Locke & Key Season 2 TV Review


Plot: After their father is murdered under mysterious circumstances, the three Locke siblings and their mother move into their ancestral home, Keyhouse, which they discover is full of magical keys that may be connected to their father’s death. As the Locke children explore the different keys and their unique powers, a mysterious demon awakens — and will stop at nothing to steal them.

Review: Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s acclaimed comic series Locke & Key is a book I waited years to see become a live-action series. After a failed FOX pilot, Netflix finally brought the graphic novels to the screen thanks to creators Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, and Aron Eli Coleite. When Locke & Key premiered in early 2020, it garnered lukewarm reviews from critics who compared it to Netflix’s similar series, Stranger Things. Where Stranger Things leaned heavily into 1980s nostalgia, Locke & Key was a much more straightforward fantasy thriller about a house with magical keys that unlock many unique abilities in the holder. While I was underwhelmed with the first season and felt that it skirted the more robust horror of the comic book, I am glad to see that the second season begins to get things back on the right track.

The episode opens with a flashback to colonial times as a group of British soldiers uncovers the secret in the cave below Key House. This scene echoes the many historical flashbacks from the comic book that showcase the history of the magical keys. It is also a welcome reset for the tone and style of this show as it comes with some blood and sinister acting from Kevin Durand. The episode then shifts to the present day. picking up shortly after the conclusion of the first season, the premiere episode is appropriately titled “The Premiere”. Finding the Locke siblings living with their newfound magical keys and thinking that the villainous Dodge is gone, the kids seem to be living an idyllic life in the small town of Matheson. With the first episode centered on the film premiere for Kinsey’s acting debut The Splattering, the table is set for another showdown between the Locke clan and Dodge.

Interestingly, the pacing of the second season is far better than it was in the first. Locke & Key has already filmed its third season, but for the bulk of these ten episodes, you feel like the story is careening towards a series finale. While still a far cry from the comic books as far as narrative goes, this season definitely moves faster thanks to all of the complex exposition needed to set up the keys out of the way. This means we spend a lot more time with the characters as they are facing down against Dodge/Gabe without even realizing that they are doing so. The series also benefits from shifting the focus slightly off of the Locke children and onto other characters. We spend a lot of time with Gabe (Griffin Gluck) and Eden (Hallea Jones) as their plan develops to obtain all of the keys. This season also gives a substantial subplot to matriarch Nina (Darby Stanchfield) involving her social life. This plot element may seem arbitrary but it definitely pays off by the finale.


But don’t think that the season skimps on the Locke kids. While Bode and Tyler definitely are major characters, this season feels more and more like a showcase for Kinsey. Played by Emilia Jones, Kinsey was one of my least favorite characters in the comic simply because she felt underdeveloped. Jones played Kinsey as hurt and lost in season one but her confidence this time around is noticeable and makes her a much more intriguing character as well as a formidable opponent for Gabe/Dodge.

The ten episodes that comprise the second season (all of which were made available for this review) feature titles reminiscent of the graphic novel and include some teases of major events to unfold this season. While I won’t divulge any spoilers, I can assure you that there are going to be some controversial events for fans unfamiliar with the comics and even more so for those who think they know how this story is going to go. The season also ups the scare factor with these episodes embracing the horror elements that were prevalent in the comics. The first episode alone has more blood and creepy imagery than the entire first season combined.

With a third season already on the way, you will be happy to know that this second season never feels like it is treading water. If anything, this season feels like it was made without any promise that it would continue for another year which leaves it feeling much more immediate. The series works best when it focuses on the older kids and sometimes gets a little too cute when Bode is at the forefront, but it still manages to balance the dark with the fanciful in a way distinct from the comics. The fates of these characters could easily differ from the comic book page and while I would have loved to see a faithful adaptation, Locke & Key has now proven itself capable of deviating from the source material but keeping the tone and theme consistent. I still wish this show was scarier than it is, but it manages to deliver a sophomore season that improves on what came before.

Locke & Key season two premieres on October 22nd on Netflix.

Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.