9 'True Detective' Reddit Theories, From The Hoyts To That Creepy Pumpkin Lady

by Rebecca Patton
Warrick Page

Spoilers ahead for True Detective Season 3, Episode 7 Half of the fun of True Detective is doing your own sleuthing on the side — pausing the episode and looking around the screen for stealthy clues. That's basically the whole point of TV reddit, where diehard fans of shows like Westworld and Riverdale try to parse minute details and predict what it means for upcoming episodes. The True Detective Reddit theories are no exception — fans have been enthusiastically theorizing about the show since Season 3 premiered. And after the quick peek of the actual Mr. Hoyt last week, fans are working more furiously than ever to figure out what's what.

Episode 7 was a doozy in several ways — for one, it looks like Season 1 might actually be connected to the Purcell case, at least tangentially. Although Redditor dreadfuldiego pointed out that in a previous episode, journalist Elisa Montgomery (Sarah Gadon) had an old article about Rust Cohle and Marty Hart pulled up on her computer, it's called out in this episode.

Furthermore, audiences now know that not only did Tom Purcell seemingly (emphasis on seemingly) kill himself in 1990, but Roland and Hays killed Harris James in 1990, which is when Elisa says he went missing. And since there's only one more week, there's only so much time for these theories to be either thoroughly debunked or confirmed, but while there's still time, here are nine convincing True Detective fan theories that could just turn out to be canon.


Julie Is Staying With Mike Ardoin

Warrick Page

Reddit user buffalobangs pointed out that during the 1990 timeline in Season 6, viewers see a landscaping truck out the window at the convent, which says Ardoin on the side. Julie's friend from school, Mike, has the last name Ardoin. Could he have helped Julie escape from the Hoyts and is letting her stay with him?


Mike & Julie Are Actually Siblings

This is similar to the first theory but with a bit of deviation. As TheFlatulentBachelor (yes, that's the real handle) points out, Mike dressed up like Luke Skywalker for Halloween, and a Princess Leia toy is found out in the woods.

"Star Wars Episode IV was released in 1977," the Redditor wrote. "Episode V in 1980 (with kiss between two), and we don't learn they're twins until 1983 with Return of the Jedi. Thus the characters (Mike & Julie) don't either. Instead, they're still under the notion that Luke & Leia kinda have a thing."

Could a similar thing be happening here? Could Mike be either a Hoyt child, too, or could Julie be an Ardoin?


Amelia Is A Runaway, Too

Warrick Page

There's definitely something strange about how invested Amelia is in the Purcell case. While some people think she's eager to make her name as an author and jumps at the opportunity, bea2603 has another idea. "She is some way connected to this weird underground pedo sex cult," the Redditor wrote. "She doesn’t seem to ever talk about her childhood and to me she’s trying to figure something out. It’s way too mysterious and no way not important to the plot."

Later in the post, the True Detective fan points out that when Amelia visits the convent in Episode 6, the girl she's interviewing asks her to write about what happens to girls here. Could something similar have happened to Hays's wife? "Amelia is maybe one of these runaways or knew someone back in the day that was," the Redditor concludes. "That’s why she is so invested and also quite shut off from Wayne. She has a secret and is willing to go to any lengths to figure this mystery out."


The Pumpkin Lady Knows Something

Warrick Page

As audiences learn in Episode 7, Margaret (Emily Nelson) was Lucy Purcell's best friend (or so she says). But is there something else to the story? Buffalobangs pointed out that Margaret's likely involved, since she was shown during Julie and Will's bike ride back in Episode 1. Since they went missing right after Halloween, she was taking down her jack-o-lanterns from the front porch. The Redditor also theorized that she is the aunt whom the priest was referring to back in Episode 4.

The same post went on to speculate that Margaret may even be a handler for the Hoyt's, since she was there when Lucy gave her statement to Hays and Roland. Was she trying to keep Lucy silent? HouseofBlahBlah pointed out in another thread that she waved at the kids, but they didn't reciprocate, which may imply that they don't like her for whatever reason.


Julie Has A Twin

Screenshot via HBO

This theory was put forth by HBOhmygod, who posted a photo of young Julie Purcell and the Hoyt's granddaughter, side by side. They look exactly the same. If this is really true, this could mean that the family went after Julie when the Hoyt girl died. However, RadioMars theorized in a different post that perhaps Julie is the one in the Hoyt portrait, and either there never was a Hoyt granddaughter to begin with, or she's still alive somewhere.


Roland Is Gay

Warrick Page

This theory has been put forward by several people on Reddit, including kaptainkrim5on. Many fans pointed out that Roland and Tom Purcell were close, as well as the fact that the detective never got married after all. While this may not matter intrinsically to the plot, it's still a valid theory. In fact, as MoneyBananaStand put forth, Hays may have outed Roland at some point, causing their fall-out (though perhaps that was the whole shooting-Harris-James thing).


Something Happened In 1978

Warrick Page

According to buffalobangs (who is straight up crushing it on the theories front), something may have happened two years before Will and Julie went missing in 1980. "Picture of Will from his communion is from when he is 10. 2 years ago," the post reads. "Lucy quits Hoyt foods 'one to two years ago.' Mr Hoyt lost his granddaughter and endowed the OCOC around 2 years ago. Ted Legrange [the known pedophile from back in Episode 2] was released from prison and moved to town 2 years ago." Could all of these things be connected?


Lucy Purcell Sold Julie To The Hoyts

Warrick Page

This theory has been bouncing around for a while in various forms, but sam1405 theorized that Lucy asked Mr. Hoyt for money after she started working at his company. "Boss instead suggests he could pay her a lot more for her daughter, Julie," the fan wrote. "Lucy sells her child as a sex slave, but feels immense regret: 'I have the soul of a whore', 'Don't apologize to me for anything' etcetera. Lucy possibly didn't know just how much of her daughter they'd take away, but sticks with the plan because she's making good money off of it, as confirmed by Dan."


Elisa Is Sleeping With Becca Hays

Warrick Page

There are several theories about Elisa — that she's really Julie Purcell (too old), that she's Julie Purcell's daughter, that she's Harris James's daughter. But one that may hold some water is that Hays' daughter, Becca, is sleeping with the journalist. It's been implied that Henry is the one having an affair with Elisa, but buffalobangs pointed out that we know that Becca doesn't like it in Arkansas. Could that be because of the rampant homophobia — the same reason that Tom Purcell stayed closeted? "It's most likely [Elisa's] based in LA. Where Becca lives," the post read. "If she is Elisa's partner that would explain how Henry and her know each other so well." It's a compelling theory, but there's been no real evidence so far to confirm it.

And even if none of these theories turn out to be true, half of the fun is playing Sherlock with other diehard fans in between episodes. And if the finale does end up connecting Season 3 with 1, all the better. Time is a flat circle, after all.