Julia Navarro In ‘True Detective’: Is She Dead Or Alive?

Some of us probably saw it coming, but Julia Navarro’s death was still a shocker. And the manner in which she died was particularly heartbreaking! The character was in extreme pain from the very beginning, and she never really had it easy, whether in the timeline of the show or in life. The world of True Detective is often cruel, and Julia’s fate is clearly an indication of that. But the obvious question that arises with it is: What does this mean? There’s no denying that Julia Navarro was suffering from a grave mental illness, most likely schizophrenia, and in the end, she just couldn’t bear the misery called life. The character’s death has extreme importance storywise and has an obvious impact on her sister, series co-lead Evangeline Navarro. In this article, I’m going to try my hand at uncovering the mysteries surrounding Julia’s death by looking at her life in depth.

Spoilers Ahead


Who Was Julia Navarro?

Julia was Evangeline’s sister, as we already know. Evangeline brought her to Ennis because she wanted to take care of her dear sister, who had a very difficult time handling her mental illness. Julia had major anxiety attacks during her time at Ennis, and concerned locals, like Evangeline’s sort of boyfriend Quavvik and Detective Liz Danvers, had come to her rescue. Quavvik was also her employer, as Julia used to work at his bar as a waitress.


How Was Julia’s Life Before Enis?

Not that we have a whole lot of information to say something definitive, but from the bits and pieces we do have, it can be concluded that Julia’s life was never really great. The poor woman was a constant sufferer in her childhood, where she saw her indigenous mother being abused by her (most likely) white American father. We know for a fact that adult Julia ended up in a mental health facility called “Lighthouse”, which was badly managed, and she was subjected to a lot of torture.


Why Did Julia Kill Herself?

Imagine seeing your father beat your mother, then spending a considerable amount of time in an asylum where you’re treated like a prisoner rather than a patient. You would probably feel the same misery that Julia Navarro likely used to feel all the time. She was still brave enough to keep trying with life, most probably because her sister, Evangeline, was the only person who ever truly cared for her. I don’t think Julia came to Ennis with the thought of killing herself; in fact, it was the opposite. Ennis was Julia’s last shot at life, by being with her sister, getting a job, and living as normally as possible. But the demons in her head never really left, and Julia kept fighting them until she couldn’t do it anymore. The final straw was ending up in another medical facility yet again. Evangeline kept telling her it wasn’t like “Lighthouse”, and from what we could also see of it, she wasn’t lying. But by now Julia had possibly developed a phobia of such places, so this didn’t work out for her. A person only kills themselves when they have not a single strand of hope left, and that’s where Julia was when she ran into the sea and surrendered herself. The last time we saw Julia, her face was peaceful, but that peace only came from the knowledge that her misery was finally ending.


How Does The Death Affect Evangeline?

The person who is affected the most by Julia’s death has to be Evangeline Navarro, her sister. Evangeline also had the same troubled childhood, and she fared slightly better by eventually joining the Army, which took her to Afghanistan, and later joining the police. Evangeline came to Ennis from Boston, and from the look of it, she now considers herself a local, which is understandable as her mother was originally from Ennis. Julia was not just the only living relative of Evangeline; she was also her responsibility, as it was she who convinced Julia to come to Ennis. Not that Evangeline didn’t try her best to keep her sister okay, but fate was just not there for the Navarro sisters. With Julia’s final breakdown, Evangeline had no choice but to admit her to the facility. The tragedy that followed would have happened anyway, in my opinion.

The way Evangeline reacts to her sister’s death is both heartbreaking and concerning, if you’re rooting for the character. She is, of course, the more likable of the two detectives this season, which is why it’s really hard to see Evangeline intentionally getting herself beaten up by the local douchebag males. By the end of this episode, Evangeline had already heard her calling—the same thing that Julia also heard—and we know for a fact that she is also thinking about doing something drastic.


What Exactly Is The Call?

Evangeline mentions to Liz that the people in her family, including her mother and Julia, hear something calling them when their time is about to run out. And now that she has mentioned that she is being called by “death,” her partner Liz has a job to do, which is to figure out a way to save Evangeline. With this season getting dangerously close to confirming the fact that supernatural beings indeed exist in this universe, things might get further worse for Evangeline. Yes, I know you’re thinking about the ghosts that Evangeline keeps seeing—both at the time of her and Liz’s past encounter with an abusive man (who, I believe, was actually shot by Evangeline) and their recent hunt for Otis Heiss—but those can be manifestations of the monster that Evangeline had in her head. Julia also had the same, as did her abused mother. I’m not ruling out the possibility of something far more twisted, but as of now, I am still inclined to believe in the hallucination theory.


And Finally, What’s With The Orange?

The ripe orange has been a very significant thing in the narrative of True Detective: Night Country. In the last episode, we did see Evangeline picking up an orange and throwing it into the vast ice, and it mysteriously came back to her only. We saw the same orange appearing to Julia, rolling out from under the bed of her facility in the latest episode. This can very well mean that the orange is a metaphor for the death omen or a foreshadowing of death in this show. In case you remember, similar storytelling techniques were used in the iconic The Godfather Trilogy, and if this is Issa Lopez’s way of paying some kind of homage, then I would say she’s pretty much nailing it.


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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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