Every True Detective season 4 Easter egg and why they’re important

True Detective: Night Country (Sky)
True Detective: Night Country references season one of the anthology series on multiple occasions. (Sky)

True Detective: Night Country has been keeping fans on the edge of their seats with its gripping narrative, but it has also snuck in a few surprise nods to the HBO show's first season for good measure.

The show's fourth season has paid homage to series one on several occasions, as detectives Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) investigate the mysterious disappearance of eight men from an arctic research station. The first season starred Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as cops investigating a brutal murder that led them to discover a paedophilic sex cult, and the nods have resulted in some choice remarks from the show's creator Nic Pizzolatto.

Pizzolatto is alleged to have called the references to season one "stupid" in comments from Instagram posts shared on Reddit. Issa López, who has been the guiding light for season four, hit back at the alleged criticism, telling Vulture in a recent interview: "I believe that every storyteller has a very specific, peculiar, and unique relation to the stories they create, and whatever his reactions are, he’s entitled to them. That’s his prerogative."

Fans are no doubt curious what the Easter eggs are in Night Country, and there is an argument to be had that they are important nods to the original — regardless of some criticism that has been aimed at the show because of it. Examining why this is the case, Yahoo is ready to do deep dive but be warned: this article contains spoilers for the series so far.

Every True Detective: Night Country Easter egg

Travis Cohle

True Detective: Night Country (Sky)
True Detective: Night Country features the ghost of Travis Cohle, the father of season one's Rust. (Sky)

The most obvious reference to True Detective's first season is the appearance of Travis Cohle, or more rather his ghost. The spirit has been seen visiting with Rose Aguineau (Fiona Shaw), with whom he had a romantic relationship with before his death from leukaemia.

Read more: True Detective: Night Country review: HBO drama makes relentlessly thrilling return

Travis was first mentioned in season one by his son Rust (McConaughey) who spoke of how his father got his mother pregnant whilst on leave from the army before returning to fight in Vietnam, he came back into Rust's life when he was a child and later raised him in Alaska, where season four is set.

Season one saw Rust call his father "a survivalist" and claimed he had "some very f***ing strange ideas”, the character appears to have such a strong connection with Alaska that his spirit continues to haunt the icy wasteland.

The spiral

True Detective: Night Country (Sky)
True Detective: Night Country also uses the spiral symbol, a sign used in season one and season three of the HBO series. (Sky)

Visually speaking, the most notable reference to season one is the use of the spiral, a chilling symbol that first appeared in True Detective season one where it's used by the paedophilic sex cult. It also cropped up in season three, which starred Mahershala Ali as a cop struggling with memory loss and the investigation into a missing childrens case over three decades.

The symbol appears in multiple places over the course of season four, namely in the motorhome that murder victim Annie Kowtok lived in. Rose tells agent Evangeline Navarro that the spiral is an "old" symbol, remarking that it's "older than Ennis. Older than the ice, probably."

While the HBO show is an anthology series having connections like the spiral helps solidify the importance of each case, and also acts as a sign for viewers to be afraid of what it means. The spiral is instantly recognisable and because of its use in season one is a means to signal danger.

Tuttle and The Yellow King

True Detective: Night Country (Sky)
The show follows detectives Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) investigate the disappearance of eight men from an arctic research station, funded by Tuttle. (Sky)

Speaking of the cult in season one, the group were protected by a company known as Tuttle. Those that thought they'd heard the last of the group would be wrong because the organisation is also connected to the arctic research station Tsalal.

Read more: Everything you need to know about True Detective: Night Country

It was revealed by cop Peter Prior (Finn Bennett) that Tuttle owns a shell company, which in turn runs an NGO that has been funding Tsalal and its research. The powerful corporation has ties everywhere, it seems, and the reference helps cement the notion that the group are more omnipresent than just the cult that was featured in season one.

True Detective (Sky)
True Detective: Night Country also references The Yellow King (pictured), the leader of the sex cult unmasked in season one. (Sky)

The reference is a subtle one, a nod that some viewers may not even remember is from season one but helps to bolster what the first was trying to say: Tuttle is a threat. Another nod that will likely only be picked up by die-hard True Detective fans is the use of a quote by Hildred Castaigne at the start of the show.

Castaigne is the protagonist of the short story The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, which was an influence on leader of season one's cult, The Yellow King. The quote in season four was especially written by Lopez, but acts as another homage to the original that points to how the show will celebrate what came before but also move it in new and interesting directions.

Lone Star beer

True Detective (Sky)
True Detective saw Matthew McConaughey drink Lone Star beer, a beverage also used in Night Country. (Sky)

Not an important Easter egg as such, but season four of True Detective continues the tradition of seeing characters drinking Lone Star beer. Viewers will remember that the beverage is the drink of choice for Rust in season one, and several characters are seen drinking it in Night Country.

True Detective: Night Country airs Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW at 9pm.

Watch the trailer for True Detective: Night Country: