The show’s first episode gets us right back into the swing of things with the mystery that has long plagued our main characters and refuses to let them go. Although this time, the crime feels different. When we first meet Joe (Zahn McClarnon), Bernadette (Jessica Matten) and Jim (Kiowa Gordon) again, they are fractured from each other. Joe is clearly still reeling from the horror the previous case made him confront, and becomes more unraveled as the season goes on. As the main mystery is revealed to be connected to his past, it’s clear he cannot let go, no matter how dangerous the outcome may be.
Jim on the other hand is still working for people who aim to use him as a crutch for their own gains with no regard for his personal feelings or wellbeing. On the other side of his arc is his relationship with Bernadette, one of the best aspects of the series. Their burgeoning relationship showcases the stellar chemistry between Gordon and Matten, the two trading melancholy jabs with each other as often as they do longing smiles. It’s a heartening break from the rest of the season’s fast-paced plot, letting us rest alongside the two characters and bask in their charm.
For the most part though, this season of “Dark Winds” operates at a breakneck pace. The show is almost better for it though, with this season’s seemingly unstoppable Terminator-like villain feeling like he stepped straight out of an ‘80s sci-fi show. He feels unstoppable and almost inhuman at times, unwavering in his persistence to wreak havoc upon everything and everyone in his way.
The villain’s plot shares a dark connection to Joe, one which causes the lieutenant to unravel like we’ve never seen before. He abandons any semblance of caution, proving that everything we know about the famed lieutenant Leaphorn has only scratched the surface to what he is capable of. Zahn McClarnon plays Joe with an air of assurance that slowly gives way to desperation: his lips snarls in frustration and his eyes slowly mirror pools of black. He continues to give one of the finest performances on television, and one we can only hope will soon be recognized as such.