REVIEW – ‘Locke & Key’ Series Premiere

After a long, long journey, Netflix finally welcomed us to Key House this past weekend.  Locke & Key Season 1 has finally arrived, based on the best selling story from writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez.  I know that the entire first season has dropped, but just in case you haven't had a chance to binge it yet (or if you're wondering if you should), allow me to help.  Here's what I thought of the first episode.


The Locke family has been though quite an ordeal.  The family is dealing with the loss of their father, who has tragically shot right in front of them.  Nina Locke, the family's mother, decides that they need a fresh start.  So they move to Massachusetts into a house that has been in their family for years, the Key House.  Even if you haven't read a page of the comic, you know that there is something up with this house from the very beginning.  This is when things start to get really interesting.

Rather than me give you a constant recap of the episode, I'll just get right to it.  The second I saw Key House, I wanted to explore every room.  Not only does it have that creepy old mansion vibe, it also just screams intrigue.  I mean, it is quite the dump, since Duncan (clearly the irresponsible brother of the family) kind of left the house to rot.  I do love that we don't just jump into the grand tour in the first episode, as we only get to see a few of the rooms.  Something tells me that this will be an ongoing theme.

Speaking of ongoing themes, everyone seems to know that there is more to this house than there seems except the family that is moving into it.  Leave it to Bode, the youngest member of the family, to figure that out first.  He does what kids do, look around at places that he shouldn't be and nobody believes him when he actually finds something.  Characters like this can easily be annoying, but Jackson Robert Scott is so likeable and I actually got upset when nobody believed him at first.  Plus we both love G.I. Joe, so this kid is cool in my book.

This is about the time that we find Echo, or at least that's how we know her at this point.  Bode finds her in a well, and she manipulates him into finding some of the keys that are hidden around the house.  I mean, sure she's evil, but she does help introduce the keys so it's hard not to be happy about that.  Well, that is until she tries to kill Nina and Bode's older brother Tyler.  She also clearly knows the kid who shot their dad, but we aren't clued into that connection either.  So let's add that to our growing list of mysteries.

Speaking of Tyler, he's clearly not dealing with his father's death well and blames himself for the whole thing.  This obviously isn't true, but he's a teenager and given the circumstances, you can understand why he feels that way.  Kinsey is clearly dealing with some survivor's guilt as well, which we see in a quick flashback.  The family doesn't exactly feel together, but in an odd way, the whole mishap with the key and the mirror world might actually bring them closer together.  Unfortunately, Nina has no memory about what actually happened to her.

They concept of the keys is very cool, and part of me wishes that we could spend the entire first season in the house.  It does seem like the mystery might extend into the town itself, with other people that have a connection to the house somehow.  It's clear that dad had a lot of secrets that he didn't tell his family, and they are just starting to come out in this first episode.  All of the characters we've met so far are portrayed very well.  Sure some of them are typical on the surface, as are some of the themes of the first episode.  This is especially true of some potential romances involving Tyler and Kinsey.  Even with these familiar themes, you can't help but get drawn in by all of the mysteries that we have after just one episode.

This show is clearly binge worthy, and if memory serves me, does justice to the source material.  For a show that went through a lot to get where it is, they definitely got this cast right.  While the first episode was strong, and made me not want to walk away, we will have to get at least a couple of answers in the next couple of episodes.  At the very least, I need to peel the onion a little bit more.  My only worry here is that the mystery will pile on until the latter episodes.  Part of the story is the trauma that the family has gone through as well, so I understand trying to balance that as well.

It's early, but Locke & Key feels like yet another solid comic book adaptation from Netflix.  This is starting to become a very encouraging pattern for the streamer, who has come under a lot of fire lately over the content that they're losing.  Locke & Key blends a few different genres very well, gives us flashbacks only when completely necessary and gives you a cast that you want to root for as much as you did with the Stranger Things crew.  I'd write more, but I've already waited long enough to watch the next episode.  Keep checking back for updates.  I'll be able to dive deeper after another episode.

Photo Credit: Ian Watson/Netflix