Locke and Key season 3 assessment: it ends with a whimper

When it debuted in 2020, Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Locke and Key received off to a fairly good begin. Based mostly on the sensible comedian sequence from Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez, the present tells the story of the Locke household and their sprawling ancestral dwelling in Massachusetts that additionally occurs to be dwelling to some very cool magical keys. The primary season of the present blended the comedian’s darkish household drama and fantastical premise with some high-school hijinks ripped proper out of Riverdale. However with season two, a scarcity of an important villain and a sped-up tempo took away from what made the present so attention-grabbing — particularly the magic and the thriller. Now, the sequence is again with a 3rd and closing season that makes an attempt to wrap issues up as soon as and for all. However regardless of some good concepts, it’s not the course correction Locke and Key actually wanted.

This assessment comprises spoilers for the third season of Locke and Key.

Season 3 picks up proper the place the earlier one left off, which signifies that — a minimum of initially — the Locke household resides life as if all the things is regular. However there are some essential adjustments. Older brother Tyler (Connor Jessup) is off constructing homes in Montana after an aimless street journey, and extra importantly, he’s residing a easy life after voluntarily deciding to purge any magical reminiscences from his mind. On the opposite finish of the spectrum, Locke mother Nina (Darby Stanchfield) has used the keys to revive her reminiscence of magic so she doesn’t really feel so separated from the remainder of her household. (Within the Locke and Key universe, everybody naturally forgets in regards to the existence of magic as soon as they hit maturity except you make use of a particular key.)

Early on, Tyler returns dwelling for his uncle’s wedding ceremony and issues get fairly awkward since he doesn’t bear in mind any of the large life occasions that occurred over the previous two seasons. There isn’t a lot to say to his little brother Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) and sister Kinsey (Emilia Jones), and he will get fairly suspicious that everybody is conserving one thing from him. He’s compelled again into all of it once more, although, as a result of — because the finale of season 2 teased — we now have a brand new villain within the type of Frederick Gideon (Kevin Durand), a British soldier from colonial Massachusetts who, within the modern-day, has been possessed by a strong demon. The principle factor it is advisable to know is that Gideon needs to make use of the keys to break down the wall between our world and the glowing blue realm of demons — for causes which might be by no means totally clear.

There are some things the brand new season does properly. For starters, there’s the introduction of recent keys which might be stuffed with risk; similar to within the early days of Locke and Key, it’s lots of enjoyable to study in regards to the keys and what they will do. In season 3, we’re launched to a time-travel key with some crucial limitations and a key-powered snow globe with the potential to lure victims indefinitely. As at all times, these keys “whisper” to the Locke household every time the time is true for them to seem. I additionally actually loved a few of the extra imaginative scenes, when the top key — which accurately permits you to enterprise into somebody’s thoughts — is put to make use of. A lot of the present’s climax takes place within the mind of a hardcore theater child, which makes it further, properly, further. There are some nice performances right here, too, most notably from Scott as Bode; he’s as obnoxious as ever, however he additionally takes a detour as a surprisingly efficient villain, giving some sturdy Chucky vibes.

However all of that’s principally undone by the remainder of the present. For one factor, regardless of the seemingly simple premise, issues are far too sophisticated. At this level within the story, you just about want a spreadsheet to maintain observe of what’s occurring with everybody. It’s a must to fear in regards to the powers and places of the varied keys and who does and doesn’t bear in mind magic in addition to the truth that sure characters have modified their physique or look. I usually needed to pause the present to attempt to bear in mind a few of the logistical particulars.

Extra essential, although, is the truth that, similar to in season 2, the brand new villain sucks. Gideon isn’t as unhealthy because the extraordinarily unscary Gabe (Griffin Gluck), however that’s not saying a lot. When the large baddie each seems to be and sounds goofy, it’s exhausting to ever really feel too nervous in regards to the security of the Lockes. It’s particularly disappointing as a result of season 1 had an unimaginable villain in Dodge (Laysla De Oliveira), who was equal components menacing and manipulative; sadly, she solely makes a quick look within the story’s concluding chapter.

Maybe it’s an excellent factor that season 3 is mercifully quick. It’s solely eight episodes lengthy, in comparison with the ten of earlier seasons, and some episodes are solely round half an hour lengthy. The present doesn’t take lengthy to get to its conclusion, which wraps issues up slightly too neatly for my liking. As with season 2, it’s not like the brand new episodes of Locke and Key are unhealthy, per se; they’re simply okay — which, given the supply materials and its fascinating premise, means they’re fairly the frustration.

Season 3 of Locke and Key begins streaming on Netflix on August ninth.

Disclosure: The Verge lately produced a sequence with Netflix.

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