True Detective season 3, episode 1 recap: The Great War and Modern Memory


True Detective is back on HBO after a slightly disappointing second season and critics claim it is a return to form.

Mahershala Ali has joined the cast as a police detective in 1980 who is investigating a case of missing children.

This season will move between three-time frames – the original case, years later when the case was reopened, and present day when the detective is haunted by the past while reliving it with a true crime documentarian.

It is finally time to revisit True Detective for its third season.

True Detective season 3 premiere recap

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The True Detective season 3 premiere starts off in a small town with Walter Hays as an old man in a small town. It then flips back to 1990 where Hays is being interviewed about an old case. He is speaking to an attorney and someone asks how his job is and he said that he gets more time with his wife and kids.

They are looking at overturning a conviction in an old case – 10 years after the fact.

The attorney asks if he is having memory problems.

Back to 2015 and Hays is listening to a recording telling him that documentarians are coming to talk to him and it was recorded by himself the previous day so that he would remember. He is having memory problems.

His son comes in to get him for the interview.

Back in1990 and Hays is told that it is a strong case, but he mentions that a book is being written about it. They ask him to tell them his timeline of events from the case on November 7, 1980.

He goes through his notes and remembers that it was the day Steve McQueen died.

Back in 1980. Two kids ask if they can ride their bikes to a playground and they are told to be back by 5:30. They ask when their mom is coming home and then head out on their bikes. Their dad is working on a car and watches as they leave.

Hays said the kids left at 4:30 from multiple statements.

Back to 1980 and some teens pule into a VW Bug. The kids pass a woman taking down Halloween decorations. The teens are shooting off fireworks in the country and the two kids pass a man driving some junk.

The three kids in the VW Bug stop their car and watch the two kids ride by them.

Hays said that he was working cases with his partner at this time.

In 1980, he is sitting with his partner Roland West smoking and having some drinks. They talk about Steve McQueen dying that day. A fox comes out and West wants to shoot it, but Hays stops him. Hays mentions they can drive around and listen to some music and Hays mentions they can find someone to beat up.

It is dark, and the kids’ dad realizes they have not come back home yet. He calls some of the kids’ friends, but no one knows what happened to them. He drives around looking for them but can’t find them. He passes the guy pulling the junk down the road.

There are still kids shooting fireworks in the park and those guys with the VW Bug are messing around with the bikes that the kids were riding.

Hays and West are driving around, and they get the call for the missing person’s report. They seem almost disappointed to be getting this call. When they show up, they find out the missing persons were two kids – 12 and 10.

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Back to the present day where the documentary filmmakers are setting up to work on the true crime case. They mention that the case was from back in 1980. He is struggling with his memory. He remembers the moon and that Steve McQueen died that day.

Hays asks the dad to tell them everything that happened, so they can know what they did next.

In 1990, he was asked if they thought he was lying but he said that he did not believe he was lying about the kids’ disappearing. He turned off the recorder and asked if they know something he doesn’t. They said they didn’t and

Hays said that he never worked a case again when they reopened the case in 1990 but his wife published a book. He wishes they could have talked to her. They mention that his wife’s book is considered a work of classic literary non-fiction and he said that she did a good job but seems very sad, saying she was a good writer and teacher – a good investigator.

“Those kids, my kids, my wife.” It is clear that he is getting confused and said that he is really missing her today.

Hays asks when the kid’s mom is expected back but the dad said that he can’t reach her, and she works as a waitress. Hays tells the local police to get to work on searching for the kids. Hays asked if they can look around the house and said that they might have a clue and they have to look at other possibilities.

The dad wants to leave and start looking. Hays asks the dad to just wait and they will work together to find the kids. He finally agrees to take them through the house. They look through the kids’ rooms, trying to find clues.

West thinks the wife might have left him and took the kids with her. Hays said he hoped he was right.

In 1990, Hays said that they thought the wife left with the kids, but they erased that idea two minutes later.

The wife came back home and blamed her husband for them going missing even though she was not at home. West asks if she has been drinking and she said that she deserves to have a life and keeps blaming her husband for the kids going missing.

Hays and West set up the search parameter to find the kids.

Hays finds Playboys in the son’s room and a hole in the wall to the little girl’s room. They show the dad the Playboys but not the hole in the wall.

They then start to ask neighbors questions. One woman mentions the purple bug. Another woman mentions the Devil’s Den and what the kids do out there. They talk to a young kid who mentions who owns the Volkswagen. Another man talks about the trash man who rides around town. The kids’ dad said he saw him driving around when he was looking for the kids.

The police then start to ask how long the two have been sleeping apart. They then mention that a cousin named Dan O’Brien was staying with them for weeks. He lives in Springfield and left six months ago. They then heard that Dan was staying in Will’s room and the look between the police detectives might have connected him with the hole in the wall.

In 1990, Hays mentions that everyone went home until daylight, but he stayed up late because he was a “tracker.”

Back to 2015, he is still talking and said that the investigation took place the next morning.

Back in 1980, the news is reporting on the missing kids.

To the public school, Amelia Reardon is teaching the class. Hays and West are there waiting to talk to her. She teaches English and they ask about a senior in the class named Freddy Burns. They ask to speak to him.

Freddy tells them that they were hanging out at the tower and messing around. They ask if anyone was drinking and he said no. Hays asks about the missing kids and they show him the photos. He said that he had seen them around and said he saw them riding their bikes the day before and they passed them around 4:15.

Freddy tells them he never saw them again.

They ask another one of the teenagers what happened. He is wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt and West is not impressed and Hays explains that Black Sabbath is a Satanic mass. The kid says it is just the band’s name. He shows this kid a photo and asks if he saw the kids and he said that he saw them out playing in the park.

This kid said that they were not at the tower when they were hanging out, but he doesn’t remember because there were a lot of kids out there playing. He said that some of the kids were playing with firecrackers and others were playing.

Wayne then interviews the teacher. She doesn’t know much of what is happening with the missing kids at home. He asks how things are there, hinting at racial tensions, but she said that it is fine but the people there are mostly poor. She hears something here and there, but most people are careful around her.

He then asks about the boys with the VW Bug. She said that they are their “own little group” who are outcasts with tough attitudes who can’t talk to girls.

Wayne gets her number.

In the car, West asks if he thinks the teens are lying but he said he doesn’t know. He points out that one of them lied about the beer. He said if the investigation on the trashman doesn’t work out they will move back to the teenagers.

In 2015, Hays said they checked out the trashman next — Brett Woodard. He would drive a go-cart around pulling a trash trailer and pulled trash from people’s houses. He wasn’t home, but his door was open. They knocked and went in. They found a picture of Brett with two kids and then saw he was a veteran.

They put an APB on him since they know that some people don’t come back from the war right in the head.

In 2015, he said that he was ready to go and didn’t want to talk about anything more that day. He asks his son to help get them out of his house and he looks very distressed. He goes into his office and finds an old typewriter and the book his wife wrote.e  He

Back in 1980, they are out with dogs searching for the kids with volunteers.

Hays is heading into his own direction while everyone else is heading out with the dogs. West said that Hays does his own thing and is like a pathfinder — tracks wild boar for fun. If he wants to look alone, he is okay with it.

He heads over to the tower that all the kids were playing at the night of the disappearance and then heads up the tower to look out over the land. He gets to the top and finds empty beer cans and cigarette butts. He then walks on and then he finds a bicycle by the water and takes a photo of it.

Wayne then walks further and finds a small doll by a tree trunk made up like a bride and takes a picture of it. He found another doll along the way and then he then headed into a cave. This is where he finds the body of the little boy – dead.

The next scene has the teacher speaking to her class.

Back to 2015 and Hays son tells him that the filmmakers are gone as he looks at his wife’s book: “Life and Death and the Harvest Moon.”

Hays said the dolls were set up to lead him like a marker.

Next. True Detective season 3, episode 2 recap. dark

In 1990, Hays said that he was done for the day if they won’t tell him why they are reopening the case other than that they got the wrong guy. They told him the reason they reopened the case was that the missing little girl’s prints came up in a robbery in Oklahoma.

Back in 1980, Hays refuses to stop looking for the little girl.

That is it for the True Detective season 3 premiere. What are your thoughts? Has it rebounded and started to find its way again? Let us know in the comments and remember that True Detective airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.