Is True Detective good television? Oh yeah, but darned if I ever know what to say about it. Every scene may be important to something, but many times it only seems to in retrospect.
That may be even more true than usual for season three given the three time lines that it keeps bouncing back and forth on. Wayne has something in his past he doesn’t remember. Or that he doesn’t want to talk about. Something. Wayne in 2015 can’t remember anything.
But what is it?
In 1980, where it looks like the story is just about done, but I’ve been wrong before, we see the results of the shoot-out at Brett Woodard’s place. Brett’s place was, well, let’s just say heavily secured and most everyone, cops and vigilantes alike, get at least wounded. Heck, Roland gets shot in the leg. Wayne gets in unscathed, tries to talk Brett down, and ultimately has to shoot the man.
After that, Brett gets more or less convicted after the fact of the kids’ disappearance because there’s a burnt sweater found in a furnace and a book bag under his stairs that matches what the Purcell kids had when they disappeared.
But in 1990, Wayne realizes this evidence was planted, and Brett was probably innocent, but he’s too easily rattled talking to old suspects who remember what Wayne did to rattle them. Roland may be more on task, but there’s a reason why Roland got ahead in his career and Wayne got stuck behind a desk for the better part of the last decade. What was that reason? I am not sure, but it looks like it was something about how Wayne wouldn’t play ball with the lawyer types who went on talk shows and ignored advice from detectives like Wayne and Roland.
Plus, now Tom Purcell is looking a little more guilty.
And Wayne is fighting with his wife since she’s been more successful than he is when it comes to this case.
In 2015, Wayne finally read her book. And it was good.
He also gets to go see Roland again. Henry dropped him off, but Wayne did something to make Roland angry, and though Wayne says he doesn’t remember, he sure does offer one heartfelt apology to his old partner, a man who never married and lives alone aside from a bunch of dogs. Will Roland help Wayne finally crack this case?
It does look like a “yes,” but Roland is really worried Wayne is going to say something to the TV people. Those two guys did something.
But I don’t know what just yet.