Sunday, June 23, 2024

‘True Detective: Night Country’ Episode 6 Review — A Truly Embarrassing Season Finale

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True Detective: Night Country

Credit: HBO
The season finale of True Detective: Night Country had me yelling at my TV more than once in utter disbelief. Not only did the plot ripoff Wind River in a pretty major way, it wrapped things up with some of the cringiest, most cloying nonsense I’ve seen on a major TV show. I’m shocked that HBO—the studio behind Succession, Game of Thrones, True Detective and White Lotus, just to name a few—would air this.

Let me just rattle off a few of the things I found so utterly absurd about this episode:

Danvers and Navarro are in such a hurry to investigate the caves—in a storm, no less—that they leave Peter to clean up not only the corpse of the junky, Otis, but his own father who he just killed. He has to clean this up and then visit Rose, who is apparently just perfectly happy to help the poor young man cover up these deaths.
Danvers and Navarro go break through the ice and of course make it directly into the tunnel system nobody but the teacher guy had ever heard about somehow. They fall through to a lower section where—shocker of all shockers!—they run into Raymond Clark, the lone survivor of the scientists. They pursue him and come to a science room that we soon learn is directly below Tsalal station. Did I just miss how close they were to Tsalal? Because it seems like they walked about fifty feet or so and are directly beneath the base.
They follow Clark up into the station and eventually catch him. At this point they have never spoken with him about what happened to Annie or the other scientists so naturally they sit him down and start asking questions. Oh wait, nevermind, they take the loop of Annie screaming and tape the earbuds to his ears so that he has to sit there hearing the sounds of the woman he loved screaming and probably dying over and over again. Danvers and Navarro have him tied to a chair and just leave him there to be tortured while they go have another tedious conversation. For all they know, remember, he was completely innocent in her death.
After he’s been properly tortured they decide it’s time to ask the right bleeping questions and go back to do that, though there’s a confusing segment where it seems like they’re just going to kill him instead, but then decide that maybe he’d actually make a valuable witness with the whole mine / Tsalal stuff. Crazy police geniuses we have here!
Clark reveal how Annie discovered what they were doing, which was actually pushing the mine to pollute as much as possible because it made the permafrost softer so that they could get to the miracle organism they were investigating. She tried to destroy their research and was caught and stabbed to death, though Raymond didn’t participate. Again, we have a much less believable version of Wind River here.
Raymond friggin Clark says “Time is a flat circle” during this whole segment, and I had to restrain myself from throwing something at my TV. But seriously, you have to be kidding me with this crap.
They’re basically stuck at Tsalal during the ice storm and at one point Navarro walks off into the ice (because that’s what they do in Ennis) but then Danvers falls through into the icy water and Navarro somehow shows up in time to save her and warms her by a fire. Then they realize that it was the cleaning ladies who killed the scientists and since I guess the blizzard is no longer an issue, they go to where I guess all the women involved in scientists’ deaths are conveniently hanging out. (Unlike previous seasons, which often have investigations that span many years or even decades, this one is wrapped up in two weeks!)
Navarro and Danvers decide to cover up the whole thing, which basically just involved all these Badass Boss Ladies showing up to Tsalal and turning off the power (and Raymond randomly saying “she’s awake!” for no reason) and then rounding up the scientists at gunpoint, driving them out into the ice, forcing them to strip and then run off into the night. Where they froze to death. They blame this on a spirit who, had it been merciful, would have let the men survive. I blame it on the women forcing them all out there at gunpoint and making them strip and run off into the ice. I guess the vet was wrong and the dudes really did just die by freezing to death.
The mine, you may recall, wanted all of this covered up. Well it looks like the mine will get its way. Everybody wants it all covered up.

In the end, we get a little nod to earlier seasons with them interviewing Danvers about what happened and where Navarro and Hank disappeared to. It’s all just wildly unsatisfying as far as resolution goes. None of the supernatural stuff paid off. The scientists murdered Annie, which was the first theory almost everyone had. People had guessed that the cleaning ladies were responsible for the scientists’ deaths but the way it went down just came across as a massive, unearned head-fake that tried to have its supernatural cake and eat it, too. Danvers and Navarro end up being some of the worst police on this show, turning directly to torture the moment they find the guy they’ve been searching for—not to mention leaving poor Peter to deal with his dead father.

Of all these characters, I like virtually none of them. Peter’s wife Kayla is deeply unlikable from the get-go, relentlessly petty despite him working such a big case. Danvers’ step-daughter Leah is just as bad, constantly making life hard for Danvers with no sense of remorse despite—again—a major murder investigation going down. And Christmas being a time when some folk try to treat one another just that much nicer. Danvers and Navarro are routinely awful to one another and their backstory isn’t even that interesting. Peter seems like a nice enough guy. I suppose Rose is alright, too, but is mostly a character with very little reason for even existing. I’m not sure how anybody walks away from this finale thinking it worked. None of the more interesting fan theories came true. As far as the murder mysteries of the scientists and Annie go, neither was much of a mystery at all. I know that myself and plenty of others made the Wind River guess after the very first episode.

Here’s my video review:

What did you think? Let me know on Twitter and Facebook.

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