Television

{Television} Netflix’s Locke and Key Feels like an Edgy Supernatural

Locke and Key is deeply celebrated by fans of the comic book. It has been on my proverbial to be read list that somehow gets longer but never gets shorter. As a result, I went in completely blind to the new Netflix Locke and Key Adaptation.

Locke and Key’s central plot location which is perhaps the strongest selling point of the show is the ancestral Locke home. The Locke family has inherited the family home. The entire surviving Locke family decides to move into the home to start a new life. This restart is necessary because their father was recently murdered in front of his wife and son while the remaining daughter and son hid from the murderer.

As the Locke family starts to settle in the youngest is the first to realize that there are keys hidden in the home that give the possessor strange powers or that unlock different dimensions. Want to transport yourself to a place halfway across the world, there is a key for that. Want to turn yourself into a ghost, there is a key for that too. It’s a little like an early marketing campaign for the app store. Only its not angry birds and Waze but rather X-Men like powers. These keys and their powers and how the Locke family uses them to fight the big bad are hands down the most interesting bits about the show.

Where the show falls a little flat for me is in the interpersonal relationship development. As each Locke family member struggles with their own grief, I never got a sense of the family dynamic. Mom is mostly missing from the picture and while I know that is necessary to make the show more about the kids I spent more time second-guessing her choices and less time enjoying the wonder the show really wants us to buy into. Don’t get me wrong when the siblings are all together in the house the show has a Goonies like quality that made me smile on more than one occasion. I just wasn’t invested in the father murder plot at all. Every time I found myself in a flashback I was counting down the minutes until we found our next key in the present day. Our big bad, Dodge, is a solid villain playing up the lady in the lake trope quite well. When we finally meet some shadow monsters in the last few episodes the show leans into a slightly harder age rating. The show would do well to abandon some of the more FreeForm roots and embrace this edge. When it does its quite good.

LOCKE & KEY Photo Courtesy of Netflix

The entire season feels a bit like a combination of the best Mega Man games with an episode or two of Friday the 13th the Series. It is at its best when it’s using and discovering the new powers that the house hides. It tends to drag when we get exposition that tries to build out the drama of the show. What makes shows like Supernatural so fun to watch are the episodic elements. While we stick around to see the brothers occasionally love on one another or work through their familial issues we come back to watch them fight monsters in clever ways. If Locke and Key follow that game plan then we are in for a treat as it moves forward. If and when we get a second season I hope it grows into itself, much the way the Locke family will grow into their new home.

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