The latest episode of True Detective: Night Country was so full of so many twists and turns that my brain is in a pretzel. For a series about the dead sending ominous messages, scientists dying in an incredibly bizarre way, and a town that endures perpetual night for over two weeks, episode 5 introduced an awful lot of human errors. Did a ghosts kill the Tsalal members? Was it an avalanche?! Well, all I know for sure is that we'll have our final answers next weekend. But with this season's wild amount of questions, can the answers please those of us who've been toiling away on True Detective Reddit for weeks?
Let's review everything we know so far. Police Chief Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster), finds a group of scientists in Ennis, Alaska who are frozen solid in a block of ice. They have very peculiar physical symptoms: burst eardrums, bite marks, and burnt corneas. (The Thing immediately comes to mind.) It appears as if they all ran out of their lab after one of them said, "she's awake"—with a nearby television repeating the "Twist & Shout" scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
The mystery is also connected to the murder of an Iñupiat woman named Annie. Her tongue was found at the lab—even though she was murdered six years prior. Feeling like the authorities abandoned Annie's cause. State Trooper Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) has long investigated the case. It turns out that Annie was secretly dating one of the scientists, Raymond Clark, who is missing. Annie was also protesting a local mine, which is causing all sorts of environmental problems for Ennis.
In episode 5, Officer Peter Prior (Finn Bennett) discovers that an evil group from season 1, Tuttle United, is funding both the mine and the scientists. He also learns that his father is under the mine's thumb, and shoots him in the head after a confrontation with Danvers. Oh, and there's a myriad of other mysteries to wrap up as well, including a polar bear with one eye, the dead screaming in Navarro's ears, and whatever the hell is going down in Ennis's ice caves.
Get your thinking caps on and do not drink the dirty mine water—because we're about to ask the right questions.
Navarro Did It
Let's start with a crazy one. On r/TrueDetective, there's a theory that Navarro has split personalities and she secretly committed the murders—and it's gaining traction. Fans also believe that she took revenge for Annie's death, then staged a complicated case just to mess with Danvers. (Remember: Navarro hated Danvers for abandoning Annie's murder six years ago.) "After killing the scientists, Navarro loops the TV on 'Twist and Shout' to f**k with Danvers," wrote. Reddit user u/aveboundjoey.
Others seem to agree. "My theory is that Navarro, obsessed with Annie K., worked together with the eco protesters to attempt to regain focus on the cold case and the mine pollution," another user wrote. The theory that Navarro is the killer seems pretty far-fetched to me. Hey, it's fun to kick things off with something wacky.
The Crab Ladies Are to Blame
Bee and Blair, the two women who work at the crab company factory, keep popping up in the background of Night Country. When Bee was asked about the spiral, she seemed nervous. Later, Blair is in the laundromat when Navarro talks about the ice caves. She's also missing two fingers on her right hand. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment from episode 2, Prior tells Danvers that one of the scientist's shoes had a handprint on it—and it the hand was missing two fingers. It feels like we haven't seen enough of Bee and Blair to confidently call them the killers, but those missing fingers can't be a coincidence.
"Also keep in mind that Blair has motivation to be very much against the mines (a miner has abused her, she has lost her fingers working for them seemingly)," u/Hemoglobpopular wrote on Reddit. "And the first time we see Blair, her left eye is covered due to the ice pack, very much evoking the one eye trope that is present within the series." Blair's involvement could also mirror season 1's killer, landscaper Errol Childress. He only appeared in two episodes before the finale—and wasn't really on the detectives' radar.
It Was Mass Psychosis
"For we do not know what beasts the night dreams when its hours grow too long for even God to be awake." For those who still believe that nothing supernatural is going on, this theory is for you. The above quote is from a short story in Robert Chambers's book, The King in Yellow. The collection of short stories has served as major inspiration for both season 1 and Night Country, including Ennis's state of perpetual night. It's simple: take away daylight and your body will be affected.
Shared psychotic disorder, also known as folie à deux, is a rare mental illness. But it's known to occur more frequently under isolating conditions—like those in Ennis. IF someone close to you believes that they're seeing dead people, you may eventually develop similar delusions. We also know that the water in Ennis is polluted by the mines. Plus, the scientists at Tsalal were researching an experimental microbe. Did Tsalal secretly leak the substance into the town's drinking water? Fans have long pointed to the herd of caribou jumping off a cliff in the first episode as an example of mass hysteria occurring in Ennis.
The Myth of Sedna: Night Country Goes Full Supernatural
On the reverse side, maybe Night Country isn't giving us supernatural red herrings. In the the Inuit story of Sedna, a girl becomes a goddess after she's thrown into the ocean by her father. In some tellings of the story, her fingers are also cut off, which then become the sea creatures. Early in Night Country, Prior discovers that his son, Darwin, drew a blue female with severed fingers. Showrunner Issa Lopez later confirmed on Instagram that this was a direct connection to Sedna. Is it possible that everyone saying "she's awake" could signal that the goddess Sedna is angry about the pollution from the scientists and the mine?
Like Sedna, many women on the series are also victims of domestic violence. While she could merely be a metaphor for their fight against the mine's corrupting influence on Ennis, it's also possible that she is directly influencing events of the series. Maybe she even killed the scientists to bring attention to the mine. A reminder: Blair, the crab lady, was also missing fingers. "Sedna would also possibly be behind the one-eyed polar bear," one Reddit user said. "I could be completely wrong because I know a lot of people are saying it’s not going to be something supernatural," another fan wrote, "but I just can’t resist."
Night Country Doesn't End Next Week
This theory is courtesy of yours truly. There's too much plot to wrap up in just one episode. We've got multiple dead bodies, no killer, no motive, and no clear way to find the answers. Will Navarro and Danvers magically find everything in the ice caves? We can't even tell if the ghosts are real or not! Hell, one of our own Esquire's editors thinks that a few of season 4's characters are trying to open a portal to a dimension in Hell. It's a long shot, but the most interesting twist in my book would be a cliffhanger. Then, the screen reads, Night Country: Season 2... 2025. Everyone and their one-eyed polar bear is trying to figure this damn thing out. Why stop now?
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