Locke & Key. Based on the graphic novels by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez.
I've got to say, this show started slowly, and was somewhat up and down in the opening half... but the back half of the season has been solid; with each episode being as good, if not better, than the one that proceeded it.
After the tense, personal drama of episode 7, episode 8 widens its view a little. But it doesn't take its foot off the gas, at all. As the pieces start to fall into place, and we get a few answers, we are also posed a number of very important questions.
Episode 8, "Ray of F---ing Sunshine," is a very Nina-heavy episode. Which is great, because I'm not kidding when I refer to her as "Best Locke." Darby Stanchfield absolutely takes over this episode, delivering probably the strongest performance anyone has given is far, in this series. Admittedly, that's not exactly hard. But credit where it's due, she really gives it her all this episode and is in full control of all her scenes.
This is particularly evident when you compare the manic energy during her scene discovering the magic of the cabinet/asclepius key and the emotional crash, after she discovers its limits. It's a mark of how well she plays this, that even though the conclusion is fairly obvious to the viewer, you still really feel Nina's journey, and its effects on her currently somewhat unbalanced emotional state.
Combine all of this with the fall we saw her take in episode 7's final scene, and the fallout from that in this episode, and we're taken on something of an emotional rollercoaster. All this from a character who has often been the firm bedrock, there to shore up her somewhat wild children as they go on the magic journey Key House has taken them on.
But of course, this is Locke & Key. So, while there is an underlying emotional journey this episode, there's also plenty of spooky magic nonsense to be getting on with!
The plot is certainly building towards what promises to be an epic climax, as Dodge's search for the Omega Key takes a huge step forward. But with Kinsey and Tyler just a couple of steps behind her (quite literally, in the case of one of the best scenes this episode), does she have enough time to enact her plan, before the Lockes can stop her?
Totally creepy and not-at-all-up-to-something Ellie has a new houseguest. But is there more than meets the eye, to Rufus' "cousin," and why does Ellie seem so set on keeping him away from the Lockes? When Bode goes to her house to build model airplanes with Rufus, the secret becomes much harder to keep.
Last, Kinsey is stuck in the world's most boring love triangle. Unable to pick between creepy wierdo Gabe, and dull but mostly harmless film nerd Scot. Who will she end up with? Does anyone ACTUALLY care? Is it just me, or does everyone think Gabe looks like the kind of dude that would sneak into a ladies gym and sniff the equipment?
Overall, this was an episode of two wildly different, but equally strong halves. Nina's arc dominated the first half, and posed a bunch of questions I can't go into because they're all huge spoilers. It provided a rich, emotional core that made the opening parts as fulfilling to watch, as the second half was nerve-wracking and tense.
Speaking of, the second half of the episode goes freakin' nuts. Giving us some much needed answers to some serious questions, and setting the framework for the grand finalé, and most important, proving once and for all that I AM ALWAYS RIGHT, as a plot element I pointed out about 4 episodes ago returns front and center, just as I said it would. See you next week, for the penultimate episode!