Warning! Full SPOILERS below for the Season 3 premiere of True Detective, titled “The Great War and Modern Memory.”
Let’s be real: four years ago True Detective spun right off the rails in Season 2, so much that the very thought of the anthology series returning seemed like a distant – and quite exasperating – possibility. But the premiere episode of Season 3 – titled “The Great War and Modern Memory,” directed by Jeremy Saulnier and written by series creator Nic Pizzolatto – promises that it is back on track with a crisp, haunting episode seeped in mystery.
And it’s not only the mystery of the criminal case at the center of the narrative – the sudden disappearance in the Ozarks of two children in 1980 -that is so compelling. It’s that of its characters, Detectives Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) and Roland West (Stephen Dorff), whose enigmas only enhance the tension. Part of that is because their stories are told non-sequentially, beginning in an Arkansas office in 1990 where Hays has been called in to discuss the still unanswered case.