TV Review: “True Detective” – “The Locked Room”

Written by Jesse Gelinas January 28, 2014

Shea Whigam makes his first appearance in "The Locked Room

“I don’t believe man can love.”

Red herrings are common in all walks of fiction, not just mysteries. Three episodes in, and apparently the case is just about solved, so we can assume there’s more to the “True Detective” tale than we’re being shown. With a slow-burn style buildup throughout, McConaughey’s fantastically arrogant pontificating, and an awesome, promising cliffhanger to end on, “The Locked Room” is the best episode yet.

“The Locked Room” details the leads of the ’95 case that bring Cohle and Hart to their suspect. Following up on the burned down church from the previous episode, the detectives visit the tent revival church of Minister Theriot (Shea Whigam). It seems Dora Lange was a member of this church before the end, She was last seen leaving with someone only referred to as “the Tall Man”. Meanwhile, Hart’s woman on the side wants to break things off, but he’s having none of it. We also see him go nearly insane with jealousy at home when he finds Cohle mowing his lawn, and visiting his wife in his absence. This causes a lot of tension between the men. But it’s briefly put on hold when they go on a double date to set Cohle up with one of Maggie Hart’s friends. Later, the boys find their suspect, Reggie Ladoux, a meth dealing parole-jumper who fits the bill (at least well enough for them). We’re promised a shootout is on the horizon before being left with a terrifying final shot.

“People incapable of guilt usually do have a good time.”

As usual, we’re treated to a great hour of McConaughey and his never-ending spewing of self-righteous rants and criticisms of his fellow man. it’s terrific. The scene at the revival tent is particularly entertaining as Cohle and Hart both shine while arguing the merits of religion in tight-knit communities. Shea Whigam is also fantastic as the charismatic minister preaching to his flock. He doesn’t really have the vocal chops for the job, but his performance makes up for it.

Reggie Ladoux in "The Locked Room"

Surprisingly, this may be the first episode where Harrelson outshines McConaughey. His low key performance early on during the arguments, and the double date, followed by the crazed fury when he bursts into his mistresses’ apartment show that his character’s range has yet to be fully explored. Hart’s scenes with his wife and daughters are also fantastically acted, and bring a real sense of, well, realism to their relationship. Contrasting that is Cohle’s utter disinterest in his date; he doesn’t look at her once during their ‘romantic’ dance. Hart may be correct when he claims Cohle has a certain ‘myopia’ for his job. Whereas Hart keeps everything balanced. He has his job, his wife, and his girlfriend, and never the twain shall meet.

“The world needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from their door.”

So, three episodes in and Cohle and Hart are closing in on their man. But we’ve a long way to go before this mystery comes to a close. There’s more to these murders then some psycho in a gas mask. The King in Yellow could still be out there in the forest, waiting for his moment to strike. Can’t wait to see where it goes from here. Sadly, the wait will be a bit longer since HBO will not be airing a new episode on Superbowl Sunday. Why, I don’t know. But regardless, “The Locked Room” is a fantastic episode, and the wait should only heighten the anticipation for the insanity to come.

My Rating: 9.5/10

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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