True Detective: Night Country Episode 5 Ending, Explained


Spoilers Ahead for True Detective: Night Country Episode 5


  • Finally, the questions in
    True Detective: Night Country
    are being answered, providing a more satisfying storyline.
  • The Silver Sky Mining company emerges as a new threat, entangled in the central mystery of the season.
  • The latest episode sets up a thrilling season finale, promising an exciting conclusion to the captivating storyline.

After a couple of slower episodes than usual, this week’s installment of True Detective: Night Country finally started to answer our questions and slowly piece its bigger picture together. And coupled with a shocking twist in the final minutes, the path has officially been set for what should be an exciting season finale.

Following Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) and Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster), True Detective: Night Country has taken audiences to Ennis, Alaska, as the Chief and Trooper search for eight missing people from the Tsalal Research Station. Until now, there have been far more questions than answers in the season, but that’s finally beginning to change.

Questions Are Finally Starting to Be Answered

True Detective

Release Date
January 12, 2014
Mahershala Ali , Stephen Dorff , Carmen Ejogo , Scoot McNairy , Jodie Foster , Kali Reis , Matthew McConaughey , Woody Harrelson , Alexandra Daddario , John Hawkes , Colin Farrell , Vince Vaughn


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Early this year, eagle-eyed viewers noticed subtle references to True Detective‘s widely lauded debut season, from the return of the mysterious spiral to the re-emergence of the Tuttle cult (now Tuttle United). Despite the theorizing, most of these callbacks (at least for now) appear circumstantial, as recent weeks have allowed Night Country‘s central mystery to stay relatively self-contained. The spiral in True Detective, for example, doesn’t seem to reference the Yellow King; it was revealed last night that it’s a symbol that Ennis hunters use as a marker to warn about thin ice.

While the Tuttles were again name-dropped, the more immediate threat appears to be the other force bankrolling the Tsalal research station – the Silver Sky Mining company. As shown throughout the season, pollution brought about by the town’s mining facility has sickened much of Ennis’s Indigenous community, with expectant mothers regularly seeing their children stillborn. Silver Sky is able to falsify its pollution numbers with help from the Tsalal station in exchange for funding its operations.

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Silver Sky themselves also appear to have been at least partially involved with Annie Kowtok’s murder, considering how eagerly executive member Kate McKittrick sweeps the murder investigation under the rug. The dead scientists in the corpsicle, she claims, were simply caught in a snowstorm and froze to death, completely contradicting the evidence Danvers and Navarro have uncovered thus far. Even more suspiciously, the caves near Silver Sky, the very ones where Annie met her demise, are completely buried.

The caves themselves also saw further explanation this week; the “night country” that engineer Otis Weiss referred to in the prior installment was, in fact, an interconnected series of tunnels under the ice. Since Annie was drawn to and met her doom in the caves, it’s clear that all remaining questions will be answered next week when Danvers and Navarro finally enter the “night country.”

But the journey to get there saw significant interruption this week, as McKittrick quickly caught on to Danvers’ interest in the caves and association with Otis (since he had been trapped inside years before, he’s the only one in the area who knows the proper point of entry). She promptly bribes the ever-suspicious Officer Hank Prior, ordering him to follow Danvers so that she can lead him to Otis. And if he kills him, McKittrick promises to give Prior his coveted role of Chief of Police.

Peter Commits the Ultimate Sin and Kills Hank

The other significant developments this week involved Hank’s son Pete, with whom he already has a strained relationship due to his close relationship with Danvers. From the start, Pete has been established as a sort of golden boy in a town as broken as Ennis, and his idealism for the job is clear to the point that his commitment to the job strains his relationship with his wife. But Pete’s optimism was severely put to the test this week if not outright shattered completely.

First, he learned what most viewers had already guessed – that the case that fractured Danvers’ and Navarro’s working relationship was much messier than it initially seemed. Despite the police reports, serial rapist William Wheeler didn’t commit suicide when the officers found him; they had murdered him and altered the evidence to look like a suicide (in another callback to the first season). When Pete confronts Danvers over this, she doesn’t outright confirm anything, but it’s clear that she has no regrets about how things went down.

As fate would have it, Pete is soon forced into the same moral dilemma that broke his faith in Danvers. As the two of them determine the cave entry point, Hank successfully tracks them, and Pete witnesses his father’s corruption firsthand as he watches him gun down Otis. He then confesses to having partially helped with Annie’s murder. As he prepares to kill Danvers, Pete commits the ultimate sin a son can commit and shoots his own father dead to protect his surrogate parental figure.

Despite knowing his job and entire reputation are about to implode spectacularly, Pete decides to stay alone at the crime scene and hide his father’s body, knowing the ongoing snowstorm will help them pass his death off as a disappearance. Simultaneously, Danvers and Navarro can use the cover of the storm to escape to the ice caves and finally uncover everything. In covering up his crimes, Pete has come to the same tragic realization that his mentor once did – that serving justice inevitably means having to destroy a part of your humanity and that the world isn’t nearly as simple as a battle between light and dark. More importantly, the light may not even be winning after all.

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A Fantastic Finale Set-Up for True Detective: Night Country

Admittedly, Night Country‘s prior couple of installments weren’t quite as engaging, as evidenced by polarized reactions from True Detective fans. But last night’s episode tied the pieces of the puzzle together in an incredibly satisfying manner and with a degree of poetic tragedy that will surely leave viewers shaken for days. There’s only one episode left in the season, and we couldn’t be more excited to see how everything wraps up. Next Sunday can’t come soon enough. True Detective: Night Country is available to stream on Max.

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