The “True Detective” Theory So Obvious You’ll Kick Yourself For Not Thinking Of It First

02.25.14 4 years ago 49 Comments

 Via HBO

“You know the detective’s curse? Solution was right under my nose, but I was paying attention to the wrong clues?”

And with that, a simple admission of failure from officer Marty Hart — the Don Juan de Bayou played so perfectly by Woody Harrelson in HBO’s “True Detective” — the Internet theory machine was fired up. Everyone on Twitter has summoned their inner Encyclopedia Brown*, armed with their own crackpot idea as to who this mysterious Yellow King might be.

*If you’re a budding documentarian, and just so happen to be making a film about the “True Detective” Internet sleuthing phenomenon, might I suggest the name Wikipedia Yellow? You’re welcome.

Chances are you’ve probably got a theory of your own. Or you’ve read one of the many thousand floating around the Interwebs, which seem to pop up like fresh weeds every Monday. It’s getting a little ridiculous, but in a way, that’s the beauty of this show. If nothing else, it’s a master’s-grade thesis in next level trolling. A simple allusion to a late-19th century short story, in which a play incites madness in anyone who views it, has driven viewers of a TV show insane.

That said, I’ve got my own half-assed theory I can’t believe no one has thought of yet (which will probably do nothing but prove I’m just as batshit as everyone else captivated by this show).

Ready? Here we go.

First, the clues:

  • “True Detective” takes place in Louisiana.
  • Detectives Hart and Rust Cohle are looking for a “Yellow King”.
  • Cohle, in one of Matthew McConaughey’s better performances, has become completely disheveled towards the end of the 17 years the show spans. Many theorists have pinned him as the Yellow King, citing his dark demeanor, history of drug abuse, and influence he wields as a detective to direct the investigation as he sees fit. But what if, just maybe, he’s been working undercover, off the books, for the past ten years? Could his appearance, resembling that of a van-dwelling, seldom-employed fan boat repairman, be a cover for him to fit in at dive bars across the state while still hunting down the real Yellow King?
  • In this Sunday’s episode, Hart’s wife headed out to a bar in a red dress, looking to even the score with her philandering husband, then ultimately revenge-banging the one person she knows will cut him to his very core. That’s an homage to Mrs. Roger Dorn if I’ve ever seen one, which leads me to believe, on some level, the writers are sports fans with a sense of humor.
  • Cohle LOVES putting away tall boys. Shitty tall boys, to be specific.

So far we’ve got drinking, sports references, a near-homeless looking man, Louisiana and the Yellow King. With me? No? Well, let me break it down a little further:

  • Yellow is pretty close to gold in the visible spectrum.
  • Gold is the color of the New Orleans Saints.
  • The Saints logo is a fleur-de-lis.
  • The fleur-de-lis is closely associated with the French Monarchy.
  • Monarchies were ruled by…a king.

Guys, I think I know who’s waiting in Rust Cohle’s storage shed…


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