True Detective Season 3 - Spoilers Included!

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Knarcisi's picture

I thought it was good.  Maybe the finale left something to be desired, but the season was very good, overall.  Really well acted, and I thought Ali and Dorff were magic together.  

Regarding the plot, yes, it was laid our clearly, but I think more about how the case haunted Wayne his whole life.  In fact, it was his life, especially that his wife wrote about it for her career starting book.  

And with the kids and how and what happened, I think it actually made it a little more real and believable.  Not everything will be some sinister doing.  Actually people trying to do the right thing for the right reason, then going astray.  Much like how we make mistakes in our own lives.  

I think the final few scenes added for a bit of suspense.  Did Amelia, his wife, have something to do with it?  I think it left that open, all the way up to the final scene.  And his son taking the address in his pocket.

And was that Julie Purcell at the end that he met?  Or was it his way of getting closure for himself.  There was never really any hard evidence that this was her.  Just Amelia coming to him in a dream (after he read a few lines about the boy who had a crush on Julie when they were kids), and laying out that story with a lot of supposition.  I think it left that mystery open a bit.  But either way, she was happy and he left it alone, or he subconsciously got some closure for himself.  

I look forward to the discussion here.

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Brohio's picture

Pretty much agree across the board. The story hooked me and I loved everything about it but was expecting a big payoff and was left utterly disappointed. Junius pulled the equivalent of the fucking Scooby Doo gang pulling the mask off the mystery monster and he just reveals his entire plan in full detail before the police arrive. Except there was no mask. Wayne completely blacking our the minute he arrives at Julie’s house was corny as shit as well. Introducing such a crucial character (Mike) with 10 mins to go in the season was also incredibly hokey. I will still say everyone’s performances were incredible and the story had me all the way through, although I found the Amelia arc to be boring as well, but the finale was hot trash. It was like HBO cut the season by an episode so the writers had to scramble to finish the story in 1 less episode. 

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Knarcisi's picture

The last scene, the flashback on the porch to him and Amelia in the bar ... I think that was him feeling at peace with some closure.  Their marriage, much like the case that was at the forefront of their marriage, was largely unsettling.  A lot of discord between them.  Then he gets to see Julie, that she has a good life, or at least he thinks he meets Julie.  Whether he remembers it or not, it seems like there is a least some subconscious closure.  As he comes to peace with that, he comes to peace with a good memory about his wife.

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tjshaffe's picture

Knar - 

I'd agree - Wayne obviously had forgotten where he was and made the call to be picked up, however there was a moment where his emotion changes slightly and I interpreted that as him realizing again where he was and who he was talking to.  I believe he opted not to speak to Julie about it in an effort not to ruin a beautiful life she has now.  When his son and daughter pick him up, hes happy and I think at peace with where he was in all of this and as you mention later at peace with his memory of his wife...

Cheers! 

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aphilly02's picture

That final episode was such a let down after some really good suspense building early on. Hoyt, played by Michael Rooker, was a waste in my opinion. Usage of an actor with talent like Rooker and not utilizing it for more than 3-4 minutes? Yikes. 

I probably don't have enough understanding to know what the final scene of him in the jungle was about, ut to me, it did not provide any closure or leave me with any suspicion of the outcome.

I was hoping for a shocking twist and that Amelia was complicit in the whole thing - I think this came from me really needing some excitement in the final episode.

Odd move by True Detective to leave a bit of a cliffhanger (Wayne's son slipping the address into his pocket) since it is an anthology show.

Ali and Dorff were amazing all season though. Dorff's elderly phase was incredible.

"To Buckeye Nation: You have my word that I'm going to give everything I have to continue the tradition of excellence and winning that this program has enjoyed during its storied history."

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scooby22's picture

Read this online and it makes sense ... The son was sleeping with the interviewer... he realizes this is a clue for her (she was the one floating the pedo ring conspiracy) ... so the inference is that the whole story may come out after all ... 

" ... poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and a king ain't satisfied 'til he rules everything ..." - The Boss

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actionstanleyjackson's picture

Him disappearing into the jungle was symbolic for Wayne disappearing into his own mind as his condition taking over.

This season was less about the crime in more about the journey of the lead detective. It was about closure not only for the case but for also Wayne and his life.

Stay golden, Ponyboy.

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tjshaffe's picture

ASJ - excellent points.  

I looked at the jungle metaphorically as well and came to a similar line of thought about him or his mind rather succumbing to his condition.  I would agree the season was aimed more at Wayne and his family's journey, but also about relationships in general - how they are formed, how they play out over the years, and how these relationships can be affected when orbiting around something - this case the investigation.   

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KBonay's picture

I think it was absolutely brilliant.  Everyone was expecting so much more.  Some conspiracy.  Some huge plot twist.  But no, it was just an accidental death and a cover up.  Brave to take that path.  Everyone that is disappointed invested too much time thinking 'what could have been' instead of watching and absorbing a journey through Wayne's mind.

My only complaint was I had to turn the damn tv volume up so loud because I couldn't make out the mumbling of Ali at times.

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KnuckIfYouBuck's picture

I must admit I was very guilty of investing too much time thinking of "what if" situations.  Once again, I blame season 1 for conditioning me to think there would be more to the case.  

Also, this is the first time I've had to turn on subtitles for a TV show or movie because of Wayne's mumbling.  Ali was tremendous all season even though I literally could not understand what he was saying at points.

"Life's a garden, dig it." -Joe Dirt

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KBonay's picture

Glad I am not the only one.  My wife goes to bed early on Sundays.  And she would always bitch about the sound coming up to the Master, which is just under my family room.  And I still couldn't understand some dialog.  I was always rewinding. 

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Beantown_Buckeye's picture

My Roku 4k TV actually has one of those remotes you can plug a headset into and listen with. I live alone so I don't utilize it that often but I also live in a condo so if I happen to be up very late watching a movie sometimes I'll use it with a good headset. Good solution for not bothering people but getting to watch a show on full volume. May also work if you use an audio receiver or sound bar if you have a long enough cord for the headset.

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scooby22's picture

Same here ... had to watch the previous episodes on demand and backtrack a few times to get Ali’s dialogue.  I absolutely loved the ending.  I love to read about (hypothesize) about conspiracy theories (my wife thinks I’m crazy cuz I get lost in YouTube videos) ... so it taught me a lesson about getting so caught up in things that you miss the obvious.  In other words, quit looking for the boogeyman.  Also, the relationship stories were key to the plot and well acted ... great series all the way around ... but still not as good as Season 1 which is an all-time Classic!

" ... poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and a king ain't satisfied 'til he rules everything ..." - The Boss

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tjshaffe's picture

Knuck - 

I'd agree.  I was guilty of that, too.  I mean the the show delivered these conspiracy ideas to us - Elisa the documentary film maker made these connections and quite literally showed us how this may be tied to season one or how other conspiracies were at play.  So, it was easy to go down that path.  

Cheers!

HS
actionstanleyjackson's picture

Agree on all your points. People expecting this to be a retread of season one could be disappointed because at times you thought it was going down that same road. 

Instead the road was Wayne’s mind. Onto Game of Thrones. 

Stay golden, Ponyboy.

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KnuckIfYouBuck's picture

Onto Game of Thrones. 

Amen

"Life's a garden, dig it." -Joe Dirt

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KBonay's picture

Onto Game of Thrones. 

Watch the White-walkers just fuck everyone up and spoil another series ending!

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Zonabuck's picture

In 2015, we painted the entire downstairs of the house and watched it as it took forever to dry. I swore that it would be a long time before I did that again. After watching the first three episodes of Season 3, it made me miss the high paced action of back when that paint dried. If Season 3 gets better, I’ll never know it. 

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HotSauceCommittee's picture

I don't necessarily agree Zona, but that made me laugh.

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niblick's picture

Season 2 ensured that I would not watch any further seasons.

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RileyBuckeye's picture

Considering this show is an Anthology, I'm not really sure that makes sense.

OH-IO

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BUCKEYEYANKEE's picture

Just watch True Detective Season 1! Grade A+ Harrelson and McConaughey acting was great in these scenes. Season 2 was okay Grade B/ B-didn't use the maximum talents of Ferrell and Vaughn. Season 3 was dull and predictable Grade C/C- Season 3 spent too much time on Ali's dementia and the relationship with his wife. Story was lame at the end with Hoyt's daughter bipolar disorder. It would have been interesting to use the wife to help him throughout the show focus more on the actual case, getting the evil elites and how the two detectives stop the Hoyt family. It took a final Alzheimer's delusion of the main character in the final episode to close the case. The daughter was alive and she had a daughter with the landscaper that was kind of clever to hide from Hoyt and the one eyed black guy by faking her own death. 

Should have continued the stories from season 1 with child and human trafficking and how elite covering up these nefarious crimes. Most interesting part of the story and they botched it. End of Season 1 continue to season 2 in Los Angeles! 

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RCRoy45's picture

I was extremely disappointed in TD Season 3... I thought it started off  in amazing fashion and took a strange left turn about half way through the season.  I come at this from an interesting perspective.  I had not seen any of the TD series prior to this season.  My wifey and I watch all tv together and once we had kids - she took a hardline NO against any shows with dark topics... but since we watched Broadchurch a year ago we watch more of these things.. 

Anyway..  After watching the first two episodes of season 3 - i had listened to a TD podcast which said this season was related to season 1.. so we stopped season 3 and started season 1.  I feel that Season 1 was one of the greatest tv dramas ever made.  We binge watched this over two weeks and each episode was truly riveting and the finale I felt was poetic justice and perfect end to the story.  

I can't help but think that Season 3 was completely re-written at some point in the filming.  There are strands that are started and then completely contradicted by the finale.. The biggest is where the young brother was in panic looking for his sister... then we find out that never happened because he was accidently killed and died immediately.  There are several other items that follow the True Crime narrative that either remain unanswered or are just completely reversed by the end.  I also can't help but wonder why the story was rewritten - one of my thoughts is that given the current political landscape HBO asked for a different ending - the original story was changed and redirected.  It seems highly likely that Ameilia was if not one of the core villains was selfishly motivated to exploit the crime for her own profit.  I also think that one of the best acting performances - the tortured dad (Tom Purcell) turns out to be a completely wasted effort.  His role turns out to be meaningless - as evidenced by the strange press conference and call from Julie Purcell where she says "You are not my real father" - seems likely she was actually talking about the attorney general who was motivated to bury evidence and end the case...  For some reason the show took a hard turn away from the related plot in season 1.. and it showed in the change from true crime to melodrama over a few episodes.  Even the quick reveal of what actually happened by Mr. June... seemed straight out of an old Scooby Doo episode.  Poorly constructed and just cheapened the genius of the first 2-3 episodes.  I think this was originally written to demonstrate the same corruption set forth in season 1... but then they realized by setting the story in Arkansas when they did... the state government was run by largely one party with a future president as governor and tying attorney generals or other officials to some sort of child traffic ring was a direction that they did not want to go... which to me explains the complete left turn in the story line.  

“And in the night of death, hope sees a star and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.”

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aj99's picture

Great points, RCRoy.  Especially appreciate your point about Tom Purcell. Excellent work by him in that role.  I couldn't figure out for the life of me what they were thinking.  As the series went on the episodes seemed less connected to each other.  It's like they stopped caring about the actual story and just wanted to put out great acting. Also great point about Mr. June. I was watching that thinking, "Oh come on." I also wondered about the whole politics thing, but I had an even more sinister line of argument that wouldn't work well on 11W.

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RCRoy45's picture

Yes.. having already served a suspension for such.. I tempered my  actual reasoning and documentation quite a bit for reasons you mentioned.. but having worked in Hollywood many years ago... the mechanics of these changes can come completely from the higher ups.. especially in these times..  

“And in the night of death, hope sees a star and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.”

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lljjgg's picture

I thought it was just okay. Some standout acting as others have mentioned in this thread (really loved the acting of Ali and Dorff), but really no pop or intrigue to the case itself; the big twist fell a little flat, and as others have also mentioned the detectives finally visiting the pink room + the Junius section didn't have as much sizzle as one would hope.

As you said in your OP, I think the first season was just so good comparatively to nearly everything else on TV at the time (and to this day, outside of standouts like The Sopranos or The Wire), these last two seasons were destined to disappoint. I will say that I thought Season 3 was markedly better than Season 2, though (and I say that as one of the select few who didn't hate Season 2, or so it feels like to me).

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c11058's picture

This season did just enough to keep me interested.  I don't think I'd have missed anything if I'd have given up on watching the series mid season.  

Wayne and Amelia had a conflicted relationship throughout the season.  I kept on wondering what attracted her to him.  Why did she marry him?  For the most part he was a brooding, joyless character who was consumed by the case.  I found myself wanting some happiness or satisfaction to come into this man's life.

I too would have liked to see a wider role for Mr. Hoyt in the story.  He wasn't just a victim of some bad circumstances in his life.  He sent Harris James to Las Vegas to terminate Lucy Purcell.  There also was no conclusion to the side story of crazy Danny O'Brien, Lucy's cousin.

The show jumped around from 1980 to 1990 to present times, which might have been more confusing to me if they hadn't done such a good job in making up the cast to reflect how they'd aged and changed hairstyles over the years.

Oh well, TD could have been better but it wasn't too bad a way to kill some hours in this cold winter season!

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HotSauceCommittee's picture

Stephen Dorff absolutely killed it this season. Ali will get most of the attention, but Dorff IMO stole every scene he was in. I have not been a Dorff fan, outside of his bad guy role in Blade and maybe a few others. Scott McNairy was great too in limited action. I really felt for him.

I agree with many above. It was a pretty good season, perhaps overshadowed by its own potential to be great. The Hays's relationship bogged the show down at times and I did not like that final cut to their scene in the VFW. I get it, but I didn't like it. I also think the war flashback would have been more impactful if they would have cut to it a few more times throughout the series.

I like the ambiguity with Wayne seeing Julie and her daughter at the end. Did he remember or did he chose not to rehash old demons and ruin a happy life? I also liked how those last two scenes seemingly faded into his mind. Was he at peace in that moment, were these the last few times he would remember these items, etc.? I give the show a solid B that with a few tweaks could have been a B+.

HS