True Detective: Hunters in the Dark

“We don’t stop. We take it all the way this time.”

I asked for some clarity. And I got some.

Most of the action takes place in the 1990 arc this time around. The implications of Julie’s phone call to the police hotline add a new dimension to the case that throws our detectives for another loop. They spend a great deal of time focused on Tom, now believed to be a prime suspect by their superiors.

This seems to be quickly disproven, though. Dan O’Brien resurfaces, tweaked out and offering information on some shadowy conspiracy surrounding the Purcell case in exchange for money. Hays and West are initially reluctant to believe him, but what happens later lends credence to his claims. And Tom clearly cared for the kids. Even if they weren’t his, as his apparent closet homosexuality might suggest.

Tom gets a lot more focus in general this time. Falling off the wagon, he decides to take matters into his own hands, locating Dan O’Brien and beating what he knows out of him. This leads him to the Hoyt Family estate in the end, where he drunkenly breaks in and finds the pink room Julie’s runaway acquaintances said she kept mentioning. The episode ends as he discovers something else that lets him know she was there, and as former policemen turned Hoyt Foods head of security Harris James sneaks up on him.

I knew this mysterious Hoyt character was involved in the abduction of Will and Julie as soon as they introduced that element. It’s not clear yet what the exact goal of this conspiracy is yet. Julie might just have been Hoyt’s way of replacing his lost daughter, but the details around her time in the pink room and the creepy vibe I got from Harris James leads me to think something more twisted was going on.

This also adds to the reasons why I think Hays and West eventually ended up killing Harris James and covering it up; when Old Hays states that Elisa’s been asking about James, Old West is once again apprehensive about what Hays might reveal.

Elisa’s interviews are beginning to seem less like interviews and more like interrogations. And it’s unclear what exactly Old Hays plans to do with the new case he seems to be building. As Old West discovers, his grip on time and even reality is getting slipperier the further along they go. Could it be that they’re just grasping at straws?

I’m hoping this season doesn’t end on a note of profound tragedy, because that would really bum me out. I’ve grown to like a lot of these characters, and would prefer it if they didn’t end up tumbling down into the void.

Bits and Pieces:

* The episode title obviously refers to Hays and West and their investigations. But given the hunter imagery surrounding Harris James and Mr. Hoyt, and what is revealed about them in the end, I think it refers to them as well.

* They really need to keep the squad room door closed during work hours. This is twice now that Tom’s stumbled onto sensitive information just from happening by.

* Hays figures out that Henry has been having an affair with Elisa Montgomery. I kind of suspected. I found it interesting, and slightly touching, that Hays advised Henry not to tell his wife, since he wasn’t planning on leaving his wife or keeping it going with Elisa, because telling the truth would only make himself feel better while hurting someone he still loved. As bad as it may sound, it’s the truth.

* We finally meet the mysterious one-eyed black man. The real one this time. And it’s Rufus from Supernatural! Given his outraged reaction to Amelia’s book tour, and the revelation around Hoyt and Harris James at the end, I’m thinking he might be relatively benign.

* Hays also discovers that the peep hole in between Will and Julie’s rooms wasn’t for peeping. It was for passing notes. Apparently it was the kids’ covert way of communicating with each other about the secret friend they were meeting in the woods.

Quotes:

Hays: You don’t have to do that.
Amelia: What?
Hays: Check to see if I’m judging ya. I’m not.
Yeah, not yet.

Old Hays: It’s terrible what this work makes you ponder. Don’t you think?

West (1990): I thought it took God seven days to make the world.
Hays (1990): He rested on the seventh. I always thought he should have put the extra day in, instead of half-assing it.

Henry: How’d you know?
Old Hays: I’m still your daddy, boy. Additionally, I was once a fair to middling detective.

Amelia (1990): “A lost child is a story that’s never allowed to end.”

I think we’re finally on the verge of seeing what’s past the veil. I mean, we've gotta be at this point. There's only a couple of episodes left. Four out of five pink rooms.

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