True Detective: Now Am Found
February 25, 2019 10:58 AM - Season 3, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Wayne struggles to hold on to his memories, and his grip on reality, as the truth behind the Purcell case is finally revealed. [Season finale]

‘True Detective’ Season 3 Finale: The Fictions We Tell
Mahershala Ali in the Season 3 finale of “True Detective.”
(Scott Tobias for the New York Times)
Whenever a film or television show drops into an English class, it is often to offer some literary insight into how it would like to be interpreted. This happened once before in this season of “True Detective,” when Amelia Reardon read passages from two Robert Penn Warren poems, and later when she referenced Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” as a model for how she would approach the Purcell case as an author. Tonight’s superb season finale, “Now Am Found,” opens with some choice quotes from Delmore Schwartz’s “Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day,” a poem that ends with the line, “Time is the fire in which we burn.”
True Detective season 3 episode 8 review: Now Am Found (Tony Sokol for Den of Geek)
Now Am Found closes out True Detective season three with the most insidious twist a series as dark as this can present - a happy ending. More than just happy, it is positively uplifting. And the thing that keeps it afloat is the lies it took to get it to rise. True Detective is about deception.
Tracklist from tunefind.
posted by filthy light thief (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
didn't know True Detective got picked up by The Hallmark Channel

seriously, I still don't know how I feel about this ending. it wasn't entirely unsatisfying, but it felt very written.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:18 AM on February 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

ending of story regardless, this episode was incredible. it was utterly engrossing from the first frame. incredible and definitely a mind fuck.
posted by supermedusa at 12:35 PM on February 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

TD Season 1: mysterious, dark, old southern cult is behind it all

TD Season 2: mysterious, dark, cult-like entanglement of well-connected politicians and business interests are behind it all

TD Season 3: a depressed mother wanted to replace her daughter, and one death was an accident. And even though people were killed to cover up the kidnapping (and subsequent drugging) of a little girl, it all ends pretty happily.

And doggos are the best.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:59 PM on February 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Perhaps instead of setting up a foundation or whatever for kids, the Hoyt family should have supported mental health and grief councilling in their community. Because those were the true villains in this season.

Well, besides the family who decided to protect their distraught daughter from public scrutiny by killing anyone who came too close to their secret or threatened to expose their only mildly sordid lies, and hired a head of security who was dedicated to the point that he'd rather die than give up his employer.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:08 PM on February 25, 2019

Well, in this day and age I think we could all use a happy ending.

And I agree, doggos ARE the best!
posted by Pendragon at 2:04 PM on February 25, 2019

I loved it! My favourite moment in the episode, possibly in the series: Roland showing up with his tiny dog.

The mystery was basically solved for the audience when Tom found the pink room--this episode was more about resolving the drama part of the detective drama. Does Hays remember his purpose while he's drinking the glass of water and choose to let things lie. It's possible.

I choose to believe that was an unambiguous happy ending, with sunshine and sweet tea forever, but the last shot undermined that, at least for me. I had a relative with dementia and he spent the last six months of his life fighting the Vietnam War every time the sun went down and it was very difficult for him and his caregivers.

Additionally, I would love to know what else was on Amelia's syllabus. Dramatic readings of "Hazy Shade of Winter"? Quotes from Eliot about time present and time past?
posted by betweenthebars at 2:51 PM on February 25, 2019 [9 favorites]

I had the same thought around the time he drank the water, too. It occurs to me that his dialogue and reaction, on meeting her, probably would have been largely similar whether he could remember what he was doing there or not.

Still. It was all so pat with the nuns removing the distributor cap faking her death, the classmate who loved her all those years somehow finding her, etc, that up until he got to her house I was half sure he was making connections that weren't really there, trying to assemble a happy ending out of the loose ends of a sad, confusing, frustrating mess.

That last shot, though. Haunting as hell.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:17 PM on February 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was very happy that the alleged tie-in to season 1 was a red herring. Also that Hays' daughter was fine and in no way estranged, although that really underscores the heartbreak of his condition. He is stuck between reliving the day he loses her however briefly at the store and his inability to find the Purcell daughter so that he has a constant lingering sense that he has lost his own daughter for good.

I'm also glad that they dealt with the ramifications of their violence the way they did. If they hadn't roughed up (and subsequently killed) their suspect in an attempt to coerce a confession, they might have solved the case 20 years sooner and avoided derailing their friendship, their careers, and almost Hays' marriage.

I think I would have disliked the pseudo-happy ending if not for the actual ending, which was a dark, dark, dark reminder of the very real Hell Hays has waiting for him, a seemingly endless descent into the madness of a life steeped in violence and recrimination. What a gut shot, and what bravura acting.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:58 PM on February 25, 2019 [10 favorites]

This went on way too fucking long. Flashback after flashback after flashback. The episode needed to be shorter and tauter. There was no tension. Everybody kept talking and it never ended. Sure, I could watch Ali all day long, but the storytelling felt fragmented and inconsequential. Watching West get into a stupid bar fight just so we understood how he ended up with all those dogs also was a big waste of time.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:21 PM on February 25, 2019 [6 favorites]

Yeah I didn’t read it as happy. That last shot recalled and reinforced those moments when Hays is lost in the dark yelling at memories. That’s what he and his family face. Dementia is the villain here.

I don’t think he consciously remembered Julie; maybe a flash of subconscious recognition. (And I was trying to remember: could she have she seen Hays in the televised press conference? If there was any conscious recognition there I thought it went in that direction.)

The landscaper showed up several episodes ago. Somehow that got lodged in my mind, recalling it each episode, so as soon as they found out Julie was “dead”, I immediately jumped at having run off with the landscaper, either willingly or unwillingly. (Those damn landscapers.)
posted by supercres at 7:22 PM on February 25, 2019

The shot of the two kids biking around the neighborhood just like the Purcell kids did definitely mixed a little extra darkness into the ending for me.

I thought the audio cues in the soundtrack when Hays is drinking that glass of water were meant to strongly suggest that he did recall why he came out to the house, if only for a moment or two.
posted by whir at 9:57 PM on February 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

I was very happy that the alleged tie-in to season 1 was a red herring.

I was very happy about that--tbh, I didn't even want the stories existing in the same universe.

A Country for Old Men: A True Detective Crossover Fanfic

Rust Cohle lights a cigarette. Wayne "Purple" Hays sips his tea. A dog barks.

Marty: What's that?

Roland: It's a dog.

Marty: What kind of dog?

Roland: It's a fucking dog. Look, man, why are you even here?

Rust lights another cigarette. The true detectives sit in silence.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:04 AM on February 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

They're lucky the acting was so good this season, because I think the rest of it was a bit weak. The interview with the one-eyed man felt very much like an information dump they couldn't figure out how to communicate otherwise.
posted by something something at 8:14 AM on February 26, 2019 [17 favorites]

Hah, yeah - I imagine this scene in the writer's room:
"oh crap, we plotted out nine episodes, but we only have eight, and we've already shot six. How do we wrap this all up now?"
"Uh, have the one-eyed man describe it all in the 8th episode! We haven't shot that yet!"
"Fuck yeah, and now we're back on track."

whir: The shot of the two kids biking around the neighborhood just like the Purcell kids did definitely mixed a little extra darkness into the ending for me.

Having two young boys, I really felt the strain of many scenes in this - you want your kids to be able to ride around their neighborhood without a care, without having to have an adult watching them at all times. My father-in-law said that, as a kid in kindergarten (5 or 6 years old), he'd leave school in the afternoon, and then just wander around, getting home before dinner. That sounds FANTASTIC! Except I would never let my kids do that now. I totally get Hays freaking out when his daughter is "lost" in the grocery store, even without the specter of a kidnapper in the neighborhood.

It's Raining Florence Henderson: Also that Hays' daughter was fine and in no way estranged, although that really underscores the heartbreak of his condition.

In the second episode, we hear that Rebecca, Wayne's daughter lives in L.A. and plays music. When he asks "Think she'd come back home for a visit?", his son replies "She don't like it here, Dad. [...] I just don't think it suits her. She never liked it." (rough transcript) Now we see that part of what she didn't like might be the fact that her father is losing what made him her father. People deal with family members getting dementia differently. "I miss you, too, Dad. I miss you right now." is a pretty potent line.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:43 AM on February 26, 2019 [7 favorites]

Yep, the exposition dump felt a lot like an episode of Elementary, where someone will just explain literally everything for zero reason with no lawyer present and incriminate themselves in not only the current crime but three others.

I did enjoy his screaming for someone to punish him, though. That's super relatable. He just has to linger in limbo now, when he thought he'd at least get some release from finally telling the truth. Worse than death -- and sometimes Hays is in that limbo too, stuck suffering (like the final scene).
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:21 AM on February 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

When Hays' son finds the scrap of paper with the address, there was a darkness and a tension there that made me feel a turn, and I'm a bit confused by that.

The other thing that felt a bit strained was the sudden buddy-buddy nature of Hays and West. It seemed like such a forced happy ending that I felt like Hays' cognition was about to shift and we were going to find out that everything was actually something else.

But, i enjoyed it all.
posted by entropone at 5:20 PM on February 26, 2019

Interesting thought. I didn't interpret it so much that he figured out who lived there as that he understood that it involved the case and had to decide whether there was still any point to following up a possible lead now that the case had finally been "solved." He knows that his dad could easily have been continuing to follow leads having forgotten that they solved the case. So his son has to decide whether to follow up, and risk the possibility of any revelation making it harder for his dad to move on. But he's too good of a cop to destroy possible evidence.
Hopefully he does follow up, since that's probably the only chance that Roland has of ever learning the truth.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:31 PM on February 26, 2019

Amelia and Daughter update
posted by lalochezia at 8:04 PM on February 26, 2019 [10 favorites]

lalochezia, thanks for that Tweet! Although TBH there are other things I would have cut to keep that in. I still don't understand why we had a few scenes from ~2000 with the daughter going off to college and then Amelia teaching and Wayne peeking in.
posted by radioamy at 9:27 PM on March 8, 2019

The shot of the two kids biking around the neighborhood just like the Purcell kids did definitely mixed a little extra darkness into the ending for me.


The sense I got from the scene was that his son was steeped in the Purcell case just by virtue of growing up around his parents, and without even really trying to piece it together he knew who lived there and now had the burden of the case/story to carry.

I binge watched the whole thing today and yesterday. I have not been following the fanfare threads on it so no idea if any of this has been touched on, but...

I'm a huge fan of David Milch, the creator of Deadwood and a few other shows. I even own and one day plan to put together an archive of Milch stuff. When it was rumored he was working with Nic P on this show, I sighed heavy -- my favorite creator teaming up with probably my least favorite.

So I waited and then watched this reluctantly. Milch runs through the whole damn thing and his stuff was the only thing I liked about it even though I think Nic P and his directors handled it wrong.

The two things I quoted above are related. One of Milch's overriding themes in his belief system is that all things are connected, repeating, and "the same". The shot of the kids at the end is not so much "oh my god, this is just LIKE the beginning" as "this IS the beginning". These events are the same, not similar.

The same goes for his son with the address at the end. Not that this is another link in the chain, but that this is where the last link in the chain joins the first, completing the circle and making each link the same and indistinguishable from all the others.

There are many, many instances of this throughout the show. In fact, one of the worst parts of the season was how heavy handed it was, shown quite obviously through the constant fades of older/younger selves dissolving into one another. Everything happens simultaneously, but time makes us think they're not, would be a hard paraphrase of Milch's thinking.

My whole post may be a derail, and I have neurological problems of my own and can't really think "straight", but in case others are interested, here are some other Milch things I can remember:

1. The first poem that the wife/teacher character is reading to her students is by Robert Penn Warren, who was Milch's teacher at Yale. I can't recall the title of the poem but I believe it begins:

"No. Not that door.

The protagonist of the poem is remembering a past Christmas where presents remain unwrapped and they are afraid of what's happening around them. Dust covered corpses or skeletons of parents are present as are unopened Christmas gifts and a tree, I believe, and within the poem is this wonderful line:

"This is the process, by which the pain of the past, in its pastness, is converted to the future tense of joy."

(I believe that's it but may be paraphrasing again.) Milch has described this line as the way people create art. How one's past, in its pastness (in its seemingly irretrievability), is accessed to heal oneself and create things to heal their fellow men/women. But it is also how people live -- unreleated to art -- in that our pasts determine our present and therefore our future. (What's the Faulkner line: "The past is never dead. It's not even past."?)

2. The last poem that she reads from is Delmore Schwartz and, like the Warren, which contains the line, "the name of the story is Time, but you should never speak its name", has sections on time:

"What am I now that I was then? ...
May memory restore again and again"
(once more bringing up the idea of repetition and reality)


"What will become of you and me ...
Besides the photo and the memory?...
What is the self amid this blaze?
What am I now that I was then
Which I shall suffer and act again"

which also contains these themes of what is real and what is repeated. (In case it wasn't clear, above, the "real vs reality" is obviously the dementia aspect of the show.)

Anyway... just some random thoughts. I'm losing the thread, mentally, so can't really continue, but if I get a chance later, maybe I'll read the other FF threads and see if anything reminds me of anything else.
posted by dobbs at 2:20 PM on March 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

One thing that bothered me throughout pretty much the entire thing and which someone here can maybe answer in case I missed it: they find the girl's fingerprints in a drugstore... but how do they know they're her prints? She's, what, 11 when she disappears? Her fingerprints would not be on file.
posted by dobbs at 2:25 PM on March 13, 2019

I just reread my first post and see that I left out that theme of the show is also the theme of the Warren poem: one's reluctance to face the past and its consequences.
posted by dobbs at 3:16 PM on March 13, 2019

They made a pretty big deal about how they had prints on the toys that they couldn't identify. So they would have had to use process of elimination to be sure they didn't match anyone in the family. Even though the house wasn't really a crime scene, I'd guess they probably dusted the house for matching prints, or at the very least they would have taken prints from the family, and used some of the daughter's possessions to grab her prints. A hairbrush, for example. Pretty much anything in her room, really.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:26 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I like the Eternal Return take on the address, but I have to say my thought was "he didn't check his pockets when he got lost!"
posted by rhizome at 1:14 AM on April 2, 2019

I enjoyed it, but did not find it creepy enough. It did feel like they tried to cram too much at the end. I wish they had focused less on the Wayne/Amelia relationship drama, and more on creepy stuff, possibly:

  • The Hoyt daughter's obsession with Julie. Her descent into madness. Did she take advantage of Junius' half-blindness to escalate her nefarious behavior, and how? Shots of her stalking Julie in the dark, following her home, etc.
  • The decay of smalltown America. The scene where Wayne was exploring the abandoned house was scary. More shots exploring abandoned homes, factories, barns, etc. would've been great.
  • Harris James' loyalty/obsession with the Hoyt family. What was behind this?

    I still hope that they renew it for another season.

  • posted by invisible ink at 12:05 AM on April 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

    I very much enjoyed this season, I feel like it's a response to the first. The real enemy is the pathologies of violence unleashed by the war, and those of smalltown america, so the cops themselves are their own worst enemy.

    Let's say the first season explored this question of 'is it better not to know?" by implying that, yes, because dark forces were all around, and it is better not to True Detect because you will suffer from those dark forces--the people administering the chemical plants poisoning the land, crippling the LSU baseball star, are the same ones exploiting children.

    The chemical plants are literally in front of everyone, in the intro and the landscape scenes, yet never noticed enough to be investigated, although that is changing, in the real world. The Powerful Rich are rich because they literally make poison, and so they are malignant.

    This season explored the question of 'is it better not to know?" by looking at the police itself, as a force for ignorance and violence in 1970's smalltown america, the war come home. the Rich people are still creating big problems, but not the huge 'pizzagate' style evil they were in the first season. It was important that the causes were more disaggregated.

    I enjoyed the dive into the fact that the act of investigating, writing the novel, making the tv show, really can be a menace. The constant reveals of little pieces of incomplete information really do continually make things worse. And it's a powerful demonstration of how hard it is to remember to forget something.

    In a sense, the enemy, besides the powerful rich and dumb politicking, was the paranoid suspicion of everyone and everything that drives the characters, but particularly the police. Rich people are making food, not poison, so they are not malignant per se. The police are the main problem. It reminded me of that one episode of "Problem Areas", about the police trainings that train police to act as if they are at war. (It's not on youtube, but here's a New Yorker piece featuring one of these 'Warrior' instructors).
    posted by eustatic at 8:01 AM on May 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

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