The meta-story of True Detective has been one of completely dodging viewer expectations. All of its initial advertising material perfectly expressed its first cover story: a gritty Southern Gothic take on classic HBO manpain. And, you know, it is that. But in the first episode it also revealed a penchant for the philosophical and a taste for the occultic grotesque that goes beyond its genre, and has persisted throughout the series. In the second episode, writer Nic Pizzolatto dropped another huge bomb on his unsuspecting fanbase, one that expanded it in a direction that no one could have anticipated from the greyscale, wind-blown grit of the poster. It said words that I thought I would never, ever hear on TV. It said “The King in Yellow,” and “Carcosa.”
This article will contain A) spoilers and B) the potential for the sight of the Yellow Sign to break your feeble mortal mind in twain.