After binging the remaining seven episodes of Netflix's Locke & Key, my verdict has not changed since my initial review of the first three episodes (which you can check out here). —it was pure magic, from visuals and dialogue, to character development and especially the soundtrack. However, when I say binging I mean begging my friends for spoilers so I do not die of mini-heart attacks every time I think something is about to happen. Spoiler alert: that tactic did not work as I hoped. I still kept whispering or screaming at my television and the characters in it.
The story of Locke & Key follows the Locke family, who moved away from their hometown in an attempt to escape the past after witnessing their father Rendell's (Bill Heck) murder. They move into the Locke's family's ancestors' home, Keyhouse – and before they know it, the family quickly realizes there are some legends surrounding their new place. But for now, it looks like the magic is only for the kids to experience.
The Locke siblings – Tyler (Connor Jessup), Kinsey (Emilia Jones), and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) – have become my favorite siblings on television. The dialogue and interactions between the three of them felt so real—their arguments and their tight bond even when they would rather ignore one another was raw and so very human.
I appreciated the bluntness and at times "tough love" between the Locke siblings: they will always be there for each other and ready for the fight – even when things are strained and each is in their own world of hurt. Just like we found ourselves in with our families – and it's the contrast of the fantastic with grounded day-to-day reality that makes the series work.
Something very important to me and what enhanced the overall story was how they handled introducing and developing the Locke's supporting cast—and what a mix of attitudes and personalities they gave us. First thing that really stood out for me was just how diverse the cast was on a number of levels – yet the chemistry and flow between them felt natural and not forced – like they have known each other for awhile. We were offered a number of interesting characters with deeply meaningful and sometimes near-unbelievable arcs. Even knowing spoilers, the characters ended up surprising me with their decisions and motivation throughout.
With that said, my favorite by far is Bode. His knack for adventure and wonder makes the story all that more magical. He really made the smartest decisions out of the trio for a good chunk of the season – though my love for Tyler grew with each episode.
With Kinsey, I went through a bit of a rollercoaster with her—I loved her, I hated her, I cried for her, and I wanted her to get slapped behind the head. But she grew on me over time, and that's a testament to both Jones and the character – they presented us with a full, complete person and not a cliche… with "warts" and all. Kinsey's fear was handled so well and left some a wide-open door that I hope it returns in future seasons. On a side note, I love that they did not back down on her polyamori suggestion to Scot (Petrice Jones) and Gabe (Griffin Gluck).
The pacing of the story was fast without feeling rushed or dragging, despite a necessary slow start to get viewers up-to-speed. The use of flashbacks and how it gives us pieces of the story little-by-little was effective and quite powerful. Though I have to say, my favorite "device" along the way was actually the dialogue. It can either make or break a show—and man, did it make it in a big way. It reminded me a lot of The Umbrella Academy in how down-to-earth the characters' words were – no matter how fantastical the world around them was.
The visuals were also quite enthralling, coupled with a strong script and soundtrack. I am obsessed with the keys, though – I really cannot wait to see more of them and their powers. As much as I loved finding out about the past and how Rendell and his friends became the keepers of the keys, his family has the potential to be wiser on how they wield the keys – and opposing those who want them for their own nefarious plans.
Locke & Key had me under its spell from beginning to end, and even after wondering what else the Locke's will go through in the future now with a couple of demons in tow instead of just one. By offering characters I can connect with, emotional moments that are genuine and often surprising, and just enough storyline to start some threads moving forward, the Netflix adaptation of Joe Hill's and Gabriel Rodriguez's comic book series went above and beyond introducing me to their world – one that I looking forward to hanging out in for awhile (so take note, Netflix).