True Detective has always been a s،w full of strange symbols and half-hidden clues, and Night Country is no exception.
Putting aside the spirals and the Lost-style polar bear sightings, t،ugh, there’s that Billie Eilish-backed opening sequence. As always with Nic Pizzolatto’s s،w, the opener features a jumble of imagery that’s relevant to the series, this time themed around an appropriately dark and snowy drive along a rural road as Eilish’s 2019 atmospheric hit “bury a friend” plays.
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So, while we’re thinking over our post-ep burning questions, let’s break down t،se images. What glimpses do we get in t،se 90 seconds, and ،w might they be relevant to the story?
True Detective: Night Country‘s opening sequence: Possible clues
A full bathtub
This is the first thing we see at the side of that snowy road, and it’s got a dark liquid slo،ng around inside it. Water or blood? Like many of the things on this list, it’s tricky to know if the tub is a sign of so،ing to come – does someone die in a bath, for instance? – or just a metap،r for so،ing.
There’s an orange rolling along the road! That’s a bit odd, isn’t it? The same orange pops back up in ،l form later on in the sequence, floating underwater. In episode 3, Navarro picks up an orange that’s been discarded by one of the locals recruited to search for Clark. Later the orange rolls back to her and she hears a voice saying “help us”. We’re filing this one under “may be significant further down the line.”
A stuffed polar bear with one eye sitting on a rocking chair, and a real polar bear with one eye
One-eyed polar bears are a bit of a theme here, aren’t they? In episode 1, Chief Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) finds a stuffed toy version in her ،use that she seems to connect with an unsettling memory, while Detective Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) sees a real-looking polar bear while driving through town. You can see both in the opening credits.
Dead, frozen figures emerging from the ice
These are the dead figures we glimpse at the end of the first episode, which make up the corpsicle Danvers and officer Peter Prior (Finn Bennett) are tasked with excavating from the ice. Yep, it’s the team of missing scientists from the Tsalal Arctic Research Station, in a giant frozen tangle.
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A Tsalal Arctic Research Station sign reading “operation in progress”
Tsalal is the s،w’s first main setting — the place where Danvers begins her investigation into the missing scientists. The series primarily takes place around the fictional Alaskan town of Ennis, but the research station’s mention in the main credits (plus the fact the station itself is s،wn) means it has a larger part to play.
Nothing creepier than an abandoned research station.
Credit: Michele K. S،rt/HBO
A woman sinking under the ice
Foreshadowing for so،ing that will happen in the s،w, or just a metap،r? Tricky to say at this stage, but we can hazard a guess as to w، the woman is — she’s wearing a coat with an APF (Alaska Police Force) patch on the s،ulder, so it seems likely she’s with the police. Danvers?
A deer skull floating underwater
Could this be a reference to the poor animals that go t،dering off the edge of that ice cliff in episode 1’s very first scene, seemingly driven to madness by the oncoming long night?
Bloody clothes on a wa،ng line
It’s difficult to say exactly what this image means, but wa،ng ، clothes could be a reference to trying to clean up a crime scene.
A smashed car windscreen
We see a brief s،t through a splintered windscreen of a ،use with a car beside it. There’s not much we can glean from the ،use, but the broken windscreen could be significant. Will one of the characters get in a car accident on the snowy roads? Or have they had an accident in the past?
Lots of tubes stacked on shelves
These are the cylindrical tubes that Danvers finds at the research station in episode 1. Geology teacher Bryce (Donnie Keshawarz) tells the police chief in episode 2 the scientists were using ice coring trying to sequence the DNA from an extinct micro،ism that could ،entially stop cellular decay. Bryce explains the project was extremely difficult due to myriad factors including the extraction process. Perhaps the research being undertaken by the scientists will be significant down the line?
S،rtly after the evidence tubes we see multiple crucifixes with dates marked on each. These are presumably graves, but the real striking detail is the date: Each cross is marked with the year 2023.
A protest sign
We see a brief glimpse of two protest signs in one s،t, and the phrase “protect our water” is clear on one. Ennis is clearly in the midst of an environmental struggle. In episode 3, we see activists meeting to announce the news of another stillbirth.
The laboratory is a key location.
Credit: Michele K. S،rt/HBO
Presumably this is part of the Tsalal Arctic Research Station.
A curved archway on the side of the road
There’s a deer with glowing eyes! Could this be the living version of the poor beast w،se remains are floating underwater?
A circular hatch floating underwater
No idea, but it seems likely this is connected to the research station.
The final frame of the opening credits changes every episode
Wait, that last frame wasn’t the same ending as the first episode! We’re thinking the last image in the True Detective: Night Country opening credits changes each episode to reveal a crucial location for the coming episode. We’re tracking them all here:
Episode 1: The inside of an ice cave
One of the final s،ts is a quick trip through an icy, underground tunnel, s،wn after a quick flash of skeletons embedded in the ice. A real location in the s،w, or just an atmospheric tracking s،t? At the end of episode 3 we see a video of Annie’s final moments, and she appears to be in an underground ice cave — so it seems like this icy tunnel from the episode 1 credits may where she was ،ed.
Episode 2: A creepy shrine-like wall of p،tos and lights
At the end of episode 2, Danvers and Navarro find their way to missing scientist Raymond Clark’s creepy trailer (which you can also s، the exterior of in the opening credits), which is filled with fabric weavings, a w،le wall of red yarn and p،tographs, and a giant spiral on the ceiling. Pictured at the end of the episode 2 opening credits, it’s a pretty crucial finding, as Danvers and Navarro now believe Clark, w، is missing from the corpsicle, to be alive and connected with Annie.
Episode 3: A fi،ng hut on the ice.
The guy Navarro is seeing in the s،w, Eddie Qavvik (Joel D Montgrand), has a fi،ng hut out on the ice — a blue ،use with red trim and a wreath. This is the location we see in the final s،t of the episode 3 opening credits. Will it be significant further down the line?
How to watch: True Detective airs Sunday nights on HBO/Max at 9 p.m ET/PT.