Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 1 Recap and Ending, Explained

Image Credit: Michael Moriatis/AMC

Based on the books by Tony Hillerman, AMC+’s ‘Dark Winds’ follows the trio of Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee, and Bernadette Manuelito, who solve crime in the Navajo Nation. Set in the 70s, the show uses fictional cases to reflect on the real issues faced by the Native American community while digging into the personal struggles of its characters. In the first season, Leaphorn and Manuelito are police officers on the Rez, while Chee arrives there as an FBI agent, waiting to solve the big case that will help his career.

In the second season, Leaphorn and Manuelito are still on the job, but Chee, who was completely disenchanted by the agency, left it and is now a free agent. The first episode of the season re-familiarises us with the characters while sparking a new conflict that, interestingly, relates to something from last season. Here’s what happens in the premiere episode of ‘Dark Winds’ Season 2 and what it means for the characters going forward. SPOILERS AHEAD

Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 1 Recap

Image Credits: Michael Moriatis/AMC

Since their last case, things have fallen back into the usual on the Rez. Manuelito is chasing a young man who has stolen a horse and later investigates the complaint from another young man who claims he was attacked by an alien sheep with three horns. While she finds the sheep and gets the horse back, trouble brews in the Rez following a car explosion that kills a man named Emerson Charley. He had cancer, and the doctors predicted he’d die in two months, which makes Leaphorn and the other officers wonder why someone would want to kill the man.

When Leaphorn arrives at Emerson’s son’s workplace to break the news to him, he bumps into Jim Chee, who reveals he just met the son regarding some other case, which seems to be connected to Leaphorn’s. Rewinding on that a little, we find Chee working as a private eye and solving just as mundane cases as Manuelito. However, he gets a break when he is invited by Mrs. Vines, who wants him to find and retrieve a box that was stolen from her house the previous night. She wants the box back within two days, but Chee claims he cannot do his job because she isn’t telling him the whole truth.

Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 1 Ending

Mrs. Vines reveals that the box was stolen by a man named Tomas Charley, Emerson Charley’s son. She claims that Emerson got her husband into a cult called People of Darkness. Her husband entertained it for a while and gave them some money, but when he stepped back, the Charleys got angry, and they wanted to punish her husband by stealing something valuable from him. She also notes that her husband doesn’t know about the robbery yet because he is on a camping trip and will return in a couple of days, which is why she wants the matter resolved as early as possible.

Knowing who the thief is makes Chee’s task easy, but Tomas reveals that things are not how Mrs. Vines claims them to be. He counters her statement, saying no one got Mr. Vines into the cult. He is People of Darkness, and he has placed a curse on his father, which resulted in Emerson getting cancer. Tomas stole the box to perform a ceremony, hoping it would reverse the spell and save his father. Unbeknownst to him, it is already too late.

Tomas draws a map for Chee to find the box, which the PI later shares with Leaphorn, who arrives soon after to talk with Tomas. When Chee and Leaphorn go back to find Tomas, he is nowhere to be seen. So, they decide to check out the map and find the box. It is supposed to be a simple task, and none expects anything huge out of it. When they reach the site, they discover that a ceremony was performed, and there are charred remains of some things that might have been inside the box, one of which is something that belonged to Leaphorn’s son, who had it on the day of the explosion at the oil well.

Leaphorn is visibly rattled by this, but he doesn’t have time to process it because he and Chee are attacked by a man. Unbeknownst to them, it is the same man who caused the car explosion and is involved in a couple of other things. A shootout takes place in which Chee is shot from the back. They try to hold the fort while taking one shot after another at the man, but he runs away after setting Leaphorn’s car on fire.

In the last scene of the episode, Chee and Leaphorn are stranded in the middle of the desert with no means to contact the police station and no vehicle to go back. They will have to walk the entire way, and while Leaphorn is good enough to do that, it will be a bit challenging for Chee, who is shot in the shoulder. The sudden appearance of the shooter proves that cases are related, and the whole thing is much more complicated than they’d thought. It has something to do with the oil well, which means Leaphorn might finally have the chance to figure out what happened that day to cause the explosion and how some people already knew about it.

One of the things to note in this episode is that Mr. Vines is the same man who purchased the land in the last season and was threatened by the Buffalo society for doing so. He knew about the uranium deposits in the land and wanted to exploit it to make himself richer. Now, he is connected to a cult, which has ties to the explosion and the prediction about it. It remains to be seen how he is involved in all of this, including the murder of Emerson Charley, but it’s clear that he has been keeping a lot of secrets, and he is not who everyone believes him to be.

Read More: What Happened to Joe Leaphorn’s Son in Dark Winds? How Did He Die?