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.