The fifth episode of 'True Detective' at last brought some major developments to the case. And as much as we have been enjoying the brooding intensity of it all, it was time.
The beginning of the episode didn't bring us straight into the cliffhanger we left things off at, instead we were in the 1990 timeline as Roland, Hays and their task force discussed how they were going to track down this woman in the CCTV footage that could be Julie Purcell. The scene ties back to Brett Woodard's house through a picture on the evidence wall as Hays is taken back to the day of what turned out to be one hell of a shootout. It resulted in Hays shooting Woodard and ultimately as we later find out, Woodard being framed for the murder of the Purcell children.
The aftermath of a heartfelt television plea from Tom Purcell leads to Hay encountering Woodard's children who are determined to clear their father's name for the Purcell murders and to give Hays as many filthy looks as possible in the process. Just one of the many ways things aren't really faring too well for Hays in the middle timeline at the moment. When we first met him in 1980, Hays seemed calm and thoughtful in his management of the case but in 1990, he seems almost frenzied by it. Time can do that I guess.
His marriage is also taking quite a hit as Amelia and him continue to clash. There clearly is a love buried there under the surface between them and from conversations Hays has later with older Roland (yes we got to see older Roland!), it sounds like he ultimately chooses his family over the case. Probably the right decision but it makes it more clear while it still haunts him as an old man in 2015.
The climax of the episode was the phone call that came through on the hotline which by the sounds of it, was Julie Purcell, or someone doing a pretty good job of pretending to be her. If it was Julie, she clearly has some very misconstrued ideas about her life to date, and just wants everyone to back the hell off.
The episode may have given us the biggest break in the case yet but more answers only lead to more questions, like did Lucy really write the kidnapper letter? And did Freddie have more to do with it then he is letting on? Who stole the fingerprint files? And who is in that car watching 2015 Hays or is it his imagination?
The timelines are also starting to bleed into each other more and more, and while older Hays was always haunted by the ghosts of his past, now 1990 Hays is too. And that door moving incident? That was slightly creepy. Sorry but we're back to our time being a flat circle theory - maybe Rust Cohle was on to something.
The final moments were given to Hays and Roland's reunion, which came after 24 years we learn. They didn't leave things on a good note but Hays has no idea why. He needs Roland to fill in the gaps from his memory but Roland, who has now become much more desolate in his old age, has no interest in teaming up again to solve the case once and for all. Their chat quickly turns emotional as Roland berates him for not keeping in touch, with Hays apologising for whatever it is he did. Roland at last concedes to helping Hays, saying "I could use a laugh" and the Purcell case, unofficially at least, is reopened once more.
Read our review of episode 1 and 2 of 'True Detective'.
Review of episode 3 of 'True Detective' - 'The Big Never'
Review of episode 4 of 'True Detective' - 'The Hour and the Day'