'True Detective' season 3 finally offers us some realistic female characters who hold the story together by themselves
Women in 'True Detective' have never really been able to control their narrative and have always been looked at through the male gaze — thankfully with season 3, this is changing
It's no secret that the last two seasons of 'True Detective' have been criticized time and time again for making single dimensional female characters. From whores to mothers and frivolous side chicks, female characters on the show have always been found themselves in muddy waters or making the heroes look good — or both. These women have never really been able to control their narrative and have always been looked at through the male gaze. Thankfully with season 3, this is changing.
The third season of 'True Detective' has definitely brought back the pizzazz of the first but has blessed us all with some incredibly complex female characters who own their sexuality, aren't afraid to manipulate and exploit and have the capability of just going for it — be it murder or an interview. It's too early to say whether one of these female characters is the killer or the abductor this time, but it is worth noting that these women actually have character arcs and complications — great ones at that.
While the show's protagonists are the two men, it is the women on the show who are the true detectives.
From aspiring writer/school teacher Amelia Reardon, who has the presence of mind and the resourcefulness of a seasoned investigative journalist coupled with aspirations that her husband dare not imagine, to mother Lucy Purcell, who lost her children and is possibly involved in the crime, this season gives us a lot to love.
Four years later... 🔎 pic.twitter.com/7mBqhEDDMj— Michelle Monaghan (@realmonaghan) January 12, 2018
The female characters this season hold the power and the secrets. They don't wait around for the men to come back from the job and tell them what they need to know — they go do it themselves. What's more, they are often better at it.
Amelia Reardon may have used the cops to get information and, to an extent, even used Hays to get close to the Purcell case for her book, but one cannot deny that she had been always one step ahead of Wayne Hays and Roland West. She's a mother and a wife, sure, but she's also a badass investigator. She cooked up the plan to go and meet Will and Julie's mom Lucy all by herself, with artifacts that would definitely trigger a reaction. While we don't know for sure if this was her intention, you know in your heart that it is.
Reardon is still very mysterious this season along with the other female characters in the main cast. In fact, we know more about Hays and West than we know about them and they are the ones who hold the story together.
Take Elisa Montgomery, the TV producer, for example. We've seen so little about her so far in the story, yet she commands your attention every time she comes on screen. It's just how much she knows or doesn't and how much you don't know about her. She clearly knows much more than the detectives even in the 2015 timeline.
"Can I tell you something?"— k (@knausick) January 28, 2019
"I have got a soul of a whore."
– True Detective, Season 3 Episode 4, 2019 pic.twitter.com/kE7uDY85x0
Unlike Margaret Hart, who was the central female character, if you can call it that, in season 1, characters like Lucy, Elisa and Amelia add the much-needed life into the story and the history of female characters on the show. There's another huge character on the horizon that we've definitely not seen yet which is the lady from the portrait at Hoyt Foods.
While we don't know much about her yet — there's a definite chance that she will also join this brigade of women who are flawed and wonderfully complicated. She could be someone trapped in a world of privilege or she could be a deranged killer who substitutes children after the death of her own or anything in between — the possibilities are endless.
Julie Purcell, the little girl who disappears is just as complicated — she could have run away from whoever took her or even done it on her own. While we don't know for sure the fact remains that she's still alive and that she survived. This season, 'True Detective' has definitely portrayed its women as more than black and white and as survivors who fight really really hard to get what they want and often hurt the ones they love.
'True Detective' returns with episode 5, 'If You Have Ghosts', on February 3 on HBO at 9 pm.