TV ReviewsTrue Detective Season 3 Episode 4: The Hour and the Day Review

Keith NoakesJanuary 27, 2019

For our review of the last episode of True Detective, click here.

Synopsis: 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. (HBO)

Writers: David Milch and Nic Pizzolatto

Director: Nic Pizzolatto

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 67mins

Airs: Sundays at 9pm on HBO Canada (Canada)/HBO (United States)

We are inching closer as the timelines begin to converge in this new extended episode that didn’t have to be extended as you will learn.

The episode started where the last left off with Hays and West investigating the lead of Will Purcell’s questionably posed first communion photo. Their trip to the local church gave them a potential new mystery aunt and the person who made the weird straw dolls that were found with Will Purcell. A chat with the doll maker led them to a person who purchased an unusual amount of the dolls, a black man with a lazy eye. The man happened to live in a predominantly African-American community which presented its own set of challenges considering the current times. The man claimed to be innocent as there were plenty of other black men with lazy eyes within the same area.

Hays and Amelia went on their first date. Amelia regretfully brought up the case which took over their conversation. Hays had not had too many girlfriends but the chemistry was definitely there. Meanwhile, West got a call about Tom Purcell getting into an altercation at a bar. He picked him up and offered to let him sleep on his couch as Tom did not want to go home as he was haunted by the memories of his children (a great scene between Stephen Dorff and Scoot McNairy).

While they continued to look for any other black men with eye injuries in the area, the local prosecutor named Gerald Kindt (Brett Cullen) was trying to get famous off the tragedy. Meanwhile, Amelia tried to console Lucy Purcell who thought that what happened was just her punishment. Amelia surely meant well but Lucy questioned her motives. The police would later match a set of fingerprints found on Will Purcell’s bicycle to a group of teens who they interview prior on the day of the Purcells’ disappearance. Hays and West were not as nice this time around. One of the teens, Freddy Burns (Rhys Wakefield), found Will Purcell without his sister before chasing him off and taking his bicycle. 

In the 90s, Hays and Amelia had a fight as they continued to drift apart. With West in charge of the new investigation, Hays had to adjust to the new dynamic as he went back to being an investigator. The new investigation’s mandate was to validate the conviction for the murder of Will Purcell. When it came to Julie Purcell, who they all knew now was alive, Hays had a theory that she may have escaped from somewhere and she may be trying to evade her captors who may or may not be looking for her. Hays became obsessed with the video of the pharmacy robbery where Julie Purcell was spotted. In the video, she seemed scared and was definitely looking back at something or someone.

In 2015, Hays continued looking back into the Purcell case as it was the only way to remember himself and his life and to stay alive. He asked Henry, who was also a cop, to look into the whereabouts of some people from both past investigations and also to find West (who hasn’t appeared in this timeline yet). Henry was hesitant but decided to help. Hays would later go behind Henry’s back and speak to the director of the crime show he was appearing on, Elisa Montgomery (Sarah Gadon), to try and learn whatever new information they had on the case as they clearly knew more than they were leading on. However, she wasn’t willing to tip her own hand. Hays’ dementia was getting worse as he looked lost while trying to remember and come to terms with the failures from his past, including the mystery car and the black man with the lazy eye.

Now the reason for the extended running time. Remember when Woodard, the trash man, was warned to stay away from the local kids? That didn’t last long as his last interaction with some girls was again was misinterpreted though at least this time he was prepared. Hays and West got called over but it was too late as one of the men chasing Woodard triggered a land mine as the episode ended.

Overall, The Hour and the Day was another excellent episode of True Detective that was otherwise a touch longer than it needed to be. They are perhaps further in finding the suspect behind Will Purcell’s murder, however, we know that there’s much more to that story. It will definitely be interesting to see how the 80s and 90s investigations led to the man that Hays would become in 2015 (Where’s 2015 West?). We know that the 80s investigation stunted Hays career but he was somehow more haunted from what happened in the 90s. The contrast of Hays and Amelia’s relationship in the 80s and 90s was compelling to watch thanks to the performances of Ali and Ejogo. However, the best part of the episode was 2015 Hays’ look back at his life and past failures. The answer will clearly be with 2015 Hays and Ali’s sensational performances especially in these scenes make the journey incredibly satisfying. Bring on the next episode!

Score: 9.5/10

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