private interview/investigation series to see what loose ends might still need tidying? Altho at that point it might just be easier to push a couple of sixty year old dudes down the stairs if they seem a little too invested...
posted by FatherDagon at 1:38 PM on February 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Filthy light thief-I figured the cop they killed was the ghost in the suit. maybe I leapt to the wrong conclusion? But it seems that man's life is one Purple bears the burden of taking.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:22 PM on February 18, 2019

Also FatherDragon, considering how unreliable a narrator Purple is and how long ago all this happened, do they really even need to push them down the stairs? Seems to me like it wouldn't be hard to cover up without even resorting to that.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:35 PM on February 18, 2019

aside: shouldn't the footage on the interviewer's laptop be in the traditional TV aspect ratio? it's all crisp and screen-filling videos! (small tags are not accessible, or I'd use em)
posted by sylvanshine at 3:23 PM on February 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

The edits and cuts between timelines seem to be getting more chaotic, probably also reflecting Hayes' deteriorating mental state. Even though the plot is pretty by-the-numbers (also, I hope that the pedophile cult is a fake-out, especially in light of QAnon becoming a real thing), the visual storytelling is really well done this season.
posted by codacorolla at 8:05 PM on February 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

After seeing this inevitable meeting with Hoyt, I'm calling it that Hayes knows what happened in 1990 but forgot about it.
posted by iamck at 8:47 PM on February 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Here's my guess as to what's coming in the finale. Hoyt tells Hays to back off, but Hays doesn't and Hoyt has Amelia killed, which breaks Hays's mind. I'm guessing the pedophile thing is a red herring, or maybe it was the impetus for the documentary crew to start poking around but it isn't tied into this season's case. It seems pretty clear so far that the Purcell kids were sold my their mother to the bereaved Hoyt daughter, who kept the daughter alive and well in the basement as a sort of surrogate daughter throughout the 80's, with the one-eyed man as caretaker - maybe the son was accidentally killed in the attempt and the daughter placed his hands in the christening position. At some point Joyce Purcell escapes, starting off the 1990 timeline; the caretaker is distraught and wants to find her, so he shows up to Amelia's reading.

That seems like it covers most of the bases, with the exception of what happened to Tom Purcell, the kid's father - I think we can assume he was killed by Harris after breaking into the mansion, but it's odd that nobody from the most recent timeline has mentioned him (unless I've forgotten it). I'm also not sure how the dolls fit into it.
posted by whir at 11:04 PM on February 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seems like that pretty much would round everything up but since this season has become less and less coherent, all of that seems too pat. That threatening phone call Hays got makes me think that this last episode is going to reveal something very dark about Hays. Specifically, he's going to realize or it will somehow come out that he was complicit in the cover up in order to protect his family. Obviously he is still scared of what those dark sedans represent.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:16 AM on February 19, 2019

Hoyt has Amelia killed

I got the impression Amelia died from cancer ?
posted by Pendragon at 3:34 AM on February 19, 2019

Yeah, after that phone call my current nutty theory for the final episode is that Hays meets with Hoyt and is given an ultimatum - become my new head of security, or your family gets it. It's the old keep your enemies closer play - Hoyt must already know that Hays has never bought the official party line of the investigation over all these years, and after the incident with James, Hoyt must also know that Roland and Purple have tied Hoyt somehow to the disappearance of Julie, even if they don't have the whole story. So Hoyt blackmails Hays to buy his silence, and eventually dementia does the rest of the work of destroying most of what Hays knew. Support for this: as far as I can remember, we have not yet been told what Hays does with himself after 1990 (when we are told he leaves the force). It explains why Amelia drops the follow-up book, even though her investigation is clearly still turning up new leads in 1990. Also it explains why Hays survives to 2015, while so many others associated with this investigation (and who knew the truth/suspected a cover-up) all ended up dead.
posted by aiglet at 10:39 AM on February 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

It seems like Hoyt might have done something to Hayes' daughter, rather than Amelia. The show (in the current timeline) is making them seem estranged, but that might be Hayes' faltering memory papering over the fact that she's dead or disappeared.

I also agree with others that Hayes might have already solved the crime, or is perhaps somehow compromised by the Hoyts, and can't remember it. Although you would think that the housekeeper the pair spoke with in 2015 would remember him if he was employed in some way.

In terms of Tom Purcell, I'm thinking that another fake-out might be that he actually did commit suicide, and that the final shot of the previous episode was misleading. Purcell wasn't killed by the Hoyts, but instead they revealed that Julie wasn't actually his daughter, and maybe some other distressing bits. This episode showed that he was indeed suicidal. It would be a little twist of the knife that the death of the security guy was all the more fruitless.

As always with Pizzolatto it's kind of hard to tell how critical he is of grunting machismo, and how much he's relishing it. If the disgusting police brutality that Hays and West have used this season is actually critiqued, instead of being seen as necessary to bring down a criminal sex conspiracy, then I think I'd feel more willing to watch a hypothetical fourth season.
posted by codacorolla at 1:01 PM on February 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

The housekeeper told them she left after the events of 1980, when she said that the staff's movements around the house were severely restricted, ostensibly because of Miss Isabel's increasingly delicate mental state (but I guess we are supposed to infer, because that's when the Hoyts started hiding Julie Purcell in the basement Pink Room). But yeah, Purple starting work for the Hoyts is pretty far-fetched. One does wonder though, if the Hoyts/James were so meticulous about getting rid of other troublemakers associated with the case, why the Hayes family (both Amelia and Purple, with their digging around) was left unscathed. We just saw Becca getting dropped off at college in the last episode, and it seems unlikely to me that some retaliatory action would take place after that, so many years after the case had been closed for the second time.
posted by aiglet at 1:15 PM on February 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

As always with Pizzolatto it's kind of hard to tell how critical he is of grunting machismo, and how much he's relishing it.

I really think he relishes it, and the power of the first season came from Cary Fukunaga's direction totally cutting against that toxic masculinity.

Watching the "inside the episode" featurettes early this season convinced me Pizzolatto is not terribly bright.
posted by rocketman at 1:21 PM on February 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

What if Hoyt poisoned Hayes' with something that gave him dementia or memory loss?
posted by lalochezia at 11:16 AM on February 20, 2019

Oh yeah I loved this tweet, to be read aloud in your gravelliest voices:
[old true detective guys on the porch]

ahh you know me. i’m just some old piece of shit

man. i ain’t never picked up a dime didn’t turn into a turd

true. an here i’m a old snake, chasin a ghosts fart

you got some nerve diggin me outta my grave

yeah i’m a rattly old bugs ass
posted by fleacircus at 5:20 PM on February 20, 2019 [7 favorites]

aahhhh that's perfect. You have to do the first line in Wayne's voice, the second in Roland's and alternate.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:10 AM on February 21, 2019

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