boxes. The absence of adult Becca looms over the third season, starting well before Wayne lost her at Walmart. It's one more thread from Wayne to Tom Purcell, whose daughter disappeared at 8 years old and repudiated him by phone a decade later. Strategically reserved until late in the season, grown (ish) Becca's appearance feels significantly. Maybe for a future viewer who can down the season in one long gulp, it will be significant .
When Wayne gets sentimental (and scared), Becca tells her father to stop worrying and starts unpacking. “You feel better once you're lifting something heavy,” she says, knowing him enough to cut the truth. Then Becca disappears again (until next week's final, presumably). Through no fault of the actor, this is not a character; Wayne Hays' feelings on, and his fear. Always his fear
Mahershala Ali has done a staggering job playing a man embroiled in a mystery that is half conspiracy and half missing memories, a man pulled from one decade to another with no warning. Fear of his family, fear of his family, fear of his daughters — his and Tom's, whether speaking or silent, is fearful of his family, fear of his family, fear of his family, fear of his daughters.
Most of all, throughout the season, he is fearful for his mind and his memory. He's afraid he won't remember enough to solve the mystery; He's afraid the mystery is something better forgotten. He's afraid of the spreading blankness that is his memory, and afraid of the answers beyond that blankness.
This fear — mortal terror and beyond — is best conveyed in “The Final Country,” after Hays and West creep up on the sedan strike out of the retired detective's home. After a feuded failed confrontation with the driver (actually a successful ploy to get the car's plate number), Wayne turns to find his partner gone, along with everything else. He's not alone on his street; he's alone in a fixed, devastating nothingness that spreads out to every side.
Seeing a flicker of light on the edge of that nothingness and walks into 1990, watching from a distance as his own self burns the suit bloodied in the death of Harris James. And as 2015 Wayne gazes at the scene, the Wayne of 1990 looks uneasily around, feeling someone watching. It's a run. For Wayne Hays, time isn't a flat circle. It's a labyrinth, and there's a monster inside it.
With just one episode left, the nature of the monster is getting clearer, but even here, writer / creator Nic Pizzolatto is pulling some punches.
There 'sa certain exhilaration, and a certain terror, in watching West and Hays turn the tables with their targeted traffic stop. There are some great satisfaction in seeing a well-to-do white man, as secure in his position as he is in his skin, being played by a couple of cops just looking for an excuse. Refusing to comply reaching for a weapon : These are the offenses West and Hays manufacture to justify what they planned to do all along. The metaphor is clinched by Harris' words as he kneels, cuffed to a post in the lonely old barn where they're trying to beat the truth out of him. "I can't breathe, I can't breathe," he coughs, pleading to be released from his cuffs and allowed up.
But in the end, this scene chickens out. Harris James, bloody and wheezing, is not succumb to the vicious beating. He's not begging for his life, not really. Wily to the end, James talks his way out of his cuffs and attacks Hays, forcing West to shoot. And shoot. And shoot.
It's a small plot point but a big loophole. These men, you can almost hear the writer say, didn't look to kill Harris James. They wanted to question him. They wanted to "ask hard like we used to." But his death is his own doing, a choice they were forced to make, not a natural consequence of their violence.
That's not ambiguity. It's not poetic. It's narrative cowardice.
Amelia Hays can face the depth of her husband's guild, even if the writer who created them can''t quite. Wake in the dark to find his boxers, burning the rest of his clothing in a barrel, Amelia is able to take in the scene and its terrible implications and say simply, "In the morning, we have to talk. Will you talk to me in the morning? ”And when a mysterious phone call interrupts that talk, she understands Wayne, and his fear, well enough to let him walk out one last time.
If Wayne asks Amelia for that permission, knowing that going out will kill him but staying will do worse damage, the submerged fear that characterizes Wayne Hays. He's quiet, calm, and firm, but even as he asks, his fear is in his eyes: fear that she can't trust him one last time, or maybe that can .
She does. She has to, if only narratively, because a woman who's awakened in the middle of the night finds her husband knowing how dire his situation must be, even if she doesn't know why. And she knows the rest of their lives on that phone call.
Amelia, who wrote her first book about the Purcell children, believes herself the keeper of their story. It takes Margaret (Emily Wilson), Lucy Purcell's best friend (and another True Detective character so insubstantial, she barely exists), to point out that she's note. Everyone has a story, and everyone believes themselves the best steward of their story. "Somebody's got to stay," Margaret tells Amelia, explaining why she stayed in the neighborhood when Tom moved out. "Somebody's got to remember." The two women wrestle with that Halloween snapshot of the Purcell children (and two adult ghosts shadowing them) with counting determination.
Elisa, with many interview subjects and sheaves of research, she's the one count this story. She never even noticed that Wayne Hays has been playing the long game, stringing her along with half-customs stories while quietly, patiently pumping here for information. The instant she plays here suspicion — the disappearance lead to a human trafficking ring catering to pedophiles, complete with a link back to the first season — he's done.
The instant she plays the info he has been waiting for (he concluded that the disappearances lead back to a human trafficking ring, complete with a tie back to season one), he is done. "I'm tired of walking through the graveyard," Wayne says. "The story's for me."
Wayne Hays' story is not about. That's next week, and I expect the final to do some heavy lifting that earlier episodes shrugged off. I hope so; we all feel better once we are lifting something heavy. This week, it was more of the same thing: beautifully shot miasma or uncertainty — not the heady, complex ambiguity of the imponderable, but the lax indecision of a writer who doesn't know quite what he wants to say.
- “You feel like you are just down. This is how you make it right, Roland, ”Wayne tells his partner… the same partner who told him,“ This is our job. It is here to make you right. ”
- Elisa's theory notwithstanding, it seems obvious that July was the task of" Miss Isabel "Hoyt, who lost her husband and daughter in a car accident three years before Julie's disappearance.
- A sad but not remotely surprising than for poor Tom Purcell, who worked so hard to pull himself out of that hole.
- "You manipulative, egotistical, uppity fuckin '…" Roland doesn't have to finish that sentence, because they both know where it was going, and because "uppity" said it to him.
- For those who didn't recognize the voice on the phone, that's Michael Rooker as Edmund Hoyt.