‘True Detective’ Season 4 Episode 5 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Peter Kill Hank?

The thing about small towns, which hardly ever see new faces, is that the residents sort of come together and become a family. Devoid of hope, light, or anything good, Ennis seems like a town that should pay its people just so they don’t leave. And it’s not really surprising that in a town like that, a handful of people would make up a very toxic, unbelievably messed-up family. Issa Lopez laces the central investigation of this season with disturbingly convoluted themes of problematic family dynamics and the issues they’re afflicted with. As a result, the penultimate episode of season 4 of True Detective sees the characters in their most vulnerable, unsalvagable states, branded with a curse that’s here to stay.


Spoilers Ahead

What Does Danvers Find Out From Otis Heiss?

Well, it’s not all hopeless this time around. Navarro’s proven that life will try its best to hold on as death’s pull grows stronger and stronger. The warmth of the urn can never replace the warmth she felt with her baby sister in her arms. Now far gone, Julia stays with Navarro in her frustrating attempts at survival. Danvers, on the other hand, is finding it increasingly hard to not let her softer side out. It can’t be easy for her to be in such close proximity to someone going through a personal loss, considering she herself hasn’t quite dealt with the loss of her own family. But considering the circumstances and their resolve to deal them a bad hand, these aren’t necessarily bad things. It’s especially lucky that the man who had the same inexplicable injuries as those of the Tsalal men is now within Danvers’ reach. And what she does with this privilege is rather ironic for someone who condemns her fellow officers for not asking the right questions. So, Otis was witness to a mysterious accident in an ice cave that took a few lives and lured a few away. What the source of the bloodcurdling sounds he’d heard was or whom Clark could have been referring to as the “she” in “She’s Awake” could never be the right questions to ask a homeless, practically unstable heroin addict. But Otis doesn’t completely disappoint. For what it’s worth, Danvers now knows that the ice cave that Annie died in has been mysteriously blocked off.


How Is Silver Sky Connected To The Tsalal Station?

It may seem like Danvers is out to get Kate because of some personal feud between the two, but she isn’t totally blind to the fact that the mining company is killing the town in cold blood. In a town that’s in desperate need of some industrialization to bring in jobs and opportunities, it’s not hard for Silver Sky to have most of the troopers and Ennis police in its pocket. They are, ultimately, the promise of life that’s slow-poisoning Ennis. Black water coming out of taps and coffins being filled with stillborns aren’t things that elude Danvers’ eyes. And when Peter joins the two very crucial dots and figures out that it was the mining company that was funding the Tsalal research center, she takes the most harebrained step possible. I mean, come on. What did she hope to achieve by storming into Kate’s office and blurting out all the reasons she thinks Kate’s connected to Annie’s death? She is, however, absolutely on point. Considering Tsalal was in charge of scrutinizing the mine’s effect on the town’s natural resources, it’s highly likely that the “donations” Silver Sky made to Tsalal were to make sure the reports came out clean. Kate may not be the one getting into bed with Connelly, but she’s certainly the one pulling his strings.

What Is The Secret Behind The Wheeler Case?

Bear with me while I toot my own horn. I mean, not to be too cocky, but I told you so. But I gotta say, Hank turning out to be someone with some actual, although rather nasty, depths was kind of a surprise. I’ve so far seen the man as someone driven entirely by his insecurities, and while I wasn’t completely off in my assessment, there’s certainly more to Hank than meets the eye. For starters, he’s fairly good with the keys and the chords, something that he’s probably too insecure to let people know. And sadly enough, Peter does take after his dad a bit, however much he may deny any inherited toxicity. Why else would Hank be the guy who Peter turns to when Kayla very justifiably kicks him out? Did you think Hank snooped into Peter’s computer to settle the score for when Peter had stolen the files for Danvers? While that might’ve played a part, the reason Hank tried to find dirt on Danvers was simply because he’s an insecure father, someone who has to remind his son that he saved his life that one time just to get some gratitude. There’s no love lost between Danvers and Peter. But the mommy issues are glaring in the man ruining his life over his quest for Danvers’ approval. And it’s this connection between his son and the cop who’s holding the chair that he so desperately wants that made Hank look into the enigmatic Wheeler case. Now, let’s get into the theory that I couldn’t stop bragging about. If you’ve been following the episodic recaps, you probably remember me speculating that it wasn’t so much a murder-suicide as it was a murder-murder. And as it turns out, Peter, Hank, and now even Connelly, thanks to Hank spilling the beans, believe that Danvers and Navarro were responsible for the abuser’s death. When you lay down all the pieces, the puzzle is pretty easy to solve. While I’m still not sure who pulled the trigger, considering Navarro’s hotheadedness and Danvers’ protective nature are both pretty convincing motives, the two were totally in on covering it up. And even though they got away with the kill and the manipulated evidence, now they have to pay the price by letting the investigation go. The forensics experts see no sign of foul play in the freakishly wounded corpses of the Tsalal scientists. Connelly’s having the Wheeler leverage on Danvers is going to make it a challenge for her to keep the case open.


What Is The Meaning Of The Crooked Circle Symbol?

If the unpredictability surrounding the central mystery is all that there is to a thriller, I wouldn’t say that it’s a very good one. And so far, Night Country has not only made it pretty futile to speculate anything about the ending, but it’s also getting us acquainted with the characters in a unique way. It’s almost as though we’re getting to know them on a personal level in a very short span of time. And with just one more episode to go, we can confidently say that we know the nature of what haunts Navarro, Danvers, and Peter. But most essentially, what makes these otherwise tragic portrayals all the more relatable and reminiscent of real people is that they’re not at all beyond saving. As messed up as the ending of the penultimate episode may be, it holds space for hope for all of them.

It’s rather understandable that someone like Danvers would take Leah’s dangerous interest in the protests personally. She isn’t necessarily blind to the very alarming situation caused by the mines, and if anything, she knows how far the Inupiaq people were pushed. But Leah is all that she’s left with in this brutally cold world. This almost-daughter is her last chance to prove that she’s not a complete wreck. It was unbelievably lucky that Navarro showed up just in time to whisk Leah away to safety when that bootlicker trooper was beating the teenager black and blue. The decision to lock Leah up was to make her reflect on her self-destructive spurts of teenage rebellion. But that’s where Danvers was wrong. Leah’s emotional capacity isn’t limited to the urge to do exactly what she’s advised against. She truly cares, and her empathy transcends the plight of her own people and touches someone as hopeless as Danvers. Interrupted in the bath, Leah isn’t unkind, not even to the mother figure who’s misunderstood her every step of the way. So just maybe, at least in Leah’s eyes, Danvers isn’t beyond redemption.


And you know who else might just have enough hope left in her to walk the mile and not give up? It’s Evangeline Navarro. Even the most excruciating losses haven’t been able to crush the strength that she needs to accept love and warmth. Now, I’m not sure how much of a green flag Qavvik truly is (but let’s just call it my paranoia for now), but he certainly is the thread that’s keeping Navarro attached to her survival instincts. Now that she’s poured the remains of her sister down into the ocean with Rose’s help, she desperately needs someone to come back to—someone who’d wait for her safe return. And Qavvik is just that for Navarro.

The only one fighting the futile battle of warding off consequences with further bad actions is Hank. He’s lived this unfulfilled life long enough. The position he was promised in exchange for moving Annie’s body had gone to Danvers. Yet he’s still so vulnerable to Kate’s false promises that he reluctantly accepts a job he’d never thought he’d stoop so low as to do. If anything, Hank’s naivety and chaotic impulses have been a blessing for Silver Sky, the evil mining company that needs just this brainless guy to clean up their filth. Now that he’s charged with taking out Otis Heiss, the last thread tying Silver Sky to Annie’s death and the Tsalal investigation, he doesn’t even see that this will be the final push over the edge. Now that Peter knows that he broke into his computer, he’s lost the last chance to mend the bond. What a mess!

Luck isn’t completely unfair to Navarro. It seems as though the mystery itself wants to be solved by her. Through Qavvik’s friend, she doesn’t just find the rock with the crooked circle, but she also gets some much-needed insight into what the symbol really means. Apparently, the symbol is a warning that whoever’s walking on the upper surface of the ice caves, also known as the “night country,” is dangerously close to falling through. And the fact that it’s so easy to fall into the dangerous caves also means that the caves may not be too hard to find. Now all that Navarro and Danvers need in order to get to the bottom of the mystery is for Otis to point them in the right direction. That’s right. Danvers isn’t ready to cower to Connelly’s intimidation tactics. She’s seen the gradual decline of Navarro’s mental health. If she doesn’t take a stand now, she’d be carrying the weight of Annie’s death, just like Navarro has been all this time.

And what does Danvers do to solve the mystery, save herself, and put an end to Silver Sky’s destructive schemes once and for all? She breaks the law, of course. Otis gets his much-needed heroin fix in the privacy of the cop’s bathroom, and Danvers gets information on the cave’s location in exchange. Win win? Not so much. It turns out Hank’s more volatile than you’d think he’s capable of being. Despite Danvers’ ardent pleas, he shoots Otis in cold blood. Now, I’m not sure if I’d call it lucky, but if Peter hadn’t moved into Danvers’ shed and heard the gunshots, Otis probably wouldn’t have been Hank’s only victim. In the ending sequence of episode five, a heartbroken son is compelled to do something he’d never recover from. Danvers does try to save Peter from carrying around the weight of killing his own father, even at the risk of being shot by Hank, but it turns out Peter’s more righteous than his father ever could be. Sure, this is not something that’d ever stop haunting Peter, but he surprisingly still has the presence of mind to do what’s needed. It’s ironic how much the situation resembles the Wheeler case, something Peter has been poking and prodding at. Now Peter himself is caught up in an illegal coverup of a double murder. Navarro has found a friend and ally in Rose. And it’s the faith she has in the reclusive ex-professor that tells her that Rose would help them get rid of the bodies. It shouldn’t be hard for three law-enforcement officials to clean up a murder scene, what with their being well-versed in the procedures and protocols. But how heavily a secret this big and grim can affect a person is only known to two of them. For Peter, it’s only the beginning of a very rough road. Let’s just hope that he picks the right shoulders to cry on.


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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