True Detective season 3 has been billed as a one-man showcase for Mahershala Ali as opposed to the two-hander of season 1 or the too-many hander of season 2. And Ali has been predictably great playing the three different versions of Wayne, but Stephen Dorff has also made the most of his supporting role through the first two episodes and he gets even more to do in “The Big Never,” a step up in quality from the second half of last week’s premiere.
We’ve already caught up with Wayne in all of the time periods, so now it’s time to meet 1990 Roland. He’s a hotshot lieutenant, advancing much farther than his former partner. Speaking of Wayne, he and Amelia are spending their date night in the parking lot of the Walgreens where Julie’s fingerprints were found. He’s tired of talking about the case, so she suggests, “We can just drink and have sex all night.” He responds, “Boy, that’d be great.” But instead of doing that they go back to discussing the case and Amelia offers to try to get some info from the local police. They then head to their motel to presumably drink and have sex all night.
Things aren’t as hot and heavy for Wayne in 2015. After last episode ended with him confused in front of the old Purcell house, Teddy has brought him to see a doctor. “I went there for a reason, I just can’t remember,” says Wayne, arguing that it’s not a big deal. He’s so frustrated that he even promises to kill himself if his son tries to put him in a home.
Wayne’s memory problems are ironic considering 1990 Roland is saying how his former partner has a better memory than he does. “Y’all f—ed a good detective,” he says, revealing that his previous attempts to get Wayne assigned to his department were blocked. Back in 1980, the revelation of the note that was sent to the Purcells has Roland and Wayne reexamining the entire case, beginning with why the kids were lying about hanging out with their neighbor friend. They interview little Ronnie and he says that he didn’t play much with Will and Julie, prompting the cops to go through their stuff again. In Julie’s room, Wayne finds notes that read ominous things like “Don’t listen” and “I’ll always keep you safe,” as well as a bag from Hoyt Foods, Lucy’s old employer. The partners then go check out the company, which through their Ozark Children’s Outreach Center has put up a reward for info on the kids. That’s nice, but Wayne still wants names and background on all their employees.
Returning to 1990, Roland confesses that he doesn’t see Wayne anymore, even though he’s not sure why. “Once we stopped working together, we just stopped,” he says. Meanwhile, Wayne hasn’t stopped looking for missing kids as his daughter Rebecca disappears during a trip to Walmart. Thankfully, she resurfaces relatively quickly, but he’s still pissed. Amelia wasn’t there for this, instead out in Oklahoma flirting with cops to get information on the Walgreens robbery (what does Target need to do to get a visit?). The flirting works and she learns that Julie’s fingerprints were on the shelves and not behind the counter. Upon returning home, she doesn’t get a thank you from Wayne, who’s being quite the jerk. And she’s the one who should be mad considering he didn’t even end up buying anything at Walmart!
While he didn’t make any progress on the groceries, Wayne is making some strides in the investigation in 1980. The state park has been shut down for a large search, which means bonding time for Amelia and Wayne. He explains his tracking skills and asks her out to dinner. But progress on the investigation comes when he’s solo and spots some dice, followed by a hidden bag that is full of toys. Nearby he finds hair and blood on sharp rocks, meaning this is where Will was killed. He then grabs Roland and they keep walking to a big house. The owner says he was already interviewed but it’s not clear by whom. Apparently, he had seen the kids as well as a nice car with a black man and a white woman. But his help ends there when he refuses to let his land be searched without a warrant. (The recap continues on the next page)
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