Apparently, the series has an Easter Egg to say Fiona Shaw’s missing lover is Rust Cohle’s survivalist father. Does that matter? Probably not, and I say that knowing these seasons are maybe all set in the same universe, with each one just set in a different location.
But so far, there have been terrestrial explanations for everything. So far.
This here is the halfway point of the season, and that means, if the story holds true to form, there are some really good twists and turns ahead. I know there are a lot of potentially good explanations for the weird stuff going on. Heck, the mine protests have been pretty much in full view of the audience, and this episode outright says an indigenous woman had a stillborn baby because of the chemicals and the like that the mine is letting into the environment. Hank Prior, not the loyalest of cops, brought in a bunch of his, as described by the episode, “redneck friends.” There’s a scene set at a protest, and Liz is having a hard time dealing with keeping the fake tattoos off her indigenous step-daughter’s face. Whether Liz is against them because she doesn’t want Leah to embrace her ancestry or she’s worried that such a move might get Leah hurt or some combination of both, the series hasn’t quite said, but I could see it going in any of those directions.
Heck, there’s even some hints about why Liz and Navarro don’t get along while Peter, the helpful man in the Prior family, brings in his veterinarian cousin to basically say that the men in the pile of dead corpses didn’t freeze to death and that they more likely were scared to death.
What jumps out at me the most here is that the season is really focusing on women and the indigenous community. It’s the women who seem to be mostly getting things done, and the tension between traditional ways of the people who have lived in the area forever–after all, they chant “We were here before!” at a protest– and the more “recent” arrivals is prominent. Plus, the series has dropped hints of a “she” being awake that made the all-male scientists flee in panic, but there’s just these moments where, well…it sure does look like something supernatural is happening.
That’s not new to True Detective. Rust Cohle and Marty Hart’s search for “the Yellow King” sure did have a lot of people thinking some otherworldly entity was behind the killings, but the only really otherworldly thing in the series was whatever Rust was seeing when he had a drug flashback. It was just a very mundane, very murderous fellow and his demented half-sister/girlfriend/lover/something…
But this episode really lays the supernatural stuff on thick. Navarro has a weird vision of herself in a brightly lit location (given it’s, like, basically nighttime all the time right now) and a look at the hacked phone of the missing scientist shows the late activist Anne Kowtok saying something had come for her before being dragged off screen. Now, the Anne thing could still be a terrestrial occurrence, and the mystery as a whole still could be.
But when the surviving scientist, missing both his legs, probably about to lose an arm, and blind from his exposure to the extreme cold somehow sits up in a hospital bed to warn Navarro in a scary voice that “she” may be up to something, that looks like something out of an exorcist movie. That makes a mundane explanation seem less likely.
However, as I sit here writing this up, it occurs to me Navarro has a mentally ill sister, and old Rose Aguineau already warned Navarro not to mistake mental illness for the supernatural. That could be this season’s “detective’s curse” from season one, that idea that a detective will overlook an obvious clue hiding in plain sight, the very thing that leads the detectives to the killers in season one. It’s a simple line, but it explains a lot, and Navarro’s suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness might explain why she, and she alone, seems to be having visions. Or it’s chemicals from the mines leaking into the groundwater. Or it really is a demon.
I’ll probably find out in three more episodes.