Real-life Inspiration For True Detective S5 Could Spell Bad News For Fans

Real-life Inspiration For True Detective S5 Could Spell Bad News For Fans
Image credit: HBO

Well, it depends on your personal preferences.


  • True Detective: Night Country is generating a lot of social media discussion and fan theories about what the explanation to the Tsalal Station mystery is.
  • The answer may lie in the real-life case that inspired the new season.
  • And that answer is not what the majority of viewers want to hear.

The new season of True Detective, titled Night Country, has reached its halfway point (there will be only 6 episodes in total), and the mystery of the dead scientists at Tsalal Station is becoming overgrown with more and more bizarre facts, supernatural occurrences (that look very much like nightmares), and fan theories.

Fans can't stop speculating about what all the clues and little details shown in the new season might mean for the finale. Some predict that the answer to the mystery will be grounded and logical, others say that all the visions are there for a reason and that the paranormal will still find its way into the finale.

However, there's one major fact that makes us think that the ending might be neither (or rather both). And that's Issa Lopez's obsession with a real-life mystery.

Real-life Inspiration

The new True Detective showrunner told Vanity Fair that she drew inspiration for Night Country from real-life intriguing mysteries like the vanishing of the Mary Celeste and the Dyatlov Pass incident.

The Dyatlov Pass incident took place in the frigid Ural Mountains in the winter of 1959 and resulted in the deaths of nine Soviet hikers. If you look at it, you'll see a lot of similarities with the disappearance of López's Tsalal Station scientists.

The reason why this case became so popular among true crime fans is that there were a lot of bizarre details surrounding it. Six hikers were found frozen to death in sub-zero temperatures, three died from physical trauma.

Their tent was cut open and their clothes were in disarray. Some were naked, others were wearing their friends' clothes. And many were missing parts of their faces (eyes, eyebrows, and even a tongue). Sounds familiar, right?

The tragedy spawned (and still spawns) many theories, including animal attack, hypothermia, katabatic winds, military maneuvers, alien invasion, supernatural causes, and on and on.

Even though the official investigation concluded that the hikers were killed by an avalanche, many people, including Issa López, found it unconvincing.

'An avalanche doesn't explain a lot of the details I think,' the showrunner told Vanity Fair. 'Even if it did, I prefer the strange, incomplete answer. I think there is a fascination with puzzles that are still missing a couple of pieces, and that obsess us, and make us angry, and make us not stop thinking about them.'

Big Question

These words and López's apparent inspiration in the Dyatlov Pass incident could mean bad news for all True Detective viewers. Well, at least if you belong to the majority that hates open-ended finales.

The big question is: what if the showrunner decides that her mystery must remain unsolved, much like the real-life case?

Don't get us wrong, we will definitely get the official conclusion of the Tsalal Station case. But will it satisfy us? In the real case, the answer was given to the public, but few accepted it.

Considering how heavily Night Country leans into the supernatural as the season progresses, we may not get answers to absolutely every question, and some things will be left to our imaginations, which will definitely bother many viewers for months to come.

True Detective Season 4, Episode 4 airs Sunday, February 4 at 9:00 pm ET on HBO, with subsequent streaming availability on Max.

Source: Vanity Fair.

Do you dig open-ended finales?