True Detective: Night Country – Season 4 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Part 1

True Detective: Night Country Season 4 Episode 1 begins in Alaska on the 17th of December, the last sunset of the year. A man is aiming his gun at some cattle. They run toward him and jump off the edge of what appears to be a cliff. At the Tsalal Arctic Research station in Ennis, Alaska- A group of men are watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on the television in the recreation room. Weird things start happening and one of the men announces, ‘She’s Awake.’

Cut to the 20th of December – A delivery man approaches the research station. He brings the delivery in but nobody is around to sign for it. He looks around, and we see a severed tongue on the floor, but the men are nowhere to be seen. 

Police chief Liz Danvers turns up to investigate the disappearance of the men along with fellow officers, Hank and Peter (these two are father and son). Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is still playing on the television, and it won’t stop. She rummages around and finds the stop button on the DVD player and turns it off.  She discovers that the research station has been investigating arctic geology for 18 years. She then sees something strange written on the whiteboard in the main area. 

It reads: WE ARE ALL DEAD!

Danvers thinks the incident could have something to do with a cold case involving the brutal murder of a woman called Annie Kowtok. Danvers also thinks the severed tongue could belong to a woman from the indigenous tribe. A young agent called Evangeline Navarro asks her about it, as it was originally her case before she was demoted to a trooper after getting obsessed with the case. Danvers refuses to share any details of the case, which makes Navarro furious, and she storms out of the police station. Annie Kowtok was stabbed 32 times with a star-shaped object, and the woman’s tongue was cut off, which was why Navarro felt that the men’s case could be connected to Kowtok’s murder.

Danvers turns up to pick her daughter up from a girlfriend’s house because she has been caught making a sex tape with her, and the mother of the girl is fuming and screaming in Danvers’ face. They get involved in a minor car accident when a drunken woman drives right in front of them. She arrests the woman and the police come to take the drunken woman in. 

Navarro meets with Annie’s brother to check on him and remind him she hasn’t forgotten about the case. However, she is interrupted by a call from a colleague to come to her sister Jules’ house, after she had another anxiety attack. Jules tells Navarro she doesn’t want to end up like their mother.

Liz asks Hank to locate the Annie Kowtok case files, as he has them at his house after the flood. He is very nonchalant about it and doesn’t show any urgency to get them for her. Later on, Liz asks Peter to go to his father, Hank’s house to get hold of Annie’s case file, and he reluctantly agrees. She looks over the case and reveals more information to Peter after he makes it clear the risk he took in getting her the file.

Navarro visits with a boyfriend of sorts, they have sex, and she steals his toothbrush. She leaves his place and puts a load of Bailey’s Irish cream into the petrol cap of some cocky white men’s car. Navarro then follows up on a lead that Annie might’ve been aware of the Tsalal station when she is stopped in her tracks by a big white polar bear on the road. 

Danvers lays out all the case files of the men who disappeared and reaches for Annie’s case files, trying to link them together. Danvers notices that one of the scientists in the picture is wearing Annie’s torn parka jacket.

She goes back to the Tsalal lab to search for the suspicious parka that could connect the missing dots. She bumps into Navarro, who is also investigating the connections. Danvers tells her about the torn parka jacket she found. They don’t find any solid evidence at the lab, but they think the scientists had something to do with Annie’s death. 

The episode ends with Danvers getting a call from Peter, who informs her that a woman named Rose has found something on the ice. She has found the corpses of the scientists and claims her dead son Travis showed her the way to the crime scene. Danvers and the other police officers arrive at the scene and discover the dead bodies of the scientists half-buried in the ice. 


The Episode Review

It has been 4 years since True Detective was last on our television screens, and it’s fair to say nobody was particularly anticipating another season of the anthology series after the substandard last 2 seasons were unable to live up to the brilliance of the Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson led original run. That is why it’s a pleasant surprise that True Detective: Night Country‘s first episode is a stunning return to form.

Jodie Foster is perfectly cast as Liz Danvers, the feisty police chief of Ennis, Alaska. She is investigating the strange disappearance of a group of men on a research station, and she thinks it could be linked to a cold case murder of a young indigenous woman. Agent Navarro has been obsessed with the case, and she joins Danvers in the quest for the truth. There are some mythical things at play here, hinting at something a tad supernatural, which perfectly returns to the roots of what True Detective was originally about when it first hit screens a decade ago. It’s a good start, but there’s a long way to go. 

 

Next Episode

You can look forward to a full season review when this show ends!

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