True Detective: Welcome to Night Country
January 15, 2024 8:52 AM - Season 4, Episode 1 - Subscribe

In Ennis, Alaska, the men that operate a research station vanish. To solve the case, Detectives Danvers and Navarro will have to confront the darkness themselves, and dig into the haunted truths that lie buried under the eternal ice.
posted by chavenet (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's really giving Fortitude so far, though Jodie Foster is great. Took me far too long to realize that the younger cop isn't Danvers' son; there was some offhand comment in the research station early on that misdirected me.
posted by supercres at 10:44 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]

The younger cop is the son of the other older male cop.

Anyone know what the APF on their uniforms stands for? They’re Ennis police, but what’s the APF? Google has been pretty unhelpful but maybe it’s related to the Alaska Permanent Fund?
posted by jeoc at 11:29 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]

APF = Alaska Police Force
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 12:07 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

So thrilled to have this show back, especially with Foster! Very much enjoyed last night and the claustrophobic creepiness of the dark & old memories coming to haunt.

I posted the below thoughts on the True Detective subreddit, which I'd never looked at before, and it seems to be a bunch of sock puppet accounts trying to call the show too "woke" (even the show-runner made a statement).... so I am happy to see it being discussed here instead.

I re-watched the opening Tsalal scene in slowmo. The choreography of the scene is fun to watch because I have a feeling nothing is unintentional. A few things I noticed:
-The scientist who brings in the laundry has only towels. When he tells the other guy it's his week, we assume he means the laundry, but what if he means something else?
-The scientist in the robe goes all the way into the lab to retrieve the book that was found in what looks like parka guy's room later in the show.
-The scientist wearing the pink parka has snow on him.

Ferris Bueller has never been so sinister.

I'm very excited for the next 5 episodes.
posted by haplesschild at 12:50 PM on January 15 [10 favorites]

Putting The Thing front and center on the DVD shelf was a bit blatant, but at least it wasn't 30 Days of Night. I guess if it's good enough for Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station it's good enough for fictional Tsalal Research Station.

Really hoping this is as good as season 3, not expecting it to be as good as season 1.
posted by Molesome at 1:54 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

I really enjoyed it, but I'll be honest - I thought the weak spot was Jodie Foster, which surprised the hell out of me. I felt like she was trying to do ab impression of Kate Winslet from Mare of Easttown and failing. Everyone else? Gangbusters.
posted by kbanas at 3:50 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]

yeah, getting ALL the Fortitude vibes, which should delight me because mystery/bio-horror are fave genres; but for some reason i was kinda bored. seriously, every aspect of this ticks a box for me, i would think i'd be over the moon. somehow... it just didn't seem all that new or fresh or suspenseful. hoping it clicks for episode 2.
posted by lapolla at 5:06 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]

The younger cop is the son of the other older male cop.

A big chunk of this episode's mystery was puzzling out the familial ties of all the characters. It feels like Peter actually is Liz's son, altho probably not biological - she and Hank were likely together for years. After she and Hank split, Liz had a relationship with Leah's dad. Leah's dad died in some DUI incident and Liz adopted Leah, altho possibly not formally.

It's very interesting to see how Liz code switches between mom and cop constantly with both Peter and Leah - when she first picked up Leah the confrontation had a very authoritarian cop-energy to it, until the near-miss with Hank's hookup buddy had her jump to protective/reassuring mom-energy immediately. I also think Liz's deeply unsettled reaction to Twist and Shout is tied back to the memories of Leah's father's death.

Evangeline's relationship histories are equally dense - it seems that the cold case isn't just a body she caught, but someone she had a close relationship with. She's still in contact with several members of Annie's family, and the conversation she had with Annie's daughter seem to indicate she knew her mother well before the killing. (at least I think that was Annie's daughter, it was a little nebulous)

This season seems to be opening with a much stronger "is it supernatural" push than the first. Everyone hearing a woman's voice talking about "she has woken" (the spirit that Darwin is drawing?), Rose being led to the horrifically ice-embedded bodies by her ghost bud, the one-eyed polar bear that Evangeline sees right as Liz has a dream (?) of finding a one-eyed stuffed bear (and that bear is briefly seen in the Tsalal photos Liz lays out in a spiral)... it's all a lot more up-front in the spookitude, in a fashion that took S01 much longer to build to directly. I'm very curious to see how committed the writing is to there being fully supernatural elements, because it seems like it'd be a real cop-out to not do so after this much in the opener.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:48 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]

I loathe Ferris Bueller so I was definitely right there with Danvers NEEDING TO TURN THAT OFF. Even though she said it was because of the Beatles.

I also enjoyed Danvers'/Jodie's Columbo impression for a second going into a room in the research lab with Evangeline. She just said something and bent over and it gave me a smile. I'm grateful for little things like that in this show because remembering the other seasons, it can be so relentlessly heavy that it wears me down.
posted by queensissy at 10:31 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]

The younger cop is the son of the other older male cop.

Lol yeah I got that much at least, they certainly drove it home enough.

After thinking about it more, I'm hoping that they slightly reverse the Fortitude formula--

(vague Fortitude stuff)
in Fortitude the supernatural force was the primary threat, with human violence stemming from that in various ways. Here I'm hoping that humans are the primary source of violence, with tinges of the supernatural.

posted by supercres at 11:09 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]

I think I like this, though it doesn't feel like a True Detective really. I think what it's mostly missing is style. There was a little bit of Twin Peaks to True Detective; hints at some broken weirdness of the world.

It's weird for me to say that I'm not tasting the darkness and weirdness, when the show has these vanished dudes and it's literally night-time all the time. But that's how it is. Maybe it's the FAMBLY shit, maybe it's the blue collar cop stuff. Probably it's just the lack of style and mood, even though visually it's fine. Needs just a little dash of spooky juice.

Whatever it is, the end result is that it feels conventional, and while I'm sure I'll keep watching, I don't find myself very interested in why those dudes all wound up in the snow. Probably some kind of The Terror type shit.
posted by fleacircus at 8:10 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]

But the spirals are back! You didn't like the spirals? Danvers even made a spiral with the photos on the ground. People don't normally arrange things in a spiral to make better sense of things. I didn't notice it on the first watch so when it came up I was wondering how many other times I missed it.
posted by queensissy at 10:46 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]

One episode in and I'm fully on-board, with one caveat: I hope they don't go all-in on the supernatural stuff. The trappings are fine as mood setting and thematic motif, but I'd be very disappointed if the season resolves with A Wendigo Made Them Do It. (And I'm highly dubious that it's going to end up there. My theory is it turns out to be some MKUltra black-ops type shit, possibly done at the behest of a Big Energy cartel that has a stranglehold on the town.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:11 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]

Also god so much teal and orange.
posted by fleacircus at 1:42 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]

(at least I think that was Annie's daughter, it was a little nebulous)

I think it was Evangeline's sister. There's apparently a sister who works with Evangeline's hook-up and might be a potential cause for concern. They have a short conversation about this after sex; she asks him if her sister has been acting out, he says she's been missing work.

I was a big fan of Fortitude, so I'll be here for this as well. I think it's plenty spooky and moody, but if I had my pick, I would also prefer the supernatural as flavouring rather than main course.
posted by sohalt at 2:04 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

Spent a winter at 83 degrees north - when the sun came up in March we had a party. :)

The show has all the tiny details, right down to the peculiar dry squeak of boots on -40 degree snow. Sooo many memories, some of them even good. :) Although we covered over all of our windows.
posted by Mogur at 2:53 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]

I'm intrigued to see how this develops and compares to Murder at the End of the World - the other recent mystery set in an isolated extreme cold environment.
posted by jkosmicki at 2:25 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]

I really like this so far. One thing occurred to me about the Ferris Bueller thing: it's a little odd that the movie is stuck on repeat but we only ever see/hear the Twist and Shout scene. I'm fine with that just being movie magic, though, I guess.
posted by whir at 4:55 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]

Glad to have another cold weather detective show to help with my Fargo withdrawal, top notch timing.

I really like both our leads so far.

I don't care that much about our science dudes frozen in the snow, and I feel like the show doesn't either. Just the excuse to reopen Annie's cold case and add in some intrigue. Sorry popsicle men! (Maybe this is where the wokeness complaints originate? I refuse to investigate and request that no one try to enlighten me.)

We sure got introduced to a full cast of characters right off the bat, so I assume we're playing by the rules of the detective genre and have most likely already met out killer/killers. My early, most likely wrong guess is Hank. This is solely based on (1) his caginess around the Annie case file and (2) my desire to see John Hawkes go really sinister and anti-Sol Star. Probably he just thinks re-opening the case will lead bad places, and probably he's right.

Always happy to see Fiona Shaw, one of our greatest "hey it's that guy" character actors, and this time she talks to ghosts! Or at least a ghost, not sure if her brother is the only one.

Digging the choice of Billie Eilish for the theme song.
posted by the primroses were over at 8:46 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]

I'm thinking the guy who was making the sandwich and was videocalling someone while he did it might have recorded on his phone what had happened with the guy behind him. Once the phones are all charged up and accessed, I think that will be a plot point. We'll also probably see more of the one-eyed polar bear.

Also, yes, ugh, teal and orange. It's such a distraction.
posted by essexjan at 2:37 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Am I the only one who is feeling like this show is leaning way, way too hard on its soundtrack? It felt like every scene transition was given a new song to set the tone and not always or even often to its benefit.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:39 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]

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