Last week, on the series premiere of Dark Winds, a series of unrelated crimes occurred close to and in Navajo Country. It’s up to Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and his team of Tribal Patrol officers including Sergeant Bernadette Manuelito and the latest arrival, Jim Chee, to get to the bottom of them. In “The Male Rain Approaches,” we dive deeper into the mysteries and the people investigating them.
The show continues great character work with Leaphorn and further demonstrates that Zahn McClarnon is a star. First and foremost, it paints its lead as a low-key shrewd detective. Joe is very methodical in his approach and observant. McClarnon can make so much known for the viewer merely through curious and attentive looks without saying a word. His sleuthing skills help reinforce scenes we have seen already but that Joe isn’t privy too. He even surmises Chee’s secret but in his laid-back demeanor, is able to leverage their relationship to help his investigation. So clever on different levels.
Dark Winds also presents Leaphorn’s conflicted and tragic side as well. Flashbacks provide a clearer picture of his history with one of the victim’s father, Guy, and how it ties with his own family. McClarnon conveys the pain and regret of the past and how the two crossing paths again brings to the surface sorrowful memories. Learning more about Joe makes you more invested into the character and rooting for him to solve the crimes.
The pacing of the episode, and the series so far, has been great. The story is always progressing and never feels bogged down. We receive answers to events that occurred in the premiere while also bringing up new questions to explore with unexpected twists. The reveals keep you at the edge of your seat and it is beginning to create a feeling of interconnected narratives and raised stakes. The exciting part is seeing how the greater picture unfolds. With a six-episode season, there’s no room to draw things out and everything has to be efficient. In this case, it is also entertaining as well.
Dark Winds also gives you enough of the supernatural component without going overboard. The characters always reference good medicine as a form of protection and the cause of death for Guy’s daughter is also curious and goes along with the theme. The surviving witness also has a cryptic warning for Leaphorn that can have more than one meaning based off of what we know. But the biggest mystical conflict is brewing between Manuelito and her show nemesis, Ada Growing Thunder. Amelia Rico channels bad vibes and magic with her character that gives you chills whenever she is on screen.
“The Male Rain Approaches” keeps the story moving at a good pace while developing Joe Leaphorn in compassionate ways as he becomes more involved in the captivating mysteries.
Catch new episodes of Dark Winds on AMC+ or Sunday nights on AMC.
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