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True Detective Season 3 (SPOILERS)

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I watched the first three eps over the weekend, which helped to get that early immersion.  I like the return of the southern gothic noir, the ominous tone, experiencing and reminiscing in the same narrative, etc.  It has not managed to capture the landscape so powerfully as in S1, but that was a singular accomplishment.  Overall it is much, much better than S2 and a welcome return to form.  I was slightly bothered by how heavily it relies on repeating S1, but I've decided to accept that.

Ali is very good as Hays but several times his enunciation was just unintelligible.  The deep-voiced muttering is an important part of maintaining the ominous tone but I need to understand what he is saying.  Every other actor enunciates clearly while keeping within the mood and tone.

We've had lots of red herrings (?) thrown at us already: the three teenagers (one of whom was riding Will's bike at the park that night), Woodard, the mother's cousin, Julie's biological father, the expensive brown sedan, the assistant attorney general acting contrary to the detectives requests, the documentary interviewer suggesting that the case was blocked from unveiling a protected pedophile ring.

The third timeline is a bit awkward so far.  They do the time slips well but it's still distracting to the narrative.  I know NP said there is no unreliable narrator but I think this season may test the definition of unreliable narrator.  Hays has obvious memory problems in 2015, possibly 1990 too, and Amelia's ghost/Hay's subconscious alluded to things he knows & did but has hidden from the authorities.

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It still is a bit too slow and a bit too clear what has happened. 

In 1980 the junk vet almost certainly had the crime pinned on him. He was probably killed in a shootout with the cops. Roland probably got shot.  Case was closed as they didn't find Julie and assumed he killed them both. Junk vets children in 1990 wanted the case reopened after julie was reported alive.  

Julie was still not found officially in 1990. Clearly in 2015 the case is still not finished. It seems likely Hays knows what happened and why, and decided to hide it. It seems less likely that he doesn't know, and more likely that he chose. 

Better question is whether Amelia knew the truth and decided to stay quiet because of her book. 

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Well, looks like Dorff has a bigger role than I was expecting based on earlier stories about the season. Not sure if that was misdirection or people misunderstanding what was being said; because while Ali does have a bigger role (I wouldn't be surprised if he's the only one in all three timelines) Dorff isn't quite a second-fiddle. 

As far as the season is overall, my opinion hasn't changed yet; it's competent enough, but I'm not being drawn in the way I was in the S1. I am suspicious that Amelia knows the truth, or at least a big piece of it. I also suspect that the charity/chicken company is involved in some way and isn't just a red herring. Based on both S1 and S2, Pizalatto likes having big corrupt institutions that are failing and/or actively preying on regular folks, and so far that charity seems like the best bet to play the part this season. And I agree that the junk man seems like the most likely candidate to have the crimes initially pined on.

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4 hours ago, .H. said:

I thought Hayes' 2015 (that's the right year?) imagined Amelia's comment about something "he left in the woods" is likely important, but I don't think we can really know what that is supposed to mean.  Also, I think the implication was that he ended up somehow being complicit?  Not sure.
 

What if part of his memory issues isn't actually dementia, but rather repression of what he found out?  Kind of jives a bit with what Hayes implies to the doctor, how they don't know what the problem with his memory is, as I thought the implication was not so much that he has actual dementia (or the like) but rather that he is getting old.  Might be misreading that though.

I thought about that as well. Even the possibility of dissociation and multiple personalities. Either stemming from the case, but more likely from his time in Vietnam. Hays only seems truly in control and comfortable or balanced when he is "hunting". He seems slightly uncomfortable in all other situations, like someone who is struggling to contain himself or act normal.  At least that is how it seems to me.

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12 hours ago, Slurktan said:

I thought it was a rifle.  My guess is he is going to get blamed for the kids murder/abduction after he kills/tries to kill some of the local hicks.  Hence the case reopening in '90 as he clearly didn't do it.

Agree with this. Said this after episode 1 when Ali pulled out of the 80s timeline and into 2015 when he was searching trash man’s house. He said something like, you already know what we found there then quit the interview for the day. Felt like guilt getting to him, I’ll bet he lies or omits something relates to Woodward taking the fall. 

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Watched the first three episodes a few days back. Went in skeptical, but so far I've been pleasantly surprised. That said, I definitely find myself agreeing that elements of it feel a little overly familiar to S1 re - Southern Gothic setting, multiple timelines, unreliable narrator (?), though on that last part at least they Pizzolatto seems to be taking a slightly different approach which makes it work. Still I'd rather have him stick to what he's good at so long as it isn't a blatant rehash than more of...whatever the hell Season 2 was supposed to be (for my money, half assed, purely superficial Lynch worship. He let the Twin Peaks comparisons from S1 get to his head).

That said I'll always have a soft spot for this scene

 

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On 1/21/2019 at 3:09 PM, Kalbear said:

It still is a bit too slow and a bit too clear what has happened

In 1980 the junk vet almost certainly had the crime pinned on him. He was probably killed in a shootout with the cops. Roland probably got shot.  Case was closed as they didn't find Julie and assumed he killed them both. Junk vets children in 1990 wanted the case reopened after julie was reported alive.  

Julie was still not found officially in 1990. Clearly in 2015 the case is still not finished. It seems likely Hays knows what happened and why, and decided to hide it. It seems less likely that he doesn't know, and more likely that he chose. 

Better question is whether Amelia knew the truth and decided to stay quiet because of her book. 

I agree that they've gone well beyond foreshadowing and basically told us what will happen.

I'm hoping for some sort of surprise twist that's worthy of the season climax.

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The way in which this season jumps from back and forth between 3 timelines is quite annoying and pointless. I could understand if a jump from one scene to the next 35 years later was connected in some respect but the show seems to just do it for the sake of it. It's spoiling the immersion I have in the story.

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1 minute ago, dooog said:

The way in which this season jumps from back and forth between 3 timelines is quite annoying and pointless. I could understand if a jump from one scene to the next 35 years later was connected in some respect but the show seems to just do it for the sake of it. It's spoiling the immersion I have in the story.

It doesn't bother me nearly as much as I initially feared it would. The "unreliable narrator" is another aspect I am appreciating a bit more as the season progresses.

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The last episode felt a little slow, maybe because I couldn't watch two in a row?

I still am not a fan of three timelines.

One scene that seemed strange was the WalMart one. It's in the 90's time and his kids are 6-10 ish? He seems strangely obsessive over them in the store like if he can't see them they are in danger...also the wierd way he got the toilet paper, grabbed one then decides he needs 3 more.  Is this all because they just found Julie's prints? IDK why but that whole scene just felt out of place to me.

 

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Never really had much of an opinion on Stephen Dorff before but I am quite impressed in this show.

 

I actually like his character more than Mahershala Ali's portrayal of Hays.

I'm struggling to see what his wife was attracted to!

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17 hours ago, dbunting said:

One scene that seemed strange was the WalMart one. It's in the 90's time and his kids are 6-10 ish? He seems strangely obsessive over them in the store like if he can't see them they are in danger...also the wierd way he got the toilet paper, grabbed one then decides he needs 3 more.  Is this all because they just found Julie's prints? IDK why but that whole scene just felt out of place to me.

Yes, that was weird and requires more explanation. I assumed the point was that he and his wife had been obsessed/fixated with the case as she wrote about it, and it left him emotionally stuck.  But even so it was weird that he was hyper-protective a decade after the events.  His daughter didn’t seem conditioned to stick close to him, like if it had been a long-ingrained habit.

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I think it's less that he had been fixated by it for 10 years, and more that Julie coming back reminded him of everything, and he freaked out because of that reminder. That normally things were just fine, but he remembers how fast Julie got taken and he still doesn't know what happened to her. 

Remember, this was right after his deposition and right after his wife went to talk to the police about things. 

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It could also be about the time he first started experiencing memory issues and that amplified his paranoia.

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Maybe it was just after Julie and the case being reopened but if what they are showing us is reliable then he has known all along that the wrong guy was blamed for it and he should have felt this protective their entire lives.

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I think he knew the wrong guy was blamed, but I think he thought julie was murdered as well. 

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17 hours ago, Kalbear said:

I think it's less that he had been fixated by it for 10 years, and more that Julie coming back reminded him of everything, and he freaked out because of that reminder. That normally things were just fine, but he remembers how fast Julie got taken and he still doesn't know what happened to her. 

Remember, this was right after his deposition and right after his wife went to talk to the police about things. 

It still seems weird for a police detective to suddenly get that spooked about a disappearance a decade before.  This guy had a traumatic experience in Vietnam, was a detective in major crimes for several years, and then a police officer for another decade.  It does not seem realistic that he would be so hyper sensitive to just one situation in all his experience, especially when he would know that kids being abducted by strangers is extremely rare.  He should have a more jaded and realistic perspective.  He was acting more like a know-nothing parent in the immediate aftermath of a media frenzy about missing kids. 

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1 hour ago, Iskaral Pust said:

It still seems weird for a police detective to suddenly get that spooked about a disappearance a decade before.  This guy had a traumatic experience in Vietnam, was a detective in major crimes for several years, and then a police officer for another decade.  It does not seem realistic that he would be so hyper sensitive to just one situation in all his experience, especially when he would know that kids being abducted by strangers is extremely rare.  He should have a more jaded and realistic perspective.  He was acting more like a know-nothing parent in the immediate aftermath of a media frenzy about missing kids. 

It worked for me. Obviously YMMV. 

 

ETA: When you turn around in a public place and your young child is gone, I think a natural reaction of any parent (whether “know nothing” or hardened police) is to freak out. Then after running around the store and still not finding her, well the emotional freak out goes up a notch. 

Edited by unJon

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I may have misheard, but didn't the woman from the tv crew say something about how the case was similar to "spiral" case or something like that? The obvious reference would be the season 1 case. If so, it would mean that the seasons take place in the same fictional universe. But it might also just be an Easter egg.

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5 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

It still seems weird for a police detective to suddenly get that spooked about a disappearance a decade before.  This guy had a traumatic experience in Vietnam, was a detective in major crimes for several years, and then a police officer for another decade.  It does not seem realistic that he would be so hyper sensitive to just one situation in all his experience, especially when he would know that kids being abducted by strangers is extremely rare.  He should have a more jaded and realistic perspective.  He was acting more like a know-nothing parent in the immediate aftermath of a media frenzy about missing kids. 

I think that's sort of almost my entire issue with the season so far. I haven't seen any reason why this is THE CASE. The case that's worthy of a 35-year story across three timelines and that consumes a detective's life. Maybe it's coming in later episodes, but season one did a good job of making it's crime dark and mysterious enough that right from the get-go it was clear why it would matter so much, and that hasn't happened this season.

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