'True Detective' Ends With 3 Major Clues to Will's Death

True Detective Season 3's mystery is starting to unfold, and Sunday night's episode gave us some of the biggest clues yet.

Spoilers ahead for True Detective Season 3, Episode 3, "The Big Never."

The past storyline of "The Big Never" focuses on lead detectives Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) and Roland West (Stephen Dorff) chasing down leads and sorting through more of the Purcell children's belongings to hunt down clues. We also spend some time with suspect Brett Woodard (Michael Greyeyes) as he is confronted and beaten by several local men.

This Woodard section of the show is where we find one major clue. After the beating, Woodard returns home and angrily rummages through some of his belongs in a shed. He then picks up a large duffle bag with both arms. It is unclear what is inside, but we are led to believe that it could be a child's body due to its size and perceived weight.

The other two clues come from the aforementioned investigation. The two detectives discover a play area in the woods believed to be have been a regular spot for the Purcell children. They find the believed spot of Will's (Phoenix Elkin) death, as well as a bag of toys.

At the end of the episode, the detectives show photos of the toys to the Purcell parents, Tom (Scoot McNairy) and Lucy (Mamie Gummer). However neither of them recognize them or remember buying them.

"No, I don't recognize them," Tom says. "I think, I mean, I know I didn't buy any of these. ... I'm the one who bought them toys. I don't recognize any of those."

Roland then fills the couple in on how they found the toys, revealing that the children likely were meeting with an unknown adult in secret.

"Looks like the kids had this kind of play area hidden out in the forest," Roland says. "We found these toys there. ... They had the kids' prints on them, (and) another set of prints we can't ID, and more of those straw dolls."

Tom replies, "They were meeting somebody? Some adult?"

Roland seconds Tom's hunch, saying, "Maybe, yes sir."

The final clue we learn unfolds as this conversation occurs. While Roland talks to the Purcells, Wayne's eye catches a photo album on a shelf. He inquires about it and Lucy describes it as "an old baby album."

"He (Tom) brought it out," Lucy says. "I can't look at it."

Wayne begins to flip through the book, but its stopped dead in his tracks upon seeing a photo of Will standing up, posing with his eyes closed and his hands in a prayer formation. Wayne flashes back to the moment he discovered Will's body in Episode 1. The boy's remains was left posed in that exact position.

Wayne calls over Roland, who draws the same connection as soon as he sees the photo. They then show the photograph to Tom to inquire about it.

"That's Will's first communion. He was 10," Tom says.

Tom then pushes to ask what's the reason for the question, but the detectives do not tell him.

Episode 4 of the season will see Wayne and Roland follow-up on this lead and a possible religious connection to Will's murder and Lucy's abduction.


True Detective airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

Photo Credit: HBO / Warrick Page