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Why 'True Detective' season 4 opens on a subtle season 1 Easter egg and a Billie Eilish song

Why 'True Detective' season 4 opens on a subtle season 1 Easter egg and a Billie Eilish song
  • Warning: There are minor spoilers ahead for "True Detective: Night Country."

  • A quote at the start of the season refers to "The King In Yellow," referenced in the show's first season.

  • Showrunner Issa López created the fake quote as a nod to season one.

Season four of "True Detective" kicked off Sunday night with an ominous quote that has deep ties to the show's lore.

"For we do not know what beasts the night dreams when its hours grow too long for even God to be awake," — Hildred Castaigne

If you're a big "True Detective" fan, you may recognize Castaigne as a fictional character appearing in Robert W. Chambers' "The King in Yellow."

The 1895 collection of short stories is referenced throughout the show's first season in a journal and through mention of The Yellow King, an evil entity who was worshipped and connected to a series of murders.

Top image shows Woody Harrelson looks at Matthew McConaughey as he reads from a journal on season one of "True Detective." The bottom image shows a peek at the journal which contains drawings and scribblings of words including "The Yellow King."
On season one, episode two of "True Detective" Matthew McConaughey's character, Rust, reads from the diary of a murdered woman and spies the words "The Yellow King" and "Carcosa" in it.HBO; composite by Kirsten Acuna/Insider

But if you try and search for the quote, you won't find it in Chambers' work. That's because it's made up.

"That's a quote [from] myself," showrunner Issa López told Business Insider last month over Zoom. "I was looking for the perfect quote to talk about the things that hide in the dark and I couldn't find it. So I wrote it."

Attributing the fake quote to Castaigne was a fun way to work in "a little wink" to season one for the fans, said López.

"I am particularly a fan of the supernatural vein in the first season, The Yellow King and Carcosa," López said, referencing the temple dedicated to the mysterious being on season one. "I had read those books years ago, but I went back again and I went, 'Who could be the writer of these quotes?' And I created the idea that it was Hildred Castaigne who wrote that."

"True Detective: Night Country" follows Detectives Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) as they investigate the mysterious disappearance of eight researchers in Alaska as they experience the final sunset of the year in mid-December. The pair are led on a supernatural journey that has them chasing leads and reconciling with their own deep-seated traumas.

The opening quote and the idea of unrelenting darkness will have resonance throughout the season.

"Things happen when the dark goes for too long," López said. "Things crawl out of the corners that shy from the light, and if you keep it dark long enough, secrets are going to come to the surface."

How López landed on a Billie Eilish hit for the 'True Detective' season 4 opening credits

Kali Reis and Jodie Foster on "True Detective: Night Country."
Kali Reis and Jodie Foster on "True Detective: Night Country."Michele K. Short/HBO

Paired with the season's otherworldly vibe is Billie Eilish's "Bury a Friend," which serves as the show's theme song over an elaborate title sequence. López said it was a natural fit, as she wrote the series listening to songs from the Grammy winner and Eilish's collaborator and brother, Finneas O'Connell.

"I knew that the series was going to need a powerful anthem, a showstopper, honestly," López said.

"When we were doing the titles, I tried several things and then I realized that the lyrics of this song seem to be written for the series," López said of Eilish's 2019 song about a monster under someone's bed.

"It's crazy. It talks about a tongue, about burying your friend. It seemed that it was made for the show," she continued. "So we tried it and it just matched and it was meant to be."

The 'True Detective: Night Country' opening credits are filled with clues about the season

Issa López and Jodie Foster behind-the-scenes of "True Detective: Night Country."
Issa López and Jodie Foster behind-the-scenes of "True Detective: Night Country."Michele K. Short / HBO

It's not just Eilish's song that makes the credits noteworthy. López told BI that viewers should keep a closer eye on the imagery in the show's opening sequence.

"There are a lot of clues in those titles," López said. "They were made by Peter Anderson, who's an absolute genius. He did 'Good Omens' and 'Bad Sisters.'"

The imagery, including a polar bear and a peeled orange, contains hints about what's to come to keep fans guessing all season. The title sequence's last shot, which changes week to week, teases an upcoming moment in that week's episode.

"We both went crazy with this, thinking of all the little clues that we could put in the show," López said.

"True Detective: Night Country" airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Read the original article on Business Insider