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“True Detective: Night Country” Review: A Heart-Shattering, Wintery Cold Tale About Secrets, Forgiveness, and Revenge

Uncover the chilling truth in True Detective: Night Country – A gripping mystery that will leave you breathless.

True Detective Night Country Review
Warner Bros. Discovery

In Issa López’s True Detective: Night Country, the researchers at Tsalal Arctic Research Station in Ennis, Alaska, mysteriously vanish during the time of everlasting darkness. Is it a paranormal phenomenon, an ancient creature lurking in the shadows, preying on the townspeople? Or perhaps a serial killer on the loose? One thing is certain: no matter what you think is happening in Night Country, nothing can prepare you for what’s actually true. The execution, music, and spectacular conclusion are only a few elements of this solid whodunnit show. As Jodie Foster and Kali Reis deliver tragic, utterly brilliant performances, López addresses an important issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) that must be brought to society’s attention.

True Detective Night Country Review

It isn’t easy to warm up to investigator Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster). She’s tough and admirable, but she also disrespects others around her, particularly her superior, Peter Prior (Finn Bennett). Danvers is often someone who no one wants to work with. But when eight men disappear from the research station, Danvers, who’s an Alaskan career cop, and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis), an Indigenous (of Iñupiaq Nation) and Dominican ex-military officer, must re-learn how to operate together.

Both women seek to lay their emotions aside and embark on a mission to solve the case. It gets challenging, especially when their shared history comes to light. It quickly becomes clear that the entire investigation is far from easy. But once the case commences, suspicions about another woman’s disappearance from years ago arise, leading Danvers and Navarro to reopen what they thought was a cold case. It also becomes an opportunity for Danvers to listen and Navarro to share.

True Detective: Night Country begins strong and remains so throughout the entirety of season 4. From the immaculate execution, through the excellent performances to the devastating conclusion, season 4 of the HBO series will leave you riveted to your TV, soaking up every word. Every storyline is well-crafted, profound, and complex, as we learn about not only Danvers and Navarro but also the lives of other Ennis inhabitants like Bennett’s Peter or Fiona Shaw’s mysterious but lovely Rose Aguineau.

Just as the harsh Alaskan cold enveloping Ennis residents, the show and especially its final episode will remain in the audience’s minds for a long time.

With each episode, one can feel the bloodcurdling chill of nighttime Alaska as central characters uncover additional clues that go far back and involve more people than they previously thought. The weather conditions hold a significant role in generating a cold, dismal atmosphere. Night Country is set in the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska, during the long, dark winter, but was actually shot in Iceland; the creators still manage to make it look and feel authentic. The crew exploits a snow- and ice-covered terrain to immerse their viewers in a particular manner of life. It almost feels claustrophobic at times, especially as we’re getting closer to discovering the truth. Snowy expanses and frozen topography surround the detectives as they continue with their investigation.

The cold Ennis is nearly as frigid as Danvers’ heart. Foster does an exceptional job of portraying a distant, shattered woman who wasn’t always this way; certain circumstances shaped her. As we proceed through the show, Foster’s character gradually reveals her secrets to the audience, and we suddenly realize why she is the way she is. Despite not being a particularly lovely person, Danvers is an excellent cop. “Ask the question” is her motto. Danvers believes the question is framed incorrectly if the response doesn’t make sense. We also get to know Danvers through the prism of her stepdaughter, Leah (Isabella LaBlanc), which further adds to her complexity.

Reis doesn’t fall far behind Foster, giving the audience a terrific portrayal as Evangeline Navarro, a woman who’s not only a trooper, but also a sister to Julia (Aka Niviâna), who suffers from mental illness. Reis’ Navarro explores other aspects of the show, such as familial bonds and the thin line between madness and sanity. Niviâna, despite being in a supporting cast, is unforgettable as her character’s tragic fate lives on in our minds. Shaw, Bennett, and Anna Lambe as Kayla, Peter’s wife, all play integral and crucial roles in True Detective’s narrative. Furthermore, LaBlanc as Danvers’ stepdaughter, charms and will surely capture the hearts of many as a young activist seeking justice and change.

The leading matter in True Detective: Night Country’s narrative focuses on the community of Iñupiaq women and the activists who fight in Ennis against pollution and its environmental impact. Not only does it raise awareness of the real issue of pollution and even spark debate about pipelines being built, forcing Native communities to relocate, but López also gives the Native community a voice and draws attention to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), a huge problem in the United States that’s largely overlooked. As the series depicts the retrospective story of a woman named Annie, the storyline also recounts how her body was discovered: stabbed and with her tongue severed. The audience will soon learn that it’s a metaphor, particularly later in the show, for a woman who can no longer speak for herself.

True Detective: Night Country is about secrets, a close-knit community, the longest Alaskan darkness, and, most importantly, revenge. While each episode provides new insights and enhances the multidimensionality of supporting characters, the season finale is where it’s at. It’s undoubtedly one of the most well-developed season finales out there. The episode, titled “Part 6”, written and directed by López, completely discards all previous theories in favor of a sorrowful, impressive climax. It’s utterly thought-provoking, moving, and downright haunting.

When I say you’re not prepared for the story of True Detective: Night Country, I mean it. The creators provide the audience with a tangible, tiered story, while Foster, Reis, and the entire supporting ensemble stun the audience into silence. Just as the harsh Alaskan cold enveloping Ennis residents, the show and especially its final episode will remain in the audience’s minds for a long time.

Grade: A+

True Detective: Night Country premieres on Max on January 14th. 

True Detective: Night Country

True Detective: Night Country

When the long winter night falls in Ennis, Alaska, the eight men who operate the Tsalal Arctic Research Station vanish without a trace. To solve the case, Detectives Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) will have to confront the darkness they carry in themselves, and dig into the haunted truths that lie buried under the eternal ice.

Release Date: January 14, 2024

Director: Issa López

Cast: Jodi Foster , Kali Reis , Finn Bennett

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