Detective Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) looks nervously at her phone in 'True Detective Night Country.'

‘True Detective: Night Country’ Shares a Throughline of Parental Grief With Season One

True Detective: Night Country wrapped up its six-episode run with a powerful finale that answered many questions while leaving others open to interpretation. One question that is answered (mostly) regards the death of Chief Liz Danvers’ (Jodie Foster) husband and her son Holden.

Recommended Videos

Throughout the series, we see Danvers flashback to the traumatic event. She’s triggered by many things, like the Beatles’ song “Twist and Shout” and the crunch of broken glass under her boot. We also catch glimpses of her in the past with her son, the two of them playing together while lit with a golden glow. But Danvers never gets into the details of what happened to her family, and she doesn’t discuss it with her estranged step-daughter Leah (Isabella Star LaBlanc).

The finale reveals that Holden and his father died in a car crash. Danvers remains haunted by the accident and her lost son, feeling his presence in ghostly whispers and visions. Navarro is also haunted by Holden, who gives her a message to relay to his mother. But when Navarro tries to broach the subject with Danvers, she is shut down.

Holden and Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) play with a toy polar bear in 'True Detective: Night Country'.
(HBO)

When Danvers chases Navarro (Kali Reis) onto the ice outside the Tsalal station, she sees Holden trapped under the ice. She frantically breaks the ice to rescue him and falls into the freezing water. Navarro fishes her out and warms her by the fire. After falling into the water, Danvers is finally ready to hear Holden’s message. He says, “I see you,” which he says to her in the flashbacks.

It’s this message that finally allows Danvers to break down and grieve her son aloud. She’s spent the series keeping such tight control over her emotions and shutting everyone out. Her cathartic emotional release at the station opens a new chapter from which she can begin to heal.

Holden’s death also evokes the death of Rust Cohle’s (Matthew McConaughey) daughter in season one of True Detective. Cohle’s two-year-old daughter, Sophia, was hit by a car and killed. This tragedy destroys his marriage and sends him on a downward spiral.

(featured image: HBO)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Sophia Di Martino Breaks Down Sylvie and Loki’s Connection in ‘Loki’
Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie and Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains in the background on 'Loki'
Read Article Thank Goodness the ‘Bluey’ Special Ended the Way It Did
bluey, bingo, chilli and bandit from bluey
Read Article Is ‘Queen of Tears’ Fated to Have a Tragic Ending? We’re Not Ready for Episodes 13 and 14
Hae-in rejecting Hyun-woo after his second proposal in Queen of Tears
Read Article Jeff Daniels Won’t Go Down Without a Fight in Netflix’s Upcoming Series ‘A Man In Full’
Jeff Daniels sits at a desk in A Man In Full
Read Article Leslie Uggams Proves Once Again Why She’s the GOAT in ‘Fallout’
Betty Pearson, played by Leslie Uggams, in 'Fallout'.
Related Content
Read Article Sophia Di Martino Breaks Down Sylvie and Loki’s Connection in ‘Loki’
Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie and Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains in the background on 'Loki'
Read Article Thank Goodness the ‘Bluey’ Special Ended the Way It Did
bluey, bingo, chilli and bandit from bluey
Read Article Is ‘Queen of Tears’ Fated to Have a Tragic Ending? We’re Not Ready for Episodes 13 and 14
Hae-in rejecting Hyun-woo after his second proposal in Queen of Tears
Read Article Jeff Daniels Won’t Go Down Without a Fight in Netflix’s Upcoming Series ‘A Man In Full’
Jeff Daniels sits at a desk in A Man In Full
Read Article Leslie Uggams Proves Once Again Why She’s the GOAT in ‘Fallout’
Betty Pearson, played by Leslie Uggams, in 'Fallout'.
Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.