The pay-off for sticking with the slow-burning season 3 of 'True Detective' is coming thick and fast. This week's penultimate episode served up some delicious twists and dark turns and gave us an unexpected crossover that has left us contemplating the entire 'True Detective' universe.
The episode kicked off with what initially seemed like a new timeline, which at episode 7, is a bit much. It was possibly just a one-off flashback, perhaps showing that Hays once had a great relationship with his now estranged daughter Rebecca. It's only purpose in this episode was to later explain Hays' confusion when meeting the family of the Hoyt's former housekeeper. Perhaps there's more here that will be explored in the finale.
We were then brought into the 1990 timeline where the body of Tom Purcell is discovered after an apparent suicide. We all know that was most certainly not the cause of death after the jaw-dropping ending to episode 6 which saw Tom walk into the pink room that Julie Purcell is telling people she grew up in. However, once again, as documentary maker Elisa Montgomery puts it in 2015 - "a sudden act of violence, a dead man, and the case is closed."
Hays tells Elisa he never looked at it like that, before we are taken back to 1990 where we see that's exactly how Hays looked at it, much to Roland's frustration. Unwilling to give up, he trawls through Lucy's phone records in the lead up to her death and after crossing it over with flight information, discovers that Hoyt's head of security Harris James was in Las Vegas at the time of her death. All very suspicious and Hays knows it.
Instead of reporting this, Hays presurises Roland to take matters into their own hands, knowing the information will fall on deaf ears otherwise. Soon the pair are doing their best 'good cop/bad cop' out at their favourite barn, and things escalate, as you probably suspected they would, given that we already knew that Harris James disappeared around then.
Before all this though, we also had the discovery of an old picture of the Purcell children out trick-or-treating with people dressed as ghosts in the background. We also know more about this one-eyed man who showed up in last week's episode and has been talked about since the beginning. His name is Watts, but he also goes by Mr June and he worked at the Hoyt house looking after Isobel Hoyt.
The most exciting possible development we got in the case however came in 2015 when Montgomery refers to a case back in 2012 where two former Louisiana detectives discovered a serial killer at the centre of a paedophile ring. Those two former Louisiana detectives just happened to be our boys Rust Cohle and Martin Hart from season one. So 'True Detective' is operating off a shared universe, the sneaky so-and-so's. The crossover surely has more implications than just a simple fan service. Montgomery describes how there were endless accomplices in the 2012 case that were never investigated, and is adamant there must be a link. Hays doesn't seem to think so and is annoyed that this is what she has been leading up to. He tells her he wants to stop "walking though the graveyard" but his conversation with Roland directly afterwards proves otherwise.
The episode ends with the discovery that the black Sedan outside Hays' house in 2015 is very much not in his imagination. With Roland's help, he confronts the car outside which is quick to drive off, but not before they get the registration number. The incident triggers a memory with Hays and he soon finds himself staring into his past again as he stands in his garden burning his clothes after the Harris James murder. Amelia finds him and the pair agree that enough is enough and that they need to start being more open with one another. However their chat is interrupted when Hays gets a call from Mr Edward Hoyt himself, who seems to know about what happened the night before and is full of veiled threats. Oh and he's also parked right outside Hays' house and wants him to come out to talk.
He eventually obliges and it's there we leave things as we head into what is bound to be a showstopper of a finale. The last episode looks set to answer all your burning questions with an episode title of 'Now Am Found' and the promise that the truth behind the Purcell case will finally be revealed.
After that last scene though, you would wonder if Hays perhaps discovered the truth way back in 1990 and has now blocked it out due to his illness? Perhaps Hoyt tells him everything but threatens to expose Roland and Hays' murder if he says anything? Whatever happens, we know a lot of people are complicit in this case, and by the looks of it, are still hanging around in 2015 making sure secrets remain buried, which means there are least some people who can still be held accountable... but who?