True Detective: Night Country: Part 4
February 5, 2024 11:35 AM - Season 4, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Navarro takes Julia to a local facility when her mental health issues resurface, promising improvement. Danvers and Navarro locate where Annie was killed.

Director/writer Issa Lopez calls this episode "The must f*uckd up Christmas special ever!"

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posted by haplesschild (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm really beginning to dislike this season. We've got two episodes left, and it would be terrific if something, anything, would happen. I mean, Christ.
posted by kbanas at 11:51 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]

otoh, I'm loving the slow burn and the character explorations. I wish they had more than 2 eps to wrap it up (unless maybe they're setting up a continuation season 5). I like a good ghost story (or whatever it is this is doing with Navarro's visions) and/or cosmic horror (or whatever it is this doing with the scientists and Otis Heiss). I'm sure the mine is connected (did they dig too deep?) and that'll draw Leah into the horror maybe? Or her horror is the mundane horror of capitalist colonization parallel to the other horror?
posted by kokaku at 2:54 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]

I'm wondering if I got tricked into watching LOST again, but I'm not that mad because I liked LOST. This is a show where I can tell that my opinion of the whole thing is going to depend a lot on how it all wraps up.
posted by Rinku at 4:30 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]

I love the bar owner re setting her finger.
posted by fleacircus at 6:25 PM on February 5 [15 favorites]

This is a show where I can tell that my opinion of the whole thing is going to depend a lot on how it all wraps up.

Agreed. It's been quite the trip but they better stick the landing and I mean 10/10. Anything less would be a disappointment. The actors are killing it.
posted by Ber at 8:37 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]

Episode 5 will drop on Friday (at least in the US) to avoid conflicting with the Super bowl.

Which might be good, because 40 minutes into episode 4 I was trying to advance the mystery by sheer force of will. Come on! Do stuff! Do detective stuff! Be true detectives!
posted by Molesome at 6:24 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]

Come on! Do stuff! Do detective stuff! Be true detectives!

The writers asked themselves, "Can we spend an entire episode having the detectives watch and re-watch the same 7 second iPhone clip?" And hell yes they can.
posted by kbanas at 6:39 AM on February 6 [8 favorites]

I'm curious from the comments if folks are horror fans (books, shows, movies, whatever). What they're doing feels very in that vein (along with the night driving, the bundled cold, the isolation).

Though I definitely thought more than once "why doesn't she rewatch with the sound off?"
posted by kokaku at 6:49 AM on February 6

I'm curious from the comments if folks are horror fans (books, shows, movies, whatever). What they're doing feels very in that vein (along with the night driving, the bundled cold, the isolation).

Personally, I love horror. But, I also like to know I'm signing up for horror. The original True Detective was a pretty fun noir with really good landscape photography. It kept you guessing whether there were any supernatural elements. The acting was good. It was a little bit horror-y.

There's a lot about this season to like. It checks all the boxes I mentioned above. But it's also hard to tell if this show knows what it is, I guess. I can enjoy the show's grim vibes. But even though I'm enjoying the journey, with this show I can tell if there's no destination I'm not going to be totally satisfied.
posted by Rinku at 7:44 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]

My thoughts from this ep:
I think it was the rose petals on the camouflage comforter that really started me in the dive that, everyone is not OK. I do think though they should have had more of a warning at the top of the episode for suicide. This episode was so worst Christmas ever it healed my holiday traumas.

Guy in the corner at the end ala Blair Witch was the first time I'd shouted no no no at the screen this whole season. That just unnerved me on every level.

I hadn't bought into the Qavvik-the-killer theories until this episode. Here is what we know: Anne, according to Hank, had many lovers. Navarro specifically asking Q why he was alone caused me to re-read his niceness as neediness. Also the loving way he tricked her into hurting her (to heal her, but still) showed a next-level ability to manipulate. What if Annie's murder was just a jealous act made to look like it was mine-related?

Still unsure who "she" is.....but Annie says "I found it" not "I found her" .....
posted by haplesschild at 8:14 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]

But even though I'm enjoying the journey, with this show I can tell if there's no destination I'm not going to be totally satisfied.

Well you heard the man in the pink parka - we're heading into Night Country (follow Interstate A-1, then point north and step on the gas. If you drive off a cliff onto a pile of dead moose you've gone too far)
posted by Molesome at 9:10 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]

Really not a fan of this season or episode at all. I had to stop to laugh when I heard the first line of the song that played when a certain character walked off somewhere, and we all knew what they were about to do (being vague just in case of spoilers). I would definitely like to single out the song choices as maybe the worst part of this show.
posted by destructive cactus at 10:07 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]

It's not just this show. I've noticed a real trend in the past couple of years of shows choosing painfully on-the-nose songs to underline what's happening on the screen. Crudely manipulative instrumental music telling us what to feel as a drama proceeds has been an irritation for decades, but now it seems we have to have lyrics that explicitly spell everything out too. Just how dumb do these people think we are?
posted by Paul Slade at 12:33 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]

I blame Mad Men for making needle drops a thing.

I had no idea there were two episodes left. I enjoyed this episode, and my feeling was, "Ah okay now we enter into the meat of the story." I didn't know that I was like two bites away from dessert.

I think my main problems with this season is, 1) it's very much a family drama scandinoir which 1a) previous seasons weren't and 1b) I loathe family drama scandinoirs, and 2) Danvers and Navarro are both so ultra-spiky all the time it's tiresome challenging.

Also the loving way he tricked her into hurting her (to heal her, but still) showed a next-level ability to manipulate.

I think to be in a relationship with Navarro you have to be good at handling wild humans. Also he's so himbo coded! I'll be surprised if he's the killer.
posted by fleacircus at 8:43 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]

Yeah, the music this season has been absolutely abysmal. I saw an edit where someone put an Inuit throat singing performance overtop of the opening credits instead of the peppy close-mic'd number they have now and wow, what a difference it made.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 9:43 AM on February 7

I'm quite impressed with how quickly the Coast Guard was able to not only locate and retrieve Julia's naked corpse adrift in the icy black waters of the night-covered sea, but also positively ID the body and then immediately track down her next-of-kin to deliver the sad news. (And all of this on Christmas Eve!) That's some 5-star detective work. Too bad they couldn't be put in charge of the multiple murder investigations in Ennis.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:26 AM on February 7 [19 favorites]

That's some 5-star detective work

They're the real... True Detectives.
posted by kbanas at 10:52 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

I'm still liking the show but was also surprised to learn there are only two episodes left. And Danvers has no idea how to cook a turkey.
posted by queensissy at 11:12 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

I’m loving it and I hate horror. To be fair, I “watched” the last five minutes from behind my pillow so I must have missed quite a bit.

My only prediction (besides the mine obviously being balls deep in this thing) is that Qavvik is too wonderful so he’s either the killer or a dead man walking (and given that he now has the spiral stone thanks to Navarro forgetting it at his house I’m betting he’s cooked).
posted by lydhre at 1:53 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]

I've generally been onboard with this season, but this episode felt like wheel-spinning. The decision to keep what happened between Danvers and Navarro a mystery this late in the season also feels like a creative misfire.

We already have a double-mystery: what happened to the Tsalal scientists, and how does it connect to Annie's murder? That's great, and certainly enough for six episodes. I really like how the midpoint of this season echoes (spirals back to?) S1's midpoint, where Rust and Marty's fabricated account of the shootout at Reggie Ledoux's covers up for Marty murdering Ledoux. The detectives may lie to the other characters, but the camera never lies to us, the audience.

So withholding who shot the creepy whistling abuser at the show's midpoint, and slow-dripping that crucial relationship moment out over multiple episodes just feels like we're being plot-blocked for no reason.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 7:01 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]

I'm loving this season, and I haven't watched True Detective since season 1. I loved the first season, but I was disappointed in the ending. I'm very into the weirdness of this season and the horror feel to it. I'm less worried about the ending to this one, first, because I think it's pretty clear that the mine is going to be at the heart of it, and second, I don't feel like the show is doling out clues for us to solve. I want resolution of some kind though.

Qavvik was so nice to the dog that he'd better not be a murderer.
posted by gladly at 7:23 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]

Since enough people are hate-watching this, I feel I need to add my voice to the side of Team Liking It So Far. It's more in the horror vein, like The Outsider, which I really enjoyed even though I'm definitely not a horror aficionado, with a dash of the first season of Trapped.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:01 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]

I saw an edit where someone put an Inuit throat singing performance overtop of the opening credits instead of the peppy close-mic'd number they have now and wow, what a difference it made.

I rather like the Billy Eilish song used over the opening credits - both how it sounds and the mood it sets. Given its "I wanna end me" lyrics, I certainly wouldn't describe it as peppy.
posted by Paul Slade at 1:12 AM on February 8 [4 favorites]

“Himbo coded” is the best phrase I’ve ever seen on this website.
posted by hototogisu at 2:32 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm really enjoying the slightly different vibe to this season after bouncing off of Season 2/3. It's true that it is not very realistic in terms of police procedures (I'm still not sure what the Alaska State Police is supposed to be), but I'm pretty comfortable suspending disbelief as needed. I'm also fine with enjoying the journey rather than the destination, in fact I'm rather fond of series that don't answer every question neatly and tie up every thread (LOST apologist here).

On Bluesky, uel described it as "what if the guys at haarp got havana syndromed into doing a dyatlov pass" which seems like where we are headed, but that's a pretty good pitch for a series, right?
posted by Rock Steady at 10:31 AM on February 8

I think the intro song is pretty emblematic of how much the music programming has changed without T-Bone Burnett.

Instead of an instantly-iconic deep cut we get a 5-year old track with over a billion plays on streaming platforms that has already been used in numerous films, shows, and trailers. Maybe with that licensing fee they could've upgraded the CGI a little bit!

And sure, the lyrics are dark, but it's a ~132bpm shuffle beat. The trend of all the music in the show so far seems to be heavily didactic, with the lyrics telling us exactly how we should be feeling. In the suicide scene the lyrics go "Everybody dies sometimes...." ... I mean, come on.

Again, though, this is more of a nitpick with recent music direction trends, and not anything unique to this show at all.

Still hoping they'll stick the landing but can't shake the feeling that this would've had a lot more freedom if it wasn't so clearly wrangled into the True Detective mould and was instead allowed to stand on its own two feet as its own show.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 10:44 AM on February 8 [4 favorites]

I’m still liking the sort of frozen north gothic horror vibe of this season.
posted by eekernohan at 10:56 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Was doing some background research (how long is it dark in Alaska) and stumbled on this article. Was struck by how similar the photos are to various scenes from the show. article

Been enjoying the show but if the ending stinks it will all have been for naught and my opinion will probably change.
posted by MadMadam at 12:16 PM on February 9

Prediction: it is a prion/viral parasite that has been around for eons - buried deep, with possibly some sort of central host. It has had it's hooks in the local indigenous population for thousands of years. Doesn't explain the scientists yet, but I am willing to bet that the solution will have a possible scientific answer.
posted by rozcakj at 12:47 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Five reasons the new season of True Detective leaves me cold (Guardian).

Well, I agree about the music (and that this is a huge problem with shows these days, either leading you by the nose or being completely inappropriate). But I don't think the "supernatural" aspect is being overdone. Only a few people are having visions- for the most part Liz is playing it as a real life crime (I know she saw the one-eyed polar bear when she was driving drunk). AFAICT, aside from Rose talking to ghosts, the only person interacting with the supernatural/mental health elements are Navarro and Julia.

The only character I find particularly abrasive is Liz, and she's got a lot of stuff she clearly hasn't worked through and absolutely sucks at communication- like, please just tell your adoptive daughter that you're terrified she'll be murdered for being an outspoken indigenous woman, and start working through your shit. Rose doesn't seem particularly "daffy" either- she seems very much like a lot of older women I have known, living in small towns or rural places or even Berkeley. I don't see talking to ghosts any different than talking to god, and people who do that aren't accused of being "daffy".

There's a lot of dumb plot holes and strange digressions, but that's actually very True Detective seasons 1, 2, and 3.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:17 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]

My problem with this season is so little happens and yet I still find myself having a hard time keeping track what is happening, perhaps because so much of it happens off-camera or in flashbacks. There are a lot of important characters we never actually meet besides in fleeting clips.

I'm enjoy the mood and setting of the show, but find all the characters a bit flat. The highlight of this episode for me was the scene where the one character reveals herself to be a burned out literature professor who just said "fuck it" to academia and moved out to this far corner of Alaska. That sort of specificity is missing from most of the characters.
posted by coffeecat at 8:05 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]

Maybe TV series music has gotten so literal and familiar because they figure everyone is looking down at their phone for half the episode and they want to convey what's happening to viewers who are partially checked out (I can't be the only guilty one, can I)?
posted by rikschell at 9:57 AM on February 19

the interpersonal stuff (Qavik and Evangeline are amazing, I love the stepdaughter), the cinematography - the long shots of the landscape, and the existential dread are great

the supernatural-on-a-plate and the fucking jump scares are so . fucking. CHEAP.

get rid of the fucking horror shlock.
posted by lalochezia at 6:57 PM on February 20

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