Sunday, July 10, 2022

REVIEW: 'Dark Winds' - Leaphorn, Chee and Manuelito Follow Their Own Paths While Investigating the Same Conspiracy in 'Ha'iinlni'

AMC's Dark Winds - Episode 1.05 "Ha'iinlni"

With a major suspect in custody, Leaphorn discovers there is more to this crime than he would have ever imagined. Manuelito faces her worst fears. Chee must make a choice between his career and his people.

"Ha'iinlni" was written by Erica Tremblay and directed by Chris Eyre

On his first day, Chee was told he needed to be self-sufficient in order to work for the tribal police. This is a dangerous land where anything could happen. It could take hours for any backup to arrive. The police have to trust their instincts at all times. They must carry the burden of investigating by themselves. They need to respect each other as well. They all happened to converge at the same location in the previous episode. As a result, they have a suspect in custody. Even then, it was clear how these personalities were pushing each other away. That isolation was apparent and daunting. Everything loomed with uncertainty. They could do the job. The secrets they carried had the potential to rip everything apart. That's what ultimately happens. Sure, it's lackluster when Frank escapes from prison. That resets the narrative so it basically conforms to the same premise as before. It's all meant to play out in contrast. The individual lives of the police could come together for one moment to address this situation. That's all they could do together. That has changed now with Manuelito learning the truth about Chee. She feels betrayed by both him and Leaphorn. She takes it as a lack of respect. That can't be tolerated on this job. She puts her life on the line every single day. She needs others to respect her and fight for her. She can't trust them as well either. Of course, she ultimately has to. They are the only backup she has. But again, this is an episode devoted to the separation of the police. They each have their own vested interests. They have unique vantage points on the case bringing all of these disparate pieces together. They have long known this conspiracy ran much deeper. They have uncovered the truth. They have spoken to people who can no longer stand idly by and let it happen for their own prosperity. They have to stop things because so many have already gotten hurt. People have died because of the single-minded drive of the Buffalo Society. Arresting the people of this organization has been a top priority for the FBI. Agent Whitover is even willing to submit Chee's transfer papers after he achieves this victory. That's all it takes. That's where he is told he is suppose to be. And yet, he is continually drawn to the complex world on the tribal land. So many secrets and mysteries still linger. Leaphorn learns the truth of what was being covered up on the drill site where an accident killed his son. It's a shocking revelation to him that the company found uranium. They kept digging despite the impact the mineral was having on the workers. That led to an explosion. All of that is known and treated as commonplace amongst those with the money and influence to do something with the land. For those grappling with the most personal of losses though, it was something kept entirely from the narrative.

Leaphorn has never been able to grapple with the loss of his son. He can't express his feelings even to Emma. They have silently blamed each other for what happened. They lost Joe Jr. because they didn't fight for him to leave for school. Education was so important to them. And yet, Leaphorn didn't want his son to leave. That conflict only created a reality where Leaphorn and Emma would have to live without him ever again. That's equally devastating. No one wanted this. In fact, it takes the same thing happening to others for them to understand the raw emotions. That's striking. So many in this community would rather repress their emotions. It's hard for them to communicate. They devote their attention to the spirits and the sense that something is guiding them in this world. Instead, it's much more cathartic to express one's true self in times of need. Leaphorn needed that. He responded poorly. He continues to push others away. He has the potential of returning home to a loving family once more. That still requires work to be done. He can't focus on that because he has to hunt down James Tso. An innocent life was taken because she happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. She didn't carry the protection her grandmother and Manuelito view as sacred. That keeps them safe from the malevolent forces of the world. They have to fight for their lives to defeat these dangerous threats. Only then can the world open up to so many new possibilities. It's an arduous struggle. Manuelito wants to save lives. She's incapable of doing so. All she can do is call in the threats. She's powerless to stop some of the severe machinations of this conspiracy. That leaves her susceptible to Whitover's own influence. She trusts him as an authority figure when few are available. Meanwhile, Chee discovers that Whitover has long known about the criminal activities of this area. He didn't care about any of them. He didn't inform his fellow agents. He didn't start a file so others could follow up. He seeks his own glory. He is focused on one thing. It's now being challenged by Chee. He has the position to do something about it. He's far away from town though. He may not make it back in time to help Leaphorn and Manuelito as they prepare for this final conflict. They loom large ready to strike. Leaphorn has Frank in his crosshairs. Jason Tso remains elusive. All of these criminals may get arrested eventually. That offers no guarantee of support for the community they terrorized in the name of defending the greater good. A mess of terror and despair is left in their wake while the police are possibly too scattered to execute the best possible plan of attack to address these struggles.