With the new Season of True Detective hitting HBO at the end of January, we’re taking a look back at the series thus far. Today we continue with Season 1, Episode 3, “The Locked Room.”
In the first episode we get to meet Rustin “Rust” Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin “Marty” Hart (Woody Harrelson). Two detectives for the Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division. In 1995 they begin working on the case revolving around the murder of Dora Lange. She was found naked, posed to kneel at the base of a tree, with a crown of antlers on her head. In 2012 the former detectives are now being interviewed by current detectives Papania (Tory Kittles) and Gilbough (Michael Potts) looking back at the case after another body was found matching similar details to Dora Lange. The question that lingers now, “How could it be him, if we already caught him in ‘95. How indeed detectives?”
Most of the episode takes place within the flashbacks going back to 1995. But in the few moments we spend in 2012, Marty explains that Rust had nothing else outside of the job. And because of that all he did was the job. Day and night, he would work on cases. And if he wasn’t working on their own case, he was helping interrogate suspects for other detectives, because he was great at it. Rust tells Papania and Gilbough that he always knew within the first ten minutes of talking to a suspect, if they were guilty or not.
After finding the painting of the woman with antlers at the church Dora attended they are led to Friends of Christ, a revival ministry led by Joel Theriot (Shea Whigham) which was born after the church itself was burned down. They receive no major leads with anyone there at the church but learn that Dora was seen with a tall man with burn scars on his face. They begin investigating anyone tall with burn scars, but aren’t able to find any decent leads. Rust begins looking into old cold case files, believing this to be the act of a serial killer. He finds a case concerning Rianne Olivier, a young woman who was found with cuts on her body and the same swirl mark found on Dora Lange.
Under pressure from their Major, Quesada (Kevin Dunn), to hand the case over to Senator Edwin Tuttle’s “anti-Christian crimes” task force, they follow up on Rianne, hoping for a connection to Dora Lange. After meeting Rianne’s grandfather they learn that she was dating a man named Reggie Ledoux and as a child went to Light of Way, a religious school owned by the Tuttle family foundation. They head to the school where Rust speaks briefly with a man on a lawn mower (Glen Fleshler). The man tells Rust that the school has been shut down for years, but he has a contract with the parish (county), to mow different government buildings and cemeteries. Marty pulls Rust away when he gets word that Ledoux skipped out on parole 8 months ago and was the former cell mate of Dora’s ex-husband.
The episode also touches briefly on their personal lives as we see Maggie and Marty set up Rust on a blind double date. While out together Marty sees Lisa, and confronts her at a bar. She tells him they’re over, and later that night he storms into her place, beats up and threatens the guy she’s with. Meanwhile Maggie talks to Rust on the phone and he essentially tells her that nothing’s going to happen past that night with his date, as he’s too comfortable being alone.
“…It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it.”
As always the acting in the episode is to notch. But this is one of the episodes where the story itself gets a bit of a bump. Seeing the pieces fall into place for the investigation is insanely bittersweet, because it all makes sense, and connects perfectly. But we know from the first episode that somehow they didn’t get the real killer. Luckily we’re getting closer to the end of the story in 1995, and things just get more interesting from there.
The first season of True Detective is currently available on HBO Now, HBO Go, and HBO on Demand. Check back with us tomorrow when we dive into the fourth episode of True Detective Season 1, “Who Goes There.”