True Detective Season 3 Episode 2: 9 Clues That May Mean Everything

Major spoilers below for the second episode of True Detective Season 3, so watch before reading on!

After an information-packed premiere that introduced tons of information about its Season 3 case, True Detective dropped a second episode that followed up on some of the previous information while also bringing in totally new details. To be expected, it was quite the head-scratcher from beginning to end, especially since it's not even clear what, if anything, viewers are supposed to be figuring out about the unsolved case.

Here are the biggest clues and other details that came to light during Episode 2, concerning both the kidnapping-murder case, as well as Wayne's life.

Clue #1: Brett Woodard's Interview

One of the bigger suspects from last week's episode was the trash-grabbing Brett Woodard. Wayne and Roland took a look inside the guy's house in the premiere, and they took him in for questioning in Episode 2. For the most part, Woodard's story spoke to empathetic audience members. He's a military vet who came back stateside and lost his job and his family, with the latter leaving four years ahead of the interview.

At least, that's what Woodard claims. There are many things that he appears to be telling the truth about. I believe he's married, and that he misses his kids, and that he's not interested in messing with kids in a dirty way. There's definitely a disconnect somewhere, however.

Woodard's most noteworthy method of answering a question was by asking another one. If he'd come into the story as an existential psychiatrist, that'd be one thing, but he's a potential suspect in a disappearance and murder. He didn't exactly win any kind opinions by admitting to never going to find his wife and kids, either.

Clue #2: Will's Cause of Death

As it was revealed, Will died by blunt force trauma, along with a cervical fracture. His neck was broken in some way, though we're obviously not sure how.

Considering nothing was taken from his body, at least that anyone could figure out, it doesn't appear that Will was murdered by a serial killer. At least not by one that enjoys taking trophies. The note that appears later on may hint at something else, though.

Clue #2: More About The Dolls

Beyond the ickier angle we'll go over later, viewers got quite a big clue about the straw dolls that Wayne found. It turns out the week before the siblings went missing, Julie was given one of those dolls while she was out trick-or-treating.

It's not entirely clear what happened there, with one student saying that he saw it at the end of the night, and also saw her talking to two adults in ghost costumes. Possibly the perpetrators? It's hard to imagine them canvassing neighborhoods to find people with sheets that have holes in them.

Unfortunately, Wayne and Roland's higher-ups went public with the knowledge of the premeditation. It's not quite clear if or how that will play into who decided to kill Will and kidnap Julie, but it likely played a part in why the case remained unsolved.

Clue #3: Rebecca Hays

We learned that Wayne actually had two kids from the back cover for Amelia's book, and in Episode 2, it was revealed that there was some kind of a falling out between the father and daughter. Though Wayne's memory of events falters, Henry clues viewers in that Wayne and Rebecca haven't seen each other since Amelia's funeral, and had only talked on the phone a few months prior to the 2015 setting.

A flashback showed Rebecca sitting down and having a good time watching some TV. In this same moment, we got a hint that Wayne was not at all happy about the book that Amelia wrote. Did that have something to do with why Rebecca and Wayne parted ways?

We know Rebecca is in L.A., playing music, and that she does not want to go back home. Henry's wife talked to her a few weeks previous, so it seems like Rebecca is okay in general. But will she return, and how will it affect things? Beyond Wayne's memory, anyway.

Clue #4: Cousin Dan

Wayne and Roland picked Will's funeral to talk to Lucy's potentially creepster cousin Dan O'Brian, which wasn't the best time for everyone but them. They seemingly got a confession out of him about leaving the adult magazines beneath Will's bed while he stayed in that room, but little else.

He said he played with Will and Julie a couple of times, and was cagey what to say about them beyond that they kept to themselves. However, he put a lot of focus on Tom and Lucy's broken marriage, saying the kids wanted to avoid that kind of thing.

Dan seems to have a decent alibi for the night at hand, though he was obviously shifty about a few things. He's probably got some horrifying issues, even if "murdering his cousin's kids" isn't one of them. But it still might be...

Clue #5: Pedophile Rings

Sarah Gadon's largely insufferable documentary host Elisa Montgomery, who asked Wayne about his race getting in the way of his work on the investigation, also introduced the idea that the dolls left at the scene of the murder were possibly related to groups of pedophiles.

Wayne wasn't particularly into this idea, and I'm not sure it will mean anything either. However, that disturbing always worth noting, specifically in an episode where other characters were questioned about being possible pedophiles.

Clue #6: Julie's Real Dad?

At Will's funeral, Wayne and Roland learned that Lucy had been sleeping around on Tom, seeing as how their marriage had been a doomed one for years. Tom revealed that Lucy's pregnancy was the only reason they even got married in the first place.

However, Tom was out of town right around the time Julie was conceived, and it's thought that whoever she slept with at the time may have been the girl's true father. Could that have sparked some kind of revenge attempt from whoever that guy ends up being? It plays into why the note, mentioned lower, was protective.

Clue #7: Ted LaGrange

Roland spoke with a porno shop manager -- whose office was clearly the most fun that the set decorators had this season -- and he learned about a man living in the area going by the name Robert Hebert, real name Theodore LaGrange. A real winner this guy was, too.

Having spent time in prison for carnal knowledge of a minor and enticing a minor, among other things, Ted had a possible alibi for the night of the murder, but it was working with a bunch of children at a daycare center. Ted claims not to have had anything to do with the crimes at hand, which he said under duress while having his sides pummeled. Ted may not have had anything to do with Will's murder, but he's clearly not rehabilitated for his past crimes.

Clue #8: The Note

Not long into the investigation, a note showed up at Tom and Lucy's house, and it was the kind of note that only kidnappers send, with the letters cut out form magazines. (As seen above, obviously.) Tom freaked out about it, despite the message's vague attempt to inspire calmness. To break it down by sentence.

Do not worry. Julie is in a good place and safe. The children shud laugh. Do not look. Let go.

Considering this says nothing of Will's death, the person who crafted it seemingly had eyes on Julie from the get-go, and has specific plans to keep her close. The kidnapper had to know that Tom and Lucy couldn't just let go, but still made that part of the message. What's up with the misspelled "shud," also? That has to come back at some point.

Clue #9: The Destroyed Purcell House

It was hinted at in Episode 2 that something big happened in 1990 between Julie and her father, which is when Wayne ended up leaving the force. At the end of the episode, a completely bewildered Wayne was seen standing in front of the lot where the Purcell's family home was situated, only it was completely destroyed, presumably by a fire.

Those two situations weren't directly tethered together during the episode, but one can't help but believe that they're connected in some way, considering we have no reason to believe anything had gone kablooey at Tom and Lucy's house in the funeral's immediate aftermath. It must have happened later on, and I want to believe it had something to do with Julie's reemergence in the land of the living.

Nothing has led viewers to believe that anyone ever connected with Julie, though, and the back of Amelia's book seemed to indicate that she'd never been found. So what's up with that?

As another episode of True Detective comes to a close, now comes the week-long voyages through speculation before the next episode pops up on HBO each Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what else is coming to the small screen soon, head to our midseason premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.