In the ‘True Detective’ recap, Wayne receives an ominous visit from Mr. Hoyt after attempting to close the Purcell case once and for all and a possible tie to season one is finally revealed…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The penultimate episode of ‘True Detective’ season 3 didn’t necessarily offer a ton of new answers but a possible tie to season one was finally revealed and perhaps the reason why Wayne Hays was forced to give up his investigation 25 years earlier.
Almost all of the loose ends in 1980 are nearly tied up now as Wayne’s obsession with the case is what may have ultimately led to him being busted from state police detective to desk jockey for the better part of 10 years.
In 1990, Wayne and Roland try to wrap up the case after tragedy strikes and they are left with another crime that everybody else wants to be solved except they can’t accept the result that keeps being handed to them.
The end of the last episode left us with a creepy moment where Tom Purcell broke into the Hoyt family compound and found himself staring at a room with pink walls and uttering the name ‘Julie’ just before Harris James approached him from behind as the screen went black.
This week revealed that Tom Purcell never returned from that visit to the Hoyt compound as his dead body was discovered the next morning after an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
And finally in 2015, Wayne’s interviews with Elisa Montgomery and her true crime investigation show reveals a potential tie to the story that unfolded during ‘True Detective’ season one as well as more answers about the Hoyt family and their connection to the Purcell kidnappings back in 1980.
There’s plenty to unravel so with that let’s recap the latest episode of ‘True Detective’ titled ‘The Final Country’…
With Bret Woodard being posthumously convicted for the murders of Will and Julie Purcell, the entire case and investigation has been shut down.
Tom Purcell is ready to leave town and forget the tragedy that just destroyed his life. His wife Lucy is gone, his children are dead and he’s got nothing left tying him to that town in Arkansas. So he packs up his car and prepares to leave town but not before Roland West pays him a final visit.
Roland has felt sympathy for Tom ever since this crime originally happened — perhaps because he’s the one person that knew all along that the father had nothing to do with his children going missing. Before he leaves, Roland hands over his business card and tells Tom he may not want it now, but if he ever needs help to reach out.
We know from their interaction in 1990 that Roland helped Tom beat his addiction to alcohol five years earlier from some kind of situation that happened. Obviously whatever it was, Tom finally found a reason to use Roland’s number and offer for help.
As for the rest of the events in 1980, Wayne and Amelia grow closer as she begins her first draft of an idea for what will eventually become a book 10 years later.
Wayne is so frustrated and upset about the way the Purcell case was closed so conveniently without any real evidence tying Bret Woodard to the murder/kidnapping that he just can’t let it go. Unfortunately, Wayne and Roland are no longer on the case because according to the local prosecutor, the case is closed.
Wayne’s anger leads him to tell Amelia that he’ll reveal everything about the case to her if she decides to write a story about the Purcell case. While it’s never confirmed, it would at least appear that Wayne’s revelation about details regarding the Purcell case might be the reason he got busted down to desk cop after that investigation was concluded.
Following the shocking end of last week’s episode, Wayne arrives at Devil’s Den this week where he goes to the massive tower where he had once searched for clues about Will and Julie’s disappearance. As he makes his way up the steps, Wayne is greeted by the dead body of Tom Purcell that was discovered hours earlier.
Tom is dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound along with a suicide note typed out beside him where he apologizes and says he’s going to be with his wife and son.
Tom’s suicide is more than enough for the state’s attorney general to clear Bret Woodard of his original conviction and instead posthumously convict the Purcell’s father as the real murderer behind this decade old crime.
Once again, Wayne is not convinced — much like the case back in 1980, everything has just been conveniently wrapped up and settled thanks to a controversial death that points the finger at a suspect who can never actually answer whether they did it or not. Roland is mostly upset at himself for pushing Tom as a suspect after that call came into the station from a woman they believe was Julie Purcell.
That call had the cops convinced that Tom was a suspect and it forced Wayne and Roland to essentially accuse him of murdering his son 10 years earlier. Roland believes that maybe they pushed Tom over the edge but Wayne just doesn’t buy it. He also doesn’t buy that this grieving father, who had fought so hard to get his life back on track after losing his children, would suddenly type out a suicide note that essentially confesses to his crimes and then kills himself.
Wayne wants to continue the investigation but Roland is ready to walk away for good.
Wayne’s suspicions are driven even further after he returns home and his wife Amelia tells him about the disturbing encounter she had at her book signing the night before. During her question and answer session, a black man with a scar and one eye shouted at her and asked if she knew where Julie Purcell was at after it was discovered she was alive. Immediately after the encounter, Amelia remembered that Wayne and Roland had looked for a one-eyed black man who may have been connected to the dolls that the Purcell children received at Halloween back in 1980.
She passes along the information, which only further convinces Wayne that there’s more going on with this case than just Tom Purcell killing his son, attempting to kidnap his daughter and then committing suicide 10 years after the crime took place.
Before he can give it up, Wayne conducts one more part of the investigation when he receives the phone records from the Las Vegas motel where Lucy Purcell was found dead of an overdose back in 1988.
Wayne searches through the phone records and found that Lucy called an office at Hoyt Foods eight times the night before her death. The phone number she was calling belonged to none other than security chief Harris James.
Wayne then tracks down flight records from that same period of time and he discovers that Harris James boarded a private plane to Las Vegas the day before Lucy’s death and then returned back to Arkansas the day after her death. It’s pretty damning evidence that Harris James was involved in Lucy’s death and obviously had some kind of connection to her before she died as well.
To make matters even worse, Wayne and Roland go to the hotel where Lucy’s cousin Dan O’Brien was staying after promising to reveal information to the cops. Sadly, Dan had gone missing — his car was still in the hotel parking lot but he was nowhere to be found and there was no trace of what happened to him. It certainly didn’t appear that Dan left of his own accord, however, as his car was still there along with his wallet and all of his personal belongings.
Meanwhile, Amelia conducts her own investigation in 1990 by going back to the same neighborhood where the Purcell family once lived. Just like she wrote about in her book, the entire area was like a ghost town now after that tragic case seemingly sucked the life out of the entire community.
There was one person left still living there — Margaret, the woman who was Lucy Purcell’s best friend back in 1980, who was still staying in the same house up the street from where the family last lived.
Margaret never left and apparently she’s a bit of a hoarder after Amelia shows up at her house. She begins asking about Lucy being with other men and perhaps if she had a connection to the black man with one eye. Margaret confirms Lucy was with plenty of men but none of them black and nobody with one eye.
Amelia then reveals that she has a suspicion that perhaps this one-eyed black man was the person who kidnapped Will and Julie back in 1980 and that he may have given Julie a doll around Halloween.
That makes Margaret remember a photo she took back in 1980 that wasn’t developed until after the case had already been closed. She took a picture of Will and Julie in their Halloween outfits outside her house — and in the background Amelia spots two adults dressed in ghost costumes. Amelia knows about the farmer back in 1980 who claimed to have seen the Purcell children on his property and a couple — a black man and a white woman — who were often in the same area during different times. After some resistance, Margaret agrees to let Amelia borrow the photo to make a copy.
Before leaving, Amelia asks Margaret why she never bothered moving after everything that happened and she answers back that somebody had to stay and remember.
Amelia’s investigation then takes her to the bar where Lucy Purcell used to work before her death. She talks to her old boss and asks him if Lucy was ever seen around the bar with a one-eyed black man.
The owner says he never saw Lucy with a man that fit the description but he does remember a black man with one eye who was seen talking to her cousin Dan O’Brien, who used to visit the same bar back in 1980. This just serves as further proof that Dan had something to do with the original crime now that he’s tied to the one-eyed black man who was never found during that initial investigation.
Finally, Wayne decides after gathering all the information on Harris James’ travels to and from Las Vegas as well as the calls coming from Lucy Purcell that it’s enough to go question him about his involvement in this crime. Roland is resistant because he knows the prosecutor and state’s attorney general will shut down this investigation as soon as they report it.
That’s when Wayne suggests a little off the book interrogation just like the one they gave that pedophile back in 1980. He plays on Roland’s friendship with Tom to convince him that they need to shake down Harris James to get the information on what exactly happened back in 1980 not to mention getting answers about Tom Purcell’s death.
Wayne and Roland stake out Hoyt Foods and eventually pull Harris James over after he leaves work one night. They take him to that same barn where they beat up the pedophile back in 1980 and proceed to do the same to Harris James while asking him for answers in the Purcell case.
The only problem is Harris James refuses to give up anything no matter how hard they hit him. In fact, Harris starts to struggle breathing and believes that he may have a punctured lung. He offers to give the detectives everything they want to know so long as he walks out of there alive but first he has to catch his breath.
So Wayne unties his hands and Harris lunges at him, trying to get the gun in the holster on his hip. During the struggle, Roland is forced to shoot and kill Harris James to protect his partner and keep this ex-cop from dropping the dime on them for this off the books investigation.
Wayne and Roland end up burying Harris’ body in the middle of the woods to cover up the crime and that’s when the two of them end up blowing up at each other. Roland blames Wayne for this entire mess after he played on his sympathy over Tom’s death to convince him to do this off the books interrogation. The simmering bad blood boils over when Roland stops short of using a racially charged term about his partner and then tells him he won’t say it but he wants Wayne to know he’s thinking about it.
By all accounts, that incident is the reason why Wayne and Roland didn’t speak for the next 25 years but it still doesn’t explain why the investigation never goes any further.
Later that night, Wayne is outside burning the clothes he was wearing during the accidental execution of Harris James and when Amelia finds him, he promises to tell her the truth the next day about everything that happened.
In the morning, Wayne is about to unburden his soul and tell Amelia about murdering Harris James the night before when the phone rings.
Wayne answers and he’s greeted by the voice of Edward Hoyt — patriarch to the Hoyt Foods empire and the man currently sitting in a car just outside the Hays’ family house.
Hoyt proceeds to tell Wayne that he knows what happened the night before with Harris James and he’s extended every courtesy possible towards this police detective during his investigation but that is finally going to have to end now. Hoyt more or less threatens Wayne’s family after revealing he knows the names of his wife and children and offers to come into the house to discuss this situation with him.
Wayne declines and says that he’ll come out to meet with him instead.
Before leaving, Wayne asks Amelia to trust him and promises this is the last time he leaves without telling her the truth about everything. He then walks outside and gets into the waiting car with Mr. Hoyt before they all drive off together.
Obviously we know the Hoyt family is involved but my best guess is that he blackmailed Wayne into giving up the investigation after finding out about Harris James being murdered the night before. With that kind of leverage dangling over his head not to mention his family being threatened, Wayne decided to stop looking into the Purcell case until 25 years later when he had nothing left to lose.
It appears these last two episodes will shift much of the direction towards the current and final investigation into this case.
During his question and answer with Elisa Montgomery, Wayne talks about Tom Purcell’s suicide and how the case was closed once again thanks to a convenient death surrounding the investigation. Of course, Wayne doesn’t let on that he had suspicions all along and instead just tells Elisa that he never suspected much of anything.
Obviously, Wayne never gave up his suspicions but he’s been trying to get information from Elisa all along so he could use that in his own investigation into the case.
Elisa then asks about Amelia’s work on the case and about the rumors that she was working on a second novel about the Purcell kidnapping-murder 10 years after the original crime happened. Wayne denies that she was working on the book and says instead she decided to look into other cases rather than doing a second novel on the Purcell’s. While he never confirms it, this could also be a result of the threats he received from Edward Hoyt back in 1990.
She also asks him about a mysterious black man with one eye who was reportedly seen in that neighborhood back in 1980. Elisa says witnesses talked to him and at least one person claimed he said his name was ‘Watts’.
Elisa believes that this one eyed black man may have been a ‘procurer’ — a person who finds these children and then either pays off the parents or kidnaps them himself to hand over to the rich and powerful people behind these pedophilia rings. Elisa tells Wayne that she believes one or both of the Purcell children’s parents sold them into this human trafficking ring, along with help from Lucy’s cousin Dan and that’s what ultimately got them all killed.
Elisa then asks Wayne if he ever suspected a larger conspiracy at work in this case.
She then shows him photos of straw dolls that often times marked human trafficking rings around the United States and then she pulls up a second photo of a crooked spiral image that she claims signifies pedophilia rings.
Then Elisa shows Wayne a case from 2012 when two retired Louisiana State Police Detectives named Marty Hart and Rust Cohle tracked down and stopped a serial killer connected to a child pedophilia and murder ring years after their initial investigation had ended. The strange thing about that case as Elisa tells it is after Marty and Rust stopped Errol Childress, the police never went any deeper into that pedophilia ring or the cult that surrounded the entire Childress and Tuttle family.
You see the Tuttle family was rich and powerful in Louisiana — one of the people involved was a high powered preacher and his cousin was the governor of the state when the initial investigation started and he then became a senator.
Elisa suggests that these pedophilia rings run by rich and powerful people have existed for years and they keep getting away with it because they have the influence to ensure the investigations never go anywhere. Just like how the Tuttle family tried to stomp out Rust and Marty’s investigation, perhaps somebody was pulling the strings behind the Purcell case that kept pointing the finger at the wrong dead man.
Wayne pretends that he never considered any of these conspiracy theories and then he shuts down the interview. He acts rather upset that she’s pushing these theories on him for her own investigation but in reality he wants to start digging into the case again himself and he can’t let this go with his mind already starting to flutter.
During the interview, Roland shows up at the house and tells Wayne’s son Henry that his father has been spending his nights in his mother’s old office, bookmarking pages in her book and looking into her investigation from 1980 and 1990 — and he’s doing it all with a loaded revolver on the desk next to him.
Finally, Wayne finishes with Elisa and runs over to tell Roland about this man named ‘Watts’ while asking him to remember because he knows he’ll forget soon enough.
The next stop for the senior detectives is to visit with a former housekeeper, who used to work for the Hoyt family until 1985.
She helps tie together many of the loose ends about the family from her time living in the house. The housekeeper tells them about Hoyt’s daughter Isabel, who was struck by her own kind of tragedy back in 1977 when her husband and daughter will killed in a car crash. After that, Isabel never left the Hoyt compound until one night she disappeared and crashed a car into a guard rail nearby and causing a huge accident.
Following that incident, Isabel was restricted on her freedom to go anywhere without being accompanied by a man named ‘Mr. June’.
It seems Mr. June was Isabel’s own personal escort and he just so happened to be a black man with one eye. The housekeeper said that he was really close with Mr. Hoyt and he was the only person allowed in the basement level of the main house where Isabelle also stayed after her family was killed.
The housekeeper then says that she ended up leaving the job because after 1981, the rest of the staff was restricted to where they could go in the house and she ultimately decided to leave her position. She believes that Isabelle was getting worse and was being secluded from everybody else working at the compound.
She couldn’t offer up any further information on Mr. June or where he might be today.
That’s enough information to convince Wayne that perhaps Harris James was involved in this case stretching back to before the Purcell kids went missing. Remember, he was a cop who worked security on the side for the Hoyt family before 1980 and he was a patrolman on the stretch of highway where Isabel Hoyt had her car accident.
Maybe Harris covered that up and then continuously worked for the Hoyt family until he was killed in 1990.
Here is the theory I’m working with now — Hoyt paid off Lucy Purcell to take Julie as a surrogate child for his daughter Isabel after her own daughter was killed. They didn’t want Will but he refused to let go of his sister so they killed him. Julie was then placed into that pink room where she was cared for by Isabel as her surrogate daughter. It also stands to reason that perhaps Isabel was the woman alongside Mr. June when neighbors spotted a black man and white woman in the neighborhood back in 1980. Perhaps Isabel was helping Mr. June scout potential children they should take.
Sometime after Julie was kidnapped, a landscaper working on the property spotted her and helped her escape. That landscaper is the same Mike Ardoin, who we saw skulking around another property where Julie had lived just recently in 1990 when Amelia was looking for information on her. Mike was the boy who had a crush on Julie back in 1980 and who went trick or treating with her and her brother on the Halloween before they both went missing.
Perhaps, Mike helped Julie escape her captors and he’s keeping a close eye on everybody involved in the case to ensure nobody gets near her again.
It also can’t be a coincidence that years after she originally went missing that Julie Purcell was going by the name ‘Mary July’ — after a man named Mr. June was working at the Hoyt family compound. Maybe this family was involved in some kind of pedophilia ring but it seems more likely to me that Julie was taken to be a daughter for Isabelle but her mind was already so fractured that it never quite worked and then Mike helped her escape.
Finally back at Wayne’s house, he tells Roland his theory about Harris James and then reveals that he’s been having conversations with his dead wife. Roland is obviously concerned about Wayne’s fractured mind but before the conversation can get too deep, his former partner looks out the window and spots that same dark colored sedan sitting across the street.
Wayne asks for Roland’s help after he looks outside and sees the same sedan sitting there, which means it wasn’t just some figment of imagination for a man who can’t quite trust his own mind these days.
Wayne goes outside with a baseball bat and starts shouting at the car, which then starts and drives away in great haste. It was ultimately a distraction so Roland could sneak up behind the car and snap a photo of the license plate. They are going to find out who this person is sitting and watching the Hays’ house for these past few weeks.
Wayne briefly celebrates his victory but then his mind fades again — this time to a cold, lonely street with no one around him. Wayne ends up remembering the night that he burned his clothes after killing Harris James.
It’s tough to know for certain how much of what Wayne is seeing is real or imaginatory in his own mind, considering how he’s now at least twice drifted off into this strange purgatory before then waking up in a different time period. The same thing happened at the start of the season when Wayne woke up on the same street where the Purcell house was located back in 1980 and he had no clue how he got there.
The same thing appears to be happening now as Wayne gets closer to the answers he’s been seeking for the past 35 years.
Will Wayne finally get closure on the Purcell case? What exactly happened in that ominous car ride back in 1990 and will we ever know how Amelia died? Is it possible that Marty Hart or Rust Cohle pop up to help the detectives close out this investigation?
There are still a lot of questions to be answered in the season finale of ‘True Detective’ next Sunday night at 9 p.m. Et on HBO.