‘True Detective: Night Country’ Episode 2 Recap & Ending Explained: Ghosts Or Mental Illness?

It’s surreal already; the fan-favorite crime thriller is awaking from its deep slumber of 5 years for an icy 4th installment. We know from Fargo that a crime thriller doesn’t have to hesitate before taking a plunge into the darkness of the inexplicable. Issa Lopez digs up something ancient and sinister from the frozen heart of Ennis and sets the season apart in the process. There are deaths aplenty, and the twinkling Christmas lights do nothing to battle the avalanche of darkness about to engulf the cursed mining town.


Spoilers Ahead

Ghosts Or Mental Illness?

You might’ve figured out that Travis was a ghost just from his outfit of choice on that tremendously freezing Alaskan night alone, but then again, I’m answering a question that Danvers would scrunch her nose at. So, better yet, why don’t we ask the questions that matter? Does dead Travis visit Rose often, even though his hands no longer bear the croissants she remembers so dearly? And more importantly, is Travis’ ghost real? Or is he a specter manifested by Rose’s grief, one who keeps her company when she’s stoned out of her mind? The simple way to reach a reliable conclusion is to see how she is when she isn’t seeing dead people or discovering a clump of frozen scientists. If she were the superstitious type, she’d readily find something credible in Evangeline’s claims of her sister being haunted by their dead mother. Well, to be fair, it’s not even that Evangeline’s dying to believe that there might be something supernatural at play. Admittedly, she’d sent her sister off to get better at places that medicated her to the extent that she was in a state of emotional oblivion. But the nudge Rose offers during their exchange—to rationalize first and speculate later—speaks more to her own credibility than anything else.


How’s Danvers’ Investigation Going?

There’s got to be something behind the fact that people keep reminding Danvers that it’s unusual for her to take on such a case. And it only makes you more keenly observant of everything she says or does. But then again, there’s so much of her that we have yet to come to admire, frown at, or empathize with. For a town so secluded that it’s as though the world’s shunned it, it’s no surprise that Captain Connelly wants to keep such a bizarre, big-league case for himself. Having an ice-skating rink just at the right temperature to thaw the scientists does come in handy, and if it means that she can pull a fast one on Connelly, Danvers doesn’t mind faking a smile for Kate, the perpetually groaning woman in charge of the rink and the mine. Now, the bodies don’t say much. And Peter’s only approaching the level in Danvers’ guide-to-being-a-good-detective book that she reserves for amateurs. The only thread worth following happens to be that sinister crooked circle drawn on the frozen corpse, deemed ominous and ancient by Rose.

Why’s Danvers Working With Evangeline Navarro Again?

Evangeline isn’t at all off base about Danvers having a rather uncomfortable prejudice against the Inupiaq people. But that doesn’t mean she allows that to get between her and her work—or,  at least, that’s the case with her investigation into Annie’s death. Evangeline got sucked into the case of the brutally butchered Inupiaq activist and midwife and got to know everything about Annie in the process. And thankfully, she remembers the same circle tattooed on Annie’s back. However much Danvers may detest the idea of working with Evangeline, even she can’t go on denying that the severed tongue found at Tsalal belonged to Annie. And boy, is it a treat to watch these two, a perennially bitter detective and a scrappy state trooper, make the most of their sort of self-harming qualities. Danvers’ sleepless hours bear fruit, and Annie and Raymond Clark’s shared jacket brings everything together. Clark, the same guy who was having a seizure and uttering “she’s awake” before everything went to hell for the scientists, knew Annie. How little Evangeline cares about being liked is evident when she tracks down the guy who was privy to Annie and the Tsalal paleo-microbiologist being in a relationship. And it’s through him that she grabs that one clue that eventually will prove to be the first step to the big reveal. Clark bought a trailer from this drunken ne’er-do-well’s cousin. Why’d a scientist living in Tsalal base need a trailer?


Is Clark Alive?

How do you know that the fourth season has already proved itself worthy of the talk around the show? Well, first of all, Issa Lopez has made fantastic use of the eerieness of the unusual setting to give you a murder mystery that leaves you dazed and clueless. And at the same time, “Night Country” has given you two aloof women with hidden depths that grow more fascinating the more we get to know them. Danvers’ layers peel away only to reveal more gnarly wounds than we ever could’ve imagined she’d survive. Chances are, the mean cop lost her kid, and the woman Leah fondly remembers went away with him.

With the dead as their witnesses, Leah and Peter compromise with their parents’ grave flaws. There’s some denial in Peter’s voice when he’s desperate to justify why Hank turned out to be an abusive father. And Leah woefully rationalizes all the unnecessary bitterness Danvers hurls her way. Evangeline’s emotional perseverance through all her tragedies stands in scornful contrast to Danvers’ weakness in the face of loss. Grief took the last bit of sweetness from her, while Evangeline balanced her softer and harsher sides perfectly. She’s been through her fair share of loss, something that haunts her more than she can afford to admit, lest the ghost following her sister start following her too.


We don’t know what might have gone down between Evangeline and Danvers for them to fall out. But if the two can’t even be in the same room together without trying to bite each other’s faces off, it must’ve been something big. The case, however, doesn’t suffer the consequences of their bitter strife for very long. Danvers did her digging; she came to know that Clark was clearly going through something. His emotional instability didn’t go completely overlooked by the outsiders on their sparse visits to the lab. And it only took a credit check for her to figure out that Clark got himself the same tattoo that Annie had on her back. Danvers would’ve found herself in a bind if it weren’t for Evangeline’s crucial eureka moment. As soon as she figured out where Clark might’ve parked his trailer, a whole new door opened. Poor Peter was witness to the emergence of the unfortunate dead scientists from the block of ice that held them together, and there seemed to be one Raymond Clark missing.

In the ending sequence of episode 2, when Evangeline and Danvers are freshly back from the horror they were met with in Clark’s trailer, they have a whole new perspective on the scenario. If they didn’t walk into the trailer and get hit in the gut with all that voodoo stuff that they couldn’t make heads or tails of, they probably would’ve assumed that Clark was dead. But the emotional issues eyewitnesses spoke of, the secret relationship he had with the “notorious” Annie, and most importantly, the trailer containing things that only a practitioner of the occult would need—all this points toward the possibility that Clark’s very much alive. Did he accidentally dig up something that couldn’t be contained in a petri dish? Only time will tell.


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Lopamudra Mukherjee
Lopamudra Mukherjeehttps://muckrack.com/lopamudra-mukherjee
Lopamudra nerds out about baking whenever she’s not busy looking for new additions to the horror genre. Nothing makes her happier than finding a long-running show with characters that embrace her as their own. Writing has become the perfect mode of communicating all that she feels for the loving world of motion pictures.

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