Locke & Key Season 1 Review

February 1, 2020 at 8:56pm
By Jason Stettner

This is a Netflix Original series that follows three siblings as they deal with the discovery of special magical keys. This happens due to a situation where they move back into their ancestral estate after the sudden passing of their father. The family is trying to adjust to this new setting, and this creates a number of dynamics in terms of how the story progresses. It’s best when they’re in an ensemble, with each episode typically spending time on having everyone interact with one another at some point. I did enjoy watching this show, it has an element of youthful magic to it.

At the same time tonally this one is a bit odd. It may initially seem to skew more towards the younger audience with the focus being on the youngest of the family, but it’s certainly more adult in nature. At the same time, that older audience might not necessarily be too into it and maybe it hits that middle ground to a degree. It’s strange as it’s often very light, but then suddenly super dark in nature. There’s a point where a kid is randomly thrown under a metro train, this may sound like a spoiler but it isn’t.

This is a throwaway moment that comes and goes with no reference to who that person is, other than perhaps some sort of shock value. I didn’t mind at all, but I’m pointing it out as an example of this being darker than one might expect. It also has some elements of gore, and violence too. More of the latter, less of the former for this show yet both are still present. I’m perhaps focusing on this too much, but I’m trying to provide an idea of what to expect prior to watching this and the audience that should perhaps be engaging with it.

The narrative was generally interesting, branching story lines. The siblings are exploring and discovering these keys. Not only in terms of where they head, but in also understanding what they do. Then you have the mother doing some investigative type work while other adults are also interacting at certain points. Finally there’s a mysterious lady of the well, and that’s a big part of the sinister element of this narrative.
Locke & Key Season 1 Wallpaper
I liked how things developed story wise, at the same time some aspects felt a bit rushed. Things could have been fleshed out more, as they whipped through aspects of the story. Keep in mind that you’re getting flashbacks, future setups and discovering the element of the keys. At the start some keys get a whole episode of understanding, whereas piles of them are showing up towards the latter part of the season. They also add a ton of additional key cast members as it goes on, it can be overwhelming at times.

I thought the acting maybe could have been a bit better at some moments. It was generally alright, lots of smaller drama pockets. A weird awkward double date situation that didn’t make sense and some odd character moments developed throughout. Another strange scene was where there was drinking involved that was supposed to be impactful, but came across as silly. I thought they could have also used their mother a bit more to directly impact events, as she felt like just an extra that didn’t necessarily contribute to what was going on.

When it comes to the visuals, the CGI was generally solid and the magical elements were fun. There are some ghost type elements that were somewhat enchanting in their style, and I loved the setups for the weird worlds they’d travel to with certain keys. They also go to a very fancy type of school, I thought that was worth mentioning. It seems to almost not fit into the type of place they’re at as it’s almost prestige in style despite it being a small town. I suppose it could be a special academy, didn’t really five small town vibes though like the rest of the show did.

The Conclusion

Locke & Key Season 1 is a generally solid start to this series that sets up the atmosphere, and mystery surrounding three siblings that have been granted powerful objects to unlock things beyond their wildest dreams. It dives into the darker elements for how these keys can be used, and has some rather graphic moments throughout. It has a nice sense of discovery to it, not only in regards to using the keys but also when looking back at the past.

Things are rarely as they seem here, and there’s always some sort of trickery being implemented. I felt that the narrative was generally great, with some minor issues throughout. Some moments stood out a fair bit, and it got too overwhelming towards the end as there clearly wasn’t enough time to develop the swiftly growing supporting cast. I think there’s some potential here with this series, and I feel they have more stories to tell. They set up a good mystery, and maybe should have dangled that a bit more. It seems like they’re trying to create a growing division so that might be interesting. A sort of mirroring of the past, could be different to watch.

I had a good time viewing this, it’s got some neat characters and shocking trauma that gets dived into. Nothing is quite as it seems, and this does get rather dark despite the opening being lighter in terms of what delivered. Once it amps up though, things can get rather insane and of course graphic as I’ve mentioned. It should be neat to see if this does get further development, as I’m curious how they’ll handle aging with the cast in regards to how this narrative is setup.

Locke & Key Season 1 Review at Home with Streamed Viewing
Screening was Provided by Netflix

Rating Overall: 7.2

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner