We finally learn the background of Benjamin Tso and his unnamed friend in episode 4 of Dark Winds, who now has a name. Benjamin and ‘Frank Nakai’ belong to the Buffalo Society, a mercenary group fighting for the Natives against “white” capitalism and exploitation.
Five months before the heist, Tso and Nakai visit the estate of BJ Vines, the person who bought the land after the drilling mishap. They sound off a warning to him against doing that. But in quite real terms, they actually “belong” to BJ, in the sense that he owns the land and they’re a part of it.
A montage shows how the heist happened. Tso is the mastermind. He kills the pilot wearing the ‘white helmet’ (the one we saw in the first episode) and the group, joined by Ada, dispose of the helicopter. Raymond is shot dead by Tso and Nakai, as he went to report the artifacts found in the body to Leaphorn.
A small kid, who helps Bernadette look after her horses, buys the white helmet in the local market from a woman. Leaphorn resists Emma’s thoughts of permanently placing Sally in their home. He instead prefers the Gallup shelter for her. Chee knows about Nakai but never mentions it to Leaphorn in the station. Actually, he is looking out for his own interests by focusing on solving the heist to get the FBI promotion.
Leaphorn and Chee discover that Wanda is actually not dead (correction from the last episode’s recap). She is in a coma. They proceed to meet Tso about his grandfather’s body. The conversation is tense and Leaphorn catches Tso’s lie of not having a brother from before.
Tso mentions that his brother was notorious and burned down the local chapel once. He knows too. The duo visits the local chapel to find out the truth. Sister Doris gives them records for the last year. In a huge shock, they discover that Benjamin is actually James, his twin brother. He used Benjamin’s identity to cover his own. Leaphorn is happy about the discovery and invites Chee to dinner.
Emma invites Sally to the house, despite Joe suggesting otherwise. James connives with Nakai to kill both Joe and Chee when they come to arrest him. They then plan to meet the moustached associate of theirs close to the location.
Chee meets with Whitover to reveal the case. Nakai was apprehended for another heist some time back. Chee suggests that he and Joe arrest Nakai and James and then Whotover intervene with a federal warrant. Otherwise, Joe will be able to make the case about the murders first and the heist case will have to wait.
Chee attends dinner and the three have a good time. Until Emma mentions inviting Sally and the two have a fight. Chee leaves, and so does Emma. James steals Taco, a horse of Bernadette’s. She notices the small boy wearing a white helmet. She investigates and locates Raymond’s shoes in the boat that still floats in the water body.
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Chee and Joe arrive at the house. Nakai takes position up in the hills to have a better vantage point. A fight breaks out between the four. Chee and Joe are almost killed by Nakai, but are saved only because of Bernadette’s intervention.
She was still in the water when all of this happened. She shoots Nakai and neutralizes him, taking him under arrest but James gets away. Nakai instantly recognizes Chee, to both Joe and Bernadette’s shock. Both feel betrayed. Chee lied to Bernadette about him being an FBI agent, while to Joe about his knowledge of Nakai. The moustached man thinks Nakai and James avoided him on purpose and instead lands up at BJ’s house to strike a deal.
He gives up the location of James and the money they stole to BJ in exchange for money. It is probably the same amount that is his cut from the heist money. We saw him get jittery over how James changed the plan several times and didn’t pay out his money.
Joe walks out of the hospital and Chee arrives in his black suit as the agent to take over the case and spoil Joe’s hard work. He had a personal connection to the entire case from the beginning because of Anna’s involvement. He owed it to the community – her parents and elders – to solve the mystery of the murder and hold those accountable to justice. Chee came in, used Joe, and booked his ticket to a promotion. For him, it was all about the heist. He feigned his interest in the murder case and Joe & Bernadette. Hence, the anger.
The Episode Review
The writers continue to reconcile their cultural milieu with the narrative and plot. This episode added a lot more information to the mystery and brought out the core mystery to the surface. James Tso is a dangerous criminal who was finally “broken bad”.
His ruthlessness gives him the insatiable hate of a villain. Chee’s unfaithfulness came as a big disappointment. He had a great thing going on with Joe and Bernadette, especially. To see him betray the two and instead look at his career was tough. Maybe it will change in the coming episodes but right now, the reality is somber.
James is the only one left from the gang to be free and still committed to the original plan. He will find it tough when people come for him from all directions. As for Joe and Bernadette, the best outcome would be to solve the murders and move on from this Chee debacle. Great episode overall!