The following are extensive scene-by-scene recaps on ‘Locke and Key’. A Netflix adapted horror series created and based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Joe Hill and developed by Carlton Cuse of Lost fame. With a podcast below reviewing the first three episodes of the Season.
We take a look at Locke and Key’s second (16 mins in) and third episode (30 mins in) in.
Episode 2: Trapper/Keeper
We open on a visual of Bode Locke (Jackson Robert Scott) scribbling pictures of the woman in the well, unsure if she’s an echo, witch, or a ghost. He’s trying to come up with a plan to stop her at the breakfast table, where shortly after, Nina Locke (Darby Stanchfield) tells her kids Duncan is on his way home from Boston to help them move in.
Kinsey asks Nina again about what happened, but her mother doesn’t recall. Bode thinks, just like Narnia, adults can’t seem to remember things related to magic. Kinsey reasons maybe they were hallucinating but Bode takes her to a mirror and unlocks it with the mirror key, where they see Kinsey’s reflection call — Bode thus proving magic is real. Tyler interrupts and asks Bode if this was the only one he’d found. He admits to having lost Kinsey’s anywhere key.
Javi (Kevin Alves) arrives to take the teens to school, as Kinsey (Emilia Jones) asks Tyler what it was like in the mirror world, describing it as a funhouse from hell. Javi (Kevin Alves) tells the Locke siblings that there are many stories about key house, including a woman who once visited and went insane.
Back inside the halls of key house, Bode wanders with his G.I. Joe action figure and rainbow lightsaber. He stumbles upon a noise in the bathroom and readies himself for combat, though it’s revealed only to be Duncan (Aaron Ashmore). Bode thinks think they might need more powerful weapons, and later tries grabbing some mounted swords in the house but fails. Suddenly, he hears whispers and follows it to a closet vacuum cleaner, where inside, he finds yet another key. This one shaped like a head.
At high school, Javi parks in a handicapped spot as the three depart. Soon after, Javi and Brinker ask Tyler if he hooked up with Eden. Tyler lies to them yes, though he never went through with it, but Jackie (Genevieve Kang) overhears him in his lie.
At key house, Nina meets Ellie Whedon (Sherri Saum), whose son Rufus takes care of the grounds there. She brings Nina local artisanal gin as a housewarming present then shares that she used to be friends with Rendell Locke, having dated his best friend: Lucas. As they look over Rendell’s high school photos, a phone call interrupts Nina as the academy asks for its missing tuition payment. Nina claims there must’ve been a mix-up and offers to head in.
Bode tries opening the big mysterious door, noticing a giant skull on the knob. When it fails, he goes back outside to explore the woods. Stumbling upon Rufus (Coby Bird) and commenting about the day they met outside the ice cream parlor with their near-identical G.I. Joes. Seemingly a weapons expert, Bode asks Rufus what to use against an enemy which they’re not sure what it is. Rufus takes him inside and gives him a bear trap, then tells him he has to be careful or he’ll lose a hand. He reminds Bode he needs good bait, the idea: “What does my enemy most want”?
We cut back to the woman in the well (Laysla De Oliveira), who is scarfing down food at a diner. She sticks her fingers into the hot coffee. Then asks for where the restroom is, using the anywhere key to enter a new location where she picks out a fancy new wardrobe. She then uses the key to steal some jewelry, escapes to a French night club to find a man to hook up with and then asks him to choke her. Bored, she gets atop him and chokes him to death.
At the school cafeteria alone, Kinsey’s brother ignores her, but Scot finds and sits with her, apologizing about the horror movies. Suddenly, the most popular girl a school, Eden, interrupts them, saying she’s going to get her hair blown (under Scot’s dollar no less) for ‘Amanda’ — Scot’s character. When Kinsey asks what that was about, Scot reveals the short film the Savini’s are shooting called ‘The Splattering’. He invites Kinsey to join if she’d like.
At the school’s offices, Nina is greeted by Joe Ridgeway, the dean of 11th grade. Joe says Tyler is quiet, but he’ll look out him, as he reminds him of his father Rendell — having been his teacher too. He reveals that Rendell’s friends were a tight-knit group, which comes as a surprise to Nina, who’d thought her husband a loner, then states it was a tragedy what happened…
Tyler approaches Jackie, emphasizing nothing happened between him and Eden. She reveals Eden is her friend and that she knows everything, giving Tyler an ultimatum: You can either be an asshole or a good guy, but you can’t be both. In a flashback, Tyler goes into his dad’s office, who is revealed to be a high school guidance counselor back in Seattle. Rendell (Bill Heck) asks Tyler about Sam Lester, whom he tells to try and befriend. Back in the present, Nina sees her son and is happy he’s seemingly fitting in. After she leaves, Tyler observes a student key Javi’s car.
A cameo by practical effects legend Tom Savini, whom Scot’s friends ‘The Savini’s’ are named after.
Bode asks a hardware store employee (Tom Savini) if he’s seen a particular key and while the hardware employee searches, a hole opens up in the back of his neck. Bode curiously wonders if he should use the key on him but the employee turns around before he can and gives him a jar of keys, likely sets lost throughout the years that nobody would miss.
Nina looks around at the hardware store and finds a hammer, which she sees is spattered in blood. A flashback triggers to the day of their traumatic incident with Sam Lesser (Thomas Mitchell Barnet), where we learn that while threatening Kinsey, Nina grabbed the hammer on the floor and bashed Sam’s head while he wasn’t looking.
When she returns to key house, she is greeted by Ellie, who is there to pick up Rufus. When asked about the tragedy that Joe was referring to, Ellie shares that when they were all seniors, three of their friends died in a drowning accident — as the group partied at a sea cave half a mile north but forgot to remember the tides. Nina asks why Rendell never told her and Ellie reasons maybe they didn’t want to revisit it — as it was the most painful thing that ever happened to them. Ellie herself, admits to still being haunted by Lucas, whom she thought was something very special.
Upstairs, Bode readies the bear trap he’d gotten from Rufus, carefully setting it using one of the keys as bait. When the woman in the well arrives, she triggers the trap which slices a stuffed bear she’d gotten for Bode in half. Questioning why he’d do this as she thought they were ‘friends’. Bode renounces her for lying and trying to kill his mom. She demands he bring her more keys. When he resists, she chokes him and leaves him gasping as she departs again.
At a convenience store, Javi and Brinker (Kolton Stewart) run into Logan (Eric Graise), whom Tyler recognizes as the kid who keyed Javi’s car. Trying to steal some 40-ounce beer bottles, they have Tyler tuck one under his coat, but the store owner catches them at the door — the two pushing down the old man. Tyler helps him up, apologizes, and gives the 40 back. The man still calls the police. It’s then Logan tells the owner Tyler was holding his beer, shows him a passible fake I.D., and then comments on how the store’s bathroom wasn’t accessible. It’s made obvious now, Logan has artificial legs being a double leg amputee (Likely why he keyed Javi’s car given the handicap spot he’d parked in). Tyler gets away scot-free with Logan’s help.
At Scot’s house, fellow new-to-Matheson student Gabe agrees to dress as an Amphropeta, a half-man half-lobster (it’s a local legend in town) for their movie: “The splattering”. Eden reveals she doesn’t want to be drenched in blood and quits; At the last second, despite her own trauma, Kensie agrees to replace her. She does a good job until the blood spatters rig triggers her own trauma, causing her to freeze when she’s supposed to scream.
Back at Key house, Duncan and Nina eat Mushu pork soon realizing none of the are home. She asks Duncan why Rendell never said anything about that drowning. He admits not knowing why but finds it strange that he can’t remember the whole period of his life. Shortly after, Kinsey arrives covered in blood. She tells them she’s okay, though a flashback minutes later proves otherwise: seeing Rendell giving Kinsey her bracelet. She asks dad why he never talked about his family, and he says they’re all the family he needed. Kinsey holds the bracelet in her hand and cries.
Back in his room, Bode uses the head key on himself. And finds himself leaving his body, behind him, a chest where a series of lights shines and emanates.
Kinsey finds Tyler shortly after in the hallway. She finally confronts him: how they used to talk about everything but now doesn’t recognize him anymore. They see Bode standing still, and when they approach him, see him come out of the trunk —enthusiastically telling them to follow.
Episode 3: Head Games
Bode descends his mind with his siblings through a treasure chest that appeared after using the head key. His mind is in the shape of an arcade, in a vibrant place where feelings can become people. Finding a jack in the box, Bode opens up a memory of his dad, though the Locke children can’t interact with him. In the memory, Rendell tells Bode a bedtime story of a bunch of shipmates stranded on a remote island, who’d found a treasure chest that they wanted to take home but were stopped, when encountering a sea monster. Bode fell asleep again shortly after having never finished the story.
Back in the real world, the head key drops from the back of Bode’s neck as life returns back to normal. Kinsey and Tyler ask how Bode found the head key and he tells them that each key calls out in a whisper, all they have to do is look. Bode wants to try opening their heads but the siblings refuse. Tyler says he’ll hold onto the keys, though Kinsey is skeptical of trusting him, and Bode reveals that the lady in the well is trying to get them. Tyler holds mirror key Kinsey takes the head key.
At the moment, at a cafe, the Lady from the well uses a stranger’s laptop to find Mark Cho. She sees a picture of his Cho’s house via a googlemaps type of device, and now having seen his Mark’s door, uses the anywhere key to transport herself there – soon realizing that the place burnt down in a fire (the opening scene of Locke and Key’s pilot episode). She finds a group of kids hanging out by the house, one of whom, reveals having found one of the keys: one that causes fire. She calls him over and offers to show how hers works by opening a door to the subway, then quickly, grabs the child’s and throws him into an oncoming train. The kids run away scared.
Back at school, Scot gets Kinsey Band of Horses (the cover band) tickets, asking her out on a date as she says ‘maybe’.
Moments later, on the ice, the Locke family watch Tyler play Hockey as Nina tells Kinsey to go make friends then tells Bode to find them seats. Ellie meets up with her, offers her a night out if she wants. On the opposite side of the rink, Kinsey overhears Eden talk to Jackie and Logan, about how Tyler obviously has a crush on her. Jackie invites Kinsey to sit with them
On the ice, Tyler grows impatient that he’s not starting. Chad Garland crashes next to them. The team loses by six and Tyler is upset he was benched to his mom. He says he’s going to Javi’s but soon sees Jackie and asks if she’s going. Chad tries picking up some girls, including Kinsey, and Tyler ends up fighting him — punching him in the face and beating him down. Envisioning it was Sam.
He’s given a suspension. And in waiting, remember’s the day Sam and he bonded over their dads. He offhandedly says, he wishes to kill his dad and not taking it seriously, Tyler says do him a favor and if he ever did kill his while he was at it. Soon after, Logan greets him they bond and he tells him not to let anger get to him if he can.
Kinsey and Tyler talk the day after, and she tells him she wants to go inside her own head using the head key. Tyler tells her he’s coming with her. He agrees not to take anything in her head. They go inside and find Kinsey’s head organized and outlined like a stylistically colorful shopping mall. They explore a memory of her dad in a multicolored room where each glass tile was a memory. She sees a memory of dad recounting the same story he had to Bode as a kid, and in this version, the sea monster saw what good he’d done in the world and coughed back all of his friends — for a happy ending. Childhood Tyler returns a stuffed animal to her, showing he cared about her when they were little.
Distracted, Kinsey accidentally takes them to another memory, of Tyler beating up Chad. They are soon approached by a monster, the embodiment of Kinsey’s fear. Escaping, they teleport to the memory of them in Seattle of Kinsey hiding with Bode beneath a table as Sam hunts her down to murder them. She feels guilt over being paralyzed doing nothing that day. Suddenly, her fear attacks Tyler and Kinsey grabs a poker and stabs her fear.
Returning to the real world, they see that Tyler’s scratch carried over from her mind world to the real world. Tyler follows Jackie’s Instagram, liking a photo by accident. He remembers his version of his father’s story: where the fisherman survived alone, never forgetting what he’d done on the island, but all his friends remained dead. He shares the past is always with them. That you can try to run but it’s always there…
Nina goes out with Ellie at a restaurant, where it’s revealed Nina is near six years sober. She regretted all the time she missed with her kids, then notes all the kids are coping in their own ways. She shares with Ellie, that there’s an imaginary friend Bode has been spending time with at the Well House, which piques Ellie’s interest greatly.
Back at key house, Bode eats a cookie and then suddenly hears whispers. He follows them to a portrait in the living room and finds a key with a skull on it attached to the painting. He takes it and tries using it on the creepy door in the Winter Study and the second he steps out, his soul leaves his body. Bode then goes around as a ghost flying high into the air like Peter Pan in what’s basically an expensive cut scene. Eventually, he stumbles upon a graveyard where he lands and then meets in person, the ghost of Chamberlain Locke (who looks an awful lot like a spectral force ghost from Star Wars). He tells Bode he’s sorry about his father, then reveals that Rendell and Duncan used to fly around these parts back when they were kids using the keys. Bode hears his mom return and has to go, then offers to visit Chamberlain again. He flies back to Key House and sees Ellie is there, who mysteriously unlocks the well house with her own key, then asks for Lucas down the well… though nobody replies.
Tyler, now home, looks for Bode and finds his dead body lying in the study. He freaks out, though the kid returns shortly after. He scares his brother for fun and tells him he meets their great-grandpa. When Tyler asks why he did this knowingly disobeying him, he says he wanted to find dad. Later, Tyler lucks Bode in and wonders why their dad never talked to them out the keys. Wondering if he didn’t want them to use them. Bode wonders if their dad was scared of the well lady too. Tyler reassures his brother that he and Kinsey are there for Bode.
Upstairs, Kinsey is approached by Nina as they look over her different pictures of Bicycles for her college application. Nina asks what her friends are up to and tells her to go out, Kinsey mentioning that Scot invited her tonight, but she won’t go because she’s afraid of screwing it up. She shares she disappoints people, or they get hurt, believing herself to be a disappointment. When Kinsey tries and finds Scot eagerly waiting outside the concert, she rushes back home and uses the head key. There, she finds her fear, takes it to the woods to murder, and then bury it.
Nina goes through her husband’s old belongings and is disturbed as towards the back end of the page, she sees repeated drawings of the Omega signs, which triggers a memory: that Sam Lesser had the sign tattooed to his wrist.
The plot thickens a bit in this episode with Ellie by episode 3, though, for the most part, these episodes are still mostly just backstory. Overall, the season has remained consistent through leaves much to be desired. Mostly, we don’t have any motivations yet and we’re sort of dropped in this world. With little shown at stake, and much more censored horror with less of the trauma, all for a much friendlier version of the source material.
Which isn’t bad… but also isn’t great. Average, at best being my assessment for a phenomenal comic series.