'Locke & Key' Episode 7: Sam is most definitely the Lesser of two evils in 'Dissection'
Sam Lesser's story is a dull, unneccessary detour in a show that's already begun to run into pacing problems.
Spoiler alert for 'Dissection' Episode 7 of 'Locke & Key'
The death of Rendell Locke (Bill Heck) is the event that sets everything into motion on 'Locke & Key.' His death is horrifying, a violent death that every member of his family had a part in witnessing. However, the horror of his death was not because of who killed him - Sam Lesser (Thomas Mitchell Barnet) is just the boy who pulled the trigger. Trying to give Sam Lesser any more importance does nothing but distract from the impact of Rendell Locke's death - especially because, as it's revealed in this episode, Sam Lesser really didn't have all that much of a connection to Rendell in the first place. Was a flashback episode about his villainous origins really necessary?
Sam Lesser is a very uninteresting antagonist. It's no fault of the performer - his story just has nothing in it that's worth exploring. He's an outcast kid who craves attention, has an abusive father, and is easily manipulated by the voice of Dodge (Laysla de Oliveira). Only that third part is of any real importance to the show - the rest has been seen before, countless times. Angry young men with guns are too common, and too exhausting, to be interesting without something much more substantial being put into their story.
The episode tries really hard to make him a threat, and make his scenes compelling, going so far as to conveniently forget that the Lockes have access to a mind-controlling, musical box key that they have shown no hesitation in using. It just doesn't work, because Sam Lesser isn't an intriguing threat - he's just the face of the violence that took their father from him.
The only real point Sam seems to have is catharsis. He's able to let Tyler (Connor Jessup) know that Tyler isn't to blame for his father's death. He gives the family a chance to fight back in a way they weren't able to before, to come together as a family to keep each other safe.
Sam Lesser wasn't worth an entire episode - he was barely worth the flashbacks of the previous episode. Matheson has its own unique threats, and for now, his story is thankfully done.
All episodes of Season 1 of 'Locke & Key' are now available to stream on Netflix.