For our review of the last episode of True Detective, click here.
Synopsis: Hays looks back at the aftermath of the 1980 Purcell case in West Finger, Ark., including possible evidence left behind at the Devil’s Den, an outdoor hangout for local kids. As attention focuses on two conspicuous suspects — Brett Woodard, a solitary vet and trash collector, and Ted LaGrange, an ex-con with a penchant for children — the parents of the missing kids, Tom and Lucy Purcell, receive a cryptic note from an anonymous source. (HBO)
Writer: Nic Pizzolatto
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Running Time: 57mins
Airs: Sundays at 9pm on HBO Canada (Canada)/HBO (United States)
While the premiere did a great job at setting the scene, this episode really hit the ground running as far as the investigation was concerned.
After the events of the premiere, Hays and West were looking for one less missing child with the discovery of Will Purcell’s (Phoenix Elkin) body. Their next step was to focus on an important piece of evidence that was found at the crime scene in their attempts to find Julie Purcell (Lena McCarthy) being a set of mysterious straw dolls. In trying to find the dolls’ creator, the authorities would eventually connect them to Julie. However, the identity of their creator is still a mystery, no thanks to the rest of the police department and the politics of the time. Hays and West also encountered a few potential suspects including a solitary trash collector and war veteran named Brett Woodard (Michael Greyeyes) and an ex-con with an affinity for children but both of those went nowhere despite the ex-con getting quite a beating for his trouble. The episode also put into question the fact that Tom Purcell was even Julie’s father thus presenting another potential suspect. In the end, the Purcells received a mysterious note warning them to let Julie go.
Fortunately for us, we also know that Julie is alive but whatever happened between the time she went missing and when she resurfaced in the 90s timeline is a mystery. Though Hays continued to be deposed, this was all he could think about. This development with Julie may have had something to do with the conviction of the man Hays and West arrested for the crime potentially being overturned. As far as they knew, Julie was still in the wind.
The biggest development perhaps came in the 2015 timeline. In the 80s, Hays befriends a school teacher named Amelia (Carmen Ejogo) for whom he later married. She may have been a school teacher but she really wanted to be a writer and we know she did just that, writing a book about the Purcell case, a book that would come in handy for him later. While he appeared restrained in the premiere, Hays has clearly not given up on the case after all this time, leading him to leave the police in the 90s and potentially causing a rift in his marriage. We know Amelia passed away between the 90s and 2015 so now, he was being taken care of his adult son Henry (Ray Fisher). His daughter Becca had since moved away to Los Angeles.
In his old age, Hays appeared to be showing signs of dementia. He was beginning to forget details about his own life and the Purcell case. Perhaps as a way to stay connected to both, Hays agreed to be part of a true crime TV show revisiting the Purcell case, using Amelia’s book to help him remember certain details about the case. Hays’ condition was definitely putting a strain on Henry. The last scene of the episode shows that he may be even worse off than it seemed as he somehow found his way in front of the old Purcell house.
Overall, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye was another excellent episode of True Detective that perhaps took a step back narrative wise after the premiere but started to connect all the timelines in a compelling way. Each timeline continues to be easy to follow as the best part of the season so far is taking what we know while going back in time and watching the characters evolve. The season may not have tipped its hand just yet but Ali as Hays continues to be well worth the price of admission, giving yet again another amazing performance and was compelling to watch here. While it’s clear that this season will be mostly about Hays, it would be nice to see more from the other characters. Either way, this season has been doing a great job at giving you just enough, leaving you wanting more and I want more.