Things are getting a little hostile around here. This is “The Hour and the Day.”
The episode begins with Wayne and Roland heading to a church in 1980. They arrive in the middle of a pastor speaking with a small group of youths. Later, Wayne asks why the children pose in the same way that Will did. It signifies their rebirth of Christ, but Will’s eyes are closed. Perhaps he blinked. The pastor took the photo. The two ask him about the kids’ activities outside the church, but he didn’t often see their parents.
He saw Tom sometimes, though. Julie was excited about seeing an aunt, though apparently she doesn’t have one. The pastor doesn’t remember the aunt’s name, as well as anyone else who works with the youth group. Roland then shows the pastor some photos of the dolls, and he identifies the creator as Patty Faber, who makes them for the church’s fall fair.
The pastor asks Wayne if he attends service, and he hasn’t as of late. He used to be an altar boy. The pastor tells the detectives that the kids looked out for each other.
Roland doesn’t like this pastor, even though his alibi checks out. A man signs up to go without fucking for life, and he must be some kind of limited edition psycho. Everyone’s fucking something, after all. But the two figure that Will looking out for Julie. Wayne figures that Will was trying to defend her. Whoever the two were playing with in the woods, maybe this aunt, never wanted the boy, but this was all about Julie.
Roland, by the way, is a Baptist. Wayne had a Baptist friend in the war.
They speak with the creator of the dolls, Patty Faber, played by, Patty, who last saw the dolls at a far in October. One man bought 10 of them from her. She didn’t recognize the man, but she knows that he was a Negro man- like Wayne, she says- with a dead eye. He also has nieces and nephews. No idea where he lives, but the woman assumes that he lives over the tracks.
In 1990, Wayne tells Amelia that Roland wants him on the re-investigation of the Purcell case. Perhaps they can close it. He’s elated, though Amelia is short on words. She’s happy just like he was “happy” for her the other night. Wayne figures he just had a slip of the temper. He ultimately apologizes for how inadequate he’s been made to feel, but Amelia isn’t buying it. She says that Wayne is just dealing with curveballs.
As Becca and Henry hear their parents argue, Wayne takes Amelia to task for her writing prowess and looking for better things, but Amelia at least has drive. She says that Wayne stays upright out of habit.
The two head upstairs, with Wayne saying that he doesn’t want Amelia to talk shit about him…or he’ll start crying. If the two can’t understand her, they never will. Amelia wants to finish this now, but Wayne figures that everything is being done on her schedule, not theirs. Wayne asks Amelia if she wants him to lose his temper or fuck her or something.
Oh, wait, Amelia actually does want to fuck. Right now. Oh, alright. So they fuck, even though Wayne figures that Amelia has some major cognitive dissonance. Anyway, they’re soon done.
Back to 1980, as Roland and Wayne do indeed head across the tracks and pass by various people, and contemplate going house to house. Roland prefers to start at the liquor house since nobody uses it. Wayne decides to flip for it.
They head to the liquor store and ask the owner if anyone in the community has a dead eye. The man eventually says that this man has usually been a good customer, but often talks about his dead eye. He lives at a trailer park off of Central Ave. This man’s name is one Sam Whitehead.
So the two meet Sam Whitehead, played by John Earl Jelks, and ask if he purchased some straw dolls at a church fair. He denies it, saying he goes to St. Presbyterian instead. When asked about the kids, he figures that they’re White since they showed up in the paper. As for where Samwas on the night of the seventh, he asks others to see what’s happening. He then asks Wayne how he can wear that badge.
The crowd grows hostile as the two haul Sam inside. They ask if he’s spent time at Devil’s Den and then ask if someone can verify his alibi. Eventually, the two haul Sam outside, though the two must now contend with their cruiser having a busted windshield.
Don’t you hate when that happens to your car?
Naturally, Roland is pissed, but Wayne asks what Roland would’ve done in their situation. The fact that they were Black just gave him more pause. If they were White, he’d have less hesitation with what he would’ve done. The two ultimately decided to say that this was the work of vandals instead of irate Negroes.
In 2015, Wayne comes to Henry’s place of work- he’s an officer-but Henry is concerned about his father’s memory. Wayne has a folder with him, saying that he’s been working on something in relation to the two times he’s worked on the case. As for why he’s looking at old case information, maybe it means nothing, but it’s been good for him. And this isn’t about the Elisa Montgomery interview. He wants to remember his life.
He then asks if Henry can look up some details for him- just to see where some people ended up. More than anything else, Wayne needs Henry to locate Roland, as he needs his memory. Right now, this is Wayne’s way of staying alive. It’s a tall task, but Henry ultimately agrees to help. Jury’s out on whether Roland is even alive, though. As for today, it’s a good day for Wayne.
Meanwhile, Elisa hasn’t shown up since she criticized the investigation. Henry will look around to see if Roland is still alive.
Then we jump to 1990, as Wayne arrives at Roland’s office. The attorney general arrives as he and another officer reiterate that Julie Purcell’s original fate. Roland had to do a lot to get Wayne involved, so hopefully Wayne’s involvement won’t harm Roland’s reputation. More than that, they hope this won’t hurt Wayne’s already fractured reputation. If all goes well, they can see Wayne back at Major Crimes.
Luckily, Wayne and Roland have no intention to play by the rules.
We jump back to 1980 as the detectives pay the church another visit, this time with a much larger audience in attendance. The pastor tells the audience that the officers want to speak with them after service for their assistance.
Later, the officers gather fingerprints, with Roland wanting to go back to church if he could just score some ass. Priorities, am I right? Anyway, Wayne thanks the pastor for his assistance, with the pastor noting that Wayne didn’t take the Eucharist. That involves confession, but Wayne will table that for later. Wayne asks about Sam Whitehead, but there’s only a small portion of the congregation that’s Black.
The pastor finds it hard to believe that someone from the church would go after Will and Julie, but he’ll keep an eye out for this particular suspect. He does, though, still want to hear Wayne’s confession.
Roland, meanwhile, chats up with a woman, Lori, played by Jodi Balfour, before Wayne grabs him so they can get back to work.
Following this, Wayne and Amelia have dinner at a fancy-ass restaurant. Amelia’s been thinking about whether Will’s death was an accident. She apologizes instantly for talking about work at dinner, but Wayne isn’t bothered by it. He asks how she did with California, and it was apparently all steers and queers. There were a lot of people, ideas, and confusion- some of which was hers.
Amelia has a secret, though: she used to be a bit of a mess. Not too surprising to Wayne, though. As for him, he found the spot where the kids played in the woods. He goes over the scene and how Will died. Amelia asks about the position in which Will was found, as if there was an element of affection. But Wayne recognizes that kind of behavior in abusers.
Amelia then asks if Wayne wants a do-over and then inquires about his family. Mom worked the farm as a domestic, while Wayne worked the fields until he was eight. As for dad, Amelia has to get that information elsewhere. Amelia’s background, though? She’s not quick to open. Wayne is her first detective, but he can’t be too quick. He apologizes for overstepping, with Amelia noting that he apologizes a lot.
She then asks about the last time that Wayne had a girlfriend. Amelia talks about cops being pussy hounds, but Wayne hates that word. He prefers dick-holster. I tend to agree. Amelia confesses that she likes to make Wayne laugh, acknowledging that he’s good at this. She could see him being a real dog, but that’s down to Amelia, as Wayne has no idea what he’s doing.
Roland, meanwhile, heads to a bar and heads in the back, where he finds an intoxicated Tom on the ground. Turns out he got a bit angry, broke some glass, and threw a swing. Roland asks why the men didn’t call Lucy, but she’s got enough problems right now. The men opt to not press charges against Tom, given his situation right now.
Later, Roland drives Tom home, with Tom casually dropping the “N” word in conversation in reference to Wayne, though Roland tells Tom that Wayne is the best detective on the case. Tom apologizes for his language, with Roland accepting it, saying that Tom has gotten his ass kicked enough. He wants to know if he’s going home, as he doesn’t want to be there. He can’t sleep there anymore- he just wants to die.
Roland offers a jail cell or couch, and Tom again apologizes for using the word. But Roland tells Tom that Wayne has been called much worse by people who meant it more than Tom did.
In 1990, Roland and Wayne go over the new prints found in Oklahoma. They speak with some agents about how Julie Purcell is now 21 years old. All signs pointed to her being dead, but they must now find out what happened. Lucy, meanwhile, is dead, after overdosing outside of Vegas. There’s Lucy’s cousin, Dan O’Brien, but no one knows where he is. The key is to examine anything that got overlooked.
Wayne has secondary consideration. If Julie escaped, is there any chance that someone else might be looking for her? More than that, what if people who find out she’s alive would want her dead? If so, they have to consider that they’re on a time limit.
Back to 2015, Wayne pays Elisa Montgomery a surprise visit. She figured that they were done after the last discussion, but quite the opposite. Wayne figures that Elisa has some investigative work on this. He’ll agree to talk to Elisa, but he wants to know her findings. More than that, he wants to know why she’s so curious. More to the point, he wants to know the whole story.
This case is his life. He wants to be made aware of the missing pieces. So Elisa shows him some photographic remains of Dan O’Brien, who went missing in 1990 after resurfacing. He was found in a drained quarry in Missouri. Elisa can’t show all of her cards just yet. He asks Elisa not to mention to his son that he stopped by and reiterates that he’s not trying to work her.
In 1980, the detectives opt to put out an APB on Sam Whitehead. They go over Will’s position, the dolls, all of the information, but they’re missing an aspect right now. And no match on the bicycle’s prints so far. As for the note, nothing. The zip code may not come to anything. As for the toys, they’ll find out what sells those specific items.
Also, they’re to look into workplace injuries and any Black men who lost an eye going back 40 years. Cross reference it with workplace injuries at Hoyt Foods.
Wayne and Roland are then informed that the investigators went onto Donohue to discuss the case, with Gerald Kindt talking about the case when the feds enter to let them know that they got a hint on the bike prints: Freddy Burns.
Meanwhile, Amelia pays a visit to the Purcell home to drop off a project from the art room. She’s let in by Lucy and says that if she ever needs anything, Lucy can reach out. Lucy confesses that she has the soul of a whore, but Amelia says that whatever Lucy did or didn’t do, she doesn’t deserve to suffer and shouldn’t be punished. And her children wouldn’t want her doing that to herself.
Lucy then confesses that she never knew her mother. She just hoped that her kids would have a better upbringing than she did. But even that wasn’t easy. This wasn’t a very happy home. Children are meant to laugh, and there wasn’t a lot of that in the Purcell home. Amelia knows that every parent wants to do more. People make mistakes, but apparently not like Lucy did. What’s that mean?
Well, Lucy admits that she always ran around on Tom. Sometimes, she couldn’t breathe in this house. She never argued with that part of her. But what woman hates the only part of her that ever showed her love. She has a revolver in her purse as a little bit of courage. Amelia never thought of that as courage. Lucy grabs a plate made by the kids and says that she’s done terrible things. She cries out for God to forgive her.
Amelia tells Lucy that Wayne is looking for Julie. If there’s anything that Lucy hasn’t said, she can trust Detective Hays. But about what? Lucy figures that Amelia is trying to work her, saying that Amelia doesn’t really care for her. She rages, saying that Amelia has a lot of nerve for coming by, even going as far as calling Amelia a snooty cunt and a pickaninny.
Well, there’s a word you probably haven’t heard used in awhile.
Brett Woodard, meanwhile, tells some kids by a tractor to leave their cans so he can pick them up. Unfortunately, he’s being eyed by a man who spots him and makes a phone call.
In 1990, Wayne and Roland speak with an officer about the findings on Julie Purcell and are shown surveillance footage from the convenience store.
We jump to 2015 as Wayne records a message about the Purcell investigation. He never forgave himself for what happened. As this happens, we see ghosts of Vietnam past appear. He might not want to be alive without Amelia around. He then decides again that he needs to talk to Roland. However, then Roland looks out the window and spots a car across the street. He now believes that somebody is watching him.
In 1980, while the feds question some teens, Wayne and Roland talk with Freddy Burns, saying that there’s no longer a possibility that he’s innocent. Why? Because his prints were found on the bike. Freddy denies doing anything, but he did take his bike at least. Julie wasn’t with her at the time, though. Freddy shoved him off, but then Will ran off into the woods.
However, Freddy was missing for half an hour before his friends saw him again. He was drunk in the woods and it took him awhile to find his way. He did fool around on the bike, but that’s it. The detectives tell Freddy to start telling the whole story. Or else he’ll be fucked stupid in prison after training his ass to be an entrance.
Why is prison rape such a go-to threat for Wayne?
Back to 1990, Wayne continues to review the surveillance footage of Julie Purcell. He then pauses the video as something catches his attention.
Jump back a decade to 1980 as Brett Woodard spots a caravan of vehicles speeding his way. He abandons his shoes and starts running into the fields. Brett arrives at his home and prepares his trap. He then head to his closet and pulls out several guns as he prepares himself.
Over at interrogation, Freddy cries his eyes out as the detectives wait for him to talk- though Roland is curious about why Wayne has used prison rape as a threat again. However, they’re then alerted to something big going on near Brett Woodard’s home.
As Wayne, Roland, and other officers speed towards the scene. As one of the men kicks in Brett’s door, we cut to black and hear a bang as the episode comes to a close.
So we end with a literal bang as tensions reach an all time high on this week’s True Detective. The disappearance of Julie Purcell is still stumping the officers in the 1980s and 1990s, while in 2015, Wayne is still seeking answers as a way to keep himself going.
As the case continues to unravel in all three periods, we see how this impacts Wayne. In 1980, for the most part, he’s calm, collected, and has it all together. The details do get to him, yes, and while he’s not above discussing work over dinner, Will’s death is still disturbing.
By 1990, with the case open again and his name all over Amelia’s book, things unravel even further as we see some fallout with his relationship. He lashes out at Amelia, who is still sore about how he reamed her out last time. But Amelia doesn’t see him as being assertive enough. She at least has goals, but she believes that Wayne is just wavering to keep himself afloat.
I don’t entirely disagree with that, but it does look like the case consumes a lot of Wayne’s life. Think back to what Roland said in 1990: when the case ended, he and Wayne just stopped. No falling out, but this was what they knew. When the two work together again, this is where they operate at their best. In a way, Wayne is more married to his job than his actual wife.
By 2015, as Wayne tells Henry, this case is what keeps him going. Hell, he even needs Roland around if just so he can pick his brain and help with the case. He’s become so consumed with work that now he’s starting to wonder about the missing or overlooked details. Coupled with the Vietnam war flashbacks and it’s easy to see just how haunted Wayne is by his previous life.
Mahershala Ali continues to shine as we see three shades of Wayne. Like other characters, it’s interesting to watch the transformation unfold before our eyes. Having said that, I could’ve done with more of that dinner scene with him and Amelia. Ali and Carmen Ejogo have great chemistry throughout, but it’s in the quieter moments where they work the best.
From the way they talk about their pasts, Amelia and Wayne feel like people who are lightly treading the waters. They realize that they would like to be together, but they want to feel each other out first. At least with Wayne, that’s instinctive because he’s a cop. Plus, the feeling each other out here is better to ease into, compared to 1990 Amelia wanting to fuck towards the end of an argument.
Sticking with Amelia for a moment, there was a moment of genuine friendship that seemed to be blossoming between her and Lucy Purcell. Lucy bore her soul and discussed the terrible situation that her children endured in this home. She was practically begging for mercy and had things gone better, she could’ve gone as far as calling Amelia a friend.
But I think Amelia tried to do too much and too soon. It seemed that mentioning Wayne was what sent Lucy over the edge and caused her to lash out. The self-destructive behavior exhibited by Lucy is sadly what led to her death. She went on a continuous downward spiral while Tom, also spiraling, found a way to land on his feet and clean himself up down the line.
But like Lucy, he acknowledges how much the case has affected him. He also lashes out with racial remarks, but his quick remorse shows that he’s not, at heart, a bad person. Like Roland said, Tom has gotten his ass kicked enough as is. That doesn’t excuse what he said, but at least Roland won’t kick a man while he’s down.
Racial tensions are under the surface throughout this season, but the show has been subtle in its approach when discussing the matter. Here, it’s all out in the open. You’ve got Roland and Wayne heading to the Black part of the neighborhood, with Sam Whitehead noting that the disappearance of kids would only be newsworthy if the kids were White.
Plus, the presence of officers doesn’t exactly put the local Blacks at ease. It’s not hard to draw the real life parallels here. But hey, at least no shots were fired. That would be too on the nose, though I could see a lesser show going that route.
Even Patty Faber’s casual remarks about Sam Whitehead being a Negro, just like Wayne, aren’t the central focus of a scene. They’re there, but just enough for you to get the gist of it. It’s a good way to slowly bring in the racial element that’s been hinted at since the season premiere without making it the focal point.
But come on, Lucy? Pickaninny? Did anyone still say that in the 1980s?
Whatever. We’ve also got the hatred that Brett Woodard faces from hostile neighbors. The beating he endured has escalated into the standoff we see at the end of the episode. Plus it’s revealed that he was indeed stockpiling weapons. It’s hard to tell if the bang was because of a gunshot or explosion, but either way, the powder keg has exploded.
It’s also interesting to see how much faith plays into the investigation, both with the detectives and supporting players. Roland isn’t overly religious unless it means he can possibly score some ass. Wayne is a Catholic, but not an active or outwardly spoken one. In fact, faith doesn’t seem to be high on his list of priorities right now.
The Purcells don’t seem to be that religious, but when all else fails, Lucy turns to God to ask for forgiveness for the life that she’s lived. Plus, we saw that Tom will later give up drinking and turn to Christ in the 1990s. Granted, we don’t have conversations about religion versus rationality like in the first season, but I do like that True Detective keeps that theme going in-between seasons.
But like last time, Elisa Montgomery seems to be a step ahead of Wayne based on the information she had. What she presents is quite the revelation. After all, we only met Dan O’Brien in one scene early on. While we learn about how Lucy died, we didn’t learn Dan’s fate in 1990 until Elisa revealed it. Again, jumping from one period to another helps us fill in the blanks and answer questions we have from another point in time.
Side-note, there’s an interesting theory I’ve heard regarding Elisa Montgomery’s identity and who she might be. It’s an intriguing one, to be sure, but I’ll save that for later in the event that it comes to pass or if it ends up just being speculation.
Still, though, more questions arise from this episode: Do Freddy Burns’ prints on the bike mean he had something to do with Will’s death? How did Dan O’Brien wind up dead in a quarry in Missouri? Will the Purcells become hostile towards the detectives in light of Lucy’s encounter with Amelia? Will Henry be able to locate Roland? And just what other pieces in the investigation did Wayne miss?
Here’s to watching the Purcell case continue to unfold. See you next time.