True Detective: Night Country episode 4 review | Masterclass of character work

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Navarro is faced with a personal tragedy this week as Danvers continues to tirelessly pursue leads. Here’s our True Detective: Night Country episode 4 review. 

True Detective: Night Country is just a bit good, eh? I’m having a hard time finding something to critique each week. I found this week’s episode in particular to be a proper masterclass of acting. Everyone, from Jodie Foster to Kali Reis to John Hawkes really brought it this week. They’ve all been consistently good, but this week’s shenanigans left more room for character relations.  

This week’s episode sees Reis’ Navarro placing her sister, Julia, who suffers from mental health issues, into a care facility. Earlier in the series, Julia mentions that Navarro had promised that she could stay at home and not go back into care, but Navarro is out of options and Julia needs help. We have a bad feeling about this. 

Episode 4 of Night Country, in general, examines mental health and the demons we carry with us. We get a bit more insight, again, to the case that drove Navarro and Danvers apart, but perhaps the most affecting scene is Navarro questioning her own sanity. Throughout the four episodes, Navarro has often seen what could only be described as ghosts. They’re ghastly apparitions, but they tend to point at something. Maybe they’re trying to tell Navarro to confront her own demons, who knows? Regardless, I’m digging them. 

Elsewhere, Danvers is having trouble sleeping. After the shocking conclusion of episode 3, she keeps playing the video of Annie’s death, over and over again. Annie’s screams are harrowing and they haunt not only Danvers, but us. Ultimately, Danvers and Navarro determine that Annie wasn’t killed in town, but somewhere else and the killer simply dumped her body here. They seek help from a man Danvers once had an affair with, so his wife is less than excited to see Danvers at her door. 

Episode 4 of Night Country leans harder on the horror elements of the story. There’s a decent jumpscare and towards the end of the episode, Navarro and Danvers investigate an abandoned dredge, where fishermen spotted something. The tension here is palpable as the pair venture into the bowels of the station. 

There’s some really impressive storytelling and tonal balancing going on in episode four. That’s always been the thing with True Detective; you don’t just get a murder mystery, you get a bunch of other genres as well. Arguably, Night Country can feel stuffed to the brim sometimes, but the drama remains compelling. 

All that being said, I am desperate for the mystery around the Tsalal men’s disappearance to start coming together. The show keeps hinting that a big mining company may have something to do with it and Leah is involved with a protest group protesting against the company, but I’m much more drawn to the implied supernatural elements here. 

We’re officially over the half-way mark and while I’m hugely enjoying the series, I need it to tighten things up a little. While Lopez is able to carry the story well and balance almost all the various subplots with a degree of grace, episode 5 next week really has to bring things together more. 

True Detective has always been a show that implies and suggests more than it shows or tells. That’s part of why I love it, but it’s a tricky balance to pull off. Again, I’m loving this new season, the aesthetic, the themes, the acting, but I’m starting to get to a place where I need something resolved. 

That’s all, folks! Come back next week as we discuss episode 5 of True Detective: Night Country in which things get ugly. 

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