It's Magic and Mayhem as 'Locke & Key' Returns to Netflix for Season Two

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday October 22, 2021

Aaron Ashmore in 'Locke & Key,' Season Two
Aaron Ashmore in 'Locke & Key,' Season Two  (Source:Netflix)

Season Two of the Netflix adaptation of "Locke & Key" — a highly regarded comic book by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez — finds the savvy kids of Matheson, Massachusetts standing between otherworldly demons and the destruction of the whole world.

The action picks up from where Season One left off, with an evil "echo" called Dodge possessing one of the teens — a sweet kid named Gabe (Griffin Gluck) — and a demon taking control of spoiled rich girl Eden (Hallea Jones). In a multi-generational struggle of good against evil, the Locke siblings — Tyler (Conor Jessup), Kinsey (Emilia Jones), and precocious little brother Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) — rely on an arsenal of magical keys, each of which possesses a special characteristic, and all of which have been created by the Locke kids' ancestors.

But Gabe and Eden have managed to get hold of some of those magical keys, which they put to nefarious uses. Their goal is to create a diabolical key to serve a special purpose of their own, but they have no idea how generations of the Locke family have managed the trick; what's more, magical keys can only be made from "whispering iron," the only source for which are demons that attempt to lodge themselves into human victims and fail.

The season starts out happily enough as the kids come back fro another school year. Among their projects is the premiere of an amateur horror film they shot over the summer, written by cineast Scot (Petrice Jones). Their plans for a sequel seem as pressing as the fight against the demons until things start getting desperate, with the kids' gay uncle, Duncan (Aaron Ashmore) in danger and their mother Nina (Darby Stanchfield), who is still grieving after their father's murder, starting to catch on that something isn't right in her house, her life, and her family.

The thing is, parents, teachers, and police are of no help, since adults cannot comprehend magic and quickly forget any magical occurrences they happen to witness. (The show relies on its audience to have a similarly selective memory whenever the magical goings-on result in significant damage to the family manse, called Key House.) Above all else, the Locke siblings are trying to protect their mother and uncle, a difficult task that requires them to grow up too fast and endure devastating losses. They also have some steamy moments, which is more than can be said for Duncan, whose male fiancé is handily exiled overseas on an extended trip for work.

That's not the only character to be relegated offscreen for much of Season Two. The show includes a diverse panoply of secondary characters who could contribute a whole lot more, if they had a decent amount of air time. As the season continues, though, that diverse secondary cast fades into the deep background.

But the ten episodes of Season Two do keep things moving at a brisk pace. Gabe and Eden may be manipulating them at every turn, but the Locke kids soon realize they have an even more implacable enemy, namely time. With his eighteenth birthday not far off, Tyler is due to forget everything that involves magic. He's already seeing that forgetfulness in his slightly older girlfriend Jackie (Genevieve Kang). But an unexpected survivor from the previous generation of the "Keeper of the Keys" might know how Tyler can avoid that fate... a twist that soon opens up into one of the series' underlying, more serious themes, in this case consent and respect in the context of a relationship.

Other deep themes are present, as well, including grief and loss (something Nina shares with a new love interest, a history teacher named Josh who also has a generational connection to Matheson and the magical portal it harbors), maturity, sacrifice, and responsibility. This is, in some ways, a show meant for young adults (not unlike another Netflix series, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina"), replete with a soundtrack of current pop music and a glossy YA sensibility, but its messages and morales are suitable for viewers of all ages.

Season Two gallops to a satisfying conclusion, but don't worry: More bad news is on the way, and the magical doings will continue, in Season Three, which Netflix has already greenlit.

"Locke & Key," Season Two, will premiere on Netflix on Oct. 22.<./i>

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.