This story contains spoilers for the first two episodes of True Detective Season 3.
It's now been five long years since True Detective first premiered, enthralling viewers with beer can men, Yellow King theories, and Matthew McConaughey's mystical monologues. Now, one divisive second-season later, the series is back with a whole new set of characters, but a mystery that feels elemental. Time is a flat circle, after all.
The third season of Nic Pizzolatto's ballyhooed series gets rid of all that talk of Vinci infrastructure and brings us a fairly simple plot, intricately told: Two children disappear in Arkansas in 1980 and Detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) deals with the repercussions of that case for decades. There are three timelines. There's 1980, of course, when Hays and his partner, Roland West (Stephen Dorff), investigate the missing Purcell siblings; then 1990, when Wayne is deposed as new information emerges in the case; finally, we cut to 2015, when a true-crime documentarian (Sarah Gadon) interviews Wayne, now an old man struggling with memory loss. Through all these years, we see the development of Wayne's relationship with his eventual wife Amelia (Carmen Ejogo), a schoolteacher who ultimately ends up writing a book about the Purcells.
There are some queries that are eating away at us after the first two episodes, which premiered on Sunday night. Join us as we speculate.