It’s time for a Locke & Key wedding! Duncan Locke is getting married to his love, Brian, and everyone seems happy, unaware that a demonic Revolutionary War captain from the British Army is lurking around the Keyhouse estate. Despite the title, “Wedding Crashers,” Gideon and his men don’t exactly ruin Duncan’s big day, and the second episode of this final season feels like it’s dragging things out a bit in terms of stakes, still setting the table for the meal to come.
As the wedding prep really gets underway, Gideon lurks in the woods, not exactly blending in. He looks like a Revolutionary War reenactor who happens to live in the wild. Do you think he’ll wear that outfit all year? At least Dodge got to wear the skin of an average guy. Gideon can’t really pass at the Circle K. But he doesn’t care right now. He needs his allies. He opens the door to the well and calls the name of James Bolton (Ian Lake), bringing his soldier back to life as an echo. Samuel Coffey (Jeff Lillico) joins him. “When are we?” he asks, and Kevin Durand gets to be a little more playful than the evil grunt he’s done so far when he says he’s their “Captain … and something more” with a glint in his eye.
Bode is working on a toast that Duncan doesn’t seem certain he wants his nephew to give, but suddenly the wedding prep needs to be put on hold because there’s somebody at the front door. It’s Tyler! The Locke family is reunited, and everyone seems happy again. Will Tyler leave again? Why would the show briefly set up his life in Montana and not take it anywhere? In case anyone forgot, there’s a reminder in the scene with Kinsey and Bode that Tyler doesn’t remember the keys or magic. He chose not to use the Memory Key, which means he succumbed to forgetting about the powers of Keyhouse and his family legacy. How long will that last?
At least long enough for a wedding! After Tyler is the first to notice something strange happened near the well — open gate and all — Duncan asks him to stand in his wedding, too. And it looks like it’s going down very soon because Bode is already all dressed up! Of course, the keys don’t care about his other responsibilities, and he starts to hear the whispering again, leading him to a grandfather clock in the foyer of Keyhouse. He pulls a key off the minute hand and puts it in the base of the clock, revealing an hourglass contraption with a lot of Roman numerals on a series of dials.
Jamie (Liyou Abere) comes in and just starts spinning those dials. Kids these days — never afraid of giant magical clocks. Everything shifts and whirs and Bode is suddenly teleported into the past. He looks outside and sees a horse and cart; he’s back hundreds of years, when the house was occupied by Benjamin Locke (Carson MacCormac). He is showing someone a chest that, once locked with a magic key, is indestructible and impenetrable. After a creepy chat with his great-great-great … something, Bode bounces back to reality. Both the time travel and harlequin-chest keys feel very convenient for the pending threat of Gideon and his echoes, but that’s always been how this show works. To be fair, it’s embedded in the plot in that the keys whisper to Bode when he needs them, but it sometimes makes for writing that seems a little thin in that it means our heroes will always be handed the magic they need to stop any threat.
Jamie and Bode go on another time trip, this time to the ’90s, as evidenced by “Another Night” by Real McCoy playing and footage of Bill Clinton on a small TV in the Keyhouse kitchen. Good times. They run into a young Duncan Locke, who seems entirely unfazed by his future nephew being in his house — you get used to that kind of thing when you grow up around magic. Just as Bode is about to see a young version of his dad, he jumps back to the present day, and Duncan takes what he calls the Timeshift Key from him. It’s “too unpredictable,” he says, which means we certainly haven’t seen the last of it. It’s Chekhov’s Key now.
As the wedding gets underway, Gideon and his echoes are lurking around Keyhouse. Kinsey sings “How Long Will I Love You” by Ellie Goulding at the lovely ceremony. Josh and Nina dance-flirt at the reception while Gideon continues to explore. At first, he just finds the cheesehead that Tyler brought home, but then he stumbles on the key guide that Bode made, which basically includes details on where they hide all the keys — not the smartest move, kid. He also finds the Plant Key in mom’s room and pockets it — another Chekhov situation, for sure.
After Bode gives his speech, which is somehow both cute and ends with him flipping his uncle the bird, Tyler starts to feel the impact of his liquid courage. We’re reminded that when Nina fell off the wagon, she could remember the magic around her. Tyler sees the key around Kinsey’s neck and has a vision of last season’s finale with a chain wrapped around Bode. He also has glimpses of Gabe and Dodge. And then he suddenly remembers Jackie and what happened to her, saying, “I don’t want to remember this.” He would rather put all of his family magic memories away than experience that grief again.
Tyler needs some space and goes into the house to hear the Echoes grunting. They attack Tyler and then Nina and Kinsey come into the fray. Kinsey uses the chain on the Echoes; Gideon hits Kinsey; everyone escapes, and Gideon is annoyed (and still has the Plant Key). Will Tyler now use the Memory Key because he sees this season’s threat? Maybe not. Even though it just happened, Tyler starts to forget again. Are the writers going to play with memory as much as they did last year? It took up a lot of bandwidth in season two, and it’s a little concerning that they might repeat themselves with Tyler as they did with Duncan/Jackie.
Kinsey comes to tell Bode about what happened and he has an idea! They will move the keys to the impenetrable chest he saw way back in Benjamin Locke’s era. How convenient! Where’s that key? They need to find it before Gideon returns.
• Hearing Emilia Jones sing will probably remind everyone of the Best Picture–winning CODA, which really should have turned the young actress into a bigger star (and maybe still will). Jones shot this season after the film’s premiere at Sundance 2021, but mostly before it hit Apple TV+ and long before it had an unpredictable Oscar run. It’s fun to consider how Jones had no idea she had already filmed a Best Picture winner. And, it will be interesting to see if she can leverage that into the next phase of her career. She’s going to sing a bunch this season, probably.
• The directors on this show aren’t visually ambitious enough — especially given the source material’s strength in that department — but I do like how they play with shifting canted angles when Bode starts hearing whispering keys, as if reality itself has become unstable.
• It feels like the big question in the air now is what happens next to Tyler. Could he possibly go back to Montana after seeing what happened on Duncan’s wedding day? What if he doesn’t really remember it? I hope they settle this soon and don’t leave Tyler as a “maybe” presence for the entirety of the season. The show really needs Jessup’s presence — he’s easily one of the top two or three actors on it.