True Detective episode five and that shocking death explained

True Detective: Night Country has been the most popular season of the show since its debut series in 2014, but it’s about to draw to a close after a shocking penultimate episode.

The fifth episode of the Jodie Foster-led season aired on Friday (9 February), two days earlier than usual thanks to the forthcoming Super Bowl on Sunday night.

What happened in episode five?

Otis Heiss (Klaus Tange) reveals to Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) that he had similar injuries to those of the dead Tsalal scientists three decades ago. He sustained these injuries while mapping the underground ice cave where Annie K (Nivi Penderson) was later killed.

Danvers asks Heiss to take her to the exact spot where Annie died, but he says he will only do so in exchange for heroin, and Danvers says no. So Danvers and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) head to the caves on their own, but find that the entrance (on Silver Sky mining company land) is not accessible.

Silver Sky owner Kate McKittrick then calls Danvers out, revealing that she has footage of the two detectives trespassing on mine property. Thanks to information from Prior (Finn Bennett), Danvers is aware that Tsalal funder Tuttle United has dealings with a banking company which is a founding partner of Silver Sky. As Danvers puts it, “the mine bankrolls Tsalal and then Tsalal pushes out bogus pollution numbers for them”.

Captain Connelly (Christopher Eccleston), who’s there with McKittrick, demands that Danvers accept that the Tsalal deaths were due to a "weather event". He tells her that he is certain there was no suicide in the William Wheeler murder-suicide case, and threatens to use this knowledge against Danvers and Navarro if they don’t leave the case be.

Foster nad Bennett in ‘True Detective’ (Sky)
Foster nad Bennett in ‘True Detective’ (Sky)

McKittrick has a secret meeting with Hank (John Hawkes) and pretty much suggests that Hank murders Heiss before he can show Danvers where the cave is. It also turns out that, years in the past, McKittrick bribed Hank to move Annie K’s corpse from the cave. She offered him cash and a future position as Ennis Chief of Police – which was scuppered thanks to Danvers’ relocation. McKittrick tells him things will work out differently this time.

Meanwhile, Danvers gets the heroin she had nabbed from the evidence room and meets Heiss, taking him to her house. There, he shows her the best entrance point to the caves and Danvers gives him the drugs.

But then Hank, who has been on Danvers’ tale, arrives. Things get out of control and Hank shoots Heiss, killing him. Prior then arrives and saves the day just as Hank is about to kill Danvers. Prior kills his own father with a bullet to the head, effectively choosing Danvers’ life over his.

Navarro soon turns up. She, Danvers and Prior concoct a plan to hide the murders and Danvers and Navarro head off to the caves.