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Locke and Key’s second season is darker but loses the magic

Netflix’s present about teenagers preventing demons with magical keys is again, but Locke and Key’s second season makes some huge adjustments. The tempo is quicker, the tone is darker, and with that, it loses a few of the magic that made the present so attention-grabbing in the first place.

Issues don’t begin out so darkish, although. At the outset of Locke and Key’s second season, issues are going effectively for the Locke household. After dealing with the death of their father and surviving a fight with a demon in season 1, they’re in a position to spend the summer season enjoyable with associates and their keys. It’s one in every of the uncommon instances in the collection we see magic used for having enjoyable; Kinsey (Emilia Jones) is enjoyable inside her personal head (actually), and youthful brother Bodie (Jackson Robert Scott) is utilizing a brand new super-strength key to rearrange outdated furnishings.

It’s playful and surreal — but it doesn’t final for lengthy. Ultimately, the demon makes its return, and the remainder of the season looks like a race as the Locke children attempt to defeat it. The brand new season is actually darker than its predecessor, and it delves a little bit extra into the historical past of magic on this world. But it surely additionally strikes too quick for its personal good. Whereas season 1 was about introducing thriller, the sophomore effort is extra like a drawn-out superhero battle.

For these simply catching up, Locke and Key is a live-action adaptation of a comic book collection by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez, which follows the Locke household as they transfer again into their ancestral house, known as Keyhouse, in New England. It’s a sprawling mansion with an especially cool secret: it’s stuffed with hidden magical keys, every with unusual powers. One makes it potential to enter somebody’s thoughts as if it had been an actual, bodily place; one other helps you to open a door to anyplace you possibly can image.

The Locke youngsters — which embody Kinsey, Bodie, and older brother Tyler (Connor Jessup) — hear these keys whisper to them and steadily accumulate an arsenal of supernatural skills. The keys themselves are created from an odd metallic that comes from a hidden portal (stick with me right here), which additionally occurs to be house to demons that may sometimes crossover to our world. The primary season largely concerned one such creature, named Dodge, attempting to get the keys from the Lockes for all types of nefarious functions.

At the outset of season 2, everybody thinks Dodge has been defeated, but — as the twist at the finish of the first season revealed — it’s truly simply in a distinct physique, because of a kind of useful keys. In the first season, Dodge was primarily depicted as a terrifying lady (Laysla De Oliveira) but additionally sometimes took on the position of an unassuming highschool boy Gabe (Griffin Gluck), who additionally occurs to be Kinsey’s boyfriend. Whereas everybody thinks Dodge is gone, Gabe is hatching a plan to create a military of demons.

Whereas the primary premise is the identical — i.e., the children must defeat Dodge — the two seasons play out very in a different way. The primary felt like a mashup of the teen drama of Riverdale and the darkish, household mysteries from one thing like The Haunting of Hill Home. You slowly realized the secrets and techniques of the keys and how they impacted the Lockes and their closest associates. Season 2 will get into that a little bit bit, significantly with some flashbacks that make clear the early days of Keyhouse and particulars on how, precisely, the keys had been made. But largely, it looks like a race: Gabe speeding to create his military and the children attempting to cease him. It’s chaotic. And the quick tempo means the present will get away from the greatest elements of the story, particularly all of the deep, darkish secrets and techniques involving the keys and the portal to the demon world.

Even the newly launched keys appear off. As a substitute of opening up new prospects for storytelling — like the key that turns you right into a ghost so you possibly can speak to useless family members — they really feel extra like superpowers. One provides you tremendous power; one other is basically a residing chain that can be utilized as a weapon. Fairly useful for coping with demon teenagers but not as attention-grabbing as delving into somebody’s unconscious. It additionally doesn’t assist that the new villain is nowhere close to as intimidating as the authentic. De Oliveira’s tackle Dodge was ruthless and menacing, an impeccably dressed monster you undoubtedly didn’t need to mess with. But Gabe has a really totally different vibe: much less scary, extra a pompous jerk you need to punch.

There are some cool concepts right here. As the children become old, they begin reckoning with the actuality that they’ll overlook about magic as quickly as they flip 18. After which are some very darkish, horror-like moments which might be harking back to the books; one significantly terrifying scene entails residing mannequins inside a demon’s thoughts, and there’s no less than one shockingly grisly homicide. But most of those moments are fleeting or frustratingly underdeveloped, like a narrative thread involving a historical past trainer who is aware of a little bit an excessive amount of about the Lockes that by no means actually goes anyplace. For the most half, all of those attention-grabbing moments are diminished to clear and apparent steps resulting in the last confrontation at the finish.

It’s disappointing to see the present shift away from its most intriguing components, and sadly, it doesn’t look like issues will change. Season 3 of Locke and Key has already wrapped filming, and primarily based on the manner the present season ends, there’s going to be one more huge dangerous to combat. Hopefully, it brings some secrets and techniques alongside for the trip.

Locke and Key season 2 streams on Netflix on October twenty second.

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