Dark Winds returns with a great premiere, opening both a new case and old wounds as Leaphorn and Chee reunite.
This recap of AMC’s Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 1, “Na’nilkaadii”, contains spoilers.
AMC’s Dark Winds was one of the more underrated shows of last year, a period neo-noir that explored evil in possibly multiple varieties infesting the early-70s Navajo Nation. Respected by critics and beloved by fans, it was inevitable it would return, and indeed it has with “Na’nilkaadii”, the first of another six episodes.
After a tumultuous cold open – we’ll get to that in a second – the premiere splits its action into three strands, following Joe Leaphorn in the investigation of a car bombing, Jim Chee working privately in search of a missing item, and Bernadette Manuelito wondering if it’s drugs or aliens that might have resulted in a sheep biting a man’s fingers off.
Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 1 Recap
The episode begins with Leaphorn and Manuelito arriving at a trailer in the middle of nowhere intending to arrest a suspect named Colton Wolf. He’s waiting for them, though, and opens fire from a vantage point, pinning them down.
A title card moves us back six days prior, as we begin the journey that’ll intertwine the story strands mentioned above and lead us, inevitably, to the shootout depicted in the cold open.
What is Leaphorn investigating?
We quickly come to learn that Leaphorn is investigating the killing of a cancer patient via a truck bomb. The vehicle was rigged to blow as soon as the ignition key was turned, but who’d go out of their way to kill a man who was already dying?
Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?
The explosion occurs in the hospital car park and Leaphorn’s wife Emma is slightly injured in the blast, prompting her to insist on a ceremony at home to ward off the potentially evil vibes that seemingly surround them. If that doesn’t bode badly – or well, from a viewer’s perspective – for the rest of the season then I don’t know what does.
Is the big sheep an alien?
Manuelito, meanwhile, investigates the claim from noted “hemp head” Steve, who is missing a couple of fingers after a tussle with a sheep that he claims was a) gigantic, b) had a head of twisted horns, and c) is an alien.
For now, it turns out that “a” and “b” might be true, though we’re still waiting on confirmation on “c” and what possible relationship this strand might have to everything else going on.
What is Jim Chee looking for?
The most significant plot developments are revealed to Jim Chee, who is moonlighting as a P.I. and takes on a case for Rosemary Vines, the wife of B.J. Vines, at whose drill site Leaphorn’s son was killed.
Rosemary can’t breathe without assistance, and she’s deliberately cagey with information. She instructs Chee to retrieve a box that was stolen from her safe by a burglar she identifies as Tomas Charley, the son of the man killed in the car bombing Leaphorn is investigating. However, she won’t reveal what’s inside the box.
What we do know is that the container has some connection to a desert cult called the People of Darkness, which used to be funded by Rosemary’s husband.
There is obviously far more to this than Rosemary is letting on for now, but answers will presumably become clear as we go.
Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 1 Ending Explained
Leaphorn and Chee cross paths when they both track down Charley, who tells Chee that he stole the box because he believes Rosemary, who he insists is a witch, cursed his father with cancer and that the box holds the key to his salvation. He draws Chee a map which he and Leaphorn follow to a ritual site.
In the embers of the ceremonial fire, Leaphorn discovers the belt buckle his son was wearing on the day he was killed. At that moment, Colton Wolf opens fire on them, wounding Chee in the shoulder and sabotaging Leaphorn’s vehicle. The episode ends with the two of them stranded in the middle of nowhere having just realized their cases and their personal pasts might be much more closely connected than either of them realized.
You can stream Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 1, “Na’nilkaadii” exclusively on AMC and AMC+.
- Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 2 Release Date
- Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 2 Recap