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Locke & Key Recap 'Family Tree'

Season 1 Episode 5

Image from Locke & Key, currently streaming on Netflix

The focus of these recaps have understandably been on the kids, since they were the ones experiencing magic around the house. They were the ones fully exposed to the wonder and danger of magic. As Bode pointed out, only kids get into Narnia.

Yet the kids were hardly the only ones paying the price for the existence of magic. Nina moved her family to Key House for a fresh start, yes, but she could have gotten that at any other house. What she wanted to do, apart from restore the massive place as a therapeutic project, was to learn more about her husband's past. Before Sam shot Rendell, Nina heard Sam mention Key House, so she wondered if there was a connection between the murder of Rendell and his ancestral home.

Nina’s ally in her investigation was Mr. Ridgeway, Rendell’s old English teacher. Ellie would have been a far better source of information, since she was part of the tight high school group Rendell belonged to, but Nina now knew that Ellie was lying to her.

Nina, traumatised by the home invasion that killed her husband, was frightened when she heard someone was inside her house when she came in with Bode. It turned out to be Ellie, coming up from the basement. Ellie claimed she was there because Rufus left one of his toy soldiers in the house. Nina later found out from Rufus that he never left a toy at Key House. Nina also asked Ellie about a scar she had that was identical to the one Rendell had. Ellie lied and said it was from a biking accident when she was little.

Adults forgot about magic as soon as it was over, but Nina was beginning to feel that something truly was off with Rendell’s past and Key House. On the night that she went to Ellie’s house and found Rufus alone there, Mr. Ridgeway left her an urgent message saying that he saw something that he could not explain. Nina went to Mr. Ridgeway’s house and found the kind old teacher dead at his desk, suffocated by a plastic bag. Outside the house, Ellie hid in the shadows.

There was inherent danger in being surrounded by magic yet not being aware of it. Young Bode, the most responsible and mature of the Locke kids, gently tried to get Duncan to remember the keys. Duncan had no idea what he was talking about, though Bode already knew from Chamberlaine Locke that Duncan and Rendell used the keys. In his young shoulders, Bode already took on the burden of protecting his family (for starters, he was mapping out the massive Key House). Bode assured Duncan that it was okay he couldn’t remember, it was not his fault.

Bode was more right than he knew. A new key called out to Tyler and Kinsey at night. They tracked it to the cemetery, and found that it fit a slot in a glowing tree. Glowing paint jars rose from the ground when Kinsey inserted the key. The paint jars contained Duncan’s memories. One memory in particular shattered Tyler and Kinsey. It showed Rendell killing Lucas, his best friend and Ellie's high school boyfriend.

Image from Locke & Key, currently streaming on Netflix

'Family Tree' showed Tyler and Kinsey struggling with the burden of being key holders. At first I was confused when Bode was shown to be holding all the keys the Lockes still had in that first scene. Then I remembered that the previous episode only showed that the well lady could not forcibly take a key from Bode; there was no mention of the other Locke kids. They must have figured that since the keys were calling to Bode, Bode was the only one who could safely hold the keys. When the music box key called to both Tyler and Kinsey, Bode was relieved; he figured that meant Tyler and Kinsey could hold the keys, too, without the well lady being able to take them. Tyler kept the head key, Kinsey had the music box key, whilst Bode had the ghost and the mirror keys (the two most dangerous keys, imho).

Kinsey decided to use the music box key to punish Eden after she was mean to Scot. At first, Scot was in on the punishment, but Kinsey, along with Gabe, took it too far. Scot later reconciled with Kinsey; he told her that they could use the keys for good.

Tyler was not amused with what Kinsey did, and snapped that Bode should hold all the keys, since he was the only responsible one. Tyler and Kinsey had a bad fight; they pressed pause only later that night, when they both heard the key to Duncan's memories call out. Tyler wanted to ignore the voices, but Kinsey was determined to find the key. Kinsey reasoned out that since the keys could also be weapons, it would be best for them to learn how to use them should they need them against the well lady.

As Tyler shared with the sympathetic Jackie, he was starting to feel the weight of almost being like a dad in the family. Tyler wanted to turn away from the keys. When he and Kinsey found the paint jars with Duncan's memories, they had in their hands possibly the reason why their father left Key House. As Duncan remembered it, his brother Rendell was a murderer.


🗝For the first time, the keys called out to Tyler and Kinsey. They found the music box key in the piano, though it was Bode who figured out it went with a music box. Whoever inserted the key to open the music box would serve as the puppeteer.

🗝Kinsey used the music box key to make Eden perform humiliating things in front of the whole school. At first, only Kinsey and Scot were involved, but Gabe walked in on them and joined them. Scot left in protest for the continued humiliation of Eden, but Gabe even stepped up as puppeteer. Videos of Eden went viral. Eden tried to pass off what happened as a performance.

🗝Gabe was very okay with magic, though Kinsey did not tell him about the other keys.

🗝Tyler ruled that before they used the keys, they ought to talk about it first. Kinsey broke this rule when she used the music box key against Eden.

🗝Tyler decided not to go back to the hockey team and instead focused on the fundraiser with Jackie and Logan. Mr. Ridgeway was the main organiser of this 5k fundraising run for cancer research.

🗝Bode got in trouble at his school because he brought with him a blacksmith hammer for protection.

🗝From my notes: 'This is where I draw the line with the teenager excuse.' I was fine with Tyler and Kinsey doing moronic things in the previous episode because they were teenagers. In this episode, however, Kinsey definitely took things too far with Eden. I agree with Scot and I don't trust Gabe for being that chill about the use of magic.

🗝Scot recognised the ones who supposedly drowned in the sea cave from the old photograph of Rendell and his friends. The ones who died were Lucas, Jeff, and Kim.

🗝Keys roundup, where they were found and where they were at the end of the episode

🗝🗝🗝Anywhere key - on the bracelet Rendell gave to Kinsey. Currently with well lady. 🗝🗝🗝Mirror key - in the drainage of the sink. With Bode. 🗝🗝🗝Head key - inside the vacuum cleaner. With Tyler.

🗝🗝🗝Ghost key - on the portrait of Chamberlaine Locke. With Bode.

🗝🗝🗝 Matchstick key - taken by the well lady from a kid who found it in the burnt house. Given to Sam.

🗝🗝🗝Music box key - inside the piano. With Kinsey

🗝🗝🗝Plant key - in a vase in the cemetery. With Tyler and Kinsey

Director: Mark Tonderai-Hodges

Writer: Andres Fischer Centeno

Original Release Date: February 7, 2020

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