‘True Detective: Night Country’ Stars Discuss That “Horrifying” Murder Tableau

“We called it The Corpsicle,” Jodie Foster tells The Hollywood Reporter about the nasty pile of frozen bodies at the heart of the HBO drama’s new season.

True Detective

Jodie Foster and Kali Reis in ‘True Detective: Night Country’ MICHELE K. SHORT/HBO

Why are they piled on each other? Why are their eardrums bleeding? Why are they naked, and why are all their clothes so neatly piled nearby? And how on Earth is one of them alive?

These are all valid questions when gazing upon the frozen murder tableau at the heart of True Detective: Night Country. First discovered at the end of the season premiere, the pile of corpses (with one living body in the lot) that opens the show’s second hour stands out among the gnarliest images in the True Detective franchise’s history — and this is the same show that brought forth the Yellow King of Carcosa.

For the folks working on the show, though? It was just another day at the office.

“It was like looking at that lamp over there,” star Kali Reis tells The Hollywood Reporter about sharing the same space as the frozen bodies of the Tsalal Research Station scientists. “It was just… it was there, and so well-made, and so amazing to see.”

A quick catch-up on where things stand two episodes deep into Night Country: Reis’ Trooper Navarro and Jodie Foster’s Liz Danvers are officially working together to solve the mystery of what happened to these scientists, who were found frozen and naked in the middle of nowhere. It seems as if their deaths are linked to a cold case Navarro and Danvers once worked together: Looking into the grisly murder of a woman named Annie K, an Indigenous woman whose death has haunted Navarro, specifically — and hauntings have very clear meanings in the world of True Detective, according to Fiona Shaw’s Rose Aguineau.

“The thing about the dead is, sometimes they come because they miss you, and sometimes they come to say something you need to hear, and some of them just want to take you with them,” she tells Navarro in the second episode. “You need to know the difference.”

True Detective Ep 5: Night Country: Part 5 | Official Website for the HBO  Series | HBO.com

The pile of frozen bodies begins to thaw in True Detective: Night Country‘s second episode. COURTESY OF HBO
For Reis, at least, it helped to know the very clear difference between corpses in the universe of True Detective versus “corpses” on set. As harrowing as the image of the Tsalal Research Station workers is for the viewers, it was a fairly mundane affair for the cast.

“We called it The Corpsicle,” Foster tells THR. “The first day, you really can’t believe [what you’re seeing]. But by the next day, it’s just an old shoe, sitting off in the corner. We’re just hanging out, drinking coffee around the Corpsicle. After a while, it really didn’t mean much.”

“We were having cups of coffee and talking about football next to the corpses,” Reis remembers with a big laugh. “We actually met the corpses before we met the [actors who played them]. It was kind of weird! But it was so well made that you could actually, as it was thawing out, almost smell what it would smell like.”

Even for Foster and Reis’ characters, the so-called “Corpsicle” was eventually viewed as little more than another day at the office.

“You can’t bring emotions to that type of job,” says Reis. “I mean, that’s what gets Navarro where she is a little bit, but you also do have to balance that empathy in that just it’s a job. So I guess that kind of did it in real life. Also, like you said, being on set, too.”

“Horror is a lot about anxiety that we have about our bodies and our pain and suffering, our fear, all of that,” says Foster. “There’s something kind of fitting that, even in the course of this, having to separate the body from the spirit, that in this case, these men, it’s just their bodies that are left. There’s something else of them that’s out there.”

Not just something else, but someone else, it seems. At the end of episode two, it comes out that one of the scientists, Clark (Owen McDonnell), is not a part of the “Corpsicle,” and therefore, presumably still alive, and immediately at the top of the suspect list. What’s more, he was once in a relationship with Annie K, adding an entirely new wrinkle to a very different cold case.

După un succes de audiență, serialul „True Detective” se va întoarce pentru  al cincilea sezon - HotNews.ro

As for the questions about the research station scientists’ deaths, well, some of them seemingly have clear answers:

“Why are they piled on each other?” For warmth in the face of hypothermia.

“Why are their eardrums bleeding?” Likely from sudden drop in pressure.

“Why are they naked?” Potentially because hypothermia causes delirium, which could also explain what appear to be self-inflicted wounds.

“… and why are all their clothes so neatly piled nearby?” Maybe the killer folded them.

As for “How on earth is one of them still alive?” Well, the question evolves by the end of the episode.

Forget that one of them survived, why is Clark the only scientist not found among the pile? As Foster’s Danvers might reply: “I don’t know, kid. Start asking questions.”


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