Things are not going well for Tom Purcell, and that’s really saying a lot. Episode 6 of this third season of “True Detective” finds him mad as hell and not taking it anymore, and marks a high mark for Scoot McNairy, who till now has played the grieving father as the embodiment of cuckolded defeat. But in comes a call to the state police from Julie, still out of their reach in 1990, that turns suspicion onto Tom. The detectives Roland and Wayne (Stephen Dorff and Mahershala Ali) are maybe the last two people Tom really trusts, and when they have to turn the screws on him, insinuating that he killed his kids, Tom just snaps. By the time he catches up with meth-addled Dan O’Brien (Michael Graziadei), who has reappeared fashioning himself as a possible informant, Tom is all rage. And apparently, Tom manages to extract from Dan the name he planned to give the cops: Hoyt, the chicken magnate, who might even have bankrolled Lucy’s lost
This is not going to end well for Tom, as the final shot of the episode reveals. The “pink castle” that fellow runaways have said Julie talked about? Turns out there’s a room in some swanky basement at the Hoyt mansion painted in a brilliant shade of Child Sex Trafficking Carnation, and it may well be the last thing Tom sees. If browbeating Tom is the sin that Roland has referred to in 2015 as “what we
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Some version of this injustice is on Wayne’s mind in 2015 in a back porch heart-to-heart with his son, Henry (Ray Fisher). The show hasn’t asked just a whole lot out of Fisher’s range as an actor, and this goes a way to explaining why: Wayne’s worried that he brought up his kid to be too inscrutable. “Did I teach you to withhold?” the father asks the son, echoing in one sense a 1980 conversation with Amelia about how he doesn’t spend time reflecting or remembering. This we see almost immediately is a front — the show has taken to using Wayne’s stares into mirrors and windows (literally his reflections) to transition across time. But it also speaks to the persistent, generational reverberations of trauma, and to Wayne’s tendency to mash down the pain until it finds him in his senescence, emotionally
In 1990, though, that hurt is still manifesting in Wayne and Amelia (Carmen Ejogo) nipping at one another. I’m still torn on the merits of this plotline; the two characters actually seem like such a great fit for one another, it’s hard to make their fights feel believable. Their tension means a state detective and this self-made reporter are running parallel investigations that don’t interact with one another, and this feels like a bit of a cheat in the script: They otherwise love and respect one another and get along pretty well, so the notion of them not sharing information feels forced. On the other hand, this does let Nic Pizzolatto, the show’s creator, underscore a
The most tantalizing new lead we get in this episode is the appearance of the