‘True Detective: Night Country’ Episode 3 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Anders Have A Message For Navarro?


Last week on True Detective: Night Country, there were a couple of major revelations. For starters, there was a big flashing sign that said this season of the show was connected to the first season via the surname Cohle, thereby insinuating that Rose and Travis were Rust Cohle’s parents. Furthermore, the spiral sign and the mention of Tuttle United meant that, despite appearing anthological in nature, the series had some underlying connections. Hank and Pete Prior had a bit of a showdown because Pete was too eager to impress Liz Danvers and be a better partner than Evangeline Navarro. Meanwhile, the old partners reunited to solve the Tsalal case when Liz found out that the missing scientist, Raymond Clark, was in a romantic relationship with Annie, i.e., the girl who was brutally murdered under mysterious circumstances.

Spoiler Alert

Liz and Navarro find out that Hank has some secrets.

Episode 3 of True Detective Season 4 opens 7 years before the events happening in the current timeline. Back then, Navarro tried to arrest Annie Kowtok for “trespassing” on Silversky Mining property. But as soon as she realized that she was delivering a baby, she decided to let her go. The episode cuts to the present to show Navarro helplessly watching Hank lead a pack of hillbillies and other members of the Alaska police into the snowy desert to search for Raymond Clark. In doing so, it’s not only evident that a lot of time has passed between the moment Navarro met Annie for the first time and the state of the investigation being done regarding her death. But this jarring time jump illustrates the fact that Navarro’s perspective has changed as well despite being an agent of law enforcement. 7 years ago, she used to fight for the property (which technically belonged to the Iñupiats) that was taken over by outsiders, and now she is more critical of those who have displaced the locals.

Liz Danvers expresses concern over the fact that Hank is hiring civilians to help himself in the search for Clark. Pete informs Liz that the forensic technician who has been hired to look into the case—because they don’t have one at the police station because there’s no forensic department to begin with—is still en route. He also says that Anders Lund is barely conscious and is having most of his limbs amputated because of the frost bite. And then he takes her to the evidence room, which is where all of Raymond’s stuff has been kept. While shifting all that material to the armory for inspection, Liz orders Pete to call Navarro to help her out, while Pete “hacks” into Annie’s phone. The assumption that anyone under 30 has the capability to “hack” into any kind of electronic device is the most hilarious kind of Boomer joke. Pete hesitates, and Liz notices that and tells him to blurt out whatever he has on his mind. Pete says that he wants to know why she and Navarro broke up in the first place. Liz realizes that Pete will keep asking her this question until and unless she explicitly states what happened to her and Navarro.

Liz begins talking about the murder-suicide of a man named William Wheeler. He was jailed multiple times. When he was released for the last time, he brutally assaulted a 19-year-old girl and even hospitalized her twice. But she never reported the case, and hence, the police couldn’t officially do anything about it. And, as expected, the ordeal ended with the woman’s death. As per the flashback, when Liz and Navarro arrived at the crime scene, the girl was dead, and Wheeler was sitting on a chair and whistling a tune. But Liz says that Wheeler had shot himself when they found both of them. So, what is the truth? Why would Liz distort the facts while talking about it? Or is the show manipulating us into thinking that Liz is lying? Well, it’ll remain a mystery until we hear about what went down during the Wheeler case from Navarro. For now, what Pete and the audience have to work with is that Navarro blamed Liz for the mishandling of the case, took a transfer, and now they are back together to solve the Tsalal Research Station case. Before dismissing Pete, I think Liz unintentionally draws a parallel between the fake reasons Wheeler used to give regarding the injuries his victim used to suffer from and the lie about falling on the ice rink that Pete has peddled after being whacked by Hank for helping Liz.

After probably hallucinating about throwing an orange into the dark of the night and then having it thrown back at her, Navarro goes to the police station to analyze Raymond’s stuff. They briefly trade barbs over Navarro’s bisexuality and Liz’s not-so-secret affair with Connelly before going back to the case at hand and realizing that even though the secret trailer suggested that Raymond and Annie had a secret affair, there was someone else who knew about it. Most of Raymond and Annie’s photos were selfies or clicked with the help of timers. But they notice a few pictures that have been clearly taken by a third person. The dye on one of the pictures takes the dynamic duo to Suzanne, who seems to be one of the only people in Ennis who colors everybody’s hair. It’s a pretty long conversation, and there’s this cute moment between Liz and Suzanne’s kid. However, what it essentially boils down to is that there is an equipment engineer, who used to work at Tsalal, somewhere out there called Oliver Tagaq and that Suzanne called the police after learning about Annie, and apparently Hank was the responding officer.

Liz Visits the House of a Woman Who Has Suffered a Miscarriage

After learning about how Hank never reported the fact that Suzanne had called him regarding Annie, Navarro unloads her fury on Liz. Navarro accuses Hank of protecting the miners because they are white, they are his friends, and they are probably behind Annie’s killing because she protested against the mining. Liz reminds Navarro that the mine is responsible for the employment in Ennis, even though it comes at a very heavy cost, i.e., pollution. That means they should technically treat half the population of the town as suspects because they are benefiting from the mining. And then there’s the Tsalal case, which can’t be discounted because the scientists acted like dorks and Raymond was “head over heels” in love with Annie. As Navarro pipes down, the two have a passive-aggressive conversation about each other’s lives, but when Navarro starts showing signs of acute depression because of everything that’s happening in Ennis and her personal life, Liz gets serious as well.

Hank tries to reconnect with Pete while standing around the pile of thawing dead bodies by giving him his old ice skating boots for Pete’s son, Darwin. Hank starts talking about Navarro and Liz working together despite being sworn enemies. Pete asks Hank as well why they broke up, thereby proving that he isn’t satisfied with Liz’s narrative. That’s when Navarro and Liz burst into the skating rink, accusing Hank of withholding information. Hank acts in an arrogant fashion and gets coffee thrown into his face after he accuses Liz of seducing Pete (while referencing The Graduate). Navarro thinks that Hank deserves something worse, but they have a case to solve, so she has to digest this low-key punishment. Pete says that the forensic expert won’t make it in time. Fearing that the Ennis police department’s 48 hours will be up before they get to do an autopsy on the dead scientists, thereby forcing them to give them over to Anchorage, Pete suggests that, with Liz’s permission, he can bring his cousin, who is a vet and treats large animals (and humans are large animals), and get his expert opinion on the case. It’s a hilarious moment, and Finn Bennett’s deadpan delivery and Jodie Foster’s palpable frustration are amazing. Actually, this episode has quite a few darkly comedic altercations, and it cuts through the overall morbidity of the story.

Navarro goes to Qavvik to learn about Oliver, and Qavvik, who is clearly in love with Navarro and wants to know more about her, cutely asks her to tell him something about herself, and then he’ll talk about Oliver. Despite expressing hesitation, Navarro opens up about herself, and once Qavvik learns about Navarro’s parents, the mental health issues that her mother suffered from (which is something that Julia has seemingly inherited), and the fact that she was eventually killed (and it’s an unsolved murder), he understands why Navarro doesn’t talk too much about herself. So, instead of troubling her anymore, Qavvik points Navarro in Oliver’s general direction. The episode then cuts to Leah Danvers attending an anti-mining rally, where they are demanding justice for Annie’s death. The energy becomes a little mellow after everyone is told to observe a minute of silence for the death of a baby, allegedly due to the poisoning of the water that is being caused by the mining. When Leah returns home, she gets into an argument with Liz regarding how the latter doesn’t really care about the deaths of the indigenous people of Alaska. This prompts Liz to go to the house of the woman who has suffered a miscarriage, and that allows her to see firsthand how the Iñupiats are suffering. It is a pretty sobering scene.

Did Anders Lund have a Message for Navarro?

Navarro learns that Julia has had an episode. She finds her sister sitting near the wreckage of a ship. Julia is clearly feeling suicidal, and Navarro holds onto her to ensure that she is not alone. Pete returns home and accidentally wakes up his wife, Kayla, and son, Darwin. After putting Darwin to sleep, Pete sits down to chat with Kayla and makes sure that his wife isn’t too angry about his absence. I think Kayla infantilizes Pete, and Pete doesn’t accept that. But I get where she is coming from. It’s irresponsible to have a child together and then expect that the woman of the family is going to care for the child and take care of her professional ambitions, while the man of the family does his job and gets to call it a day. It’s an archaic perspective, and it’s probable that, in his attempt to appear masculine, Pete is enforcing regressive patriarchal norms. However, that’s not entirely his fault because he is working under Liz Danvers, who is an individual who wants Pete to work 24×7 on cracking the Tsalal case. I mean, just when he is about to reach an agreement with Kayla, he gets a missed call and a text about finding some information on Oliver from Liz.

We get a hilarious moment between Pete, Pete’s cousin (Vince), and Liz as they address the macabre nature of the deadly monument at the center of the ice skating rink. That said, the mood kind of shifts into mystery and horror as Vince insinuates that the Tsalal scientists died before freezing. He unintentionally references the caribou death sequence from the first episode and states that the manner of the scientists’ deaths and the cardiac arrest that he observes amongst animals are pretty similar. He rules out the possibility of freezing to death in that horrific manner. And instead of simplifying the case, this only complicates things because, now, Liz and her team have to find out what scared the scientists to death. Navarro arrives at the scene to tell Liz and Pete that she has found Oliver’s address, and based on that information, Liz and Navarro head over to the spot where the nomads are because that’s Oliver’s current location. By the way, throughout the episode, we see Navarro ragging Pete because she knows he is sucking up to Liz and trying to “replace” Navarro as Liz’s favorite sidekick. I hope Pete doesn’t take it too seriously, especially since he is already dealing with so many things.

At the end of True Detective: Night Country, episode 3, Liz and Navarro nearly get into a violent altercation with Oliver after he learns about the deaths of the Tsalal scientists from Liz and Navarro. Coincidentally, that’s when they get a call from the Ennis hospital that Anders Lund has woken up. While screaming his lungs out because he is in an extreme amount of pain, Anders tells Liz that “someone” is out there in the ice. He manages to point out that this “someone” is a woman. Chaos ensues outside in the lobby of the hospital due to a clash between the hillbillies and the hospital staff, thereby leaving Navarro alone with Anders for a moment. Like a scene straight out of a horror film, Anders rises from his bed and tells Navarro that her mother is waiting for her. Then he convulses and dies. It’s not clear if something supernatural made Anders do that or if Navarro imagined the whole thing, but it’s apparent that the biggest lead regarding the Tsalal case is gone. However, Pete shows up with Annie’s phone and reveals a video of Annie in some kind of cave to Navarro and Liz, and it horrifies them. My best guess is that Annie found something damning that is associated with Tsalal and Silversky Mining, and both of these institutions and the police (especially Hank and Connelly) are somehow guilty. We have to wait for the next episode to see if Liz, Navarro, and Pete manage to draw the connection between Annie, Silversky, and Tsalal.

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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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