True Detective-Night Country (2024) Series: Feminist Drama

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True Detective-Night Country series is a feminist drama set in a remote Alaska town in the USA. The central focus of this crime show is on the isolated indigenous Iñupiat community.

With “Night Country”, the fourth season of the terrific crime series – True Detective, its makers have tried to reset the narrative. They have moved away from conservatism. First, there is a movement towards the sisterhood. Second, we get to see another story about the indigenous community. We certainly like these changes moving in the right direction.

Trailer of the True Detective-Night Country (2024) Series

Official Trailer – True Detective-Night Country (2024) Show – HBO | YouTube.

Synopsis of the True Detective-Night Country (2024) Series

True Detective is an anthology series in which police investigations unearth the personal and professional secrets of those involved, both within and outside the law.

Rating of the True Detective-Night Country (2024) Series

FM Rating4.00/5
FM Short CommentsBoth the lead actresses of this crime show – Jodie Foster (Liz Danvers) and Kali Reis (Evangeline Navarro) are hot even in Alaska. Their outstanding acts in this intense crime drama made it a wonderful watch. Not only do we love its ambiguous story, but also the burning issues it raises in its icy settings,
True Detective-Night Country (2024) Series – FM Rating

Spoiler Free Review of the True Detective-Night Country (2024) Series

The introduction

In the fourth season of the acclaimed crime drama series True Detective, we move to one of the remotest parts of the world, Alaska. Given the fact that its geographical location lies in the extreme North-Western part of the United States of America, wherein, they have extended periods of Night time. Also, a part of its storyline hints at the presence of the Supernatural, in that part of the world. The mysterious world is populated by both the Living as well as the Dead (Spirit) people. So, we think its extended title, Night Country, is apt.

“I think that the entire series has two readings. One of them is that everything is connected to the supernatural. The other one is there’s absolutely nothing supernatural happening.”

Issa Lopez

The storyline

The fourth season of True Detective show revolves around a quest to unravel the horrifying deaths of a team of Tsalal scientists. Discovered naked, frozen, and seemingly terrified to death in the tundra near Ennis, Alaska, a small town mainly inhabited by indigenous Iñupiat residents, the group’s demise has cast a dark shadow over the community. But that is only the visible part of the story. The hidden story focuses on the gruesome murder of Annie Kowtok, who was an indigenous anti-mining activist there.

How are their mysterious killings related? That is the focus of this horrifying tale about their horrific and shocking murder tale.

Writer & Director Issa López has created a women’s world & a haunting crime drama

Given the fact that this crime drama has only six episodes, Issa López has maintained intense suspense in the show. We also liked the references to the Sedna goddess. It is good that the mainstream series and movies are raising the issues of polluting mining setups in the traditional lands of indigenous communities around the world. It is a common problem.

We liked the way she used her layered and insightful script to convey an apt and important message. We, humans, do not see the complete picture all the time. And of course, there is more to the world than what we see, hear and learn. Some (rational) people might question the indigenous belief in the world of Supernatural and the world beyond the living. But then, they do not know the truth that lies beneath the icy surface and hidden behind the night. In case, you watch it carefully, you might find these hidden metaphors in the show.

The Alaska that you were describing is predominantly male in its presentation. And the Alaska that I explored is predominantly female, the characters leading the conflict and the drama and the decisions are female. That comes from my understanding of these communities — Nome and Katovik and Utqiagvik [Alaska] — these communities [can be] 70% [or more] Inuit and particularly Iñupiaq. The strength of the Iñupiaq women is key to their survival. They’re just as much the hunters and fishers. They’re dog-sledding. They’re just indomitable. It’s incredible. Putting that in there felt very necessary.

Issa López
True Detective-Night Country (2024) Show | Jodie Foster (Liz Danvers) & Kali Reis (Evangeline Navarro) – L & R

Too good actors play the two good true detectives here

We loved the unusual pairing of the brilliant Jodie Foster (Liz Danvers) and intense Kali Reis (Evangeline Navarro) in the show. Liz is a White lady, who is an experienced and intelligent law enforcement officer. She is a realistic lady, so she does not believe in the Spirit world. On the other hand, Kali is an indigenous Iñupiaq lady, who is trying to reconnect with her native roots. She does not even know her spiritual Iñupiaq name. They argue and fight with each other. But they also care for each other and even have mutual respect. As they join hands to solve the complex murder crime.

Although they have quite a few similarities – both are brave, no-nonsense, go-getters and pro-women. They are carrying the heavy weight of their tragic pasts and personal griefs.

Jodie is Jodie, as usual, seems so natural while playing the tough and smart lady police chief of a small town. Last we saw her in the Nyad (2023) Movie, not so long ago.

Being a new actress, it is creditable on the part of Kali Reis to match Jodie in this intense crime drama. Like a professional boxer, she acts (fought) toe to toe with Jodie.

In the Night Country series, Raymond Clark's statement, "Time is a flat circle," during the show's finale elevates the relationship between the two narratives. Viewers familiar with Season One will identify this phrase as Rust's signature line. Initially introduced to Rust by the occultist meth cook Reggie Ledoux just before Marty kills him, Rust embraces this philosophy as his own—subsequently using it during an interrogation regarding the Yellow King investigation almost two decades later.

The conclusion

We liked the way, how these two powerful women characters are written by Lopez. The rest of its ensemble cast has done well too. Their roles also have some depth and layers. In addition, we especially liked the catchy music in the opening credit scene. If you look closely, then you might find a hidden message in it. The ending was almost perfect for us, as it explained the heinous crimes smartly. But a few questions still linger on. We have dealt with some of these mysteries below, so for the rest of the spoilers, check below.

The setting of crime in Alaska is eerie, to say the least. Almost for a month-long period, this latest season of True Detective kept us captivated. We loved this hot drama in cold Alaska.

Key Details about the True Detective-Night Country (2024) Series

GenreCrime, Drama
Original languageEnglish (USA) & a bit of Iñupiaq language
SeasonFourth (4th)
EpisodesSix (6)
ReleasedJanuary 14, 2024
Writer & DirectorIssa López
CastJodie Foster (Liz Danvers), Kali Reis (Evangeline Navarro), Finn Bennet (Peter Prior), Fiona Shaw (Rose Aguineau), Christopher Eccleston (Ted Corsaro), Isabella Star LeBlanc (Leah Danvers), John Hawkes (Hank Prior), etc.
TaglinesThe Truth Lies In The Dark
NetworkHBO Max
True Detective-Night Country (2024) Show – About

Posters of the True Detective-Night Country (2024) Series

Spoilers Alert – about the True Detective-Night Country (2024) Series

A Summary of Six Episodes of the Fourth Season of this crime series

First – Night Country: Part 1 (S4, E1) | January 14, 2024

In Ennis, Alaska, the men who operate a research station suddenly disappear and vanish into the thin air. To solve the case, Chief Liz Danvers and Navarro will have to confront the darkness themselves and dig into the haunted truths that lie buried under the eternal ice. Chief Liz orders a search but tempers expectations of finding the men. Navarro tries to convince a sceptical Danvers that the men’s disappearance is connected to the murder of local activist Annie Kowtok.

Second – Night Country: Part 2 (S4, E2) | January 21, 2024

As Danvers and Prior set out to learn more about Tsalal, and find an unlikely location for the physical evidence. While Captain Connolly threatens to transfer the Tsalal case to Anchorage, Navarro and Danvers make a discovery that brings the former colleagues closer together. Besides, Navarro and Danvers separately find a connection.

Third – Night Country: Part 3 (S4, E3) | January 28, 2024

While Hank leads the search for Clark, Prior asks Danvers about the murder-suicide case that strained her partnership with Navarro. Sifting through Clark’s trailer, they find a lead about another Tsalal worker. Navarro and Danvers seek out a local hairdresser for insight into Annie Kowtok. Danvers clashes with her stepdaughter.

Fourth – Night Country: Part 4 (S4, E4) | February 4, 2024

Navarro takes Julia to a local facility when her mental health issues resurface, promising improvement. Danvers and Navarro locate where Annie was killed. Danvers severely punishes Leah for protesting.

Fifth – Night Country: Part 5 (S4, E5) | February 9, 2024

While investigating connections between Tsalal and Silver Sky mining, Navarro saves Leah from a violent protest. So, after Navarro rescues Leah from a volatile Silver Sky protest, Danvers gets a warning against pursuing the Tsalal case any further. Kate McKitterick of Silver Sky cautions Danvers against pursuing the case.

Sixth – Night Country: Part 6 (S4, E6) | February 18, 2024

When night falls in Ennis, Alaska, the eight men who operate the Tsalal Arctic Research Station vanish without a trace; to solve the case, detectives Danvers and Navarro will have to confront the darkness they carry in themselves. They solve and get the answers to the murder mysteries.

Why and how did they murder an anti-mine activist – Annie Kowtok?

Annie Kowtok learned the truth about the reasons for high pollution in mines

Annie Kowtok discovered a shocking truth while she was in a relationship with Clark. She found out that Tsalal, in addition to manipulating toxicity data for Silver Sky, was also bribing the mine to generate more waste. This was because the pollution caused the arctic permafrost to soften, enabling the researchers to extract a groundbreaking microorganism from the ice.

Therefore, Tsalal Scientists murdered her

So, Annie was appalled by their actions and took matters into her own hands by infiltrating the laboratory and destroying years of their work. Tragically, she was brutally attacked and stabbed multiple times by the other scientists, while Clark stood by and watched. Despite his previous assurances that he would never harm her, Clark ultimately ended Annie’s life by suffocating her.

What about the sudden appearance of Annie Kowtok’s tongue at the crime scene?

Tongue mystery

While admitting his crime, Clark later claimed that it was Hank (John Hawkes), the cop sent by the mine to dispose of Annie’s body, who mutilated her by cutting out her tongue. Well, that is what he told Liz and Navarro. The inquiry regarding the discovery of Annie’s tongue within the research station remained unanswered throughout the entirety of the series, despite being openly posed. Now, as we discussed earlier. there are two versions of her tongue mystery.

The supernatural (or Ghost) explanation

Firstly, if we decide to explore the supernatural angle, it is Hank who discards Annie’s body and removes her tongue. He abandons the tongue at the scene, only for it to vanish. It remains undiscovered until six years later. As the scientists confront their destiny, the tongue mysteriously reappears, signalling the moment to reveal the silenced story. Could it be the ghost of Annie?

The logical (or rational) explanation

Secondly, if one chooses to act logically, Hank severs the tongue and abandons it. The discovery of the body is not made by Navarro, who is the first officer on the scene, but by the local community. As per writer Lopez’s opinion, the women stumble upon Annie’s body and are unable to move it, yet they decide to preserve her tongue as a compassionate gesture towards their friend.

Danvers speculates that the tongue shows signs of unusual cellular damage, possibly due to freezing. They preserve the tongue, freeze it, and later leave it behind when they infiltrate the research facility [to confront the scientists]: A complete cycle. Time for retribution. The choice of belief is for viewers to make.

López’s thoughts on the said tongue

“You should be making theories… “[I am not revealing the tongue] was a fight, because so many people working with me were like, ‘No, really? You’re not going to give that to us?’ And you know, in life, you don’t always get all the answers. Some of them are for you to figure out. I’m not going to do all the homework on my own for you.”

Issa Lopez
Why and who killed the Tsalal scientists – men?

Danvers and Navarro make their way to Bee’s residence, where Blair is currently residing. Upon their arrival, Bee proceeds to share her story with them.

What did Tsalal Scientists do to deserve death?

Through a series of flashback scenes, it is revealed that while working as a cleaner at the Tsalal facilities, Bee stumbled upon the shocking truth that the scientists were responsible for the murder of Annie K. In response to this revelation, Bee, along with Blair and a group of local Indigenous women, took matters into their own hands.

How did the Tsalal Scientists men die?

Armed with guns, they (all local indigenous women) infiltrated Tsalal, apprehended the men, and released them into the unforgiving arctic wilderness without any clothing. When Navarro inquires about whether they were the ones who killed the men, Bee’s response is firm. She states that the men ultimately met their demise due to their actions.

Their fate was sealed when they violated Annie’s resting place within the icy confines of her home. Furthermore, the men were responsible for the death of Annie’s daughter within that very same location. Bee explains that if Annie desired their punishment, she would have claimed them herself.

However, their clothes were left behind as a means of survival. Although they would have endured extreme cold, they had a chance to survive.

Regrettably, they did not. Bee concludes by suggesting that Annie must have chosen not to spare them.

How did Danvers and Navarro react?

Danvers and Navarro calmly accept Bee’s account, indicating their intention to back the narrative that the Tsalal Scientists’ men were victims of a slab avalanche, rather than betray the local indigenous women. We have seen in the series earlier that both Danvers and Navarro have a sympathetic attitude towards the women victims.

What is the legend of the Sedna goddess? And what are her links to this show?

Sedna goddess

Sedna, revered as a deity by the indigenous Inuit and Inupiat communities inhabiting the high Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, holds dominion over the icy seas and the diverse wildlife that call it home. The livelihood of communities in the Arctic is intricately tied to these animals, making Sedna a central figure in the mythology of the North.

Further details about the mythical tale of Sedna

Sedna’s origin myth recounts the tale of a young girl who was cast off a ship and struggled to hold on, resulting in the severing of her fingers at the joints. Subsequently, she descended to the depths of the ocean, where her finger segments transformed into marine mammals, and she assumed the role of the Sea Woman, wielding authority over these creatures.

As per the beliefs of certain Iglulik Inuit and Baffin Islanders, she additionally governed the spirits of individuals who had ventured into the realm of the deceased beneath the sea. So, we find that the legend of Sedna has multiple versions, but the general narrative revolves around her being drowned in the ocean by her father. To prevent her from reentering his boat, he severed her fingers. As a result, Sedna transformed into a vengeful goddess, seeking retribution against those who had wronged her and disrupted the harmony of the natural world.

Her various references in this series

Based on various subtle ( & not so subtle) hints scattered throughout the fourth season of True Detective, it appears that the mysterious “she” being referred to is likely Sedna, the Inuit deity associated with the sea. This is the same mythical character that Prior’s son Darwin depicted in a drawing during episode one. Then one of the female characters did not have fingers, just like Sedna. Furthermore, the locals believed that Sedna punished and killed the Tsalal scientists, too.

The ambiguous ending of the Night Country series is explained below.

The signs of supernatural forces

Throughout their evening in Tsalal Research Centre, both Navarro and Danvers encounter unsettling signs from the supernatural realm, which we have seen in the Night Country’s episodes earlier. In addition to the strange occurrences of phantom oranges and shattered glass, both individuals seem to be tormented by the spirits of their past. On one hand, Danvers is haunted by her deceased son Holden, and on the other hand, Navarro is haunted by her dead mother and recently departed sister.

For example, after Navarro saves Danvers from the icy depths, he informs her that during one of her visions, Holden mentions that he ‘sees’ Danvers. This particular mention directly alludes to the game of ‘peek-a-boo’ that Danvers and Holden have frequently played in flashbacks. Additionally, it also ties into the recurring symbolism of being blind in one eye throughout the season, exemplified by the presence of both a stuffed and a living one-eyed polar bear, which we often see in this series.

Blood trickles from her ear as a cacophony of screams crescendos, yet Navarro manages to quell them by shutting her eyes. She proceeds forward, guided by a mysterious voice whispering, "Come, Evangeline." Navarro extends her hand, and a woman with tattoos extends hers in return. 

The voice bestows upon Navarro what she has been seeking for so long - her spiritual Iñupiaq name: Siqiññaatchiaq, meaning "the return of the sun after the long darkness." And so, the transformed Evangeline Siqiññaatchiaq Navarro emerges, stronger than ever.

These references to one-eye and her Siqiññaatchiaq name highlight the fact that we, humans, do not understand and know the complete reality and truth of the matter.

No wonder, the episode concludes with a distinctly uncertain tone.

We loved the enigmatic ending of the show

A brief epilogue fast-forwards four months to May (from January). Navarro appears to have disappeared, and the law enforcement officers interviewing Danvers have mentioned that there have been multiple reports of Navarro being seen in the vicinity. In the final scene of the season, we witness Navarro at Danvers’ balcony.

Danvers: "Well, let's put it this way. I don't think you'll find Evangeline Navarro out there on the ice."

Officers: "So, those reports of sightings of her? They may be true?

Danvers: Well, this is Ennis. Nobody ever really leaves."

The above dialogues suggest that Navarro is not simply a figment of imagination on the verandah (balcony) of Danvers’ house.

Nevertheless, when questioned about the whereabouts of Navarro, Danvers evades the question.

References: True Detective: Night Country Official Podcast on YouTube.

Poster, Featured & Other Images of the True Detective-Night Country (2024) Series are courtesy of HBO Max.

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