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True Detective season 4 doubles down on season 1 connection with ominous spiral symbol

 True Detective season 4.
True Detective season 4.

*Warning! This article contains spoilers for True Detective season 4*

True Detective: Night Country has been compared to the crime drama's first season frequently in reviews but, two episodes in, it seems like the connections extend beyond quality...

After discovering the frozen bodies of some of the missing researchers at the very end of episode 1, the second installment of True Detective season 4 sees Ennis Police Chief Danvers (Jodie Foster) and State Trooper Navarro (Kali Reis) continue to look into possible ties between their deaths and the unsolved murder of Indigenous woman Annie K six years ago. Having already discovered that Tsalal's paleomicrobiologist Raymond Clark (Owen McDonnell) could still be alive, and stumbling across a photo of him wearing Annie K's old pink parka in the premiere, suspicions surrounding him bubble up and boil over when Danvers learns he has a spiral tattoo on his chest that matches both the design drawn on one of the scientists' foreheads and a tattoo on Annie K's back.

After doing some digging, Danvers and Navarro work out that Raymond and Annie were once romantically involved, and would meet in secret in a rundown RV stationed at the Nook trailer park. While investigating the old vehicle, the twosome find Annie's phone, as well as a bunch of animal bones, some photos, and a painting of the same crooked spiral.

While the spiral's meaning in Night Country remains a mystery for now, longtime True Detective fans are likely to recognize the ominous symbol, as it's not the first time it's cropped up throughout the show's run. Back in season 1, Louisiana sleuths Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) spotted the spiral painted on the dead body of prostitute Dora Lange. It then appeared a few times throughout the season, eventually pointing Rust and Marty to the Tuttle family's sadistic cult.

Night Country episode 2 also features a subtle nod to the Tuttles, with the mention of Tuttle United, the company funding the Tsalal Research Station. Elsewhere, it seemingly confirmed that the ghostly late husband of Rose Aguineau (Fiona Shaw) could well be Rust's father, as Rose reveals his name to have been 'Travis Cohle'.

"Whether it's the Louisiana bayou or the big city of Los Angeles or the Ozarks or northern Alaska, how these extreme settings affect the psyches of the detectives is very important," Foster previously told TIME. "There's an eerie connection between these places and the detectives' journeys as human beings."

True Detective: Night Country airs on HBO and HBO Max every Sunday in the US, and on Sky Atlantic and NOW every Monday in the UK. Ensure you don't miss an episode with our handy guide to the True Detective: Night Country release schedule.