Panticapaeum, 'My Least Favorite Life' and More 'True Detective' References Explained

The season two premiere does not skimp on literary allusions or foreboding music.
HBO

Season two of True Detective has all the trappings of a classic California noir, but based on some references made in Sunday's premiere, creator Nic Pizzolatto has Greek tragedy on his mind as well.

The premiere was laden with the kind of Google-ready references fans have come to expect from the show, along with a couple of original songs and new theme music. Read on for explanations of things that may have sent you to your search bar.

"All the Gold in California": The song that plays over the closing credits is by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. It's a cover of a 1979 hit by the Gatlin Brothers that's decidedly darker than its predecessor. It's one of two original songs in the episode.

Antigone: Rachel McAdams' character goes by Ani, but a brief visit with her estranged dad (David Morse) reveals her full name is Antigone. She's named after the heroine of a Greek tragedy by Sophocles — who was buried alive for defying Creon, the king of Thebes. For good measure, her porn-making sister's (Leven Rambin) name is Athena, after the goddess.

Hagakure: A book glimpsed in Ani's apartment. It's a compendium of views on bushido, the code of samurai warriors, and asserts "the way of the warrior is death."

Lera Lynn: The woman singing in the bar where Ray (Colin Farrell) and Frank (Vince Vaughn) meet is country singer Lynn, performing another original song called "My Least Favorite Life." If her voice sounds familiar, it's because she also sings "The Only Thing Worth Fighting For" in a season two teaser.

"Nevermind": The theme song for season two is this spare track by Leonard Cohen from his 2014 album Popular Problems. Potentially key lyric: "I was not caught/though many tried/I live among you/Well disguised."

Panticapaeum Institute: The New Age retreat run by Ani's father is named after an ancient Greek city located in what is now Ukraine. It was an important commercial center and today is a rich archaeological site.

What did you think of the True Detective premiere? Are you in for season two? Stay tuned to The Live Feed for more coverage.

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