TV Recap: True Detective, ‘The Locked Room’

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The Scene of the Crime (Episode Summary): The investigation takes Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) through the backwoods of the country — revival tents, waterfront towns ravaged by Hurricane Andrew and of course, meth territory. The episode takes more time to focus on the relationship between Cohle and Hart as partners both in and out of work as well as Hart’s tumultuous home life.

The Lead Investigator (Favorite Performance): Woody Harrelson was finally given his time in the sun tonight. He killed it throughout the entire episode. His speech about turning 40 and feeling like a cartoon character heading toward the end of cliff was great — especially because you don’t know if he was being sincere or not. Harrelson brilliant underscored the speech with distrust and deceit, like almost trying to weasel his way out of the argument. Then later on when he gets wasted and barges into his lover’s house to confront her and her one night stand, it’s both hilarious and frightening and included the unforgettable line – “I will have an inmate wear your face as a condom!”Only someone like Woody Harrleson could make this absurd line work. Tonight, Harrelson really brought the true nature of Hart to the forefront — he’s a man who, like his partner, is highly tortured by his own head.

They Could’ve Spared Us These Gory Details (Worst Part of the Episode): Again, the superfluous, Hart’s kids are weird storyline, really just adds nothing to the story. Tonight, his eldest was reprimanded for drawing sexually explicit cartoons in her notebook. Call me a prude, but this is a bit unnecessary to show onscreen and takes a little bit away from the show.

The Devil in the Details (The Little Thing You Loved): A little HBO cross-over action tonight as Shea Whigham of Boardwalk Empire fame showed up as a bible thumping preacher. Whigham showed a lot of fire in this episode, proving he’s got life after Atlantic City.

The Debriefing (Thoughts on the Episode): While not as impactful, from a case perspective, as last week, “The Locked Room” was another powerful episode of True Detective. In it we see the cracks in Hart’s life and that he is as scarred as his partner. Normally, I detest side-stories but the relationship between Cohle and Hart and their inner turmoil is just as important the case itself. So, kudos to the series for being able to strike that balance. The episode also served as a terrific set-up for the next episode’s high-energy and intense action-fueled episode. The final shot, which remained frozen on a hillbilly in a gas mask, colored with tattoos and brandishing a shotgun was haunting. It really left the audience salivating for more, sadly, we’ve got to wait two weeks due to the Superbowl.

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Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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