True Detective Night Country: Lore and Theories

True Detective Night Country: Lore and Theories

After the second episode of True Detective Night Country, it's apparent that Issa Lopez has created something truly special within the realm of the True Detective universe. 

AJ and I shared our original theories after episode one (video down below) and there is one thing we for sure we got right. 

Before we get into theories, let's do a recap. 

In episode one, we meet a team of researchers at a base camp named Tsalal in the town of Ennis, Alaska. It's the beginning of the dark season and according to the quote in the beginning, things do get weird when it gets dark. 

The researchers are after "the origin of life" and have various fields of expertise. When one of the researchers is making a video, one of his fellow team members, who we later find out is Raymond Clark, is shaking and then says, "She's awake." When a scheduled delivery arrives, it's apparent that the researchers are now gone. 

Three days later, Liz Danvers, Ennis' police chief, investigates alongside Hank and Peter. Hank is this laid back, seemingly discontented cop. Peter, who is also Hank's son, has a heart for police work and wants to please Liz, even at the expense of himself and his family.

During their investigation, they discover a tongue, assumed to belong to Annie Kotowk, who we later learn was brutally murdered six years prior. Because of the connection to Annie's unsolved case, the detective who worked on her case, Evangeline Navarro, finds herself roped in to this new strange case. 

It's clear that there is a lot of secrets and unanswered questions revolving Annie Kotowk's death that have affected the community. Annie was proudly protesting the Ennis mines before her death and Navarro believes it contributed to her murder. 

There is another character that I like to call a wild card, Rose. It's somewhat possible to try to explain away many of the odd happenings in Ennis and surrounding the missing researchers. Until, Rose sees her dead friend, Travis, who leads her to the bodies of the researchers in the ice. And this is where episode 2 picks up.

Is there a connection to Season 1?

There were subtle hints in the first episode that there could be some sort of connection to season one of True Detective. But right away in this episode, the connections are not as subtle. As Danvers and her not-forensic team are trying to clear the bodies from the ice, they find a spiral symbol on one of their foreheads. This spiral was seen in episode one when Danvers had photos spread out on the floor. This spiral is a main feature in season one and is connected to a cult that worshipped the Yellow King.

Also, Rose talks about Travis and says his name is Travis Cohle. In season one, we know that Rust's last name is also Cohle. 

The Spiral and Rose

In the beginning of the episode, Rose invites Navarro over to her house and they discuss how is it that Rose sees the dead. She tells Navarro there are only three reasons why you would see the dead: they miss you, they want to tell you something, or they want to take you with them. 

It's during that conversation that Rose talks about how old the world is and how in Ennis, the fabric of the world is the thinnest. If you take a listen to Max's companion podcast for this episode, Issa Lopez (the creator of Night Country) talks about the spiral symbol and how it represents a higher plane, or a different reality beyond the veil. So maybe Ennis is at the center of this thinning? Rose does eventually show the symbol to Navarro and says "It's older than Ennis. Maybe older than the ice."


Danvers seeks the help of a science teacher in the start of the episode to get some understanding of what the researchers were doing. He shared with her that these guys were "mad men" and trying to do something that wasn't possible. Not only that, but they never left the base. Most bases similar to Tsalal's would swap out their researchers so they aren't cut off for long periods of time, yet these researchers never left. They spent months and months at the base and only got housekeeping and deliveries every so often. 

We also learn that they were digging in the ice for ways to reverse cell degeneration, cure diseases, etc. The teacher explained that it is very difficult to retrieve what they after out of the ice. Yet in the first episode, we saw dozens of samples in their freezer. I'm not too sure what all that means just yet, but I do feel like this will be important later. 

As we speculated in our review of episode one, Peter soon reveals to Danvers that Tsalal is being funded by the Tuttle family, much like the pedophile ring in season one. I'm not sure how far Lopez is planning to take the connections back to season one, but so far, it's pretty deep.

Danvers and Navarro

Danvers and Navarro have history. In this episode, Danvers has Peter babysitting the "corpse-sickle" and he apprehensively does it because he doesn't want to "be like Navarro". At one point in the episode, Navarro comes to bring a photo of the spiral tattoo that is on Annie's back to Danvers. She says, "No one likes you. Peter's heart will be broken next," as if the same thing happened to her once. When Navarro is trying to figure out how she didn't know that Clark and Annie were together, she says something that Danvers says often, "I'm not asking the right question." And later on in the episode when Danvers goes to Navarro's house so that they can work together to close the case, she is putting away her groceries and realizes that she doesn't put the canned goods where she used to. 

From the clues we've been given in this episode, it's safe to say that Navarro was once Peter. Idolizing Liz and wanting very much to be as good of a detective as she is until she lets her down in some way. Navarro does try to bring up a case but Danvers cuts her off and avoids it completely. We don't know for sure, but something definitely shattered this relationship.

Clark and Annie

The biggest revelation of episode two is that Raymond Clark and Annie Kotowk were in a secret relationship. After discovering from the delivery guy that Clark had the spiral tattoo, Danvers tracked down the tattoo artist via his credit card history. The tattoo artist sent over photos to show Danvers and one of the photos was of Clark and Annie together. Clark got his tattoo done just days after Annie was found murdered. 

Navarro tracks down a miner named Chuck who knew who Clark was. Chuck revealed that Clark brought a trailer from his cousin. She was able to find the trailer and she and Danvers discovered what looks to be a shrine to Annie inside. Being that Annie is the one who had the tattoo first, I'm wondering what connection she has to the cult from season one. Or maybe the symbol is actually something that the cult stole. If we go by what Rose stated earlier in the episode, it's older than Ennis and maybe the ice. I am sure there is some sinister meaning behind it all, as when Rose marks the symbol in the snow to show Navarro, she quickly swipes it away. 

The Mines

While the mines are more of a backdrop in the show right now, I do feel like the mines are more important to this story and that is why Annie was fighting against them so much. At one point when Navarro was questioning people at the local bar about Clark, a fight broke out between a Native Inupiat and a miner. The Native mentioned something regarding their water and the miner threw back at him all that the mines have done for Ennis. I am hopeful we get more insight into this in the next episode. 

You can get more of our thoughts on YouTube. Let us know what your theories are in the comments. 


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