Season 1 Episode 1
If 'Welcome to Matheson', the first episode on what will likely be a multi-season series for Netflix, had focused solely on its central conceit -- a magical house with magical keys -- I probably would have passed. Instead, the creators decided to ground magic with a meditation on trauma, grief, and loss. Along with solid performances by its young cast (Jackson Robert Scott as Bode is the obvious standout), what we have is a fine addition to Neflix's stable of original content.
We met the Lockes as they moved from Seattle to a massive house in the middle of a substantial estate in Massachusetts. Mum Nina (Darby Stanchfield) moved the family against the wishes of the older children because she wanted a fresh start after the murder of her husband in the hands of a student at the school where he worked. Tyler (Connor Jessup), the eldest, was a hockey player whose time alone with popular girl Eden was interrupted by visions of Sam, the boy who killed Rendell Locke (Bill Heck), telling him that it was his fault his father died. Kinsey (Emilia Jones), the second oldest, was haunted by her decision to stay hidden with Bode during Sam's attack inside their house; she felt guilty about not coming out to help her family. Only young Bode appeared relatively unscathed; he missed his father, of course, but he was wide-eyed and ready for an adventure in their sprawling ancestral home.
It was Bode who discovered the echo in the well, a voice of a woman who claimed to be a friend, who told him about the magical keys in the house. The first key Bode located was the anywhere key; it was attached to a bracelet Rendell gave Kinsey. With the anywhere key, the user only had to envision the door of any place they wanted to go, and they would immediately get there. The second key Bode discovered was the mirror key. The echo tricked Bode into using the mirror key by tapping into his desire to talk to his father again. Instead, Nina ended up trapped inside the mirror. Bode gave the anywhere key to the echo in exchange for help for his mother, but the echo simply used the key to leave the well house.
By the time Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode banned together to rescue their mother from inside the mirror, we were already familiar with the kids' grief and their ways of coping, so that it was a relief that they did not have to go through yet another loss of a parent. Moments after Nina got out of the mirror, it seemed that she forgot anything magical ever happened. Nina returned to her usual self, focused on renovating the property else she fell apart in her pain.
Tyler and Kinsey may not like that people knew who they were and what happened to them, both in Seattle and in Matheson, but this also meant that at least some people went out of their way to be nice to them. 'Girls love trauma!' Tyler's hockey buddies told him. Scot, a British wannabe filmmaker, went out of his way to try and include Kinsey in his Savini Squad, a small group of horror movie enthusiasts. But in the end, it was just Tyler and Kinsey who drove home through the snow, connected in their grief and guilt that only they could understand. It wasn't just the magic of their family home that set the Locke kids apart. By the end of the first episode, the barrier between the grieving Lockes and everyone else was still very much up.
🗝Episode opening: An unnamed man got a phone call telling him Locke was dead. He went inside his house, took out a key from his safe, and stabbed himself with the key. He, along with his house, caught fire.
🗝 Duncan (Aaron Ashmore) was Rendell's younger brother. Both brothers loathed Key House.
🗝 What we know so far about the murder of Rendell: Rendell was painting the house whilst Nina worked on what looked like stained glass. Tyler was out. Kinsey and Bode were playing in the basement. Sam arrived demanding to talk to Rendell; he insisted it could not wait. Sam pulled a gun and shot Nina in the leg. He wanted to know about Key House. When Tyler, who forgot his eye, called out and rammed his palms against the front door of the house, Rendell used the temporary distraction to try to wrest the gun away from Sam. Sam shot Rendell in the stomach. Sam then walked around the house looking for Kinsey.
🗝Rendell's remains were cremated and his ashes were in a red urn.
🗝 Bode was able to explore the house and the grounds because, unlike Tyler and Kinsey, he had a week before school started for him.
🗝 Nina seemed to be barely holding on even as she tried to rally her children into giving their fresh start a chance.
🗝 'Your invitation to Hogwarts isn't coming.' This is mean, Locke & Key.
🗝 The Savini Squad: Scot Cavendish, Zadie Wells, Doug Brazelle
🗝 Kinsey's trauma resurfaced whilst watching a movie with the Savini Squad.
🗝 Tyler's friends: Javi, Brinker
🗝 Before ending up in a room with Eden, Tyler was chatting up another girl.
🗝 When Bode returned to his house using the anywhere key without paying $3 for his ice cream, I totally felt for Scot.
🗝 Nina found an old high school photo of Rendell and his friends.
🗝 After the echo bailed on Bode without helping rescue his mother, the quick thinking kid grabbed some rope from the well house. That rope was tied to Tyler's waist before he went into the mirror to rescue Nina. Once Tyler and Nina found each other, Kinsey and Bode pulled the rope to get them both out.
🗝 Locke & Key is based on a comic book series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez.
Director: Michael Morris
Writers: Joe Hill and Aron Eli Coleite
Original Release Date: February 7, 2020