Locke & Key – Season 2

locke and key / lamps

Title: Locke & Key – Season 2
Creators: Meredith Averill, Aron Eli Coleite, Carlton Cuse
Stars: Darby Stanchfield, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones

Rating

Netflix released the first season of Locke & Key in 2020, and fans had hoped for an exciting and horrific adaptation of the comic book source material. Sadly, many felt that this new series dropped the ball when adapting the creepy horror and tone of the comic books series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Instead, the first season of Locke & Key focused more on young adult, Harry Potter-like family drama that strained older viewers’ patience.

Since this review is for the second season, a short recap is in order. After unknown forces murder their father, the three siblings of the Locke family and their mother movies into their ancestral home, the Keyhouse. Here they discover a set of magical keys that fits into locks hidden around the house. A mysterious demon awakens, who is also after the keys. Locke & Key is a coming-of-age mystery and horror story about love, loss and family.

The story picks up some months after the first season. The Locke family have spent their summer with their newfound magical abilities, not knowing about the evil force that was unleashed at the end of their previous adventure. In addition, the older two of the three siblings are starting to grow up, nearing adulthood, which will make them forget all about the magical powers of the keys.

Locke & Key continues to be a coming-of-age story. However, it is a slightly darker, action-packed and more mature story this time around, with the struggle and fear of growing up taking center stage.

The Locke Familiy

The four members of the Locke family are back in this season, along with the various friends and hangers-on. It is still in many ways a teenage drama, although one with the magic of the keys as a central tool more than a theme.

Darby Stanchfield plays Nina Locke, mother to the three Locke kids, who have forgotten all about the magic of the keys after becoming an adult. Although still a bit sidelined compared to the kids’ story, there is a subplot about the widowed Nina’s personal life in this season when she meets the new teacher at the school.

But the main focus is again on the Locke kids. Kinsey Locke, played by Emilia Jones feels more developed in this season, with a much more active role as a protagonist. It is in many ways her story, while Tyler and Bode are pretty much as they were. Keys are found, new strange powers are tested as the baddies close in.

Speaking of the baddies, the demon Dodge is back, played menacingly by Laysla De Oliveira, but often in the guise of the pompous jerk Gabe (played by Griffin Gluck). Together with Eden Hawkins (Hallea Jones), the two make up a slightly scary, although bumbling and mustache-twirly pair (although there are no actual mustaches). Evil, teeny looks all around. They’re both brutal in the pursuit of their goals, but it is slightly underwhelming and often feels more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch than something like Midnight Mass and Haunting of Hill House.

Connor Jessup as Tyler Locke, Jackson Robert Scott as Bode Locke and Emilia Jones as Kinsey Locke

Rushing Through

The whimsy and teenage drama of the first season is gradually pushed aside for a more rushed and action-packed narrative. The scenes are darker, the action is more intense and the fates are brutal. They keys themselves go from being a source of mystery to something more like superpowers, which is a shame. One might like this better, of course, but this second season of Locke & Key loses some of the charms from the first (if you were charmed by the series in the first place, that is).

Locke & Key still sits squarely in the young adult genre. But looking at the imagery from the comics (I haven’t read them myself), I’m thinking that the series has lost something important in the adaptation. There is a third season on the way, having already finished up filming as of this writing. I wonder if the next season will continue on the way it seems to be heading now, adding action at the expense of charm. Or will it somehow find the balance, and become truer to the style of the comic books?

Third time is the charm, maybe?

Check out Locke & Key on Netflix.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZKWJ01jNOI
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