‘True Detective’: What Is The Connection Between Silver Sky Mine, the Cave & Tsalal?

how is silver sky mine connected to cave and tsalal

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Episode 5 of ‘True Detective’ just released and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that our mystery of the season has nothing to do with ghosts, but rather has a much more earthly culprit, and behind it is greed. We’ve already had several theories concerning Silver Sky Mines and the fact that they are most likely involved in all the murders and tonight’s episode proved it both indirectly and directly. Let’s see how Silver Sky Mine is connected to the cave where Annie was killed & Tsalal research station.

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Silver Sky Mine owns the Cave where Annie was killed, and the same company funds Tsalal Research into climate change and the impact that the local mine has on the overall pollution levels.
  • Annie most likely discovered evidence that Silver Sky Mine was behind all the deaths and diseases in the region through pollution and she was killed for it, Hank Prior moved her body and hid evidence under the instructions of Kate McKitterick.
  • Silver Sky Mine was in a conflict of interest because they used several shell companies to fund the same researchers who were “confirming” that the mine was not responsible for any kind of toxicity in the region.

Silver Sky company funded the Tsalal research station

Back in the second episode of Season 4 while the investigation into the deaths of the Tsalal men was in its infancy Liz tasked Peter with finding who finds the Tsalal, the money trail was important since it could give them an insight into the motive of the supposed murders. Peter discovered that the company that was funding them was just a front for another company that was front for another company and that the corporation behind it was dealing with practically everything from food and beverages to entertainment, the money was basically going in circles with no way to trace it. In episode 5 Peter caught a break in the case when he discovered that one of the companies that funded Tsalal had significant ownership in Silver Sky Mines and that the mine was for some reason funding the station.


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We did discover that Tsalal was researching the “origin of life” but they were also tasked with research into climate change in the area and surprisingly despite the ample evidence that the mine was literally poisoning Ennis, they were cleared year after year.

Silver Sky Mine was “buying” the studies, by funding the primary objective of the Tsalal station while Tsalal station was in return absolving them of any guilt through their secondary studies. This was a major conflict of interest and something that Kate would want to hide under any means necessary. It’s unknown whether all the researchers in Tsalal were aware of it, but at least some of them had to be aware of it.

When Liz went to Kate to confront her with the evidence there was a cold shower waiting for her. Captain Connelly was there and he let Liz know that the investigation was over, the Tsalal men died due to a freak snowstorm and sudden change in air pressure. Of course, this sounds plausible enough but if you recall what Peter’s veterinarian friend said, the men died before being frozen.

In any case, Kate strongarmed Liz into dropping the whole investigation through Conelly who was also obviously on the Mine’s payroll. Conelly had to blackmail Liz with the case of William Wheeler in order for her to drop it. So, if anyone had a motive to kill the Tsalal men, it was the Silver Sky Mine. Perhaps what the mine was doing was interrupting the real Tsalal research and they no longer wanted to cover for them which pissed Kate off.

What about the caves?

In the previous episode, Navarro and Liz successfully located the crime scene where Annie Kowtok was killed with Bryce’s help. He told them that it was most likely a system of caves underneath the Brooks range but it would be dangerous to thread there on their own. This is why Liz was desperate to get Otis to take her there since he was the one who mapped the caves in the first place. When Liz and Navarro reached the caves they discovered that the entrance was sealed up by various debris and the Silver Sky Mines purposely ruined the only “obvious” entrance that the cave had, in order to hide something.

We don’t know what’s down there in the cave, but it’s obvious that it is most likely the overwhelming evidence that might lead to Silver Sky Mine getting shut down, perhaps forever and that couldn’t leave the cave. It’s unknown who killed Annie (it’s most likely one of the miners) but Kate was obviously behind it.

Now this is when it becomes even more twisted, during the meeting Kate showed Liz the footage of her and Navarro snooping around the cave and she very obviously did not like it, not because Annie’s murder might be solved but because what they might find there in regards to the mine’s activities. Liz was willing to drop the case due to her own Skeletons in the closet but Kate wanted to ensure that the cave stays unreachable through the main entrance.

Liz and navarro near cave entrance 2

She had a secret meeting with Hank Prior and we learn that years ago, Hank was the one who “cleaned up” Annie’s case for Kate. He moved the body to another location and purposely hid the evidence that Annie was dating Clark, something that Liz and Peter discovered earlier in the season, but they assumed that Hank was sexist and racist and that was the reason why he purposely obstructed justice.

Hank and kate secret meeting

Kate wanted Hank to murder Otis and stop him from guiding Navarro and Liz into the cave. Why did Hank work with Kate in the first place? It has nothing to do with sexism or racism, he was being bribed just like Conelly. Kate promised him money and the position of chief of police. She delivered the former but failed on the latter since she never could have predicted that Liz was going to be transferred to Ennis.


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Now Hank has to bid Kate’s orders because he is just as implicated in the murder of Annie Kowtok as she is, only she has the money for lawyers and good defense, he doesn’t.

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