True Detective: Night Country introduced the newest mystery in the series in its premiere on HBO last week, and already there seem to be supernatural forces in play that echo the tone of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson’s highly praised first season. In fact, critics who screened Season 4 ahead of its release compared the two stories favorably, but is it possible their connections run even deeper? A wild theory is circulating that Travis, who is dead in the current season, could be related to McConaughey’s Rust Cohle, and I have to admit, the evidence is compelling.
Jodie Foster and Kali Reis star as Night Country’s dynamic law enforcement duo, as Liz Danvers and Evangeline Navarro look into the disappearances of eight scientists from a research station in Alaska. At the end of “Part 1,” a ghost named Travis leads a woman named Rose Aguineau (Fiona Shaw) to the bodies. True Detective fans were quick to pick up on the possible Season 1 connection, with one Reddit user musing:
Rust has mentioned his dad's name is Travis and comes from Alaska. Coincidence?
While True Detective’s first season was set in the Louisiana heat, Matthew McConaughey’s character does, indeed, say that he had lived in Alaska for a while with his father Travis. At one point he told investigators that he’d visited his father, who was dying of leukemia, but that was never able to be confirmed, as Travis had apparently been off the grid for 30 years.
The name and location alone seem too big to be a coincidence, but one fan on X (Twitter) noted a striking similarity between the two men:
Another Redditor pointed out that the name of Fiona Shaw’s character — Rose Aguineau — is French in origin, which could possibly be another connection to Rust. They said:
We know that Rust's family lived in East Texas (near Louisiana) where he was born. Rust and his father later moved to Alaska. Could he have married a Creole/Cajun woman before moving to Alaska?!?
Rust didn’t say much about his mother in Season 1, so it will be interesting to see if any of these connections play out as we get deeper into Night Country’s story and learn more about the barefoot, dancing ghost that is Travis.
Showrunner Issa López has already confirmed that there will be common threads between Seasons 1 and 4, including the spiral symbol, and she even told NBC that characters in Season 4 “are related to characters in the first season.” Did she mean that literally?
We're only one episode into True Detective: Night Country, so it may still be too early to tell, but it seems like there's a good chance Travis is related to the Season 1 character, especially with the showrunner confirming that there are connections to be made between the two seasons.
We’ll have to see what else we can uncover when Season 4 continues at 9 p.m. ET Sunday, January 21, on HBO. Episodes are also available to stream with a Max subscription, and keep up with all of the upcoming premieres with our 2024 TV schedule.