True Detective Season 3 Theories From Episode 4
In the fourth episode of True Detective: Season 3, titled "The Hour and the Day," we didn't get a whole lot of forward progression. True Detective is a slow-burning show, and the writers used this episode to meander a bit.
We see an extended clip of '80s Wayne and Amelia on a date; we later see their marriage disintegrating in the '90s timeline.
There is a lot of Roland: his mutual fondness and respect for Wayne, and also his protectiveness of him. Roland goes hard on Tom when the grieving father calls Wayne the N-word in a drunken rant. And Roland is also the one who fights for Wayne to get back on the Purcell case in the '90s.
Lastly, we get a promise of violence to come--appropriate because we've reached the midway point of the show, where the narrative climax ought to be. The lynch mob has followed Trash Man back to his home, and it looks like the gun-laden standoff will end in bloodshed.
Here are our newest True Detective theories, via Reddit and our personal analysis, from Episode 4. If you liked this gallery, check out our True Detective theories for Episodes 1 and 2 and our theories for Episode 3.
1. The Shutter Island Theory
One current theory is that the entire "true crime" documentary that Elisa is directing is fake; she's pretending to film a documentary to get Wayne to talk to her. Maybe she's some sort of medical professional or psychiatrist, and these recording sessions are actually doctors' appointments or therapy sessions.
That means the information Elisa is sharing about the case is in the public record; she's jogging his memory with little tidbits, helping him recover a past that he's forgotten. It also explains why Elisa and Wayne's son Henry occasionally exchange glances; they're roleplaying and checking in with each other.
2. The Officer Henry Theory
We learn definitively in Episode 4 that Wayne's son Henry is a police officer. And that's led some Redditors to speculate that Henry is carrying on his own investigation of the Purcell case, and that Elisa is also some sort of law enforcement agent; together, they're trying to pry forgotten memories and evidence from Wayne's brain, in hopes of turning up something new.
Either that, or maybe Henry knows about something, possibly illegal, that his father has done. And by having Elisa interview his father, he hopes to learn the scope of it so he can cover his father's tracks.
3. Elisa and Henry Theory
This isn't a game changing theory--more a casual observation. When Wayne goes to visit Elisa in her hotel room, it looks like she's had romantic company; there are two wine glasses in her room, even though Elisa insists she is alone.
Maybe Henry and Elisa are hooking up. It would add an impressive parallel to two timelines; Officer Wayne dated and eventually married a teacher who fancied herself a writer and investigator, and Officer Henry is involved with a woman who's pretending to be an investigator. It would also add a cruel irony to Wayne's request: that Elisa not tell Henry anything. He doesn't know that they're together, and they're both playing him.
Lastly, there's a literary wink: their names. Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle are the main characters and central romance of "Pygmalion," a play about a linguistics professor who tries to pass a flower girl off as an upper crust lady. Again, it reinforces the theme of deceit and dual identities.
4. The Viet Cong Theory
Near the middle-end of the episode, old Wayne has a vision of Viet Cong and NVA soldiers--perhaps he killed these men during the war? But if you look carefully, there's another face in the crowd. He's looking down and he has long hair and what appears to be a gunshot wound.
Redditors speculate that this might be the third teenager in the purple Volkswagen from Episode 1; perhaps deliberately, he's also the only teenager who we don't see interviewed by the police. Maybe he was tried and sentenced for Will's killing, hence Wayne's guilt?
The other theory is that this is Woodard aka Trash Man. This would make a lot of sense; it seems like he's well on his way to dying at the end of Episode 4. Perhaps Wayne is the one who fires the kill shot?
5. Roland Limp Theory
We see Roland limping in a very pronounced manner in the '90s timeline. Perhaps the shootout at the end of Episode 4 is what caused this injury years prior. Or, he might have gotten shrapnel in his leg from a booby trap in Trash Man's yard. We'll find out soon--probably next week.
6. Lucy/Hoyt Theory
One theory that's gained steam is that Julie was taken by the chicken CEO's family; Hoyt lost his granddaughter, and Julie is taken to be a replacement for her.
In this episode, we learn that Julie's mother, Lucy, might have been sleeping with her boss at the Sawhorse; she admits cheating on Tom multiple times. What if she slept with Hoyt as well, years prior? That would explain Hoyt's attachment to Julie. Possibly (and this is a bit far-fetched), Julie is his biological daughter. It would also explain Lucy's guilt, if she was complicit in the abduction. She wanted to give her daughter a better life; she didn't know that her son Will would end up dead as a result.