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‘True Detective: Night Country’: What’s deal with the spirals?

if you are looking True Detective: Night Country, you’re probably glued to the screen looking for clues like us. And that means you’re in the spirals.

In the fourth season of the HBO series, this time directed by showrunner Issa López, police chief Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and state police officer Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) can’t help but encounter these symbols in their investigation.


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It’s not the first time we’ve seen sinister spirals on this show. As Mashable’s Kristy Puchko notes, “In season 1 of real detective“The spirals were a recurring and eerie symbol linked to the Yellow King and his mystical killing spree.”

But what do the spirals mean? It’s one of the burning questions we have for the season (along with those polar bears and what the hell is that unholy corpse). Let’s track them down in an act that will turn us all into true armchair detectives.

Episode 1

A detective sits in a spiral of images.

Spiral-shaped evidence processing.
Credit: Michele K. Short/HBO

Danvers does the season’s first spiral herself as she processes evidence related to the disappearance of scientists from the remote Tsalal Arctic Research Station and the murder of Iñupiaq activist Annie Masu Kowtok (Nivi Pedersen). Without realizing it, she makes a spiral pattern with her prints and finds her way to the pink parka that will connect the cases before the time comes. current The spiral symbol starts to appear. Danvers and Navarro do a similar spiral of evidence processing in episode 3.

Episode 2

A state trooper walks through a dark space with a flashlight.

Clark’s creepy trailer has a giant spiral on the roof.
Credit: Michele K. Short/HBO

After the discovery of the corpuscle, Danvers sweeps the snow from the forehead of one of the frozen scientists and discovers a spiral in the corpse’s skin. Later, when Rose Aguineau (Fiona Shaw) talks to Navarro, she asks if the police officer saw the shape. When Navarro says that she vaguely remembers seeing him before, Rose draws the shape in the snow and explains: “It’s old, miss. Older than Ennis. It’s probably older than ice.”

Navarro remembers that Annie had a tattoo of a spiral. She shows Danvers a picture of the design, demonstrating the connection between her cases. Danvers reluctantly follows suit and asks a former Tsalal facility worker (L’xeis Diane Benson) about the symbol, who assumes it is related to witchcraft or a “sign of the devil.” Her colleague (Kathryn Wilder) says she doesn’t recognize him either.

Two detectives enter a very creepy decrepit caravan.

Credit: Michele K. Short/HBO

Later in the episode, Danvers discovers that one of Tsalal’s scientists, Raymond Clark (Owen McDonnell), had gotten a spiral tattoo on his chest four days after Annie’s body was found. The tattoo artist tells Danvers that Clark cried for “sentimental” reasons when he did it, and shares the photo Clark gave as a design reference; It is a photo of the tattoo on Annie’s back and it indicates that Clark and Annie were lovers.

Now officially joined on the cases, Danvers and Navarro find their way to Clark’s creepy trailer, where a giant spiral (among other things) has been scrawled on the ceiling, above a life-size knitted doll lying on the bed. At the end of the episode, they discovered that Clark is probably alive.

Episode 3

Two detectives find themselves facing a pile of evidence.

Credit: Michele K. Short/HBO

When Navarro asks hairdresser Susan (Bridie Trainor) about Annie, she mentions that Annie had shown Clark her tattoo when they met and that he was “obsessed with it.” Susan explains that Annie came up with the design after seeing the spiral in recurring dreams in high school. “He got the tattoo, the dreams stopped,” she says.

In the final moments of the episode, when Officer Peter Prior (Finn Bennett) hacks into Annie’s phone, he shows Navarro and Danvers a video of it, a recording of her last moments alive in the ice caves we’ve only seen. in the Opening credits. After a terrible scream, Annie appears to drop the phone from her, as she continues filming the cave ceiling, where she can see a spiraling skeleton of some form of prehistoric sea creature embedded in the ice. Coincidence?

Episode 4

A state trooper and a police officer stand in torchlight outside a hut holding a stone with a spiral on it.

Credit: Michele K. Short/HBO

When Danvers and Navarro consult, Professor Adam Bryce (Donnie Keshawarz) identifies the spiral skeleton as that of a prehistoric whale, preserved in ice caves near Ennis.

When Navarro and Prior investigate Oliver Tagaq’s (Lance Karmer) place at the nomad camp on Christmas Eve, they find a drawing of the spiral on cardboard on the ground and a stone carved with the symbol, a petroglyph, in the center of the drawing. Navarro takes the stone and asks the residents if they know what it means; They refuse to respond and become defensive in unison. Later, he accidentally leaves the stone at Eddie Qavvik’s (Joel D. Montgrand) house.

At the ruined dredge, Navarro and Danvers find a giant spiral drawn on the walls before finding the missing Tsalal engineer, Otis Heiss (who survived the same type of injuries as the scientists but earlier).

Episode 5

When Navarro is doing the laundry, Qavvik brings him the spiral stone he left, along with his friend, who tells him: “My grandfather, he told me to stay away when I saw them. People left them as a warning for hunters.” he says he. “Places where the ice would swallow them whole.” He is referring to the underground ice caves they have been searching for, known as the Night Country.

What do spirals do? real detective mean?

With only one episode left, there’s still a lot of ambiguity in night country make a call, but the symbol definitely connects the murder of Annie Masu Kowtok, the frozen scientists, and Clark.

But the fact that Annie has seen the symbol in recurring dreams hints that there is something more supernatural at play. The importance of the spirals as a warning sign seems deeply connected to Iñupiaq tradition in the series: the Tagaq petroglyph, Annie’s tattoo, Kenny’s memory of her grandmother. As Rose says, it’s an ancient symbol, which means historically there are many interpretations. In this context, it seems that Annie dreamed her own warning sign.

But how does it connect to the spiral skeleton of the ice caves? One more episode could bring us the answers we long for.

How to watch: real detective airs Sunday nights on HBO/Max at 9pm ET/PT.



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