Plot: The Locke family uncovers more magic within Keyhouse, while a new threat — the most dangerous one yet — looms in Matheson with plans of his own for the keys.
Review: I have a love/hate relationship with Locke & Key. I am a huge fan of the comic book by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez which chronicled the vast mythology of supernatural keys and entities centered on a family in a small Massachusetts town. When Netflix’s series was announced, I was very excited to see how Carlton Cuse would lead the adaptation. Alas, while the series embodied the magic at the core of the story, it favored a coming-of-age fantasy approach and all but abandoned the violence and horror that were intrinsic to the comic. Interestingly, the third and final season of Locke & Key manages to be the most entertaining of the three primarily because it deviates the most from the source material to tell a concluding chapter far different than how the comic ended and delivers a solid conclusion to this version of the story.
The third season of Locke & Key picks up two months after the end of the previous season brought about the end of the demonic Dodge (Laysla De Oliveira/Griffin Gluck), restored the memory of magic for Nina (Darby Stanchfield), and bade farewell to multiple other characters. As this season opens, Tyler has left Keyhouse to try and reconcile his feelings after the death of Jackie (Genevieve Kang), leaving Kinsey (Emilia Jones) and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) to go about their lives with Nina and the knowledge that there are more keys out there. All seems well in the world with Dodge gone and Duncan’s (Aaron Ashmore) upcoming wedding. Nothing could possibly spoil that, right?
Enter Kevin Durand as the demonically possessed Revolutionary War soldier Frederick Gideon seen in flashbacks during the second season. Gideon serves as the big bad this year but is essentially a replacement for Dodge which happens to be a more physically imposing presence. Resurrecting his fellow British soldiers to reclaim all of the keys the Lockes forged over the years, Gideon’s plan is far less subtle than Dodge’s but sets the Locke clan on a similar quest to what they did in the first two seasons. Over the eight-episode season, the main characters endure a lot including the loss of some supporting players as they try to stop the demon in control of Gideon from destroying Keyhouse, Matheson, and reality as we know it.
Like the seasons before it, this run does spread the mystery a little thin as it builds towards the final showdown between the heroes and villains. There are fewer characters this time around than in prior seasons, but Locke & Key still manages to spend an inordinate amount of time with the day-to-day subplots that don’t really do much for the overall narrative. With this season only consisting of eight episodes versus the ten episodes in the first and second years, the momentum is a bit steadier but could still have been trimmed down a bit. The new keys this season do offer unique threads we have not seen before, but mainly exist to make the finale work and feel a bit convenient, plot-wise.
While this season opens similarly to past seasons, there is definitely a feeling of finality this time around. Both of the first two seasons ended on cliffhangers or presented teases of where the story could continue, Locke & Key brings closure in the finale that ends this story differently than how the comic book ended. It is remarkably upbeat compared to the source material with the action this season a little smaller scale than in the second. But, the special effects are markedly improved this season which helps sell the story. It is hard not to have wanted this story to have gone on longer, but Cuse and his writing team don’t overstay their welcome and go out on a high note. The series finale may strike some a little anticlimactic and convenient, but that is par for the course with this series as a whole.
Ultimately, the final season of Locke & Key works as a satisfying conclusion to the series it set out to be. Fans of the comic book will likely remain unsatisfied by this adaptation that waters down the source material from a scary story to a more Amblin-esque adventure. I liked not knowing where the story was headed but that is the biggest boost this third run gets over the first two seasons. Fantastical, magical, and enjoyable, Locke & Key remains nonetheless a missed opportunity to have told a far better story that fans will be able to seek out in the form of the collected graphic novels. Still, I commend the cast and crew for completing this story with a solid beginning, middle, and end that can now be rewatched as a single story for years to come. You could do far worse than binging this final season of Locke & Key.
Locke & Key‘s final season premieres on Netflix on August 10th.
Originally published at www.joblo.com