So, apparently I was a little bit harsh about Episode 1 of Locke and Key. So, I'd like to take a moment now, to absolutely not apologise!
Because episode 2, "Trapper/Keeper," was a huge step up from the Episode 1, and mostly because it didn't do a lot of the things which annoyed me so much about episode 1.
Episode 2 dropped the cliché trope laden nonsense of Episode 1, and focused far more on building up the mystery and magic that was the strongest part of the season opener.
There continues to be three main arcs within the series. First, the least interesting: Kinsey and Tyler, trying to survive in the rabid hellscape that is Highschool.
While this plot arc did advance somewhat this week, nothing major really happened. Tyler's new friends, the cool jocks, proved themselves to be dicks, to the surprise of no one. And Tyler's dalliance last week with the shallow popular girl comes back to bite him. Shocker.
This arc also gave us the stupidest line of the episode "You can either be an asshole, or a good guy. You can't be both."
While this may initially seem like it verges on the profound, it actually has about as much depth as a wannabe Instagram Influencer's caption. I'm hoping this was intentional, though. As the very next scene shows a young guy keying someone's car (asshole thing to do), but as the car belongs to the king jock of the school, and is currently parked in the spot reserved for specially abled students.
I feel like this so perfectly illustrates that whether you're an asshole or a good guy, is actually a simple matter of your point of view on the situation, that it can't be a coincidence. Either that, or I've just put WAY too much thought into what was meant to be a throwaway line: who knows?
Kinsey's friends, the quirky film nerds, continue to be charming and nerdy. All the while continually triggering Kinsey and somehow acting surprised that a girl who saw her father murdered in front of her might have something of an aversion to blood spray. But, hey, he's got an adorable English accent, so it's fine, right? Side note: This script was clearly written by an American. No true Brit would ever disparage Scones...they're Scones!
The second arc, and probably my favourite of the episode, featured Momma Locke. Nina continues to be my favourite Locke, and the mystery she's investigating continues to intrigue.
After a seemingly random encounter with an old friend of Rendell's leaves her with some serious questions about her husband's past in Matheson and what that could mean, for her present. Most important, why would he have failed to mention his large friend group, and the tragedy that befell them?
It's fairly classic mystery fare, honestly. And thankfully, at least in this particular plot arc, the writers seem content to take my advice from last week, and let the threads lay for a while. We found out some very interesting things, about a young Rendell Locke, but there are still a lot of questions left unanswered. I'm very excited to see how this particular mystery plays out, how it'll tie into the Key plot and why, exactly, Uncle Dunc seems not to remember any of it...
The final plot arc, is the one that people seem most hyped about: Bode and the Magic Keys!
I've got to say, credit where it's due. Bode was a LOT less annoying this week.
However, my main complaints about last week are still most evident in this particular arc. Right from the off, Nina seems to have forgotten the events of last episode, and their crazy trip into the mirror world. Bode addresses this by proudly exclaiming "Of course she forgot, she's an ADULT! Adults always forget this kind of thing." This is the kind of vaguely self aware writing that has become quite popular in the last few years, with varying levels of success. However, it just felt out of place here, as the general tone of the series leans more towards supernatural/horror, and quippy writing like that feels out of place, to me. But maybe I'm just over-analysing again.
That one blip aside, the rest of his arc was strong; after finding another key, Bode goes on a search to find the right hole/lock to put it in. This search brings him into contact with weapons-obsessive groundskeeper Rufus, who gives Bode some STAGGERINGLY terrible assistance, and a local locksmith, played by horror SFX legend Tom Savini. And while he does eventually find where to use the key, we'll have to wait until next episode, to find out where it leads him.
Overall, this was a much better episode than the first. The characters were less annoying, the plot more interesting, and while they do still tend to pay off certain plot elements a little too quickly, they are starting to build up an overarching plot.
If episode 1 was a bad episode, with a few redeeming moments, episode 2 was a strong episode with a few weaker moments. Let's hope the show continues to improve at this rate!