What was the galaxy formation Rust saw before confronting Erol Childress in True Detective S01E08?

It was weird like out of the series. I guess it was some sort of hallucination, a product of Rust's madness or addiction.

1 Answer 1



Yes, it's a (symbolic) hallucination.

Long answer

Throughout the investigation in the first season of True Detective, Det. Rust Cohle keeps coming across the symbols of a spiral and black stars that are linked to the crimes perpetrated in 'Carcosa':

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We also discover that Cohle is frequently hallucinating as a result of his drug abuse during his long stint as an undercover cop, and at a certain point in this investigation, he imagines a flock of birds forming the above spiral:

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It seems fitting, then, that he hallucinates a cosmic vortex upon finally finding 'Carcosa'. This is symbolic, according to True Detective director Cary Fukunaga:

We landed on the spiral formation of the clouds as a wrapping-up of the symbology, or at least a book-ending of the symbology. I liked the idea that we could actually see Carcosa and black stars. If you look really closely, you can see black orbs floating in it.

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Of course, we can always assume that this is mystical or that Cohle has ESP. But True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto suggests otherwise in this interview:

I hope the audience will be pleasantly surprised by the naturalism of the entire story. If you look at the series so far, what seems supernatural actually has real-world causes, like Cohle's hallucinations or even the nature of the crime. It has occult portents, but there is nothing supernatural about it.

  • 1
    I confuses me, to see a galaxy, doesn't have any supernatural? this doesn't makes sense (to me at least). Great answer though.
    – DanielV
    Jul 27, 2015 at 11:27

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