True DetectiveSeason 1 has wrapped, and whether you found the conclusion satisfying or disappointing, we all at least have the answer to the question “Who killed Dora Lange?” (That would be Errol Childress, the Lawnmower man). However, some viewers might still be asking “So, wait — who is The Yellow King?”
Well, as has been cited first by io9, “The Yellow King” refers to a short story anthology by Robert W. Chambers entitled The King in Yellow. There is a common thread throughout the stories involving a play by that same title, which makes the reader go insane if he reads past the first act. Like that anthology, True Detective has made several references to the Yellow King who lives in Carcosa, where black stars rise.
So if Errol killed all those people does that make him the Yellow King? Well, not exactly. We guess one could conclude it’s either his father decaying in a backroom of his murder shed, or maybe it’s that many-headed monster he had constructed out of sticks, skulls, and cloth inside the mazelike series of tunnels on his property he calls “Carcosa.”
However, after spending hours sifting through fan theories and making ourselves completely insane over this show for the past eight weeks, we think the Yellow King might be True Detective, the show itself. After all, it drew us in with its first act, and then — almost before the second episode began — we were obsessed to the point of madness.
So, basically HBO is Carcosa and, time being a flat circle, we’re doomed to relive this same madness next year when True Detective returns.