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There Are Monsters Everywhere In Season Two of 'Dark Winds'

By Jen Maravegias | TV | September 6, 2023 |

By Jen Maravegias | TV | September 6, 2023 |


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The Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Mystery Series by Tony Hillerman, as well as the Walt Longmire book series by Craig Johnson, share common themes: they explore the impact of white society and its laws on Indigenous communities. Both series were written by white men. The Longmire television adaptation was generally well-received, paving the way for similar slow-burn, Western adaptations like Dark Winds.

Watching Dark Winds naturally invites comparison to Longmire. Zahn McClarnon (Doctor Sleep, Westworld, Reservation Dogs) portrays a lawman in both series. This season, A. Martinez joined the Dark Winds cast, reprising a role similar to his Longmire character, Jacob Nighthorse.

However, the two series diverge in their portrayal of white characters. While Longmire presents its white protagonist as mostly benevolent, Dark Winds is unambiguous—white individuals are the enemy, representing a danger not confined to urban areas.

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Season two of Dark Winds builds on its initial season, delving into Navajo spirituality and the sociopolitical challenges of the 1970s. Joe Leaphorn, haunted by his son’s death, uncovers increasingly perilous truths, while Jim Chee investigates stolen papers that link back to a bombing.

The villain this season is Colton Wolf, whose unsettling demeanor recalls Crispin Glover. Wolf is involved in a complex plot that ties to a peyote cult and the death of Leaphorn’s son.

Parallel to this, Emma Leaphorn focuses on women’s healthcare, particularly in resisting forced sterilizations under The Family Planning Services Act. Emma and Joe also provide a home for Sally Growing Thunder and her baby, incorporating them into their community and traditions.

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The series portrays a tight-knit Reservation community, capturing moments of joy and sorrow. This is contrasted by violence from outside forces and Leaphorn’s quest for justice.

Throughout, Bernadette Manuelito is a significant presence, grappling with a potential romance and her place within the dual legal systems. By the season’s end, justice—albeit skewed by economic factors—prevails.

If a third season doesn’t materialize, at least the storylines from the first two seasons conclude satisfactorily. But with compelling characters and a wealth of source material, there’s much more to explore.

Dark Winds Season Two is available for streaming on AMC+ and will remain accessible on MAX until October 31st.