Sunday, January 27, 2019

REVIEW: 'True Detective' - Hays Demands Answers as to What Happened to Everyone in the Purcell Case in 'The Hour and the Day'

HBO's True Detective - Episode 3.04 "The Hour and the Day"

Hays and West see a possible connection between the local church and the Purcell crimes. As the detectives search for one suspect and round up another for interrogation, Woodard is targeted by a vigilante group.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's True Detective.

"The Hour and the Day" was written by David Milch & Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Nic Pizzolatto

This season continues to talk around the outcomes of the investigations into the Purcell case in both 1980 and 1990. Because the season is centered around three unique time periods, the past very much dictates the actions of the characters. Their lives have been seriously affected by this case. However, the show is still just teasing along the tragedies that occurred at the conclusions of these individual investigations. The 1980 investigation essentially concluded with Hays and West determining that Julie was dead with someone being arrested for the crime. However, it's unclear what prompted that decision considering the two are still very invested in finding her alive in the glimpses of 1980 so far. Meanwhile, 2015 teases that the 1990 investigation also ends with a major complication that ensures that this case isn't completely solved even though it is closed. It's a victory that Hays is once again a detective on the team when the case is reopened. Some of this delayed confusion may be because of Hays' troubled memory. The older version of the character is still trying to make sense of everything even though his nights are filled with terror that comes from these haunting memories. Here, he is completely distracted by the idea of Vietnam soldiers coming out of the jungles and putting his life in danger. That's terrifying to him and destroys his thought process. He wants to talk all of this out with West once more just like they always have. And yet, the friendship between them wasn't maintained in the years when they weren't investigating this case. In 1990, West still sat in a position of power where he could still rely on Hays as a member of the team. Hays knew exactly where he was too. In 2015, the police officer Hays goes to for advice and help is his son. That may be asking Henry to cross an unethical line simply because Hays is too stubborn and determined. He seems destined to be hurt by this investigation once more because he needs to know what happened. This appears to be the only thing that is keeping him sane in this world. That's very depressing and tragic. That mood envelops every single aspect of this story as well. It's hard to look at the scene where a young Hays and Amelia are having dinner without knowing that all of this is building to the two of them as an unhappy married couple who continue to fight over this one specific case. The season is filled with little clues like that that will hopefully tie everything together in the end. As such, Hays and West see Larson running for Attorney General in 1980 with the audience already being aware that he has the job in 1990. That is his sole ambition and character-defining trait in the narrative so far. It's a complication as well because there are so many competing agendas when it comes to this story. Everyone wants to get it right. But the audience is fully aware that such simplicities aren't going to happen. Tom and Lucy continue to fall on hard times and only one of them is going to be able to turn their lives around. Meanwhile, Hays is now wondering where all of these people ended up in 2015 - especially with the new information that the cousin, Dan O'Brien, was killed as well when the case was reopened. That's one mystery solved. However, it still overwhelmingly feels like the show is delaying information in order to keep the audience invested in the overall mode and tone of the piece instead of offering many satisfying developments that help tie everything together. A lot of things are happening at the moment. Some of them are very exciting - like Woodard preparing his house for a fight. And yet, the story is absolutely dragging as well when it comes to presenting a reason to care about everything that is happening.