A new case jabbed at a tender wound for Lt. Joe Leaphorn, as Dark Winds‘ Season 2 premiere came to a close.
Season 2 opened with an in media res sequence in which Leaphorn and Sgt. Manuelito (played by Zahn McClarnon and Jessica Matten) were scoping out an RV parked in the desert at night, when its owner eluded them and proceeded to perforate the camper with gunfire, as they hid behind it.
Six days prior the explosion of a car outside a hospital where Joe’s wife Emma was waiting on a patient leads to an investigation, and the introduction of A Martinez’s Sheriff Gordo Sena. Leaphorn gleans that the explosion was in fact a bomb, and says that the victim was the brother of the guy who years ago had warned there’d be an explosion at the oil-drilling site where Joe Jr. worked (and in turn “accidentally” died).
As Joe seeks out the deceased’s son, Tomas Charley, we catch up with Jim Chee, P.I., who after helping out a little old lady finds himself meeting with a new client, the beautiful Rosemary Vines. She says that her and her husband BJ’s home was recently burgled, and she simply wants back the box that was taken from the safe. She claims that Tomas Charley was seen fleeing the scene, box in hand, and she suspects that the robbery was some sort of “payback” for her husband cutting off (financial) ties with a rez group called People of Darkness.
Joe Leaphorn investigates the death of a man involved in a mysterious cult, while Jim Chee, employed as a private investigator, works a case of his own. Meanwhile, Sgt. Bernadette Manuelito deals with a “hemp head” who claims to have been attacked by extraterrestrials. What are we to make of this? Here are our five takeaways from “Na’ni?kaadii,” Episode 201 Episode 101 of Dark Winds.
Takeaway No. 1
Season 2 starts out with a bang — several bangs, actually — as Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Sgt. Bernadette Manuelito arrive at an isolated trailer home, intending to arrest a suspect, only to become the target of their target. From a vantage point outside, the suspect — Colton Wolf (Nicholas Logan), making a genuinely scary entrance — sprays the trailer with his assault weapon, pinning down the Navajo Police officers until we cut to a title card: “Six Days Ago.” The scene isn’t quite as spectacular as the armored-car robbery that kicked off the first episode of Season One, but it’s terrifically effective with its neo-noir visuals, setting us up for another drama set in the 1971 Navajo Nation that involves evil forces both earthly and (possibly) supernatural.
Takeaway No. 2
And we have an even bigger bang once the drama begins in earnest, as an aged cancer patient is killed just outside of a hospital when his truck explodes. Sheriff Gordo Sena — hello there, A Alavarez! — assumes it was an accident, caused by a gas leak. But it doesn’t take Leaphorn very long to deduct that a bomb was wired to go off once the victim turned the ignition key. Right away, naturally, we have to wonder: Did that Colton Wolf guy have anything to do with this? In any event, Leaphorn’s interest in the crime is intensified by collateral damage: His nurse wife Emma (Deanna Allsion), who was standing inside the hospital while checking on a patient, was slightly injured by the blast. Nothing too serious, mind you, but Emma insists that she and Leaphorn conduct some sort of ceremony at their home to ward off bad mojo. “It’s not normal for us to be around so much death and violence,” she tells her husband. Hey, did she already forget what happened in Season 1?
Takeaway No. 3
Meanwhile, Manuelito deals with ne’er-do-well Steve Begaye (Jarrett Hogner), a mild-and-hazy “hemp head” who claims he was attacked by an extraterrestrial mutant in the form of a large sheep with twisted horns. Much to her surprise, Manuelito finds that, hey, there really is such a beast roaming around the countryside. But she doesn’t see any signs of it being an otherworldly creature. At least, not yet. Just to be on the safe side, though, she locks the animal in a police station cell.
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