TV REVIEW: Locke and Key – Season 1

After Rendell Locke (Bill Heck) is murdered by one of his students (Thomas Mitchell Barnet), his wife, Nina (Darby Stanchfield) and three children return to his childhood home in search of answers. None of them has ever visited the mansion-like Key House and Rendell had always been reluctant to talk about his past, so the family have no idea what to expect.

Torn apart by grief, Tyler (Connor Jessup), Kinsey (Emilia Jones) and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) struggle to adjust to their new home and school. But that’s the least of their worries as there are strange things afoot in Key House. Bode can hear someone calling to him in the well house and the whole house is awash with keys whispering to its inhabitants… keys with incredible powers… keys that other dark forces would love to get their hands on.

I think Locke and Key was kind of made for me. I love a bit of young adult drama when it’s done well and I also love dark fantasy so I was hooked from the first episode. I thought the keys had some really unusual, unique powers that I have not seen before in “magic type” TV shows and movies. I liked how the way the kids decide to use the keys crosses over with the guilt, fear and sadness they feel as a kind of allegory for coping with grief. There is also enough adult drama as Nina fights her own inner demons while trying to learn more about Rendell’s past. There are some impressive visual effects and the set design is gorgeous.

It’s certainly not perfect though. I didn’t really give a shit who Tyler or Kinsey fancied and the pacing was a bit patchy. There also isn’t much effort put into the actually mythology of Key house or the keys. I like some history. I like to know why. I don’t accept that there are just magic keys because there are. Maybe that’s what we’ll get in season 2?

Overall I had a great time with this show and I am grateful to Lori of Lori’s Lane for recommending it. It’s the perfect distraction for these weird times.



  1. I thought that staying in would enable me to watch much more TV from recommendations like this one. But my wife had C17 Really on a loop. Medical guff, and antiques, plus ghost hunters! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I actually watched most of this on my last few commutes. I’ve not watched much at all during the day here as Mr O and I are both attempting to work and also amuse Little O. He gets most control of the telly.

  2. Great review! I loved the keys as well and the visuals really surprised me with how good they were. Yes! The kids’ love lives were soooo boring.

    1. Next time more mythology, less boring teenage love triangles!

  3. Heya, Abbi. Thank you for linking to my blog. I actually decided to draft a blog with reviews myself, because I’m tired of talking about the virus. I reviewed Locke & Key, but I did not post the blog yet (I have another posted that I wanted to do first). I gave the series a 5/5. For me, the history of how the keys came to pass would be an interesting new thing to learn, but not essential. The one issue I found with the series was the actor who played their mom. I thought she was awful. I also loved the imagination of each of those fantasy worlds, and how some of them could help with their emotional issues.

    1. Yeah, the mom was definitely the weakest actor. She was so inconsistent. It really was super imaginative.

  4. Here’s one that I’ve seen! It’s creepy and entertaining.

    1. Perfect description!

  5. I need to see this show, but I want to read the comic books first.
    Great review!

    1. I am not a great reader of comic books so that bit isn’t super important to me. It does seem fans of the comics found it a bit tame but I thought it was pitched right for a YA and up audience.

  6. I didn’t like this at all. I thought it was too soft. Too just.. just not strong enough.

    1. I guess they were going for a YA audience. I found it fun and imaginative.

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