True Detective season 3, episode 3 recap: The Big Never

Following the back-to-back season premiere episodes of True Detective season 3, HBO is ready to delve deep into the mysteries of this season’s missing children’s case and its effects on the detective trying to crack it.

The first two episodes of True Detective season 3 saw two missing children disappearing. While the prosecutors were trying to leverage the case for their own political motivations, two police detectives were trying to find the missing girl after finding the little boy dead.

It ended with a note that said the little girl was alive and a moment in the future that proved that was indeed the fact. Here is a look at the recap of the third episode, “The Big Never.”

True Detective season 3, episode 3 recap

The third episode starts off in 1990 with Roland West seen for the first time outside of the original investigation in 1980. It seems that time has been kinder to West than it was to Hays, as he is now a lieutenant for the Arkansas State Police, Company D.

Related Story: True Detective season 3, episode 2 recap

He is talking to the same men that Wayne Hays was the first two episodes. He starts to talk about the note sent to the parents.

Back to 1980 as they are investigating the note and where it was sent from. Hays said that he believes that the girl is alive.

West said that there was neighborhood surveillance through the entire day. They ask why they showed up late (they were beating up a pedophile suspect in a barn when the call came in). West said he doesn’t remember but Wayne probably would.

This leads to Wayne getting medical tests done in 2015. He got a CT scan done and is told that things are fine but he needs to make a lifestyle change. He explains that he didn’t have any memory of driving out at the end of the second episode. Hays can’t remember who drove him home after the dinner that night.

He was then asked why he would have driven to that location. His son tells the doctor it was the location of an unsolved case from his past. The doctor said it has to be hard living with this disease. Hays said that if they try to put him in a home, he will off himself so they need to get it out of their heads.

Back to 1990 when Hays and Amelia are together outside a Walgreens (that is the place robbed where the fingerprints of the missing girl were found). It is obvious they have been going through some problems in their marriage. She asks what they want to do and suggests going to a hotel and having sex and drinking all night long and he said that would have been nice.

Amelia said that she could talk to the police about the case since she was writing a book about the case and she might get some information. This is because Hays said he can’t ask because it might come back on him — and that adds further mystery to the situation from 1980.

Now, back to 1980 and Hays said that he wants to walk it back because there is something they can’t see. West agrees. The Purcell kids said they were meeting other kids, but the kids said there were no plans, so Hays wants to know which ones were lying.

West said that it was good to get the teacher to help.

Back to 1990, West said that Hays knew that the kids were lying — and he was right and then tells them that they fu**ed a good detective back then (which ties into Hays saying it could “come back on him” when talking to Amelia). Obviously, Hays was right about something but the higher-ups screwed him over and messed up the case.

Alan Jones agrees but said it wasn’t him (it was his boss who went on to become a state prosecutor).

West said that he tried to get Hays transferred over twice but was blocked both times. The attorney said they needed to stay on point and West said he was making a point.

Hays is talking to the kids about whether or not they played with the Purcell kids. His parents said that he doesn’t go out and play much after school. They then asked Tom about it and he said that the little boy was his son’s best friend but admits that he never saw them playing together. They tell him that the kids never went to play with those kids. Tom wants to know why they aren’t looking for his girl.

West said that they are scared they have overlooked something and need to look at the kids’ stuff again. They go through drawers in the rooms and notice the kids’ mother watching them carefully. That is when West found a map and Hays found some small notes in a notebook that seemed to be someone promising to keep one of the kid’s safe.

Back to 1990, West said that the kids were lying but they were not doing what they said they did. They then asked if he saw Wayne anymore and he said he didn’t and he doesn’t know why. He admitted that sometimes when people stop working together, they just stop.

Wayne is shopping in WalMart with his kids, who won’t stop asking for toys. They want to go look at toys and he said that they have to stay with him (overprotective after that case makes sense).

Meanwhile, Amelia is asking the police about the prints at the Walgreens case and when they asked, she said that her ex-husband used to be a cop in Arkansas and she guesses she always had a thing for cops. She is trying to use sexuality to get help into the fingerprints. They told her there were partials and some fulls and that it is a match. There were none behind the counter and they were forced to stop working the case. Her fingerprints were just on the shelves and then they ask if she wants to have drinks afterward to talk more about it.

Hays gets some more and turns and his daughter has wandered off. He freaks out when they can’t find her, for obvious reasons. He freaks out and runs through the store yelling for his daughter. He demands that they lock down the store until he finds her. His daughter said that they were giving out chips and she didn’t know. Wayne gets scared and angry and yells at her, making her cry, before feeling bad about it.

Back in 1980, they are at a children’s outreach center for a local business that the mother worked at, and they are asking questions. They said that they are mostly helping kids with health issues. The company works with helping families after the owner lost a loved one. They ask for the names and hire dates of all employees.

They are still getting phone calls with tips but are dismissing the tips.

In 1990, West said the questions were who gave Julie the doll, who was the secret friend that played with Will, and where did they go after school.

The next move was to shut down the park outside of search parties. Back to 1980, Amelia and Wayne were part of the search team. He asks her out for dinner sometime.

In 1990, Amelia told him that she got a lot of information from the “Sallisaw boys.” He was reading the book that she wrote about the case. He asks if she has been drinking and she said that the fingerprints were found in the makeup aisles and she might be able to get the footage.

Wayne got pissed off at her for acting happy about getting the information about the case and he tells her to go see the kids that she wasn’t around all day. She tells him she is around them five times more than he is. He is being a total jerk to her and things are not going well in their relationship at all.

Back in 1980 on the search and Wayne found some multi-sided dice in some leaves. He then looks over and sees a crevice in the side of a hill and looks in and finds a box that has toys in it. He then looks around some more and sees some blood on some rocks. He walks around the corner and then sees a giant house in the distance. No one talked to the guy at this house and the road to the house is not on the maps.

The man said that he spoke to someone the day after the incident. He said that a man in a suit with a badge came and asked about the missing kids. He said that it was a white guy in a suit with a badge. He said that he told the man he had seen the kids before a few afternoons. There was also a nice brown car sometimes out there with a man and woman, the man was black and the woman was white. It was not on the same days as the kids.

Wayne asks if they can search the property. He said they couldn’t unless they got a warrant.

In 2015, the documentary is back underway and they asked if the canvassing was enough. Wayne said that it was and that officers did sufficient interviews with everyone and they said that they got all the information they needed. She said that she spoke to people that say they were never spoken to about the case. Wayne said that there were over 100 officers but no one spoke to the people, including two people who said they saw a very nice brown sedan that was driving around the neighborhood. Some people said that the police asked them about it and they mentioned the car but it was never in any of the reports.

Wayne seems concerned about this. He said that he remembers seeing the treads from the cars. The woman then mentioned a black man with a scar that was around where the kids played at the Devil’s Den but none of it was mentioned in the police reports. She asks if this means there were significant flaws in the original case.

He asks if there is new evidence on where Julie is — which is strange since there was talk last week about what happened with father and daughter in 1990, so either he is forgetting something important here or the conversation last week was misleading and about something else.

Wayne’s son wants them to stop for the day. The documentarian said they are doing good and he said I bet you are, which causes Wayne to say that is enough “for today.”

Back in 1980, they got the warrant and are searching the land. They are begging the toys but are taking pictures first to show the parents.

The trashman is driving his dune buggy down the road and a pickup truck starts honking at him and then cuts him off. A lot of guys get out and start to surround the guy. They ask him what he is doing “skulking around here” and say that they have kids playing out there and they don’t like him coming around the kids. He said that he doesn’t come around the kids and then they attack him.

He fights back and they beat him up. They then tell him to leave and then say if he talks to another child and then hints at what they will do if he does.

In 1990, West shows up at a trailer and meets up with Tom. He said they approached him and he said he doesn’t mind them reopening the case since they did find his daughter’s fingerprints. He said that he wishes Lucy had seen it, meaning the mother has since died. He mentioned bringing her body home from Vegas.

West asks how Tom is doing. He said that he is five years sober and West said that he is proud of him. The two seem to have kept in touch. He asks about Wayne, but he tells him that he is still on the job but there hasn’t been a major crime for him to investigate in a while. He said that he has lost touch to Hays. Tom then said that West helped pull him out of that hole five years ago and did more for him than anyone.

Tom asks West if he will pray with him. Tom asks for God to save him from anger, resentment, judgments and prophecies and his need to control.

In 2015, Hays is looking through some evidence and he is recording things so he can remember it. He is talking about when Amelia started writing. He starts to hear her talking about how Einstein said that past, present and future are a delusion. He and sees her there talking to him, asking if he is waking up to see clearly “what he withheld.”

She asks if he hardened his heart to what loved him the most. “Did you think you could go on and not have to look back.” He said that doesn’t deserve this but she said it is happening anyway. She then said he has to lose everything — the same as everyone else.

He said that he lost Rebecca but Amelia said that he didn’t — not the way that he thinks. She then asks if he is afraid that they will find what he left in the woods. She then tells him to “finish it.”

In 1990, Hays is going to work and he is at a desk. He grabs a case from his desk and starts to work but he is told the lieutenant wants to meet with him — the woman telling him he is moving up in the world.

He looks down and sees a photo of him and his kids.

The trashman races into his home and frantically pulls out something wrapped up that looks like a child.

In 1980, they show the parents some photos and Tom recognizes them but doesn’t remember buying any of them. The mom doesn’t know but she never bought their toys, to begin with. Tom asks where they found the toys and West tells them the kids had a play area in the forest. There was a third set of prints on the toys that they can’t ID. Hays then finds an old baby album that Tom brought out. There was a photo of Will with his hands folded in the same position they were when Hays found the dead body.

West sees it as well. They ask Tom what that photo is from and it was his first communion when he was 10.

West heads into a veteran’s bar in 1990 and heads over to Hays, who is having a drink there. West asks Hays how he has been doing. The two haven’t seen each other in a long time but they seem to still be on decent terms. West mentions that he is heading up a new task force and Hays asks if it came because he was white. West responds that it came because he didn’t have a big mouth. Hays seems really bitter.

Next: Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere date announced

West is still trying to offer him a chance to be a detective again and they start to talk about the Purcell case again. He asks if Hays is ready to get back to work or not, and Hays said he is and apologizes about the racial comment. The two leave together.

What are your thoughts as the clues and misdirections continue to add up on True Detective season 3? Let us know in the comments and be sure to tune in every Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST on HBO as the season moves on.