Meanwhile, Danvers’s young protégé, Peter, has something else to show for all the hard work that has finally gotten him kicked out of his house. After delivering information on Otis last week, Peter offers another file definitively connecting the mine to the Tsalal Research Station, which had been receiving funding in exchange for dubiously rosy pollution data. When Danvers gets called to a meeting at the mine offices with its owner, Kate McKittrick (Dervia Kirwan), and Ted, Danvers’s overseer and third-rate occasional sex partner, she assumes it is going to be a dressing-down about a protest that had turned violent, even though policing the scene was not her responsibility. She tucks the file away like a gun in an ankle holster.
Danvers was right to expect an ambush. First, Kate presents surveillance footage of Danvers and Navarro scoping out the mine entrance and pumps her for information on why they were there. Then she cheerily offers the good news that the forensics team in Anchorage determined that the scientists had died en masse because of a freak weather event that kicked up when they were perhaps catching the last sunset before the long night. Danvers knows enough about the case by now to roll her eyes at this explanation, and she confronts Kate with the incriminating file, but Kate and Ted have another card to play. Ted knows the Wheeler case wasn’t a murder-suicide and suggests that Danvers and Navarro would be wise to stop snooping.
It’s a great character moment for Danvers, who has been more comfortable than Navarro in mollifying the powers-that-be. Though Navarro was surprised by how much Danvers knew about Annie once she took over as police chief, the case file had been sitting in Hank’s house, like a Pandora’s box Danvers had decided not to open. And while she’s aware of the pollution that has resulted in many stillborn deaths of Indigenous children, Danvers has been aggressive in keeping her stepdaughter from getting involved in the protest movement — ostensibly to protect her, but perhaps also to suppress her own guilt. The mine employs half the town. Part of her job has been about maintaining the status quo.
Navarro won’t let her off the hook this time. In the episode’s most powerful scene, she plays to Danvers’s conscience: “You carry her now,” she says of Annie. “Like I did all this time. You carry Annie every day. You’re leaving her alone in that cave, in the dark.” It is moments like this when the casting of Jodie Foster pays dividends. It is nearly impossible to watch Foster investigating murders in “Night Country” without recalling her performance as Clarice Starling in “The Silence of the Lambs,” but the moral distance between the two women is striking — it’s as if Starling has aged into a compromised version of herself. Now Kali Reis’s Navarro, with her pugilist scowl, is pleading with her to rediscover her sense of justice and do right by Annie.
Yet the end of the episode muddies the path. It turns out Hank has been doing Kate’s dirty work, with Danvers’s current post as the carrot at the end of a very long stick. Now Kate is suggesting, none too subtly, that Otis might need to meet with an accident before he can show Danvers and Navarro the caves. The scene at Danvers’s house, ending with Otis and Hank both shot dead — the latter at his son Peter’s hands — represents another moral crossroads for Danvers and her partners.