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True Detective fan discovers subtle Easter egg connected to season 1 mystery

One eagle-eyed True Detective fan has uncovered a subtle Easter egg in the fourth season of the anthology series that connects to a major mystery from season one.

The new series of HBO’s hit drama series True Detective: Night Country – sees Oscar-winner Jodie Foster team up with Kali Reis as a pair of detectives in search of eight Alaskan scientists who have vanished without a trace.

Episode one, “Night Country: Part 1”, opens with a quote from Hildred Castaigne: “... For we do not know what beasts the night dreams when its hours grow too long for even God to be awake.”

Castaigne, as X user @_JudyRuliani points out, is the protagonist and narrator of the short story The Repairer of Reputations, featured in artist and writer Richard W Chambers’s 1895 book, The King in Yellow.

Below the post, the user includes a side-by-side screenshot of the quote and a scene from the first season of True Detective, featuring Woody Harrelson’s Detective Martin Hart. A closed caption on the scene reads: “And the Yellow King.”

“Someone is paying some serious attention,” Night Country showrunner Issa López responded in a retweet of the original post.

For those who have seen the critically acclaimed debut season, you might recognise Yellow King as the name of the series’ supposed chief antagonist.

Later, however, it’s revealed that Errol Childress (Glenn Fleshler), the son of Sam Tuttle and follower of the Tuttle cult – a powerful and brutal group that worshipped the Yellow King – is the serial killer.

It has never been confirmed whether Childress himself was, in fact, the Yellow King, or if the Yellow King was merely a fictional character worshipped by the cult. Several viewers have gone on to theorise both possibilities.

This show marks Foster’s first leading role in a TV series as an adult. Its return comes after a five-year hiatus. The reviews for the new season have largely been positive, with some viewers going as far as to call it just as good as the hugely acclaimed first season.

The Independent’s Nick Hilton singled out Foster for being “perfectly cast in this frosty, Alaska-set mystery” in his four-star review.

“As bodies turn up in the permafrost, Night Country indulges in the sort of body horror tableaus you could hang in the Louvre,” Hilton wrote.

True Detective: Night Country is available to watch on Max in the US and on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK.