“Be prepared,” the nurse says, as she brings Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Navarro (Kali Reis) in to see the final surviving member of the Tsalal analysis crew. “He’s hard to look at.” And she’s proper. Anders Lund (Þorsteinn Bachmann), the founder and director of the bottom, is a ghastly sight. His amputation stitches are nonetheless contemporary. The one hand he has remaining is black and blue. Burn marks cowl his face, which makes his frosted blue eyes all of the extra unsettling.
And if you happen to thought the convulsions had been tough to witness, simply wait till he’s fully nonetheless, sitting up, passing alongside messages from the nice past.
It’s laborious to say “True Detective” earns this scene as a lot because it wants it. Episode 3 sees the investigation hitting snag after snag: Their newest lead, Oliver Tagaq (Lance Karmer), kicks them out with out giving a lot hope he’s their killer. Hank (John Hawkes) is stirring up inside issues inside Danvers’ police pressure, and so they can’t even get a forensic specialist to look at the corpsicle, relying as an alternative on Pete (Finn Bennett) calling in a favor from his cousin… a veterinarian. Narratively talking, hardships must occur. The detectives can’t simply comply with a neatly lined up path of breadcrumbs to seek out who they’re on the lookout for. But dead-ends may be as irritating for the viewers as they’re for the characters, and after an hour of grinding towards zero outcomes, Episode 3 wants to finish with a bang, so to talk.
Enter: Lund’s “Exorcist”-esque message to Navarro, which will definitely be laborious to neglect. “Hello Evangeline,” he says, as director Issa López’s digicam drifts behind the hospital wall, as if to separate the on a regular basis actuality occurring outdoors his room from the extraordinary awakening inside. “Your mother says hello. She’s waiting for you.” Lund then factors at her, lies slowly again down, and out of the blue begins seizing up. Within minutes, he’s useless. Is Navarro subsequent? Did the fateful orange she tossed into the evening, solely to come back rolling again to her seconds later, foreshadow what it so often does in movie and tv? Are we meant to consider Navarro’s time is operating out?
Even if Lund’s haunting final phrases pull “Night Country” into supernatural territory with out ever providing the “real explanation” Danvers beforehand assured us exists, it’s an efficient atmospheric alternative, each tonally and psychologically. The jarring influence speaks for itself, however it’s Navarro’s mindset that must be watched transferring ahead. Faith is a two-way road. Belief in a brighter future can result in salvation, however sensing a darkish future can flip right into a self-fulfilling prophecy. And it doesn’t get a lot darker than “Night Country.”
Whether it’s a wave of dire pregnancies or the black water pouring out of individuals’s taps, Ennis is awash in additional darkness than simply the evening sky. Episode 3 begins with a profitable start from seven years in the past, however it ends with “another” stillborn fetus, implying that point is taking a toll on the neighborhood, more than likely associated to the continued mining. Still, the previous wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. We additionally get a glimpse of the case that cut up Danvers and Navarro: William Wheeler, a repeat offender who, after sending her to the hospital twice, killed his girlfriend after which… what? The official report lists demise by suicide, however within the flashback, Wheeler was alive and smiling when Navarro and Danvers got here into his home, weapons drawn. It certain looks like one (or each) of them killed him, and so they coated it up. But there could possibly be extra there, given no matter went down was what cut up up a detailed partnership.
López illustrates simply how easily Danvers and Navarro can work collectively after they go over the bins of proof. It’s a short however telling scene, as they unpack, set up, and focus on their findings, all in a systemic, collaborative method. Clearly, these two had a sound working relationship. Maybe Navarro received sick of Danvers’ “questions,” and Danvers grew uninterested in Navarro’s dogged pursuit of previous circumstances, however they’ve a connection — one which will transcend frequent chemistry. When Navarro slips on the ice and knocks herself out, she sees a little bit boy’s hand, holding a stuffed polar bear, and hears him whisper, “Go get my mommy.” Danvers’ deceased son was already seen with the identical toy, and now he’s making an attempt to convey the 2 cops again collectively. Does Navarro want Danvers to unravel the case? For safety? For extra?
As with any season of “True Detective,” fixing the case goes hand in hand with saving their souls, and Episode 3 notes loads of dangers for the latter concern. Navarro reluctantly recounts the demise of her mom to Qavvik (Joel D. Montgrand) and later has to go are inclined to her ailing sister, who’s affected by the identical depressive visions as their mother. Danvers is dropping contact together with her step-daughter, Leah (Isabella Star LeBlanc), and she will’t talk why. Leah thinks her mother doesn’t care about their neighborhood, however Danvers, true to her occupation, is simply anxious about her child getting concerned in something harmful. People harass, assault, and kill native ladies. People harass, assault, and kill locals who protest the mine. Leah is turning into each of those ladies without delay, and all Danvers can see is one other Annie Ok.
Her dying screams finish Episode 3, after Pete unlocks her telephone (which was discovered within the trailer final week) and discovers a video she recorded. Onscreen, she seems surrounded by ice, however she’s sure she’s onto one thing. “It’s here. I found it,” she says, earlier than a noise spooks her, and she or he’s ripped away from the telephone. Her screams final for a protracted, very long time, as Danvers, Navarro, and Pete huddle within the hospital hallway, watching in useless. They can’t save her now. They can solely catch her killer and attempt to defend the remainder of Ennis. Perhaps the video will give them extra clues. For now, it’s simply laborious to take a look at.
• Pete — younger, harmless, little Petey — may want to avoid wasting his soul. Danvers and Navarro have been policing lengthy sufficient to have regrets, however Pete is simply getting began, and his spouse, Kayla (Anna Lambe), is rising extra involved by the day. After waking her up at 3:30 a.m. (together with their son), she reminds him that she didn’t marry a cop, she simply ended up with one. “You were not a cop. You were just a sweet idiot who made me laugh.” “Well, what if I don’t want to be a sweet idiot?” he says, earlier than one other name from Danvers cuts quick their dialog. Even so, it’s clear that Kayla thinks Pete is altering for the more severe, and he thinks he’s altering for the higher. It doesn’t must be one or the opposite — they’ll each be proper to totally different extremes — however one other temporary interplay in a while signifies Kayla could also be onto one thing. When Pete’s cousin, “Vince the vet” (performed by Vilhelm Neto), exhibits as much as study the thawing our bodies, he’s clearly upset by what he sees. He must be. It’s horrific. But Pete simply calls the corpses “weird,” after which asks, “You think that guy scratched his own eyes out?” Vince, in flip, provides Pete a involved look and asks, “How many hours have you been here staring at this shit?” Kayla isn’t the one one anxious about lil Petey.
• Related: Perhaps we must be extra anxious about Pete’s dad, Hank. He claims he didn’t report Annie Ok’s relationship with Clark as a result of “she was sleeping with half of Ennis” and wasn’t going to log each “dude she was banging.” But that’s a fairly specific lead to not follow-up on: Is he simply lazy, or are there different elements at play?
• So, to sum up: Annie Ok met Clark when the native hairstylist took her to the Tsalal Research Base to assist in giving haircuts to the workers. Immediately, they hit it off, and Clark turned obsessive about Annie’s tattoo, which she first noticed in a dream and later received tattooed on herself to cease stated goals. It was Annie who wished to maintain the connection a secret, however the hairstylist additionally began courting a researcher, Oliver Tagaq, who isn’t speaking. We nonetheless don’t know the place Clark is, but when he’s hiding out within the villages with Oliver, the cops are going to wish extra manpower — or higher public relations expertise — to coax him out.
• Danvers calling the chupacabra “chupa lupa” could be very humorous to me. It’s clearly additionally considerably racist (like Danvers typically), however — to justify my infantile humorousness — I prefer to think about that a number of days earlier than Danvers caught this case, she made her option to the native theater for a screening of “Wonka,” and thus had Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa on the mind. Does that match together with her character? Not actually. But if it should, then let’s additionally fake that’s the place she was supposed to fulfill Captain Ted (Christopher Eccleston) for a booty name, however he by no means confirmed up, and she or he caught round for the entire Timothée Chalamet expertise. Wait, is “True Detective” enjoyable once more?
• “Who’s Mrs. Robinson”? Just kidding. “True Detective” was at all times enjoyable.
“True Detective” Season 4, “Night Country,” releases new episodes Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and Max.