‘True Detective: Night Country’ Episode 5 Recap & Ending Explained: Is Hank Dead?


In Episode 4 of True Detective: Night Country, Ennis lost custody of the frozen Tsalal scientists to Anchorage. Pete found out about a guy called Otis Heiss because he apparently had the same injuries as the Tsalal scientists. When Liz and Navarro looked into the caves in Ennis, which was probably the place where Annie was captured, Otis’ name came up. Conveniently enough, footage from an abandoned rig showing a man wearing Raymond or Annie’s parka emerged, which led Liz and Navarro to Otis Heiss. While high on heroin, Otis warned Liz about the titular night country, and Navarro was seemingly confronted by the deceased Julia’s spirit, which caused one of her ears to bleed, just like the Tsalal scientists and Otis. Let’s find out if today’s episode gives the characters and the audience any more insight into the case and the existence of something supernatural in Ennis.

Spoiler Alert

Liz Detains Leah For Rioting

Episode 5 of True Detective: Night Country opens with Navarro collecting Julia’s ashes, and then the focus shifts to Liz, who is interrogating Otis about how much he knew Raymond Clark. Otis reveals that Raymond asked him about how Otis survived his injuries and that he talked about going to the night country and the awakening of someone or something. Liz tells Otis to give her the details of the day that he got injured. Otis says that he and a couple of other men were trapped in the ice because the ground beneath them had caved in. Otis tried to get help, but he was caught in a blizzard. That was when they heard some kind of screaming sound, which caused all the men to gravitate towards it. Otis tried to stop them, and then he blacked out. When he regained consciousness, he was in a hospital with injuries in his eardrums and eyes. Liz doesn’t question him about how exactly that happened because he clearly has no clue. Instead, she asks him to mark the entry points of the cave system that he was mapping back in the day. Otis says that she can’t go there on her own, and Liz informs him that he is going to go with her. Apparently, Otis won’t do it for free, but he’ll do it for some heroin.

Kayla kicks Pete out of her home, thereby initiating their divorce proceedings. Liz and Navarro have a conversation about Leah’s activism. Navarro supports what Leah is doing, but Liz is afraid that it’s going to land her in some serious trouble. Eventually, they reach the spot that was marked by Otis, but, to both Liz and Navarro’s dismay, the entry point has been sealed shut with the help of explosives. Pete asks Hank if he can move in with him because he has nowhere else to go. Leah heads towards Silversky Mining with the protestors. Navarro, too, goes to the spot as one of the troopers who are responsible for controlling the mob. Things obviously go sideways. Leah is singled out and beaten up by a trooper. Her girlfriend deserts her, and who comes to her rescue? That’s right, Navarro. I hate the fact that the episode cuts away from Kali Reis’ brutal punches. She is a professional boxer. The show should’ve displayed her skills a little more explicitly. Anyway, Liz gets a call from Connelly, and she is asked to show up at Silversky Mining for a meeting with him and Kate regarding the riot. She also gets a call from Navarro about Leah, and, unsurprisingly, Liz tells Navarro to put Leah in one of the holding cells.

Kate Has A Peculiar Request For Hank

Pete and Liz have a conversation about how Leah is being influenced into rioting, and it veers into the topic of Pete’s marital status. Jodie Foster’s acting in this little moment is so good. She is awkward, but she wants to comfort the dude, but they are at their workplace, so she can’t exactly give him a hug. This is why you hire an actress like Jodie Foster. It’s because of them that the plot becomes secondary, and all you care about are these little details that the cast is bringing to the table. Anyway, the plot does come into focus as Pete points out that, in a really roundabout way, Tuttle United is funding Silversky Mining and Tsalal. From what I understand, Tsalal is supposed to keep Silversky in check regarding pollution. But since Tsalal is funded by the same organization that is backing Silversky, they are (allegedly) responsible for giving Silversky the clean chit so that they can continue doing their dirty business. So, is it possible that Annie Kowtok made this connection between the two of them and then came really close to unearthing some kind of evidence, which then caused both Silversky and Tsalal to kill her? Yes, it is very much in the realm of possibility. Liz pats Pete’s back for the amazing research, while Leah requests that Pete become the man that Kayla fell in love with if he wants to revive their relationship. This is a good scene, too, and Finn Bennett and Isabella LaBlanc are excellent in it.

Navarro tells Liz to go easy on Leah, and they have an argument about her and the protests. Liz leaves for Silversky Mining and hands over the files on Tuttle, Silversky, and Tsalal to Navarro so that she can go through them. The meeting between Katie McKitterick, Ted Connelly, and Liz Danvers is a huge farce because Connelly basically berates Liz for going to the exploded entry point, which is apparently Silversky property, and then tells her to stop connecting Annie Kowtok’s death with the death of the Tsalal scientists because Anchorage’s forensic report states that they died due to a flash avalanche. When Liz brings up the fact that Silversky and Tsalal are funded by the same parent organization, Kate says some nonsense about “looking into it.” The final nail in the proverbial coffin is provided by Connelly, who brings up William Wheeler’s murder-suicide to shut Liz by alleging that Wheeler didn’t die by suicide; either Liz or Navarro killed him. Elsewhere, we see Kate meeting with Hank Prior to talk about dealing with Otis Heiss because he is about to lead Liz to the mine where Annie was either killed or abducted. Hank reveals something pretty damning: He hints at the fact that he was the one who moved Annie’s body in exchange for the chief of police position. Since that was upended by Liz, Kate is now dangling the same promise in front of Hank again so that Otis is dealt with before he helps Liz connect Annie to Silversky and Tsalal. And apparently, Hank is so desperate to be the chief of police that he decides to kill Otis for Kate. This guy is truly pathetic.

Why did Hank try to kill Liz?

Qavvik spots Navarro at the laundromat and brings Kenny along with him. Qavvik returns the rock with the spiral pattern on it to Navarro, and Kenny tells her that it’s basically a marker for spots in the ice where it’s weak and can cave in. Kenny recalls that, as a kid, he and his friends used to purposefully break the icy surface and access the caves underneath it, i.e., the night country. Navarro rushes to Liz to tell her about this revelation and urges her to fast-track the investigation. Liz tells her to put a lid on her enthusiasm because the case is over. When she tells Navarro to move on, Navarro states that Annie Kowtok is Liz’s cross to bear now. It’s a really powerful scene, as you can almost feel some kind of energy shift as Kali Reis repetitively says that she is done holding herself responsible for solving Annie’s case, and Jodie Foster deflates. With that out of the way, Navarro frees Leah and tells her to go home. Seeing all this, Hank (who is shadowing Liz to get to Otis) has a conversation with Pete, where he reminds him of something he did to save Pete’s life when he was just a kid, so that when push comes to shove, Pete is on Hank’s side and not Liz’s.

With Rose’s help, Navarro submerges Julia’s ashes in the sea. Soon after that, Navarro begins to hallucinate and almost gets killed by walking onto weak ice, but she is saved by Rose. Liz goes to Kayla’s house to request that Leah come home for New Year’s. Leah reminds Liz that everything that she is doing is because of the deaths that are being caused by Silversky Mining, thereby implying that if Liz really cares about connecting with her, she has to hold that wretched place responsible for the deaths of so many indigenous lives. Liz goes to the graveyard to take a look at all the bodies that haven’t been buried because of the ice. That gives her the push to take Otis out of the clinic and look into the entry points of the caves. She even brings some heroin from the evidence room to motivate Otis to work his navigational magic. But before going there, Liz notices that Hank is shadowing her, and she gets a feeling that something is wrong. She pulls Pete into the office and gets into a huge battle of words with him. It’s revealed that Pete was looking into the murder-suicide of William Wheeler and figured out that, somehow, Liz and Navarro actually killed Wheeler and then made it look like a murder-suicide. Hank accessed Pete’s investigation and informed Connelly about it. Then Connelly used it to get Liz off the case. Liz essentially commends Pete for his work and tells him to move out of Hank’s house and move into the shack behind Liz’s house, and Pete does exactly that. Navarro goes to Qavvik to cool down.

At the end of True Detective: Night Country, episode 5, Liz takes Otis to her house and orders Navarro to get there because she intends to put an end to this case, even though it’s unofficial in nature. Otis diligently marks the highest point (because that’s the safest and easiest way to enter “night country” or the caves) for the heroin that Liz has brought for him and then goes into the bathroom to smoke it. On her way to Liz’s house, Navarro has a premonition, which probably means that she is very close to solving the mystery of the Tsalal murders. Sadly, before she can get to Liz, Hank gets there with the intention of taking Otis away. When Otis tries to run, Hank kills him. Then he turns his gun towards Liz with the intention of shooting her. Pete barges in with his gun and is understandably shocked to see the scene in front of him. While Hank hopes that Pete is on his side, it seems like Liz knows what Pete is going to do. That’s why she keeps telling him to think properly before making any kind of move. The unthinkable happens as Pete decides to kill Hank and save Liz. Navarro gets there and tells Liz that they need to get to the caves because there’s definitely some evidence there that Kate is trying to cover up; Hank killing Otis and almost killing Liz is proof of that. She tells Pete to clean up the mess and take the bodies to Rose, pulls Liz into the car, and heads to the caves.

It’s a shocking turn of events, but as the shock subsides, the realization sets in that there are probably way too many unanswered questions that the finale episode of Night Country has to deal with. Navarro’s ears, Navarro not facing the consequences of beating up a civilian, the truth behind Wheeler’s death, Annie’s death, the deaths of the Tsalal scientists, the connection between Silversky Mining and Tsalal, the supernatural events leading to the burning eyes and exploded eardrums, Liz’s husband and son, and more. Is the finale going to be overstuffed and satisfying? I am not sure. I think this season of True Detective needed a few more episodes to truly get to the bottom of all these subplots and then leave the main revelation for the finale. I hope I am wrong. I am a fan of the atmosphere, the acting, the dialogue-writing, the cinematography, the editing, etc. I am not a big fan of pushing the meat of the story to the tail end of the series. Well, all we can do now is wait patiently till next week to see if Issa López and her team of talented artists can pull off the impossible.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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