‘True Detective’ Season 3, Episode 6 Recap: The Pink Castle

Some unexpected intel sends Tom on a dark odyssey in search of answers.

Comments: 50

  1. Maybe I've seen entirely too many shows like this or maybe I'm just overly cynical, but I sure wish I could've looked through those blinds with Roland. So he didn't spot a black sedan? Really? I've looked out that window every other time. Why not now?

  2. @B. Anderson When Wayne returns from the bathroom, he seems surprised to see Roland. Keeps asking him how he is doing, like you would someone you had not seen in a very long time, not someone you just had a conversation with. It could be that it is a dementia moment for Wayne. He forgot about the visit and conversation in the 2 minutes he was away. Or it occurred to me it's a bigger dementia moment, and Roland isn't there.

  3. @MaPeel Good call!

  4. @thx11k2 - spot on.

  5. What a cliff-hanger! Tom’s words “the dolls”. What did he see? Really liked the scene with Wayne and his son.

  6. Could the interviewer be Julie?

  7. @Claire Julie would be 45 in 2015...the interviewer is much younger than that.

  8. @Kira She could be Julie's daughter.

  9. I felt that way early on; I believe she’s the right age, looks like young Julie’s pic and developed an unusual focus on this dormant case.

  10. This episode is where I started losing interest and Mr. Tobias hits on the main point. If the culprits are the big bad plutocrats at Hoyt, the lower rung players lose agency. Does every crime have to lead to a massive conspiracy? Put it another way, this was the episode where I started sensing (as with the prior seasons) that the writers are just messing with us. I'll stick with the series through the bitter end, but at this point, it's getting to be a slog.

  11. @peinstein I started losing interest in last week's episode. I will stick with the series because I want to know how it all turns out, but compared to the first two "True Detective" series, while this one has many brilliant moments, all too often the story line drags and drags and drags. I think the main reason I stick with Season 3 is because of the riveting acting by Mahersh Ali and Stephen Dorff - they rock!

  12. @peinstein: I don’t think those on the lower rung lose agency; they lose options. Some of those options are not particularly appealing. Often we have seen this scenario play out in real life. The Congressman who had a pedophile ring back in the 1980’s, the revelations of child molestation rampant in Hollywood. The recent plea bargain of the billionaire who was charged with pedophilia. To my mind, the conspiracy is not so much a plot device as it is a reflection of things we dare not dream of.

  13. Harris James' passing comment to Hays about him having a good body is going to figure into this somewhere.

  14. Agreed. It was peculiar and certainly didn’t go unnoticed by Wayne.

  15. I have come to a sad conclusion. I may not be smart enough to watch this series. The twists and turns are hard to follow and I frequently have to ask, amid the proliferation of minor characters, who is being talked about. The hint at a pedophile ring seems like a construct devoid of previous clues, possibly a tease. This series is most compelling when it focuses on Hays and West, and the relationship between Hays and his wife. The best stories are deeply personal, so am hoping Pizzolotto doesn't veer off in some distant conspiracy land.

  16. @nancy hicks "I have come to a sad conclusion. I may not be smart enough to watch this series." Please do not say or think that or be so hard on yourself. I don't believe it. I think any time a series is written in the past tense simultaneously with the present, it is easy to lose the thread of the story. I personally hate that kind of story teller. Just tell it to me from the beginning to the end without the flipping back and forth. I don't enjoy being confused and working harder than I have to in order to follow a story.

  17. @Marge Keller Right. A plotline involving more than one time period has to be very well written to hold the viewer (see TD1). Here the writers juggle three periods awkwardly. But what annoys me even more is referenced above by Art Seaman: the unintelligible dialogue. Will, alone among the cast, speaks in too thick an accent for the reader to follow his exposition. And his character says a lot we need to know. Poor direction.

  18. @Lee E. Thanks for sharing a similar viewpoint on many issues. I recall the TV series, "Damages". I loved Glenn Close in that role - hard, focused, determined, ruthless - all the qualities she can portray so brilliantly. However, that show also backed into every story line, with every scene beginning with an ending and then leading the viewer through a complicated labyrinth throughout the entire episode. It was as frustrating as it was annoying. What I discovered years ago while watching "The Wire" was the closed caption feature on the remote. Talk about mumbling and Baltimore street jabber - I missed most of the dialogue because I didn't hear it or understand it. Then I started to watching that program and most others with the cc option. World of difference. Just a thought and a gentle suggestion.

  19. Oh come on, no mention in the first investigation that Devils Den might have been a cruising location as a road to investigate? & the director's big build up that 'holy cow' moment as Wayne rolls up this small piece of note paper it fits perfectly through the peep hole as if they found the amulet from the lost ark?- come on a 3rd grader could have come up with that. So we're now being led down the path that they're investigating a Nick Cage 8mm conspiracy. pedophile turned snuff? No doubt everyone watching must have thought this was a pedophile ring gone off the rails since episode 1. The Hoyt industry connection via the ex-cop security chief Harris James, at the end of the episode as he appears behind Tom pretty much confirms where this is going. Dan saying he and Lucy shared 'milestones' growing up in the same household, seems to indicate some incestuous family ties & that he may be the real father not Tom. The mystery is what did Roland & Wayne do that they keep referring to that they have to maintain silence about? We know Tom beat the Hoyt name info out of Dan, but did he kill Dan, or did Roland and Tom kill him? Tom's last words- "Julie" in the pink room, was she there- or just her photos?

  20. I had thought they were pointing pretty strongly at them murdering the cop turned security guard as the big 'unmentionable' act during the reinvestigation? In fact I thought it was being overplayed and will turn out to be another red herring. Overall felt like a weak episode, the pink castle was a nice visual, could've done with out the amateur panto moment of 'he's behind you', especially since we see them watching Tom throughout on the security cameras. Dialogue was creakingly heavy at points, and really wish they could think of another plot device for Tom to learn information besides stomping around a police station like a bull after just being released as a murder suspect, with no objections. And again hearing the exact relevant snippet of conversation between those two nameless exposition machines. Suspension of disbelief needs to be earned a bit more on prestige shows, that scene was like a soap opera.

  21. I am about to give up. The dialogue is really hard to understand with the very poor sound quality. I realize there are some really poor, deviant people in Arkansas, but do they all have to appear in this show? This thing is ending up a mess.

  22. @Art Seaman Using closed captions helps a lot!

  23. @Art Seaman I'll have to resort to CC now, darn. Ali's dialogue is frequently impossible to understand; like Trainspotting that the Scottish accent was actually CC'd as part of the movie when it got too thick. Season 3 is excellent. Agreed though, I did NOT like Tom stumbling upon the detective war room and over hearing. :(

  24. I can't help thinking we're getting close to "Twin Peaks" territory...

  25. @Cabell I really hope not.

  26. Great acting and good main characters (the two detectives and Hays' wife and son) wasted by a self indulgent director/ auteur playing around with totally confusing time sequence games. This is no longer noir, but a mud field.

  27. I reluctantly watched this episode since it started to lose its appeal with the previous episode. Sporadic brilliant acting with byzantine plot, illuminating nothing. Noir for noir's sake. Started with great promise but has, sadly, jumped the shark. Will continue to watch since only 2 more episodes, but I am much less engaged.

  28. I do find it difficult to follow Mahershala Ali, a talented actor but here, through much of his performance, he reminds me of the Urban Dictionary definition of so-called mumble rap: "sounds like a stroke victim trying to deliver a speech; it is often incomprehensible and illogical." I frequently have to back up the program and listen to him a few times to understand what he's saying. It makes the entire show choppy and less compelling.

  29. @James L.- No difficulty understanding Mahershala Ali, yet might I suggest possible reason others may? He speaks slowly; sometimes with hesitation, interuppting the flow of conversation. It is like he is pondering his words before he sets them out in the world. This can be confusing when other characters are more spontaneous in their speech. What I find confusing is not how he articulates words, but his actual statements. I sometimes do not understand his emotions.

  30. @James L. To my mind, both you and @Alita Indiana are right. The script seems confused about character Will’s motivation, and actor Ali’s delivery is confusing. But never mind. Thanks to Woody, Matthew, and Nic, HBO knows we viewers will watch anything named “True Detective.”

  31. @Alita Ali is impossible to understand; I only recently resorted to turning on the CC.

  32. Excellent episode. The phone call where the caller says "That man is not my dad." Who is the father of these children? And some people here commenting on not being able to hear or understand some of the actors, I recommend they use the "closed captioning" on their televisions. Two episodes left.

  33. Jon Tenney, playing Alan Jones, investigator ALSO spoke, inexplicably during the Not My Father press Conference....he might have been who Julie referred, not Tom.

  34. Seriously though, I can't understand a word Wayne says.

  35. @yoyoyoyo - That's an exaggeration, but it could be said about most of the characters, not just Wayne. Maybe it's the director's preference to let attitude convey meaning rather than words. I had the same problem in TDI and II. Turn on the CC.

  36. To those who are having trouble understanding the dialogue, try watching on Roku with the subtitles turned on. It helps. And I grew up in the Ozarks, and I still go back regularly. There may be a few poor, deviant people, but there are mainly poor fundamentalist / Evangelical people, with very low crime, though now I think there's more meth with the young. One thing that's is entirely missing are black detectives (and black people in general).

  37. I thought the scariest part of episode 6 was the music at the end as the viewer saw a blurred image of Harris James creep up behind Tom Purcell and then the picture went to black. That creepy and eerie music continued through the credits. It freaked me out so bad I had to hit the mute button. As scary as it was, I thought that music was the best part of that episode.

  38. @Marge Keller, oh my goodness, yes the music at the end freaked me out too! It also made me ask myself: did I figure out the horror of what Julie went through or what her father is going to go through??

  39. This episode struct me as increasingly eerie. Tom’s skulking around, especially. Of course now we’ve got a second dead-eyed black man to add into the thicket. I wonder about the sexual relationship the episode opened with - this is the couple’s first time, and the ending shot of the scene with Ali considering himself was striking to me, though something of a throwaway. Just foreshadowing of his always keeping a distance, even from himself, which morphs into the dementia? True Detective is about manifold mysteries. I’ll go along with what it churns up, whether I immediately get it or not. Who actually builds Pink Rooms? Do the designers die, too?

  40. @Jazzmandel What is a pink room. Never heard of it. I guess it was lost on me during episode 6, any mention of pink.

  41. I'm hooked to the end but feeling that, while the show has many very good aspects e.g. acting, cinematography, etc. the plot of the crime and the turn taken is tending to disappoint me a little. The idea of a ring of powerful people being responsible seems old hat. Season 1 & 2 had that and movies at least since the 1970's, e.g. Chinatown. So I agree with Mr. Tobias about this point. I cannot help feeling that the show is growing ever more Lynchian with a lot of these tropes, camera work, pink room. I like David Lynch and his take on noir but what about other takes on this kind of material? It will be interesting to see what happens with the fact that now the viewers know something that our detectives do not. Who was the man with the filmy eye at the reading? This weird incident is not mentioned in the column? Is he the man that some witnesses mentioned seeing with the white woman in the nice new car? Why is he so mad? Does Amelia tell her husband or write about this occurrence so he comes to know it in a later period of his life? Does he solve the crime, or has he solved it before, and then forget it in the fog of losing his memory and mind? Is that the loop? He keeps trying to solve a crime he has already solved but cannot remember? That would be a hell for an honest detective, would it not? Does Roland know more than he has said; I get that feeling. Remember that Scott was right about Will's son and the director having an affair.

  42. Aargh! Just reread my posts. “Will” should be “Wayne”!! Sorry, folks — I had two relatives with these names and never got ‘em straight!

  43. This is a great season. The writing is amazing, as is the cast. My only other comment that is not intended as a criticism is that at times I could not clearly hear Hays’ dialogue.

  44. @Deborah Reynolds’s. I’ve resorted to turning on the closed captioning

  45. There was a lot to this episode, finally; lately it's been kind of poking along, apart from the terrific last stand of Mr. Woodward. Interesting question by the interviewer that we don't get the answer to, just how high had the body count gotten, in 2015. In 1980, as far as we knew, it was just 12: Will, Mr. Woodward, and Mr. Woodward's ten kills (random, unimportant hillbillies and cops). Can't be more or Woodward wouldn't have been convicted. Dan and Lucy seem to be 'kills' too, and I'm betting Tom just died shortly after he found the pink palace. Assuming Julie never winds up dying, that's still just 15, and I think the interviewer knows of more than that. So, these last two episodes, I'm going to predict, foolishly, that Tom dies right away in 1990, then Dan, then a few extras, then (shocking twist) the Hoyt security, ex-cop guy who planted Will's backpack at the shootout. Then Amelia Hays, probably not in a direct way, but indirectly linked. Then in 2015, Hays & West manage to pin a lot of blame on one major badguy at Hoyt (maybe the security guy if he doesn't actually die in 1990, maybe hugely annoyingly one of the Feds or someone we'd never seen). But they don't get the whole conspiracy, of course, because that can never happen. I'm willing to guess too that Julie will just never be seen again, except for clues that she's still alive. Anyway I was also hit by the sudden focus on Tom & Dave's encounter, but I've run out of room.

  46. Looking back after the finale, turns out I was remarkably correct about a lot of little details but not the big picture. Tom died right away, then Dan, but no extras, then the Hoyt security guy (killed by West). The blame does get pinned on the last remaining Hoyt guy alive, the one-eyed man from 21 Jump Street. Also from The Blues Brothers, but he's been in tons of things really. And then it turns out there is no conspiracy, and Julie might even still be alive. But Hays doesn't recognize her and West never gets to see her, so it's just as good as them never seeing her again. Anyway great show and I hope there's a season 4, as long as they don't do as badly as season 2 again.

  47. What if Roland's girl in 1990 (Lori?) who studied "poultry science" in college turn out to be part of the Hoyt Foods conspiracy? ...And she only got back with Roland to see where he was at in the case? I'm looking for twists that may not be there but I hope so. I agree with those who have a hard time understanding the dialog but I am in for the duration.

  48. I'm glad to see others commenting on HBO's sound quality. I've noticed this for several years, and so have a number of my friends. Series on other networks (Showtime, Netflix, Amazon) never have this problem, so it's something specific to HBO. A friend got so frustrated that she bought a good set of headphones just to use when she watches HBO. She says the sound details are now wonderful. So now we have to purchase headphones just to hear the dialogue on one network--a network we also have to pay a monthly fee for, no less?

  49. @mgraham HBO sound quality is fine. However, for some directorial, show-runner, artsy reason, it was decided that Wayne Hays will mumble half his speech and you & I and nearly everyone watching cannot understand him. Gotta use the CC, not head phones.

  50. Has it occurred to anyone else that Wayne has something on Roland, and that he is less senile than he wants to appear to be? During the scene where he walks in on Roland looking through his heavily annotated book, then acts surprised to see him there, I felt Wayne was faking senility. He doesn't want Roland to know he's as aware as he is. In E5 he told Roland he couldn't remember the crime they'd supposedly committed together. But I think he remembers things that he'd rather Roland not know he remembers? Maybe Roland is hiding something, and Wayne is looking for a way to expose the truth -- or to get Roland to tell what he knows. Roland may have been bought off, or he may be protecting someone. I'm not saying Wayne is as sharp as he used to be, but I think he's far more aware and suspicious of what went down than he's willing to let Roland know.