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The Keepers of the Keys
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Locke and Key could be a great show. There’s some really imaginative ideas here and the story itself begins promisingly enough, setting up the main players and preparing for a nightmarish, binge-worthy series to follow. The main premise injects a healthy dose of mystery into the story and the three central kids at the heart of this one do well to keep things interesting. As the series ticks along though, this ten-part series sags in the middle and becomes far too slow paced, struggling to keep up its momentum before rounding things out with a more pacey climax, offering up a light tease that more may follow with a possible second season. Whether you make it that far however, remains to be seen.
The story itself revolves around three siblings, Bode, Kinsey and Tyler, who move back into their childhood home Key House. Aside from the haunting memories of their Father’s murder taking place inside the four walls, numerous magical keys also lie hidden around the house. The first episode sets the scene well, with plenty of intrigue and neat special effects added to keep things interesting, especially after the opening 5 minutes or so. From here, the series settles down into a more consistent rhythm, gently rocking through teen drama while more of the past is uncovered (and as we later discover, comes back to haunt the family). All of this bubbles over to a finale that sees the family battle over a special key called the Omega Key and a teasing glimpse that more may be on the horizon in the future for these characters.
With several different Directors and a pretty troubled past, Locke and Key feels like a show that was almost destined to land on the streaming platform. The thought of this being adapted to a film trilogy (such is the case with one of the original plans for this) certainly wouldn’t have worked and it’s easy to see why some networks passed on this too. It’s a perfect example of a show that benefits from the streaming model – if this was on once a week people would inevitably tune out around episode 4 and 5 – but if you can take to the story and make it past the fluff, there is some good material here.
The special effects and general tone of the show are very good indeed. I won’t spoil anything but the general idea of the keys opening weird and wonderful doorways is explored thoroughly and what begins as a simple enough idea, as Bode opens a doorway to an ice-cream parlor, soon turns into something far more wondrous and imaginative. For this alone, you’ll find yourself glued to the screen, eager to find out where the show takes us next and this, along with the dark past that haunts the siblings, makes for a show that certainly has a lot of promise.
Between the teen drama and slow pace early on, Locke and Key never quite settles into a consistent rhythm though, which is a shame because the premise feels like it should be exciting. The show will undoubtedly find its audience though and the the trio of siblings put in a fine job with their performances throughout the series. Bode in particular is one of the stand-outs but both Tyler and Kinsey have enough depth to their personas to keep you watching through some of the more angsty moments they experience at school.
Whether this is enough to translate into consistent views and warrant a second season however remains to be seen. Locke and Key is a show that could go either way and while there isn’t anything inherently bad about this series, there isn’t anything particularly incredible or outstanding either. It’s one of those love/hate shows that gets some elements right and others not so much. Given the wealth of great TV content out there, there just isn’t enough in Locke and Key to help it rise above mediocrity.
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Verdict - 6/10