Dark Winds (Season 2) Episode 1 “Na’niłkaadii”: With its first season, ‘Dark Winds’ proved to be a compelling addition to AMC’s catalog. It found an assured footing with its narrative about a criminally underrepresented demographic. The psychological thriller series created by Graham Roland is based on the Leaphorn & Chee novel series by Tony Hillerman. The first season explored Navajo police officers Leaphorn, Chee, and Bernadette Manuelito, uncovering a crime on their land. In the end, they discovered FBI officer Whitover’s conspiracy along with the reason James committed the robberies. Now the new season takes a deep dive into uncharted territories to connect them back to the past of its characters. 

Spoilers ahead. 

Dark Winds (Season 2) Episode 1 “Na’niłkaadii” Recap

The Suspect

The episode begins with a highly suspenseful moment. Officers Joe Leaphorn (Zahn McClarnon) and Bernadette Manuelito (Jessica Matten) slowly approach a trailer of their new suspect. He calls Sheriff Sena to bring his team as a backup. While Leaphorn is told not to approach the guy immediately, he recognizes the danger of delaying the process. So, he and Bernadette get down to get hold of the suspect. Just moments before they enter, the lights from the trailer go off. The duo still walks in to notice several clocks, dolls, and all kinds of strange things. Not long after, a white man starts shooting at the trailer from the outside. Joe and Bernadette hop down to save themselves.

The Explosion

Then the narrative jumps six days back to see Joe on his ranch working on his usual chores. Meanwhile, Emma (Deanna Allisson) examines the wounds of Steve Bagaye’s hand, who claims that he was attacked by ‘aliens’. ‘It might’ve been a sheep,’ he adds further. Emma believes he is just making these things up. Still, she decides to drive him to the hospital. On the way, a man i.e., the suspect from the trailer, bumps into her car on the way out. Later, in the hospital, when she tries to take a cup of coffee out of the machine, she senses a shock. Within moments, a bomb explodes. 

Dark Winds (Season 2) Episode 1

Back on the ranch, Sally Growing Thunder (Elva Guerra) informs Joe about this incident. Sally now has a baby and lives at the Leaphorns’ residence. Hearing about the explosion, Joe rushes to the hospital to meet his wife. That is where he learns that the victim was Emerson Charley, a cancer patient, who was going to die in about two months. Emerson’s brother, Dillon ran a church on the rez called the People of Darkness. They were linked to a murder case in the past. While Sheriff Gordo Sena believes that it happened because of a gas leak, Joe finds a timer spring in a car door that was blown up. So, he concludes that it was a bomb.

Afterwards, Joe drives Emma back to the ranch. She believes they need to have another ceremony to keep such violent tragedies away. Despite Joe’s slight hesitance, she is firm about her decision. On the other hand, Bernadette chases Dean Bitsuie, who seems to have a bad reputation in the rez. This time, he had stolen a horse. By that time, Joe arrives at the station and talks with his staff about speaking with Emerson’s son, Tomas. Bernadette brings Dean to the station and then questions Steve about the bombing incident as one of the people who encountered it in person. He blabbers in his usual style, which does not help Bernadette with the case in any way.

Who is Linda Maddox?

The ‘suspect’ asks a man whether he found Linda Maddox. He shows a document and a black-and-white photograph to show that he found her. For the man’s work, the suspect pays him a big amount. However, right when he walks to the bathroom, the suspect follows him and shoots him dead inside a stall. While the episode does not reveal who exactly Linda is, it certainly creates intrigue about her relation to the cold-blooded suspect. On the other hand, Bernadette brings Steve to the desert to learn that the spaceship he explained is nothing but the property of the U.S. Air Force. He still goes on with his theories and talks about several sheep coming outside. Bernadette considers his blabbering as a result of being under the influence of hemp. However, on her way back, she notices a strange sheep, as Steve mentioned, which stuns her.

Robbery at the Vines

Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon) wakes up from the bed, probably after spending a night with a woman. He now works as a private investigator in the town. Later, an old lady pays only a part of the promised sum to do her job. Right after that disappointment, he gets a chance to help Mrs Rosemary Vines (Jeri Ryan) with her job. She is the wife of oilman B.J. Vines, who is away on a hunting trip. The woman hires Chee to find out about a recent burglary of her house. She has a reason to believe that People of Darkness are behind this attempt. Despite this ask, she refuses to inform him what is inside the box. 

Rosemary’s maid, Gabriela saw Tomas outside the house, sneaking away with the box. Since B.J. helped the PoD with money but grew disenchanted soon after, Rosemary believes that the PoD are behind the robbery. So, Chee goes to Tomas’ shop and asks him directly for the box. Tomas claims BJ cursed his father, and he stole the box to reverse the spell. He says that he took the box to the Malpais and draws a map. More importantly, he notes that ‘Vines is the People of Darkness’ – meaning the wealthy bunch like him are exploiting others. On his way out, Chee bumps into Joe, who was on his way to meet Tomas. They realise that their investigations overlap and enter the store to meet the man. Unfortunately, Tomas is nowhere to be seen. 

Dark Winds (Season 2) Episode 1 Ending Explained

Zahn McClarnon as Joe Leaphorn in Dark Winds (Season 2) Episode 1
Zahn McClarnon as Joe Leaphorn – Dark Winds _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Michael Moriatis/AMC

Bernadette brings the strange sheep she saw back and keeps it locked up. While she heads out, another female officer looks at the animal with a mix of discontent and confusion. On the other hand, Joe decides to follow Tomas’ map with Chee. The duo reaches the said location and walks up a cliff. That’s where Joe finds a ring and a belt buckle that belonged to his late son. The son wore it on the day he died. While Joe tries to process his emotions, someone suddenly shoots Chee from the back. 

The shooter turns out to be the suspect from the trailer. While Joe and Chee try to fight back, the shooter drives away in a blue truck after exploding Joe’s car. Because of that, Joe cannot even drive the injured Chee to a hospital. The ending of Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 1 gives a mix of the show’s trademark plausible unpredictability with mysticism. The white suspect may have some connection to the property of the U.S. Air Force, which we will possibly learn in the coming episode. Nevertheless, the taut storytelling with just the right amount of humor and seriousness marks it as the beginning of a thrilling season. 

Also, Read: The 10 Best TV Shows from 2023 (So Far)

Dark Winds (Season 2) Episode 1 Information

External Link to Dark Winds (Season 2) Episode 1: Rotten Tomatoes
Crime, Drama, Mystery & Thriller, Western
Network: AMC
Air Date: Jul 30, 2023
Directed By: Chris Eyre
Written By: John Wirth, Rhiana Yazzie

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