True Detective: Night Country

Episode 5 aired Friday night.

Definitely feels like one episode left. Poor Pete.

Also there’s one more person who was invited to Liz’s place for New Year’s…

So, that episode was a bit of a course correction. Lots of cool stuff happening. Set up for a finale.

If anybody understands the Wheeler laptop photo dialog, you’re ahead of me. I mean I understand the point of it, but the details went right over my head. Some pictures were flipped? Others not? Wheeler was left-handed?

Well the simple part is that if he was left-handed, he wouldn’t have shot himself on the right side of the temple. All the other stuff is basically extending on that concept by saying they manipulated the evidence to reflect a right-handed approach, like flipping images, etc.

— Alan

Yeah, it didn’t make sense. What might have made sense is if they rigged it to look like a suicide, then later realized they’d put the gun in his wrong hand, so went back to flip all the photos to make it look like he’d beat his wife with his right hand. But that’s clearly not what happened, because Danvers said she didn’t know that Wheeler was left handed.

I guess it’s possible that Navarro did it without telling her, but that seems unlikely.

I’m wondering if what he’s actually asking is… you didn’t know he was left-handed when you shot him, which would make a lot more sense when they were trying to doctor it up afterwards.

— Alan

So he was asking the wrong question??

No, he asked it incorrectly.

Anyway, I’m assuming that’s what this sequence is really supposed to be, but it’s handled a bit clumsily.

They’re just trying to do way too much here. And what exactly transpired is still unknown. Will they show it and by that time (since it’s the last episode) will it really matter? They could have trimmed some of the subplots, or at the very least, extended the episode count, because 6 just doesn’t feel enough for what they’re bringing in here. I look at Mare of Easttown, and they did a fantastic job re-creating police dynamics, atmosphere, and lots of subplots and twists fairly masterfully. Here… not so much.

My best guess is that somehow Annie K is some kind of vengeful spirit, which is… kind of a ripoff of The Terror at this point. And the scientists are just unfortunate victims of some Dyaltov Pass simplification.

— Alan

My bet is there’s something in the ice being released by the mine/research station that is causing the hallucinations/other “supernatural” phenomena.

The report that they were victims of a freak slab avalanche while out stargazing is complete fabrication, right? But why didn’t she think to challenge him about how their clothes were all neatly folded and stacked nearby?

Did the avalanche undress them? Leave a frozen woman’s tongue in their cafeteria? Whisper “she’s awake” to everyone in the town?

My thought was she knew that they knew it was a bullshit answer just to shut things down, so challenging them wouldn’t have changed anything there.

It’s what Anchorage came up with as an explanation. And incidentally, for those folks wondering if this season was going to touch on the Dyatlov Pass incident, a slab avalanche is now the official consensus for what happened there. But this coming from her boss, I presume that Danvers knew it was pointless to argue when clearly he was just looking for any excuse to close the case and move on and focus on his political ambitions.

I guess one thing to remember about True Detective is the true detectives lose. Rust and Marty lost; they only solved the case long after they were no longer detectives. Ditto Wayne and Roland. Ray, Paul and Ani definitely lost, and didn’t even have a comeback win later.

I don’t think a slab avalanche is the consensus for Dyatlov Pass (at least, not what is accepted these days). The slope of the mountain is too shallow.

In True Detective the avalanche is a convenient scapegoat, and of course doesn’t explain the clothes. The only possible sequence would have been: they went out to stargaze, all got hypothermia and took off their clothes (this is not only true but is a common effect), then got hit by an avalanche that somehow missed their clothing piles.

I dunno, they all seemed to just accept it and move on, which is… eh. You could go down a few avenues as to why realistically, none of which are really great.

— Alan

I don’t remember the first season too well but does True Detective suffer because it’s not willing to go full X-Files or Millenium or whatever? It skirts all these supernatural things that give it its haunting early episode visuals and then kind of stumbles as it tries to bring things together. I remember kind of feeling that way in season 1 and now 4, less so in 2 and 3 from what I can remember.

I found s1 solid but not mind-blown, s2 gets much more hate than it deserves (I like it basically as much as s1), and s3 was the one that really clicked for me for some reason.

Season One ropes in a lot of Lovecraftian elements, but I think does so in a grounded reality–a Lovecraftian cult mentality that stretches into high-level power in the form of government, law enforcement, religion, etc. People perceive it struggled simply because there wasn’t some world-ending monster at the end of it, and that Cole perhaps finally saw some positivity after decades of darkness and his lack of conviction to kill himself. Piizzolato was obviously lifting from literature at a liberal pace.

Season 2 is meh, and features one of the stupidest shootouts ever seen on TV. I think the core idea of it was something that Pizzolato had thought of while developing season one and perhaps was what he wanted to do first, but clearly didn’t have enough creative collaboration to ground himself and got lost.

Season 3 is, I think, pretty good, and is very different–the horror of a great mind slowly losing itself while trying to solve an enduring mystery is, while not original, is done really well. The resolution of the mystery itself however is a bit of a letdown.

— Alan

Season 1 never really felt like it was presenting anything supernatural to me that I recall. It was playing loosely with Robert Chambers’ Yellow King mythos but I don’t remember anything that couldn’t just be weirdos who think that stuff is real and I think nerds perhaps got over-excited that this serious crime drama was name-checking horror shit. And the subsequent seasons didn’t go there at all that I remember. This one, though. Really leaning into the ghosts and shit.

I should reaffirm I still broadly like it and definitely better than season 2. Honestly I think I might like it better than season 3 (apart from Mahershala Ali, who’s reliably great) although that one’s still solid. But then, I’m a sucker for arctic settings. (Or Antarctic).

Okay, gotta know how they made that ice cave set.