True Detective: Night Country Has a Chance to Fix Season 1’s Biggest Mistake

As grounded as it can be, True Detective: Night Country is a supernatural horror.

The small, frozen town of Ennis, Alaska is plagued by ghosts, leaving Jodie Fosters’ Elizabeth Danvers struggling to crack the case with the dead Tsalal Industries scientists. Further compounding matters is the trooper she has been working with, Evangeline Navarro. She is one of the people seeing these apparitions, which leaves Danvers in between a rock and a hard place.

Navarro is one of the few people she can trust, so Danvers needs her to be level-headed. This brings up another problem: the corruption and larger conspiracy hanging overhead. It’s not just for this haunting TrueDetective mystery, but for the case of the missing Annie years back. Both are connected, but Danvers realizes there is a human element complicating their attempts to reconcile, gain clarity and resolve everything. However, NightCountry Episode 5 does bring other information to light that could fix this dilemma and heal a lingering issue which Season 1 couldn’t tend to.

True Detective Season 1 Never Brought Down the Tuttles

Split Images of True Detective

The series’ debut focused on Rust and Marty chasing Carcosa and the Yellow King — a cult they learned was mutilating young women, sacrificing them, and running a pedophile ring linked to a macabre Christian church and several politicians. They ended up taking out the Louisiana serial killer, Errol Childress, but they couldn’t beat the system. Errol was one of the hidden offspring of the powerful Tuttle family, the leaders of the cult.

But these men with immense power and sway washed away the evidence, chalked it up to other rogue entities in their empire, and left Rust disillusioned. There weren’t any witnesses to take the stand and pinpoint exactly who in the Tuttles were orchestrating all these sins across America. Marty looked at the glass half-full: one small win over Errol and bringing the story to the media sufficed. Rust, however, wanted people to be thrown in jail.

Rust and Marty did have a hand in the problem as well, because they killed a couple of key personnel in the investigation at different junctures. They had no idea about the depths of their depravity and how everyone — from drug dealers to janitors to pastors — connected to the bigger canvas. By the time they realized they needed people alive, it was too little, too late. This left Rust in a state of regret, hating how wealthy people, exploitative moguls, and capitalists always won.

One would think a case revealing murder and classism in TrueDetective Season 1 would scare the Tuttles, the captains of industry and business. But these toxic men were driven to their unfettered pride as later seasons would hint. That’s not to say Marty didn’t lament their overall failure; he wanted Rust to heal and accept that some villains can’t be beaten, especially ones in positions of power and with strong connections.

True Detective: Night Country Reveals Silver Sky’s Nefarious Role

Danvers argues with Ted in Silver Sky's office in True Detective: Night Country

In True Detective Season 4, Danvers is now picking up the spiritual mantle that Rust and Marty left behind. She, Navarro and the very intelligent, Pete, learned the Tsalal scientists researching the region were bankrolled by Tuttle United, confirming the Tuttles had evolved their vision into science and technology. Little did anyone foresee these Tsalal researchers were seeking the secrets and answers to life, and becoming frozen and maimed in the tundra.

As Danvers digs further with her team to find out who killed the researchers and why, she learns Silver Sky mining has a nefarious role to play in it all. Tsalal was meant to provide reports on pollution levels and breach of regulations, but it turns out, Silver Sky is funded by the Tuttles, too. In other words, the Tuttles are investigating themselves, which allows them to doctor the results and make it seem like the mine is doing nothing wrong. It’s why the media, and even Danvers herself, viewed the indigenous people protesting there as nuisances. Everyone ignored the problem once the mine offered jobs and divided citizens, which meant they bought silence. Now, Danvers sees firsthand how dire the conspiracy is due to them being inattentive.

Danvers is livid because she alienated her own daughter, Leah, from embracing her Native side and aligning with protesters. It has led to rioters being beaten in acts of police brutality and stillbirths over the years. Danvers is also accepting how complicit she has been by refusing to press matters when she took the job years ago. Since then, generational trauma, suicide (as seen with Navarro’s sister, Julia), domestic abuse and so many ills have plagued the cursed Ennis, with the mine and spreading sickness leaving everyone on edge for so long.

The icing on the cake comes with Danvers’ boss and the man she’s having an affair with, Ted Connelly, being revealed to be on the Silver Sky payroll. The Silver Sky boss, Kate, gets him to strong-arm Danvers, using shady evidence from her past to push her off the case and deem the Tsalal deaths a freak weather accident, not an act of vigilantism from someone who hates the mines. As online theorists believe, the attacks were done by Rust, hiding out in his old hometown. Either way, Danvers does have the key players in her crosshairs after seeing everything come out the shadows.

True Detective: Night Country Can Fully Expose the Tuttle Empire

Danvers stands in Silver Sky's office in True Detective: Night Country

Danvers ends up arguing with the former chief of police and Pete’s father, Hank, after he kills a witness she got ahold of. Pete ends up shooting his father to save Danvers, which could have given them leverage. Hank spoke of blackmail and helping to move Annie’s body in the past. But Danvers and Navarro still have Ted and Kate to bring in. The pollution scandal is the tip of the iceberg and something they can use immediately.

There is the money Pete suspects his father got from Silver Sky. Should they track Ted’s accounts too, the trifecta and burden of proof is all there. Danvers’ team finally has a smoking gun, which can be backed up by the lies and propaganda Silver Sky and Ted tried to push with the corpses. This matter can be cleared up with an independent forensic assessment, and not drones in Kate and Ted’s corrupt circle. This sets up Danvers and her squad to do what Rust and Marty couldn’t do: apprehend actual witnesses and people of power to corroborate and expose the Tuttles.

This would work to heal Navarro’s arc where she dispensed vigilante justice in the past and suffered some trauma from it. It’s why Danvers transferred her out of the police department and to the state troopers. Now, Navarro can do things by the book and attain justice the right way. But there could be blowback if Ted leaks information about Navarro’s history and Danvers covering up for her. Still, both women wouldn’t mind making the sacrifice to unravel the truth. Ultimately, it brings the Tuttles’ arc full-circle and hopefully creates a path to the closure Rust and Marty couldn’t garner on their hunt.


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