While continuing to delve into the demons both men were fighting on an investigation no one wanted them to spend so much time and resources on, “The Locked Room” develops the first solid lead in the case as Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Hart’s (Woody Harrelson) discovery of the burned-out church with a painting eerily similar to their murder scene leads them to a tent ministry. When the lead doesn’t pan out, it forces Cohle to redouble his efforts into finding another murder that matches the profile and a thread to follow back to their killer.
The slow implosion of Hart’s marriage continues as tensions between Hart and his wife (Michelle Monaghan) hit a new high with trouble at school concerning one of his children (Madison Wolfe), Hart discovering Cohle at home with his family, and an ill-suited double-date that ends with a jealous (and extremely drunk) Hart breaking into his Lisa’s (Alexandra Daddario) apartment and threatening the life of his mistress’ date.
Most of Cohle’s time is spent in the records room going over every homicide or accidental death in the area over the past few years looking for something, anything, to give them a lead before their boss (Kevin Dunn) turns the case over to the task force. The discovery of what might be their murderer’s first victim leads the two detectives into the boonies to learn the name of the monster (Charles Halford) the two have been chasing for weeks and a solid connection between two of his suspected victims.
Over the course of the episode the pair’s separate testimony years later to the detectives in charge of the case (Michael Potts, Tory Kittles) we learn a little about Cohle’s expertise as an interrogator and see more instances of Gilbough and Papania continually skewing their questions towards the motives and rationale behind the drunken former detective and the steps which led Hart and Cohle to Reggie Ledoux. With the name of the killer finally revealed, at least that of the man the pair brought down for the crime, we’ll see how the investigation turns from here and what consequences Hart must deal with for his violent outburst and his wife’s growing suspicions of where he’s been spending his late nights.