'True Detective's' Biggest Clue About the Yellow King Has Been Right Under Our Noses
There's a yellow king, some black stars, and a flat circle of time driving eagle-eyed fans of HBO's "True Detective" crazy with theories, but has the show's biggest Easter egg been right under our noses all along?
Just like Woody Harrelson's Martin Hart said in last week's episode, "The Secret Fate of All Life," sometimes being a detective — even of a TV show — comes with a curse: "The solution my whole life was right under my nose … And I was watching everything else … my true failure was inattention."
While we've been watching out for swirly art in Marty's kitchen, yellow crown logos at fast food joints (h/t Patton Oswalt!), black stars drawn on creepy abandoned school windows, and anyone who might have scars indicating they're Louisiana's most wanted killer, we should've just looked at the "True Detective" poster that's been blown up and plastered on buildings for months now. While some people thought billboard hangers had messed up the posters when they first went up, it's that unique "split" poster design that's the biggest clue of all.
On the show, Marty's hair is not just Harrelson's tow-head blond — it's straight yellow. And while we see it in various styles throughout the decades spanned in the series, the show's poster cuts it off at the crown of his head (yes! The crown!), highlighting Marty's hair on its own plane, below the main image. Take a closer look at the poster, above, now that we've pointed out the obvious.
Are we reaching, or does this actually make the most sense of any theory? There are some truly detailed and studied theories out there about the Yellow King's literary connections, including this gem from io9. Let's break down some other facts.
When we're talking suspects, there's still the creepy minister, Joel Theriot (Shea Whigham), with the Elvis-like sideburns — and yes, Elvis was "the King," and yes, the sideburns could be covering up scars on his face — but that seems too easy.
There's also Billy Lee Tuttle (Jay O. Sanders) who brought in the task force back in '95 when the murder case came in, and is mysteriously behind the abandoned schools we've seen on the show. But even if he's the man behind the horrible murders, he's way too high up to be the one doing the dirty work.
And, of course, there's Matthew McConaughey's Rust Cohle, who the detectives in the present day are all but convinced is guilty. Cohle is a renegade, a thinking man's detective. He's misunderstood, damaged by his sad personal past, and prone to delving too deep into the cases he's working.
Cohle also shared a haunting exchange with then-suspect No. 1 Reggie Ledoux, who looked at him and started spouting off these words: "It's time, isn't it? The black star. Black stars rise. I know what happens next. I saw you in my dream. You're in Carcosa now, with me. He sees you. You'll do this again. Time is a flat circle." Ledoux's rant was cut short by — spoiler alert — a bullet to the head, courtesy of Martin Hart. But why did Marty shoot so suddenly? Was he trying to protect his partner from the man he'd just discovered had children locked away, or was he protecting himself from being outed as a killer?
Later, we cut to Cohle in the present day, spouting off to the detectives about something called the M-brane theory as he continued to drain beers and make little cross-man figures out of his empty cans of Lone Star Beer. Yes, Lone Star Beer.