True Detective Season 3 Theories From Episode 6: Hiding In Plain Sight?
By Kevin Wong on
The solution is staring us in the face.
Short of coming right out and telling us who killed Will and kidnapped Julie, HBO's True Detective gave us enough clues to put the solution together ourselves in Season 3, Episode 6: "Hunters in the Dark." The bigger questions now shift to the detectives: Who knew what, and at what time? Based on the 2015 timeline, Roland and Wayne may have done something heinous to the perpetrator(s), as an act of vengeance, justice, or a colder matter of practicality.
The most interesting question: where is Julie Purcell in 2015? We know that the authorities never found her, but that still doesn't preclude the possibility that Roland and Wayne found her and covered it up, or that she's six feet under, and died as an anonymous citizen. The showrunners still have two episodes to tie up any remaining loose ends.
Here are the latest theories for True Detective: Season 3, Episode 6--a combination of our personal insights and the best theories we found online. If you liked the theories in this gallery, there's more where that came from. Check out our other True Detective theory galleries for further deep-dive analyses.
1. Hoyt Involvement Confirmed
We learn that Lucy's cousin, Dan O'Brien, knows the name of the person who was paying off Lucy for her silence and complicity. And in one of the most suspenseful scenes of the series, Tom corners Dan in a motel room and forces him, at gunpoint, to give up the name.
We next see Tom skulking the grounds of the Hoyt family compound. And when he breaks in, he discovers a room dressed entirely in pink: the "pink castle" that the show has alluded to multiple times.
This confirms a popular fan theory that Hoyt Foods is the main culprit in this crime and its subsequent coverup. We learned early in the season that the Hoyt CEO lost his granddaughter, and fans have speculated, for several weeks, that Julie was kidnapped to serve as a replacement. This recent development all but confirms it.
But how did Julie later become a runaway? Were the Hoyts abusive? How did she escape? Do they want her dead now? It's all still up for speculation.
2. A Deep Closet
We learn in the '90s timeline that Tom is a closeted gay man; his fellow co-workers caught him entering a "queer club." We see religious conversion therapy pamphlets in his house. And there are several implications that one or more of the other main characters could be closeted as well.
The first is Roland, who forms a close relationship with Tom in the years since the crime. He's the one who Tom credits with helping him stop drinking. Is it possible that their relationship was ever something more than a friendship? When Roland later interrogates him for the possible murder of Will and Julie, Tom has an abject look of hurt and betrayal on his face--perhaps more hurt than if they were only close friends. We also learn Roland and his girlfriend broke up and that he's unmarried as of 2015.
The second character possibility is Harris James, the head of Hoyt security. There's a weird, out-of-place comment when Roland and Wayne are interviewing him; James compliments Wayne's body in a very forward, awkward manner. Is this foreshadowing James' orientation?
So why does any of this even matter? Because as we learn from Tom's foreman in the '90s, people felt uncomfortable discussing homosexuality in '80s Arkansas. It's entirely possible that somebody in the underground gay community saw something that was relevant to the case, but never reported it out of fear of being outed. And similarly, Tom, Roland, and James might be privy to information they wouldn't feel comfortable sharing, or they could be extorted by someone who threatens to reveal information if they step out of line.
3. Is Harris James a Future Victim?
We know Harris James ends up disappearing by the end of the season. But how? Perhaps the detectives did it and then covered up the evidence.
They would have some vengeful reasons to do so. Harris almost certainly planted the evidence on Woodard's property and framed an innocent man for murder.
This could be the big secret that Wayne and Roland are keeping in 2015, which has taken a massive toll on them both. We see a nice bit of foreshadowing during their interview with Harris: a picture of Harris on a hunting expedition. Wayne did some hunting in Vietnam, only his prey was of the human variety.
4. Do You Remember Mike Ardoin?
We see a young Mike Ardoin in a couple of scenes at the beginning of the season; he's the one waving at the Purcell kids when we last saw them biking from their home. He's also the kid who went trick or treating with Julie and told the detectives about the corn husk dolls.
In the scene where '90s Amelia is interviewing Julie's runaway friend Shelly, Amelia glances out the window and sees a truck with the name Ardoin on the side. We also see a young, dark-haired man by the truck.
Could this be an older Mike Ardoin? Vanity Fair dedicated an entire article to the theory that Julie is now hiding out in Mike's home. After she escaped the Hoyts, Mike's '80s crush blossomed into a full relationship.
5. Is Shelly Who She Says She Is?
The Vanity Fair article further speculates about Shelly; what if that is actually Julie, and she's still pretending, in front of Amelia, to throw the detectives off her scent? There's no hard evidence to back this up, but it underlines the point that the only security footage we have of Julie is very blurry; there's no reason it couldn't be her, or any other woman who's drifting through the background of the show.
It all seems a bit far-fetched, honestly. But we are getting to the end of the season, and we still haven't met an older Julie, face-to-face. It seems we should have by this point, and maybe, we already have.
6. Suspicious Pumpkin Lady
At the press conference where the police announce that Woodard will be convicted for Will and Julie's murders, Lucy storms out. She is followed by a news reporter, Amelia, and a third woman, which the camera appears to display front and center. She then runs back inside, without either Amelia or the reporter acknowledging her presence.
We've seen this woman before. She was one of the people who was initially interviewed; she was taking down her pumpkins off her porch when Will and Julie biked by. Clearly, she knows Lucy. And if she was close enough to Lucy to run after her, perhaps this woman knows some information relevant to the case.
7. Forgetful or Faking It?
There's a moment near the end of the episode when 2015 Wayne gets confused and paranoid. He asks Roland to check outside for a sedan. Roland does so (the camera doesn't let us see from Roland's point of view, unfortunately) and he tells Wayne there is no sedan outside.
What if Wayne is pretending to be more forgetful and paranoid than he lets on? There's a staged quality to the entire exchange, and there's even a faint smile on the edges of Wayne's lips while Roland is looking out the window. Is he testing Roland in some manner?
We know that Wayne still has his old instincts, despite his senility; he correctly deduces that the filmmaker and his son are sleeping together. Perhaps his confusion isn't all that it seems on the surface. He could be using it to his advantage, to catch people with their guard down.