Locke & Key has had perhaps one of the more tumultuous journeys to completion in recent memory. Back in 2011, a pilot made for FOX screened at San Diego Comic Con, but was not picked up for series. In 2014, a movie trilogy was announced. In 2016, these plans were scrapped in favor of a new TV iteration, this time being developed for Hulu. A completed pilot was made, and in 2018, Hulu announced they would not be moving forward with the final product. Finally, with every key role recast other than Jackson Robert Scott as Bode, Netflix swooped in to rescue the fantasy series from certain doom. While I have obviously not seen the two failed pilots, I will forever be thankful that this is the version of Locke & Key we finally got—a gothic family saga that embraces every bit of its fantastical premise as it careens towards unlocking its ending.
Seven months since season two dropped on Netflix, Locke & Key’s last season is finally here in the form of eight breezy, fast-paced episodes to nicely close up an unforgettable Locke family tale. In-universe, it has been two months since Tyler (Connor Jessup, Closet Monster, American Crime) left home at Keyhouse for Cascade County, Montana, his memories of magic wiped away after his 18th birthday in the wake of his girlfriend’s tragic death. The show gives us barely any time to get reacquainted with the Lockes. Almost immediately, the matriarch, Nina (Darby Stanchfield, Scandal, Mad Men), discovers a mysterious snow globe that has fallen from a shelf… Bode (Jackson Robert Scott, Stephen King’s It, The Prodigy) soon hears a whispering from inside the fridge, and uncovers a key with a snowflake symbol on the end that he dubs The Snow Globe Key. Everyone is trying to move on in Tyler’s absence—Kinsey (Emilia Jones, CODA) is finishing up her no-budget horror sequel, The Splattering 2, with her quirky group of film-nerd friends; Nina invites Josh (Brendan Hines) as her plus one to Duncan’s approaching wedding; Bode’s friendship with Josh’s daughter, Jamie (Liyou Abere), appears stronger than ever as he continues playing and experimenting with keys, including a new one that turns the user into an animal.
Kinsey keeps reaching out to Tyler for him to return home for, at the very least, the wedding of Uncle Duncan (Aaron Ashmore, Smallville, Animorphs), but can barely get him to “like” her texts, let alone fully respond. Meanwhile, true evil is lurking in Matheson. Awakened in last season’s finale by the demonic Eden, Gideon (Kevin Durand, The Strain, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones) is basically the new Big Bad. On Gideon’s agenda is finding a way to obtain all the keys made from Whispering Iron—with every key together, Gideon can fully open the portal to merge the demon world and the human world! Helping him along the way are two evil cronies who emerge from the snow globe, along with colonial “Echo” henchmen he revives. A war is brewing between Gideon and the Lockes, and where better to have a big showdown than at Keyhouse?
At this point, the Lockes have enough keys to fill an entire bureau, and remembering all their various functions seems almost superfluous. However, this third outing does provide us with a couple of important new keys and functionalities. In particular, the addition of the Time Shift Key is vital to the endgame of the series. The Head Key, as per usual, is also essential. In its home stretch, Locke & Key embraces the fantastical while keeping the story grounded for our core characters. Furthermore, it finally provides mama bear Nina with actual purpose and dramatic thrust to the story. Her memories restored, Nina plays a major role this time around, and earns a badass badge of honor by the time the season concludes.
If one has followed the Lockes this far, there is no reason to assume the third season will not deliver more thrills, chills, intimate family moments, and epic highs. Jackson Robert Scott’s Bode at one point in the season gets to play double duty—how ironic and perfect to Locke & Key that Scott was the sole carry-over from previous scrapped iterations. Bode is the indisputable MVP. I know I will definitely miss this show, and the enduring message that the past is always with us. Loose ends are neatly tied up for virtually anyone viewers have cared for over the last three seasons, including Ellie and Rufus. Get ready to head back to Keyhouse, and bid farewell to the Lockes as Netflix memorably closes out yet another iconic series in their repertoire!
Locke & Key unlocks its final episodes when it debuts exclusively to Netflix on Wednesday, August 10th.