Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez. Available now on Netflix.
Not long to go, now. The penultimate episode of Locke & Key Season One is here!
And it's... an odd one.
In many ways, this as quite a dull episode. It's 95% talking, there's very little magic, all but none of the horror/fantasy blend that is Locke & Key's calling card.
But do you know what there is a LOT of?
The thing which saves this episode, and makes it far more than just set-up for episode 10, is the fact that it is filled to the brim with answers to some of the most important questions asked so far in the show.
The episode starts with a flashback sequence. Filling in a load of blanks, showing us a number of scenes we'd previously seen, but from the viewpoint of a non-Locke character. These scenes, short though they were, really helped fill in a lot of blanks, and really helped fill out the world. I can't go into detail, but I will say this: Now that we have the whole story, I feel a little sorry for a character I have previously been quite mean about.
It's not Sam, though. That dude is still a giant bell end.
Next up, we visit school once more, for what I imagine may well be the final time, this season. The Lockelettes decide it's time to come clean: with the clash with Dodge entering its final stages, they realise they need all the help they can get. Thus, they decide to let a few choice people know the secret of Key House.
This goes... About as well as you would imagine. Tyler's friends vary between shock, confusion, and stunned acceptance.
Kinsey's friends? Well, she told them about three episodes back, so they had their own little arc. Yup, you guessed it. Love Triangle time! Please, please, hold your cheers...
Kinsey is on the horns of a dilemma. Who does she pick? Loyal, kind, British Scot. Or creepy weirdo Gabe? Honestly, it's a pickle.
She finally decides there's only one solution: Have her cake, and eat it too.
It's all very progressive and 2020. I'm sure there's literally zero chance of this all exploding in her face.
As for Bode telling his friends...
Haha, who are we kidding. He doesn't have any friends.
Preparations made, and with a little help from an unexpected source, the history lessons begins.
We take a deep dive into the past and uncover the full story of the Keepers of the Keys, their first time interacting with the Omega Door, and what really happened on that fateful trip into the caves...
I've got to say, although they weren't exactly grand revelations, I still really enjoyed this flashback section of the episode. Some great lore, interesting scenes, and most important, an answer to a question that has been bugging me for a while: If adults don't remember the magic of the keys, Why does Ellie?
Sadly, the answer for this question was another question. But let's be honest, were we expecting anything definitive?
Lastly, the 11th hour McGuffin has arrived! The Item of Power that will prove instrumental in the final episode! With no prior mentions, or any kind of build-up at all, we have... The Crown of Shadows! Looking like a reused prop from Lord of The Rings, and spending the series up until now hidden in the least secure and imaginative place in the world, The Crown of Shadows has reared its ugly head! Lack of build-up and vaguely incongruous design aside, the crown does seem like a fairly powerful piece of kit. It will be interesting to see how it factors into the finalé.
Briefly, before I wrap this review up...
I've spoken before, about how the Locke Kids are mostly idiots, but every so often they will have a good episode and NOT be idiots for 45 mins. I've spoken at length about how Nina is the best Locke, because she is. But, quickly, I want to talk about the unsung hero of this series.
Throughout the season, Rufus has quietly chilled in the background. Mostly playing with Army men, and building model planes... But here's the thing: every time he's been called to step up and act, not only has he done so, but the vast majority of times, he's done the right thing. In a show where I've wanted to slap the sh!t out of 90% of the cast at least once, Rufus has the distinction of being the only person with a slap-free record. I look forward to eating these words, when he does something MONUMENTALLY stupid next week!
Overall, Episode 9 did its job, and did it well. It answered some of the major questions of the season, while leaving a few open for next week, and probably for season 2. It got everyone into place, and cleared the board of the side-plots, leaving next episode free to focus on the Omega Door, the Crown of Shadows, and kicking some Echo Butt.
Also, seriously? One of the best final lines in quite a while. Credit where it's due.
See you next week, when the final key is turned, and this crazy story comes to its (sort of) end!