‘True Detective: Night Country’ Review: Superb Mystery With Unlikeable Characters

True Detective Night Country

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‘True Detective: Night Country’ leads us to Alaska; it’s the first week of a months-long night, and besides people’s paranoia and fear, something else is waking up on the ice. An entire research station of scientists has gone missing, and a cryptic clue left in otherwise undisturbed surroundings connects this case with one older horrific case that shocked the entire community of the fictional town of Ennis. Jodie Foster takes the lead as Liz Danvers; she is assigned to the case and tries to make sense of things as Kali Reis as Evangeline Navarro digs up more than dirt to solve the older aforementioned case that still haunts her. Issa López serves as showrunner, writer, and director. It is the first season without Pizzolatto as showrunner or writer, but he still serves as an executive producer.

First, the setting; I’m a real sucker for polar settings, and the show does an excellent job at capturing the desperation and horror that transpires in Alaska mixed with the local legends. Everybody is on edge, and when seemingly impossible things start popping out in an otherwise unremarkable environment, that’s bound to create a difficult situation or two. The characters overall have well-developed stories, and their personalities are distinct enough; however, what bothered me was the fact the show did everything in its might to portray the stereotypes that women in power always need to be rude and difficult to deal with.

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The best part of the show is definitely the blend of supernatural and mystery. In some moments, the show is grounded enough that you forget to expect the jump scare around the corner. One of the underlying themes superbly done is the tensions between the local native population and the newcomers; although the dialogue is atrocious at times, the conflict is realistic enough.

All characters, for the most part, have engaging and complex backgrounds with personal struggles, but I found it really hard to care about them and really hard to connect with them. If you’re expecting too much in terms of character growth, don’t expect too much.

When everything is taken into account ‘Night Country’ did everything it needed to deliver perhaps the best season of ‘True Detective’ since the series inception. It’s a unique and superb mystery that somewhat falls sloppy in the character department. If you don’t particularly care about the side stories, the main mystery is enough to keep you occupied.

Score: 7/10

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