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Night Country Finale Gives New Meaning To An Iconic True Detective Moment

Contains spoilers for "True Detective: Night Country," Part 6

Get a group of "True Detective" fans together, and it's probably just a matter of time before someone utters what just might be the most iconic line in the entire series: "Time is a flat circle." It's originally spoken by Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) in "True Detective" Season 1, Episode 5 – and in "Night Country," Part 6, the phrase makes its return to the franchise when Raymond Clark (Owen McDonnell) quotes it verbatim.

It's not as strange as it might initially seem that the two men use that same, extremely particular line. "Time is a flat circle" is a quote from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, meant to signify the way things tend to keep repeating themselves. A smart man and a noted pessimist, Cohle uses the line to describe how pointless life is. Clark, being a scientist at an isolated research station who presumably has ample time to read, could very well be familiar with Nietzche's work as well.

However, the context is very different in "Night Country." Instead of mundane historical repetition, Clark's use of the line specifically signifies ghosts and spirits and the way they aren't limited by the confines of time as people understand it. Hence, the flat circle.

The line is just the latest thing that connects the Cohle family to Night Country

"Time is a flat circle" isn't the only thing connecting Rust Cohle to the events of "True Detective: Night Country" and, specifically, the many spirits that seem to inhabit the town of Ennis, AK, and the wilderness around it. The most prominent — or at least most visible — ghost viewers see is none other than Travis Cohle (Erling Eliasson), Rust's dearly departed father. Travis was in a relationship with Rose Aguineau (Fiona Shaw) before going out on the ice. He prominently appears to her in the first two episodes, leading her to discover the frozen Tsalal scientists.

Likewise, the repeating spiral pattern that's present in both seasons also has a strange Cohle connection. The ending of "True Detective" Season 1 goes all in on spirals with Rust's visions and Errol Childress' (Glenn Fleshler) back marking, but keeps things just ambiguous enough to keep audiences guessing. With Travis playing the part of a "Night Country" spirit guide and the season's constant spirals culminating in the massive bone symbol Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) find in the ice caves, audiences might start wondering whether Rust's Season 1 spiral visions might be connected to his childhood in Alaska.

By invoking Rust's famous line in its finale, "Night Country" highlights the connection between the Cohle family and the events that take place in Ennis. Time will show whether this actually leads to anything in potential future seasons, but if Matthew McConaughey wishes to return to the series one day, "True Detective: Night Country" has certainly set up the stage for him to do so.