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Episode 5’s Dark Ending

True Detective: Night Country has been one of the darkest seasons of the crime anthology, and the ending of episode 5 took things to a whole new level.

With only one episode left, Danvers and Navarro are hot on the trail of the mysterious ice caves where Annie Masu Kowtok may have been murdered. But they’re not the only ones interested in the caves.

A Tense Showdown

In the episode’s final minutes, Danvers visits drug addict and former engineer Otis Heiss to get information about the cave’s location. At the same time, officer Hank Prior meets with Kate McKittrick, who warns him that Danvers is getting too close to discovering the cave and must be stopped.

Back at Danvers’ house, Heiss shows her the cave’s entrance on a map. But Hank arrives and insists on bringing Heiss in. When Danvers refuses, Hank takes her gun, shoots Heiss when he tries to run, and has the gun trained on Danvers.

Suddenly, Hank’s son, rookie officer Peter Prior, shows up and points his own gun at his father. Hank confesses to moving Annie K’s body, and Peter shoots him in the head.

A Troubled Relationship

Hank and Peter’s fates are proof that “time is a flat circle.” Their troubled father/son story arc was marked by a cycle of physical abuse, repressed emotion, and things left unsaid.

Circular Narrative Arcs

The final scene suggests that key characters are already ending up trapped in circular narrative arcs. Hank’s confession to moving Annie K’s body set off a chain of events that led to his own son killing him.

As we learned from Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle in True Detective’s very first season, “time is a flat circle.” What could that mean for Danvers and Navarro?

True Detective airs Sunday nights on HBO/Max at 9 p.m ET/PT./p>