Kali Reis speaks with The Hollywood Reporter about how that brutal Christmas episode completely changes Trooper Navarro’s resolve.
[This story contains spoilers from episode four of True Detective: Night Country.]
What does a holiday episode of True Detective look like? If it was a question you were wondering before, well, wonder no more: It looks pretty much exactly as you would expect, based on the standard tone of the HBO horror procedural — which is to say, quite depressing and filled with death.
In its fourth hour, True Detective: Night Country explores the characters in-depth during the holidays, here in the thick of Ennis, Alaska’s period of forever night. In particular, Kali Reis’ Trooper Navarro comes into sharper focus in a truly traumatic way. It’s not enough that the old wounds of the Annie K. case are reopening. It’s not enough that Navarro’s sister Julia (Aka Niviâna) is having a mental health crisis that’s so evocative of how their mother died. Now, Julia is also dead, having walked out of the facility she had just checked into, only to step out into the frozen night, where she dies in the cold.
It’s a brutal moment in a brutal series. But, according to the team behind the show, it was the only way to proceed. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, director Issa López described the vibe with two succinct words to The Hollywood Reporter: “Merry Christmas?”
For her part, Night Country star Reis has more to say on the subject of Navarro losing her sister: “She was the only thread, the last thread, that’s keeping her shit together.”
“She’s like, ‘Alright, I have to behave myself, because I have my sister,’” Reis explained to THR. “If it was just Navarro, she might go off the rails. Now, her sister’s gone. Before, she had a little bit of [restraint], like, ‘Let me not beat the total shit out of this guy.’ Maybe, don’t do that. But now?”
Well, now the results speak for themselves, as we see Navarro picking fights she can’t possibly win, even as tough and trained as she is. But we also now see Navarro’s total commitment to solving this season’s case with partner Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster), with nothing else keeping her tethered to this mortal plane.
“Everything Navarro did was for her sister,” said Reis. “She went to the military for her sister, she moved her sister to have her closer. She’s the last thing tangible that Navarro has to fight for. So when her sister’s gone, it’s just, what else is there?”
The only thing left is the murder tableau.
“Now, if I have to, I’m going to die trying to find out what happened to these men and primarily what happened to Annie K.,” said Reis. “She wants to know. She needs to know. That’s the driving force. So once her sister’s gone, it’s like, ‘Alright, well, here we go. I’m all in now. I’m fully in. If I have to, I’m going to die trying.’”
True Detective releases new episodes Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and Max
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