While there are a few moments to pick from in regards to the worst thing Sam has done on “Locke and Key,” murdering Rendell Locke is definitely the most heinous. This tragic event, seen in flashbacks and takes place before the start of Season 1, is what sets the series in motion. Rendell’s shocking death spurs the family’s move to Keyhouse, and it leaves them with a lot of trauma they must process as they try to rebuild their lives in a new town. One could argue that Sam was under the influence of Dodge (Laysla De Oliveira) when he murdered the Locke patriarch, but it was still a choice that he made.
Although there is no excuse for taking human life, “Locke & Key” does shed light on the circumstances of Sam’s life before the tragic event that change his trajectory, as well as the trajectories of the surviving Locke family members, forever. Throughout the Netflix series, viewers learn his life before that fateful night is a hard one, shaped by growing up with an abusive father. This eventually leads to meetings with Rendell, a guidance counselor at Sam’s school. When Rendell’s efforts to help Sam go wrong, he tasks his son, Tyler, with befriending the troubled teen. During all of this, he is actually manipulated by the demonic Dodge, who uses Sam to get access to the magical keys.
Sam’s comic book counterpart actually becomes a serial killer, making him far more villainous than the television version. But in terms of strictly looking at the television show, the murder of Rendell definitely takes the number one spot in the list of the worst actions Sam performed on “Locke and Key.”