The previous episode of Dark Winds, ended by revealing the perpetrators behind the big bank heist in the premiere. As we reach the midway point of the season, the series begins to bring the different narrative threads together in the bigger picture.
“K’e” wastes no time in showing the significance of the cactus painting and why the scarred face man is willing to go to extremes to retrieve it. In addition, it’s interesting to see these minor details and elements introduced earlier playing a bigger role here. The car salesman, Devoted Dan, first appeared on a commercial and now we see how involved he is in the operation. He doesn’t look to ecstatic whenever he’s called upon but it is funny to see the Native Americans exploiting the white man. The scenes also exhibit a greater ambition by the bank robbers as the money is used to purchase land surrounding the mine where Leaphorn’s son was killed.
Another development on Dark Winds is the growing closeness between Manuelito and Chee. The pair got off on the wrong foot with the newcomer’s fancy suit, but the more time they work together, the better the understanding they have. Chee took a big step and becomes vulnerable describing his family’s tragic past. The sergeant shares her backstory, and in the case of both, it’s enlightening to hear the difficulties they faced from their own people, in Chee’s case, and the boarding school in Manuelito’s case. It sheds some light on why the former wants to leave the reservation and how the latter became so guarded.
The most impactful aspect of the episode is receiving a front row seat to the Kinaalda of Emma’s niece, Nanobah. We share the experience with Sally, the pregnant teen, since she is unfamiliar with the ceremony either. It provides a sense of beauty as the niece begins her journey into womanhood and it’s a privilege to witness such an important event. Furthermore, it reinforces the title, “K’e” which refers to a system of kinship in Navajo. Many of her female relatives take part to help guide and remold her to ensure at the end, she is a strong woman. Running Nanobah’s trials in parallel with the burial of the murder victims illustrates a celebration and mourning of life.
The ceremony contributes to the storytelling of Dark Winds as well. Joe Leaphorn sees that Sally may have vital intel and has his wife develop a relationship and trust with their new guest. Emma provides a more supporting and maternal touch that Sally never received at home and she eventually opens up with a name. Once again Leaphorn’s instincts are proven right as the sight of the father causes so much fear, it induces birth. Obviously, there is a connection between Sally and the priest raising the intrigue even more, especially after an undelivered letter to “Father Benjamin” shows up.
The third episode builds up its villain through subtle reveals but it’s the dive into Navajo customs that draws the most interest.
Catch new episodes of Dark Winds on AMC+ or Sunday nights on AMC.
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