Locke & Key Season 3 TV Review

Reason: The Locke family uncovers more magic in the Keyhouse, while a new threat—the most dangerous yet—threatens Matheson with his own plans for the keys.

Review: I have a love/hate relationship with Lock and key. I’m a big fan of the comic by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, which depicted the great mythology of supernatural keys and entities centered on a family in a small town in Massachusetts. When Netflix’s series was announced, I was very excited to see how Carlton Cuse would direct 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 inherent to the comics. Interestingly, the third and final season is over Lock and key manages to be the most entertaining of the three primarily because it deviates the most from the source material to tell a final chapter far different from how the comic ended and delivers a solid conclusion to this version of the story.

Third season of Lock and key picks up two months after the end of the previous season, brought the end of the demonic Dodge (Laysla De Oliveira/Griffin Gluck), restored the memory of magic to Nina (Darby Stanchfield) and said goodbye to many other characters. As this season opens, Tyler has left Keyhouse to try to reconcile his feelings after Jackie’s (Genevieve Kang) death, leaving Kinsey (Emilia Jones) and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) to live with Nina and the knowledge that are more keys out there. All is well in the world with Dodge gone and Duncan’s (Aaron Ashmore) upcoming wedding. Nothing could possibly ruin that, right?

Enter Kevin Durand as the demonically possessed Revolutionary War soldier Frederick Gideon seen in flashbacks in the second season. Gideon serves as the big bad this year, but is essentially a replacement for Dodge, who happens to be a more physically imposing presence. Reviving his fellow British soldiers to reclaim all the keys the Lockes have forged over the years, Gideon’s plan is far less subtle than Dodge’s, but sets the Locke clan on a similar quest as they did in the first two seasons. Over the course of the eight-episode season, the main characters endure a lot, including the loss of some supporting players, while trying to stop the demon controlling Gideon from destroying Keyhouse, Matheson, and reality as we know it.

Like the seasons before it, this run spreads the mystery a bit thin as it builds towards the final showdown between the heroes and the villains. There are fewer characters this time than in previous seasons, but Lock and key still manages to spend an inordinate amount of time on the day-to-day subplots that don’t really do much for the overall narrative. With this season only consisting of eight episodes compared to the ten episodes of the first and second years, the momentum is a little more steady, but it still could have been trimmed down a bit. The new keys this season offer unique threads we haven’t seen before, but exist primarily to make the finale work and feel a bit convenient, plot-wise.

Although this season opens the same way as previous seasons, there is definitely a sense of finality this time around. Both of the first two seasons ended on cliffhangers or presented teases about where the story might go, Lock and key brings closure in the finale that ends this story differently than how the comic ended. It’s remarkably optimistic about the source material, with the action in this season on a slightly smaller scale than in the second. But the special effects are vastly improved this season, which helps sell the story. It’s hard not to have wished this story had 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 as a bit anticlimactic and convenient, but it’s on par with this series as a whole.

Ultimately, the final season is over Lock and key serves as a satisfying end to the series it set out to be. Fans of the comic will likely be left unsatisfied with this adaptation, which dilutes the source material from a scary story to a more Amblin-esque adventure. I liked not knowing where the story was going, but that’s the biggest boost this third installment gets over the first two seasons. Fantastic, magical and entertaining, Lock and key nonetheless remains 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 revisited as a single story for years to come. You could do a lot worse than drowning out this final season Lock and key.

Lock and key‘s final season premieres on Netflix on August 10.

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