Locke, Key, and Magical Kid Adventures for Grown-Ups

Locke and Key and the tricky balancing act of writing a magical kids’ adventure story for the adults who grew up on them.

Parting Thoughts

Locke and Key:

  • There are a couple of keys with no profound use. Like, the “turn into a ghost” door. Maybe that’ll get some more use next season, they did leave a couple of things dangling on that front.
  • On the other hand, some of the keys are kinda overpowered. There’s at least one critical situation that could have ended much faster if they’d used the Mind Control Music Box, but no, they keep that out of play once they’re done misusing its power. It’s kind of like how Superboy is introduced about halfway through the season of Titans, then the show finds multiple ways to keep him out of the Deathstroke plot, since Slade loses a little menace against Superman-powers. Should I have made this another comparison section? No, I basically covered it just then.
  • Now that I think about it, there is a weird disparity in key power. These things range from “powerful weapon” to “cute party trick” to “potentially ends the world, maybe?” I don’t know who made these keys or why, but I assume it’s like The Doctor and gadgets. “Lights up in the presence of shapeshifter DNA. Also microwaves frozen dinners and downloads comics from the future, I never know when to stop.”


  • I enjoyed that when the team split up due to Dick’s past and present misconduct, everyone had a personal crisis, be it “powers out of control” or “sister wants me dead” or “I am losing the need to remain sober…” and then there’s Gar. Gar’s storyline is “I honestly have nothing else going on.” Which ultimately works as a personal crisis.
  • Actually that is my main issue with the second season… while I was definitely good with more of Hawk, Dove, and especially Donna Troy, it meant that Gar, Rachel, and Kory… you remember them, the core cast of the first season… kind of got shoved to the side a lot.
  • Wait, no, my main issue with season two is that the premiere really should have been the season one finale. I was excited to get into the Deathstroke plot, but first we had to get through an hour of leftover Trigon nonsense because some producer thought “Hey, instead of making season one a complete story, let’s do that episode next year.”
  • Donna Troy’s reaction to meeting Jason Todd is basically perfect and could never have happened in the comics. Well, maybe Black Label, the Black Label imprint lets Harley Quinn get away with a lot (other than showing nipples).
  • Iain Glenn, as mentioned, plays Bruce Wayne… but never suits up as Batman. And dang it, that works. He’s just here to be Dick Grayson’s well-meaning but complicated father figure, without overshadowing the action by bringing the Batman into the mix. I mean the Brooklyn (Boston?) accent is offputting, but clearly Glenn struggled with the American accent more than Emilia Jones did.
  • On that note, Emilia Jones had to do an accent as Kinsey Locke, because her character is very not British, but fellow Brit Petrice Jones as her new pal/love interest Scot gets to use his actual British accent. Yes, we’re back on Locke and Key, this thing was supposed to be, like, 70/30 Locke/Titans. Doesn’t seem like she minds, but based on behind-the-scenes glimpses from Instagram I can’t help but wonder if Petrice doesn’t rub in the fact that he didn’t need a dialect coach a little.

I mean it makes sense, doesn’t it? Take a format people loved when growing up (even if Monster Squad was a cult film more than a legit box office success), scrape off the parts that maybe don’t age well, don’t act like you need to round off the edges to keep it kid-safe, and that’s a product, you have a product. Why wouldn’t I want to check that out? It’s not like you turn 23 and a switch goes off in your head and you only like historical biopics, instead of cool stories about mysteries and magic keys and fighting shadow armies.

What? Shadow armies? No, I’m not saying there’s a shadow army, I’m… probably talking about Crisis on Infinite Earths. The collected heroes of five shows fought Shadow Demons on a comics-accurate vibrational tower and I was like “My entire life has led to this moment!” That’s what I meant.

…Fine the vibrational tower was more of a backdrop but still.

Locke and Key was an entertaining ride with a solid cast, and I’m interested to see where they go from here.

Titans… let’s not backslide on Dick, okay? If we can skip “Broods and pushes everyone away because of his PAST” next season, we’ve got a show.

Next time… I don’t know, probably some crazed screed from days on end of self-quarantine. Or something about Pennyworth. But I repeat myself.

Author: danny_g

Danny G, your humble host and blogger, has been working in community theatre since 1996, travelling the globe on and off since 1980, and caring more about nerd stuff than he should since before he can remember. And now he shares all of that with you.

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