We’re in Carcosa Now: A Review of True Detective *Spoilers*

“You’re in Carcosa now … with me. He sees you.”

Aside from wishing winter to end, True Detective has become my latest obsession. I have cohlewatched and re-re-watched episodes, taken notes, theorized, quoted, and chatted endlessly about it with friends and co-workers. It is with mixed feelings that I look forward to and dread tonight’s season finale. Of course, I want to see the mystery revealed; to finally learn who is behind the ritualistic, satanic killings, to finally see all the pieces form a complete picture. But not to have an hour a week with Rustin Cohle leaves me a little sad. It’s been a complex, exhilarating ride and I wanted gather together the important motifs and players as we head into tonight’s thrilling final *sob* episode.


Yellow King and Carcosa

Both the Yellow Kind and Carcosa are reggiefictional references from Robert Chambers’ play “The King in Yellow.” In True Detective, these motifs appear again and again. In Dora Lange’s journal she writes: “The Yellow King” and “In Carcosa. In Carcosa. Strange is the night where black stars rise.” In the explosive episode 5, when Marty and Rust find themselves face-to-face with the gas mask wearing Reggie Ledoux, we hear the reference again. When Ledoux is in custody, hands cuffed, kneeling at Rust’s feet, he says, “You’re in Carcosa now … with me. He sees you,” before Hart silences him forever. Sam Tuttle’s former servant, Miss Delores, cries “Rejoice, death is not the end! Rejoice, Carcosa,” during an interview with Cohle and Hart .


We see antlers throughout the series–antlersfiguratively and literally. Literally, they first appear as murder victim Dora Lange’s “crown.” They are also seen in the images of Marie Fontenot Cohle stole from the home of Reverend Billy Lee Tuttle. We also see it as on one of the drawings in the old church Hart and Cohle discover.

Figuratively, we see them during an argument between Martin and Maggie where he raises his hands in frustration above it head, creating a visual impression of antlers – ten point to be exact. It comes up again in the scene where Cohle asks Hart if he has ever hunted and Hart tells him he “got a ten point buck last year.” The same number that made up Dora’s crown.


This motif is likely connected to the story of the Yellow King. Dora Lange and Marie Fontenot both wear headpieces or crowns composed of twigs, branches, and antlers.

Black Stars

Another reference from Robert Chambers’ play was found in Dora Lange’s diary. We also see them speckled throughout the series, including a tattoo on the neck of one of Dora’s friends, on the window of abandoned Light of the Way school where Cohle discovers a number of Devil’s Nests, and a quote from Reggie Ledoux: “It’s time, isn’t it? For the black stars?”

Devil’s Nests

Devil’s Nests are the twig lattice sculptures found around the crime scenes.


Dora Lange has this spiral design drawn on her back. We also see it on other murder victims, at the burned out church, in a drawing by one of Marty’s daughters, and birds in the sky.

Flat Circle of Time

Rust Cohle believes time is a flat circle and that “everything that has happened will happen again and it’s all connected.”

Lone Star Men

Rust Cohle fashions these small figurines out of Lone Star beer cans during his 2012 interview with the two detectives. These figures have led to speculation that points to evidence to support the Five Horsemen theory.

Some viewers have used the fact that there are five figurines as evidence to support the so-called Five Horsemen theory. This theory argues that there are five perpetrators. Evidence lone-starused to support this theory are the five men on horseback in a vintage photograph hanging on the wall at Dora Lange’s mother’s house, the five beer-can men that Rust Cohle carves during his interview, the upsetting placement of the five male dolls around an unclothed female doll in Marty’s daughters’ room in 1995, and the five figures in the disturbing video Cohle stole from Reverend Billy Lee Tuttle’s house.

Green-eared Spaghetti Monster

Molly Ann Ross is the child who reports being chased through the woods by what she described as a green-eared spaghetti monster.


Eddie Tuttle
Louisiana governor in 1995 and a senator in 2012. Cousin of Reverend Billy Lee Tuttle. Fits Charlie Lange’s description” there’s this place down south where all these rich men go to, uh, devil worship. He said that, uh, they—they sacrifice kids and whatnot.” He also seemed to have invisible fingers directing the investigation in ’95. Potential Involvement: Highly f’ing likely.

Sam Tuttle
The former sheriff and the patriarch of the Tuttle clan. Not sure if he is alive. According to former servant, Miss Dolores, he sired many bastard children and who also said that he is the grandfather of Errol (a.k.a., the Lawnmower Man). He was the father of Billy Lee Tuttle and uncle of Eddie Tuttle. Potential Involvement: Ditto.

Billy Lee Tuttle
Son of Sam Tuttle, cousin of Eddie Tuttle, and founder of Tuttle Ministries. Cohle stole the disturbing videotape showing the rape/murder of Marie Fontenot by masked figures from Billy Lee’s home. Billy Lee died shortly after the disappearance of the tape, apparently by “improper medicinal drug interaction,” but Cohle believes he was killed as a result of the missing tape. Potential Involvement: Totes involved.

Steve Geraci
The deputy who originally handled the Fontenot disappearance and went on to become a  Sheriff. Rust Cohle slaps him in the first episode. In 2012, Marty hooks up with the man under the guise of doing some private investigator work for relatives of Fontenot, but quickly realizes Geraci is a terrible liar and is hiding something. This leads Rust and Marty to kidnap him on his boat in the end of the seventh episode to find out the truth they believe he his hiding. Potential Involvement: Most likely as a pawn.

Jake Herbert
Maggie’s father and Marty’s father-in-law, who bitches to Marty back in 1995 about the promiscuity of young people. Potential Involvement: Seemed relevant after his introduction, but . . .

Ted Childress
The former sheriff of Vermilion Parish who closed the Marie Fontenot report in 1990 and who Hart and Cohle believe covered up Fontenot’s abduction. As of 2012, his whereabouts are not known. There is speculation that Ted Childress is an illegitimate child of Sam Tuttle, and may be Errol’s father. Potential Involvement: He ain’t innocent–that much is for sure.

The landscaper. Cohle spoke to him in 1995 outside the Tuttle Foundation’s Light of the Way school, anderrol who appeared again at the end of episode seven. In this episode, Errol is revealed as the man with the scars on his face. Is this the Green-eared spaghetti monster referenced repeatedly throughout the season. Miss Dolores indicates that Errol is an illegitimate grandson of Sam Tuttle, and that his face was burned or scarred by his own father (Ted Childress?). Potential Involvement: “My family has been around these parts for a long, long time.” Yikes!

True Detective writer, Nic Pizzolatto has stated in interviews:

“Going into the final episode, I wanted to end any audience theorizing that Cohle or Hart was the killer, and also provide a concrete face to the abstract evil they’re chasing. Wild speculations aside, we showed the killer’s face in Episode 1.”

That’s it for me. I can’t speculate any longer. I need to know! But whatever happens, it’s been a hell of a ride and a series I won’t soon forget.

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