Locke & Key season 1, episode 7 recap: Dissection

In episode 7 of Locke & Key, a killer is on the loose, threatening the survival of the Locke family. It will take all four of them to ensure they see tomorrow.

Sam Lesser is back and he has a mission to complete, even if it means killing everyone in the Locke family. But how did he become this maniacal killer? And can the Lockes survive this new onslaught on this episode of Locke & Key?

The Making of a Murderer

Episode 7 of Locke & Key takes us into the mind of a killer—we finally learn why Sam Lesser murdered Rendell Locke that fateful day in Seattle.

Lesser wasn’t a happy teenager. He craved companionship and acceptance—so much so, that he often pushed the boundary of acceptable behavior in order to get a laugh from his fellow students.

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One such incident—when Lesser got a bit carried away with a dissected pig—landed him in detention and in a series of meetings with the school counselor, Rendell Locke.

It is through these meetings that we learn that Lesser’s life at home was anything but wonderful—Lesser Sr was an abusive man. He controlled his children so strictly that they weren’t even allowed to eat or drink without permission. No wonder Lesser made that jibe about killing his father a few episodes ago. That guy was plain mean.

However, Lesser did have one shining light in his life—his new-found friendship with Tyler. Not only was Tyler providing the companionship that Lesser desperately needed, but he also gave Lesser an excuse to stay out of the house. Plus, the fact that Lesser actually had a friend seem to bother Lesser Sr, so that was another victory for the teen.

And They All Fall Down

But we know things go sour for Lesser eventually. And Dodge is unsurprisingly at the center of it all.

During his first meeting with Rendell, Lesser hears a voice calling to him—it’s Dodge, though nobody can see her yet. The voice is coming from a sketch of Key House that Rendell keeps in his office. This is clearly an ability Dodge has—manipulating images of the well-house to appear to children. She’s done it to Bode before and he at least knew about magic.

The unsuspecting Lesser is wholly unprepared for Dodge’s power. Several sessions with Rendell later, he is left alone in the office for a short period of time—and Dodge takes the opportunity to get under Lesser’s skin.

She tells Lesser to look at Rendell’s file on him—Rendell has been positive about Lesser’s growth and encouraging of his changing attitudes in school. The file shares a different story—Rendell thinks Lesser has Borderline Personality Disorder, and Tyler’s feedback is that Lesser is still lonely and strange despite their friendship.

Lesser is heartbroken—not only has his counselor been lying to him, but the only friend he has had was actually sent to spy on him. Dodge, on the other hand, promises that she cares about him and the desperate Lesser believes her, leading to him murdering Rendell, breaking out of prison, and heading to Key House to complete Dodge’s mission.

Fright Night at Key House

Present day: Lesser breaks into Key House but cuts himself on the broken window. He uses kitchen towels to stem the blood flow—he doesn’t need the distraction because he has a job to do.

Interestingly, despite Nina being on her own upstairs, Lesser does nothing to her—he bypasses her room and heads straight to Tyler’s, where he puts on Tyler’s clothes. Clearly someone isn’t over his supposed friendship with Tyler.

In the constantly creaking house, Nina ignores most of the noises she hears, but the sound of a door creaking open and then closing is definitely a reason to investigate. Nina expects her children but what she finds is her husband’s murderer.

Kinsey and Bode are downstairs unpacking boxes—Kinsey finds a beloved stuffed whale, Sally, but the excitement of her discovery is ruined by the signs of the break-in. Kinsey and Bode can’t go up against an intruder, but Bode has a plan—he uses the Ghost Key to see what is happening.

This is the first time Kinsey has seen the Ghost Key in action and she finds the experience unsettling. But Bode has given her strict instructions—watch over his body, and ensure the Ghost Door doesn’t close or it will leave Bode dead for good.

As a ghost, Bode manages to see that it is Lesser who has broken into their home and that he wants the Head Key. Armed with this information, Kinsey makes a quick decision—she hides the key inside Sally and goes to confront Lesser. It leads to all three Lockes being tied up and terrorized.

Tyler to the Rescue

Tyler is enjoying his time with Dodge, who is being positively civil, and even understanding when Tyler asks to go home. But just as they are about to leave, Tyler finds the Anywhere Key—he realizes that he has been enjoying a dalliance with the well-lady and he is terrified.

Fortunately, with the Anywhere Key in his grasp, Tyler can safely go home. Of course, home is where Lesser is terrorizing the Lockes, so Tyler tries to rescue them. He does an admirable job, but it isn’t good enough. He ends up captured, as well, and Kinsey and Bode are forced to take Lesser to the Head Key—but not before Kinsey drops a clue to Tyler about its actual location.

Kinsey fools Lesser, taking him to the spot where she had buried her fear. Though the knife she had buried isn’t useful, her Fear rises from the grave and viciously attacks Lesser, giving Kinsey and Bode time to escape.

But Lesser also manages to get free and heads back to Key House where he tries to fight Nina. By this time, Tyler has found the Head Key and, while Lesser is concentrating on fighting Nina, Tyler uses the key on Lesser.

The version of Lesser inside the teen’s head is vastly different from the cold and cruel person brandishing a gun. He begs Tyler for forgiveness for killing Rendell, professes that he thought of Tyler as his closest friend and that he has to do what Dodge asks of him because she is the only one who actually cares about him.

Speaking of the devil, Dodge shows up at Key House and demands the Head Key, as well as any others Lesser may have. Turns out, she can’t take the keys from the Locke family, but she can take it from anyone else. Which makes Lesser expendable—it isn’t surprising that Dodge stabs Lesser in the chest. All the keys thus uncovered now belong to Dodge.

A Pyrrhic Victory

Lesser’s goal to get the Head Key may have been a success, but the cost was catastrophic. Not only did Dodge easily take the keys from him, but she stabbed him (literally and figuratively) for good measure. She really is a villain here.

As the police arrive, Lesser, with a new hole in his ribs and crushed by disappointment at Dodge’s rejection of him, heads to the nearest door—and becomes a ghost as he walks through it. Looks like Bode left the Ghost Key in there.

The police eventually enter the house and see Lesser’s cold body in front of a door. They can’t see Lesser’s ghost, so they close the Ghost door, effectively sealing Lesser’s fate and dooming him to a life flying over Key House.

As the nightmare finally comes to an end, an exhausted Nina pauses before heading to bed and opens up a bottle of alcohol. She has been sober for years but the stress of the night has pushed her over the edge. Can she find her way back from this?

Final Thoughts

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The change in point of view worked incredibly well in this episode of Locke & Key. Lesser is a fascinating villain, albeit one who is very much under the spell of Dodge.

This episode was well-paced, and the tension was excellently ramped up—if this is a sign of things to come in the final few episodes of the show, there is plenty of reason to be excited for more.

What did you think of this episode of Locke & Key? Be sure to tell us in the comment section below!

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