Locke & Key
As I mentioned last episode, these last two chapters of the first season of Locke & Key really play like one complete feature film, and it’s not just because Vincenzo Natali directed both — they’re a complete story. This one even picks up on the same night as the last one ends: Dodge is planning its endgame, the Lockes are planning to stop it, and mom has no idea what’s going on at home, just having some nice coffee with a new friend. Seriously, do more with Nina Locke next season, writers.
Back at Key House, the Lockes are waiting for Ellie to return with the Crown of Shadows, but something else comes home first. It’s Dodge, wearing the powerful tool that unleashes violent shadows on Bode, Tyler, and Kinsey Locke. Tyler tries to calm everyone down by saying, “Shadows are just shadows” before a car gets hurled through the front yard. Apparently, these shadows can do some damage.
Before you know it, the shadows are in the house, pouring out dad’s ashes and trying to choke Tyler Locke. They quickly discover that light stops these creatures and makes them disappear. A show that has been very reminiscent of Harry Potter at times returns again to that influence with shadow creatures that move in a way that’s truly reminiscent of the Dementors from The Prisoner of Azkaban.
As these shadow Dementors attack the Locke house, Bode turns his lightsaber into a legit weapon by attaching the Matchstick Key to the end of it. Good idea, kid. The power goes out, and Kinsey is attacked in the basement while trying to reset the fuses, but the real action goes down upstairs, where Dodge attacks Bode and he drives his new weapon into its chest. Dodge bursts into flames and appears to fall over the balcony, lying unconscious in the foyer. Too easy, right? Of course it is, but the kids don’t realize that until … well, maybe next season.
It’s Kinsey’s idea to dispose of the body of Dodge by throwing it through the Black Door. Last time the door was opened, something possessed Lucas and led to the deaths of at least six people: the three kids back then, Rendell, Mark, and Mr. Ridgeway. But, sure, let’s go playing with fire again. Yes, it makes a little sense because there’s no real way to kill this entity in the normal world, but anyone who’s ever seen a TV show knows it won’t be that simple
Kinsey convinces a skeptical Tyler, and they call in the rest of the Scoobs to help: Eden, Scot, Gabe, and Jackie. (Why not Logan? Was he busy that day?) While they check the tides and drag Dodge to the door, Bode finds an unconscious Rufus and calls the authorities. The kids get down to the Black Door pretty quickly, and they use the Omega Key to open it. Even Kinsey can tell that something feels wrong, but Tyler now wants to end this. As “demon bullets” shoot out, they toss Dodge’s body into the void, but she grabs Tyler and nearly takes the oldest Locke kid with her. He’s barely saved and the door closes. Everything is happy and great now, right? Then why are there 20 minutes left in the season?
Well, some loose ends have to be wrapped up while a big secret that should lead us into the second season is revealed. First, Scot tells Kinsey that he’s not down with a polyamorous relationship. Good work by Petrice Jones in this scene as he barely disguises that he hopes Kinsey will pick him, but she hugs and talks about being friends instead. Ouch.
More importantly, we discover that Ellie Whedon is missing. Relatives will take care of Rufus, but what happened to Ellie? Just when you think that the location of one of the final keepers of the keys might be a cliffhanger, Locke and Key lays out what really happened that night, and sets up some other cliffhangers instead.
It turns out that the echo from the well used the Appearance Key on Ellie, turning her into a Dodge lookalike. The body that the Locke kids threw into the void? That was Ellie Whedon. And it’s revealed that not only is this violent echo still alive, but it’s been taking the form of Gabe on and off for weeks. Every time we saw the new kid in town, the one in an exclusive relationship now with Kinsey Locke, it was really the entity that’s been destroying everyone’s lives. And that’s not even all of it! It turns out that a demon pellet hit Eden, who is now eating enough for an army in the episode’s final scene. As thunder rolls in on Matheson, the first season comes to a close, promising a storm for chapter two.
• Anyone else think it’s a little weird that they scatter Rendell Locke’s ashes on the cliff where he helped dispose of the bodies of three of his best friends? It’s not exactly Rendell’s happy place. If he had a vote, he probably wouldn’t want to be there forever, but it does offer a nice view and sunset.
• There’s really only one original Keeper of the Key still standing, and she can’t communicate because she’s in a mental hospital. Those keys only cause trouble.
• Scot mentions Mordor and then Kinsey stares at the Omega Key like it’s the One Ring, and I wonder if Joe Hill ever thought Locke and Key would be more inspired by Tolkien than Lovecraft.
• Anyone else weirded out by the fact that Dodge made out with Kinsey as Gabe and then went and had car sex with Tyler as the Well Lady? For a show that has avoided darker themes and largely left sex and violence aside, that’s some kinky behavior.
• Scot isn’t sure what pronoun to use for Dodge and says, “Demon Non-Binary.” As someone who has just finished recapping a show in which one being is referred to as Echo, Well Lady, Dodge, Lucas, and Chastity, I can relate.
• So who are the MVPs of the first season? Honestly, whoever assembled this young cast deserves that game ball. They’re all good, and some of them are great. Connor Jessup and Emilia Jones have conveyed the emotional weight of two young people dealing with trauma and that’s what successfully tied the season together. This cast seems unlikely to break out à la Stranger Things, but they’re probably the main reason people will come back for season two.