Sleuths for Truth: A TRUE DETECTIVE Roundtable – Season 4 Finale and Aftermath

The Nic Pizzolatto fanboys are big mad, the other skeptics have some valid criticisms, and those of us who got swept into Night Country can’t wait to tell you what we loved… this is our final week of Season 4 recaps and we thank you for coming along the journey with us

Before we dive into this week’s episode, let me first remind everyone… there will be spoilers. So let this serve as a SPOILER WARNING and if you’re caught up with the show, we hope you’ll stay, share your theories, and let us know what you think about True Detective: Night Country. We’ll be posting every week with our latest thoughts on what happened and what we think is going to happen.

While my beautiful wife couldn’t join us in discussing the finale and our final thoughts on the season, the rest of the gang is all here, with Brendan and I repping Cinapse and our guests returning for one last hurrah (on this season, at least… I hope they’ll join us for more discussion on other properties and future seasons).

Brad Milne

We are all in the dark country now. The episode opens with Navarro and Danvers beginning to comb through the ice caves in search of the elusive Raymond Clark. The storm that had been threatening as the last episode ended is in full force. The pair find Raymond Clark in the bowels of ice caves but he manages to once again evade his pursuers. Danvers has a nice callback to the season premiere, as she once again tracks the sound of Twist & Shout throughout Tsalal station once again extinguishing the sound with fury, as the duo continue their pursuit of Raymond Clark.

The feminine energy that has been a constant through line throughout the season remains. Not just the investigation of Danvers and Navarro, but the whole episode is ruled by the women of Ennis. Peter Prior enlists the help of Rose Aguineau, with the disposal of Otis Heiss, and his father. Also as we learn the fates of everyone that remained after Clark’s escape. The final story of what happened to the men of Tsalal station passed down in a great oral tradition of the elders of Ennis’s indigenous population. Of course, it is just a story, and maybe not even entirely true.

Another great season of True Detective, ends with everything as close to resolved as is possible. Of course, these stories take place in a world where nothing is solved, and so there isn’t quite closure for anyone involved there is at least resolution. I feel like this season is probably the most narratively satisfying of the seasons so far. I am still a little unhappy it was only six episodes, but that has to do more with the fact that I wanted more time with Danvers and Navarro, and the younger Prior. I know some people are upset with the way the season ended and that there was no concrete connections to the first season, but I feel like it was never really going to happen so I was happy with the tenuous threads that tied the two seasons together. I also loved the feminine energy that seemed to propel the show.

The cast were all terrific including the army of indigenous women who spelled the doom for the men of Tsalal station, Fiona Shaw, Kali Reis, Jodie Foster, Isabella LeBlanc, Anna Lambe, Nivi Petersen. And even more amazing feminine energy with Billie Eilish’s theme song. It was a great effort behind the scenes from Issa Lopez as well. Definitely was glad she was given the reigns for the full season. I can’t wait for what the same team has in store for the fifth season. Thanks again Justin and Cinapse for allowing me to tag along and share my thoughts.

(@BradMilne79 on X)

Sarah Jane

Hell, yeah, Izza Lopez nailed that landing! The final episode of True Detective: Night Country was terrific! For me, the ending tidied up all the loose ends that were left hanging by that penultimate episode. My favorite part about the ending was how the men of Tsalal were killed. No spoilers here in case you haven’t seen it yet but, man, that was some satisfying television right there. Especially true considering what those men were actually up to there at the research station anyone. Also, anyone catch that actual skeleton in the ceiling of the ice cave?

Season 5 of True Detective has already been greenlit by HBO with Izza at the helm once again. Obviously, there are zero details yet, but I am definitely looking forward to what she will be coming up with next.

(@FookThis on X)

Brendan Foley

Can’t speak to anyone else’s reaction, but I came away from this finale feeling nothing but deep satisfaction for the ultimate shape of the story that Issa Lopez and her team told across six episodes. Threading the needle of bringing the season-long mystery to a satisfying close while also allowing space for the mystical/mythical atmospherics that define True Detective, without tipping over into overt supernatural fare, that’s a tall ask (and one that the still-iconic first season fell short of).

Here, Lopez provides a neat, human resolution to the mystery: The various local women of Ennis forced the murderous men of Tsalal Station out onto the ice and left them to die, naked in the cold dark, as vengeance for the killing of Annie K. Why did Annie K. die? Because she discovered that the Tsalal men were not only covering up the local mine’s pollution, they were actually encouraging the mine to pollute even more, as the environmental mayhem helped their research (despite the horrific effects this had on the women and children of Ennis). Danvers and Navarro solve their case but decide, Murder on the Orient Express-style, that justice has already been served.

But even with the “corpsicle” cleanly and clearly explained, Night Country retains one foot in the vague, unseen lands that lie on the other side of the deep dark. Lopez feels no need to tie together every loose end or offer a rational explanation for things like the one-eyed polar bear or a late-in-the-game timeslip that bends our understanding of the causality of what happened on that vengeful night. It’s a real “have your cake and eat it too”’” sort of ending, one that nicely brings things full (flat) circle while leaving room for the circle to keep spinning into infinity.

(@TheTrueBrendanF on X)

This entire season has been a fantastic watch for me personally, though I have seen a ton of complaints online. I want to be fair to those that didn’t like it and note that not all of them are launching baseless attacks that seem fueled by misogyny, sexism, and/or racism – but it’s also worth noting that most of the loudest voices seem fueled by exactly that. Some criticisms have resonated with me a bit… most notably, I concur that the season felt a bit truncated and could easily have used another couple episodes to flesh out a few characters and build some bridges between certain pieces of the story. It is also worth noting that some of the song selection (the use of “Twist and Shout” and, especially, the most bizarre cover of Eagle Eye Cherry that could possibly even exist) felt misplaced at best.

However, even with the fair criticisms of the show, it felt like the best season of the show since the first and one of the best seasons of television in the past few years, period. Despite a ton of people on the Internet repeatedly claiming that Issa Lopez’s writing was “awful” – to me, she wrote the shit out of this season. Coupled with the casting, the show worked pitch perfectly.

The long and short of it, it seems our whole squad was along for the ride. Of course, we respect those who just couldn’t find their way aboard. The beauty of art is that it is subjective, by and large. And, the folks who didn’t enjoy this (well, at least the ones who had reasons that went beyond their obvious fear of strong women) still have the previous season of the show to watch and enjoy.

And in the words of Cinapse founder and geninuely great human being, Ed Travis…

We’re out.

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