It only took about eight episodes, “True Detective” fans, but Rust Cohle and Marty Hart have finally solved the 17-year-old case of the alleged Louisiana killer. Do you think you knew who the Yellow King was all along? Read our recap and find out who was behind the killing of Dora Lange here:
“True Detective” began the season finale with an interesting opening scene. We hear Errol, the “man with scars,” speaking to what we initially thought was a victim. After offering his tied down target some water, the “spaghetti man” then says something that dropped our jaws: “Bye, daddy.” Turns out Errol has his father, the man who caused his burns, strapped down and barely clothed in a shed. But that was only the beginning to the madness that went down in “Form and Void.”
Once Errol left his father withering away in soil, the man with scars went back to his home where he was greeted by a dog and his “girlfriend.” After originally talking with a southern draw, Errol changed his accent to a British one where he began eloquently speaking to the woman living in his home. The couple began fooling around to which Errol started asking his lover how his grandfather caught her. As he touched her, she told the story. So, Errol is living and having relations with a woman his family had kidnapped way back when.
“True Detective” then cuts to a scene during the season finale of Hart and Cohle showing Sheriff Garaci a video of Marie Fontenot. “Why are you showing me this?” the upset officer said while watching the sacrifice of Marie. “The little girl went missing. I took the missing juvenile report and when I went to check back on it, it said report made an error. I never wrote that. I marched it into Childress’ office. He did it. He said he changed it. He said that he knew the mother and father. It was a niece once removed from him or something. [There was] no reason to change [the report]. I followed what the big man said. It’s how it all works. I tried to get back with the mother but she split. File was gone. No one gave me a reason to second guess it.”
“I don’t think he’s lying—as far as he knows,” Cohle said after Garaci’s rant.
After the three fight back and forth, Cohle informs the sheriff that he has a sniper keeping an eye on him. The gunman shoots a few rounds into Garaci’s car to let him know they mean business.
“True Detective” then brings us to a flashback of Errol painting a schoolhouse. As he brushes the side of the building, fans of the HBO series can hear him whistling a specific tune and honing in on female students.
Back to present day, Cohle and Hart are looking through the 17-year-old case with “fresh eyes.”
“Why green ears?” Hart asked Cohle while looking at the drawing of the “spaghetti monster.” The former detectives have no idea Errol is the man with scars. “Probably leaves or something,” Cohle replied to the question we all had. “We know he came out of the woods.”
But Hart isn’t convinced and goes back to photos from the case. “Does that look like a fresh paint job?” Hart asked his partner about a green painted house in 1995. That’s when the boys decide to pay the run-down home a visit.
On their way, Hart and Cohle have a heart-to-heart. “Something’s been bugging me for the last ten years. When we went at it the day you quit—were you holding back?” Hart asked. “It seems pretty damn arrogant to hold back in a fight with me. You think you could have put me down?”
“You were so God damn mad,” Cohle said. In 2002, Hart’s wife (Maggie) had cheated on him with Cohle, which put an end to their relationship—until now.
“When she told me, she told me not to blame you. She said it wasn’t your choice, that you were drunk and she made it happened.” Hart admitted.
“Everyone has a choice,” Cohle replied. He then explained that he blamed Hart for pushing a good woman to use him and for being a “sack of s***.” Cohle even told his partner that despite being an awful husband, Maggie still cares about him.
That’s when the duo finally arrived to the house. The new owners explain that the woman who was living in the green house during 1995 is currently in an old folks home.
Miss. Lily, the woman who had lived in the home at the time it was painted green explained to Cohle and Hart details of that summer. “They worked for a parish. I remember that they charged me $150 for the whole house exterior and that the young man [who painted the home] had scarring on the bottom of his face.”
Cohle then inquisitively asked if Miss. Lily if she or her husband had paid taxes over the year. That’s when the detectives hacked into who exactly painted the home.
“Childress son maintenance,” Hart said, explaining to Cohle that the family was all over the coast of Louisiana providing maintenance for schools, playgrounds and cemeteries.
After discovering the crucial evidence, Hart meets with Detective Papania to tell him that he and Cohle might need back up in the near future.
“We’re following up an idea. Time comes we know we got something. You get a call—will you do the right thing?” Hart asked. Papania said he wanted the call.
“Just make sure you come running,” Hart warned.
That’s when the season finale of “True Detective” started making us sweat. Cohle and Hart decided to take a trip, which is when they came across Errol’s home.
“Marty, this is the place,” Cohle told his partner. While Hart checked out the home in hopes of talking to a resident, Cohle searched the property.
To begin the conversation, Hart asked Errol’s girlfriend if he could use the phone. She tells him they don’t have one. That’s when he digs deeper.
“Where’s Billy Childress?” he asked. “He’s in this house, Mr.”
Hart tries to force his way into the home, which is when Errol’s dog runs out and toward him hiding in the shack. Cohle hears the dog whine and finds the pup dead in the grass. Then he sees Errol standing in the woods.
As Cohle chases after the man he’s been hunting for the entire season of “True Detective,” Hart searches the home. He finds the woman hovering in a corner. “He’s going to come for you. He’s worse than anybody,” she said.
Whilst that is going on, Cohle slips into the woods only to end up in Errol’s maze. Through twig tunnels and ornaments made out of used children shoes, Cohle hunts down the killer. After listening to the women's warning, Hart runs in after him.
“This is Carcosa,” Errol said. “You know what they did to me? What I will do to all songs and daughters. You killed [the witnesses] to my journey. Come die with me, little priest.”
The suspense was unreal as Cohle entered the Yellow King’s lair. A twig throne decorated with yellow flags and skulls stood in the middle of a room with sunshine beaming through. Cohle then sees a vision, which is when Errol appears stabbing our protagonist in the chest. “Take off your mask,” he said while thrusting a knife into Cohle. Hart hears the distress of his partner and comes barreling toward the chamber but Errol flung an axe into the detective, dropping him to the floor. Before Errol is able to kill Hart, Cohle blasts his head partially off with a shot.
Hart crawls to the bleeding Cohle and watches his dying friend pull a knife from his stomach.
“He cut me pretty good, Marty,” Cohle said.
“It ain’t bad. It ain’t bad,” Hart replied. But it was. It was so bad that Cohle ended up in a coma once officials came to the duo’s rescue.
As Hart laid in a hospital bed, he explained to the current detectives exactly what happened.
“The last thing I remember is I was on the ground, sirens and saying my friend’s name.”
The officers explained to Hart that the knife used to stab Cohle had matched other cases. “[It] had his prints,” they explained, also informing the injured detective that the woman living with Errol was his half sister.
Hart is then visited by his family and completely breaks down. “I’m fine. I’ll be fine,” he said.
Later, we learned that Cohle had survived the brutal attack.
“What are you doing here?” Cohle asked his partner who is slurping on a slushy at his bedside.
The two talk about catching Errol and how they didn’t take down all the killers. That’s when Cohle starts feeling extremely guilty saying that he shouldn’t be here. We hear the detective say it once again when Hart takes his friend out for some fresh air.
“Talk to me,” Hart said.
“There was a moment when I was under in the dark. I had been reduced to a vague awareness in the dark. I could feel my definition,” Cohle explained. “And beneath that darkness there was another kind. It was deeper. Warm. Like a substance. I could feel and I knew my daughter waited for me there. So clear—I could feel her. It was like I was a part of everything I had ever loved and we were all fading out. And all I had to do was let go and I did. I said, ‘Darkness, yeah.’ And I disappeared. But I could still feel her love there. More than before. Nothing but that love.” Cohle broke down and cried.
Attempting to soothe his partner, Hart asked about the story Cohle once told him about telling tales from the stars.
“Yeah, that was in Alaska under the night sky,” Cohle explained. He said he had been looking at the stars saying it’s all come down to one story, “light vs. dark.”
“Well, I know we ain’t in Alaska—but it seems to me that dark has a lot more territory.”
“Yeah, you’re right about that,” Cohle replied, then asking Hart if he could take him home.”
“You’re un-killable,” Hart quipped.
“True Detective” then ended its season finale with Cohle and Hart walking away together. From partners, to enemies, to friends—these two have been through the ringer.
Did you like how “True Detective” end? Was your theory right? Let us know in the comments section below.