‘Dark Winds’ Season 2 Episode 1 Recap & Ending, Explained: Did Leaphorn Arrest Colton?

Set in the 1970s in the Navajo Tribal community, AMC’ series, Dark Winds follows Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, new deputy Jim Chee, and local sergeant Bernadette Manuelito as they investigate two mysterious murder cases. As they delved deeper, they not only solved the murder mysteries but also uncovered dark mythical secrets lurking within the community, adding to the complexity of the case. Season 2 of Dark Winds continues with a time jump, presenting new murder mysteries in Navajo and challenging the dedicated police officers to solve the mysterious murder cases. Let’s explore the captivating episode 1 of Dark Winds season 2.


At the beginning of the first episode, Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Sergeant Bernadette Manuelito dress up and walk up to a trailer located on the reservation, intent on capturing a suspect. Aware of the urgency, Joe quickly called for backup, but the estimated arrival time for additional support seemed too lengthy for the pressing situation they were facing at that moment. The officers decide to proceed and raid the trailer. Joe and Bernadette got out of their car and forcefully burst into the trailer, hoping to locate the suspect, but the trailer was revealed to be empty. In a sudden turn of events, the suspect slipped outside and began firing toward the trailer, intending to kill the officers on the spot, but we are left with questions about whether they made it out alive.

Spoilers Ahead


Who was Emerson Charley? Who killed him?

Six days ago, a series of unfortunate events unfolded in Joe Leaphorn’s life. His wife, Emma Leaphorn, was tending to a patient named Steve at her clinic. Steve had a bizarre story about losing two fingers due to an encounter with an alien-like goat, but Emma dismissed it as mere ramblings. However, witnessing the severity of his hand injury, she decided to send him to the hospital for proper treatment.

Meanwhile, when Emma took Steve to the hospital, another local man, Emerson Charley, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, leaving him with only a few months to live, came out of the hospital. But the moment he got into his car, it exploded, killing him instantly. The blast extended to the hospital, causing chaos and causing Emma a minor head injury. The incident attracted the attention of Sheriff Gordo Sena, who wanted to discuss it with Joe Leaphorn. Joe arrived at the hospital to check on his wife, but he also looked into the ruins of the car and found a timer spring, leading him to believe that it was no mere accident but rather a premeditated murder.


During the investigation, Leaphorn dug into Emerson’s family history, particularly focusing on his brother Dillon, who had been glimpsed in the previous season of Dark Winds. It was Dillon who had warned factory workers at the drill site about an imminent explosion. Though the workers were alerted, the news of the impending blast didn’t reach Joe Leaphorn’s son. The explosion tragically claimed the life of Joe Jr.

Dillon had his church for the “People of Darkness,” a cult that used to be funded by the infamous businessman of town, B. J. Vines, who later stopped giving them money. It was even heard that after the explosion, B. J. had acquired the land for the drill site. However, Dillon met his end in a car accident, raising doubts about whether B. J. Vines had any involvement in his demise.


Leaphorn’s suspicions deepened, and he told Gordo Sena about Emerson’s son, Tomas, hoping he could help provide an alibi regarding his father. As the investigation progressed, the series already introduced us to the killer—Colton Wolf, the suspect whose trailer Leaphorn and Bernadette raided at the beginning of the episode. Colton was spotted near Emerson’s accident site, strongly indicating his involvement in this crime. In another chilling development, Colton was seen conspiring with another man to find a woman named Linda, but he slyly eliminated the man by putting a bullet in his head. Colton’s actions gave him a psychopathic aura. However, questions lingered about whether he was acting on his own or possibly working for a larger, sinister entity with motives against the People of Darkness or the Charley family.

Why did the Vines hire Jim Chee? Did Leaphorn arrest Colton?

As the events unfolded, Rosemary Vines, B. J. Vines’ wife, approached Jim Chee and enlisted his help in locating a precious box that had been stolen from their house. She suspected the People of Darkness, particularly Tomas Charley, of being involved in the burglary. Jim Chee was no longer a police officer working for the agency, but it’s apparent that he became a private investigator. However, in this particular case, without much information about the box’s significance, Jim had to proceed with the investigation cautiously. He met Tomas Charley, who was unaware of his father’s death at that point, and revealed that B. J. Vines had a contentious history with the People of Darkness as he had stopped supporting them. Tomas also believed that Vines possessed knowledge of witchcraft, which he thought caused his father’s cancer. To break the supposed curse, Tomas had taken the box and hidden it in a sacred and remote location.


Reluctant at first, Tomas eventually provided Jim with a map to retrieve the box. However, Colton overheard their conversation, putting their plans in jeopardy. On his way back, Jim met Joe, who informed him that Emerson had been killed in an explosion.

Jim and Leaphorn arrived at the sacred site to collect the box, and they found some belongings, including Leaphorn’s son Joe Jr.’s badge. But just in time, Colton appeared and began firing at them, resulting in Jim getting injured and Leaphorn’s car being set ablaze. Despite their injuries, they survived the encounter and attempted to apprehend Colton, but he managed to escape.


Meanwhile, Bernadette encountered a thief named Dean and, upon Leaphorn’s request, listened to Steve’s story about the alien goat species responsible for his finger injury. Initially, she was dismissive about this issue, but her perspective changed when she encountered a peculiar-looking goat on her way. She decided to bring it into custody as well. In the upcoming episodes, the mysteries surrounding the People of Darkness and their animosity with the Vines will likely be explored, as well as Colton’s motives and his connection to the explosions. The goat’s role in the cases may also be revealed as the plot unfolds. For now, we can just eagerly await the next episode to uncover the answers to these intriguing questions.

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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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