2. A Meta Narrative
Early on, viewers derided Season 3 as a retread of Season 1–the abducted children, the mysterious cult, the conspiracy of local politicians covering for bigger ones. Season 3 leaned into these suspicions at first, with the creepy straw dolls, Will’s prayer hands, and the imagery of the “pink castle,” which appeared to complement the “Yellow King” from Season 1.
But it turns out the opposite was true. There was no deliberate murder, only an accident. There was no pedophile ring, only an unstable mother with a hole in her heart. And old man Hoyt was no secret society mastermind; he was a sad old drunk, primarily interested in protecting the reputation of his daughter and what remained of his crumbling family’s legacy.
It seems obvious now, looking back, that these were red herrings all along. The documentarian, who references Rusty and Martin, is supposed to represent us, the obsessive fans who convene online to concoct massive conspiracy schemes. The truth was much more pathetic, sad, and simple, and we should have seen that coming.