The Male Rain Approaches
Episode 2 of Dark Winds alternates between two timelines: the present, and three years before the robbery.
Guy has invited Lester to spend a night at the Native American Church. We meet Dillon Charley, a friend of Guy’s, who warns him against working the drill site that day. Drumco Oil is the name of the company that drills the oil in the region.
As Leaphorn drives out from the site, after dropping off a lunchbox with “JJ” written on the side, we see an explosion. BJ Vines, a mining company, takes over. The flashback ends here, for the time being.
Leaphorn then takes a sample of the dirty water from the Father’s house (previously Hosteen’s). He then frees a man called Raymond from jail. Leaphorn and Chee go to Margaret who is now ready to give a statement. Chee also promises to visit the Growing Thunders’ house after Manuelita refuses to go so because she thinks she encountered a dark spirit there.
Leaphorn finds Father Benjamin at the establishment. He enquires where he was the other day. Father replies that he had gone to the funeral of Jack Wilson. We do not know who he is, yet, but might have importance going ahead. Margaret can’t say anything to Leapjorn except the fact that Anna didn’t have her medicine pouch and she did and that is why Margaret survive and anna didn’t.
After a pause, Margaret says something much more important. “There are some men amongst us who are not what they seem to be”, clearly pointing towards Chee.
In a flashback, we see Lester telling Leaphorn about Charley’s “vision”. Leaphorn confronts Guy about the explosion. But it turns into a physical confrontation. And then Leaphorn shoots Guy in the leg as he approaches him with an axe.
So this is the reason he hates him and probably why he left the community after that. Leaphorn doesn’t bury the jacket ultimately, which he seemed like doing before. Leaphorn suggests to Chee he knows he works for the FBI. As a seasoned veteran, Leaphorn uses the secret as leverage and asks Chee to get the autopsy reports and water analyzed. In return, he will keep the secret to himself.
At Lester’s shop, we see a man with a mustache (from the robbery in episode one) walk in and ask for the cactus painting. Lester says it has been sold. The man walks out and uses the radio to alert “Sierra Bravo” that the painting is gone. The man with the bandana pointing his gun at Chee from the Thunder house is at the other end.
A Mormon family takes the painting and they are adorable. The bandana man chases the family down and gets the painting. We do not see what happens to the family. Leaphorn goes to the Thunder house. The door is open and he goes inside.
While looking around, he finds someone’s hair in a jar – as Manuelita said to him at the station. Sally finds him and narrates her story to him. She explains that the reason why Leaphorn couldn’t find records of her is that her mother hid Sally from the world in order to protect her.
As promised, Chee gets the water tested. Manuelito’s patrol reveals the empty car Mormons were driving. She calls for backup. Chee intimates Whitover that he has a lead but wants the autopsy reports on return. He says yes and reminds Chee of an open spot at the DC Field Office for him if he can get the job done.
Chee reaches the coroner’s office for the reports. He tells Chee that Anna died of a cardiac arrest and has a strange streak of white hair on her head he can’t quite make sense of. The coroner suggests Amna might have been scared to death, in a shocking reveal. Leaphorn and Manuelita check out the car and report it missing. He also checks in on the tire marks from the bandana man’s truck.
Sally takes shelter in Emma and Leaphorn’s house. We learn that they had a son, who either died/ran away. She narrates to Sally how the doctor at the clinic performed surgery forcefully on her to keep her from having another child.
We then see a flashback of their son Joe, wearing that jacket. That’s why Leaphorn is so emotional about it. Anna was Joe’s girlfriend. Joe was lost working at the drill. We finally understand why the jacket means so much to Leaphorn.
Chee tells Leaphorn about the report on Anna. The water also came back inconclusive for any particles. But, the very next moment, Chee uses Leaphorn’s own cleverness to learn that the helicopter is in the lake. Because the water came back for hydraulic particles.
Another twist awaits us as we see the bandana man with the painting; the money from the robbery stashed behind it, and father Benjamin telling him that they stick to “the plan”.
The Episode Review
Episode two satisfyingly builds on the great work from the previous episode. We get to see more of Navajo’s beautiful, unyielding lands. The cinematography has certainly taken it up a notch. ‘Dark Winds’ is a slow-burn drenched in cultural mysticism, cynical human greed, and a hint of supernatural drama.
This is possibly the best that describes the experience and the storyline until now. The characters seem to be developing well. The writers have made the motivations and actions function of the personal burden they carry around. It is really commendable how laser-focused they have remained on the core story and added sub-plots and information, such as the robbery and Benjamin’s role in it.
The actor who played Benjamin in this series played Victor in another AMC exclusive – Breaking Bad. No wonder he is gradually “breaking bad”.
At the end of episode two, Bernadette has a terrifying experience where she sees Sally’s mother appear out of nowhere and then disappear into thin air. This weird experience nudges the audience toward the possibility that something supernatural might be behind the dark things going on here. And for what it is worth, this addition does not feel annoying but like another dimension has been added to the narrative.
Nothing but praise for the team – case, crew, and key personnel off-camera – for their stupendous work over the two episodes.