Netflix’s present about teenagers combating demons with magical keys is again, however Locke and Key’s second season makes some massive 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 within the first place.

Issues don’t begin out so darkish, although. On the outset of Locke and Key’s second season, issues are going effectively for the Locke household. After coping with the loss of life of their father and surviving a struggle with a demon in season 1, they’re capable of spend the summer time enjoyable with buddies and their keys. It’s one of many uncommon occasions within the sequence 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 previous furnishings.

It’s playful and surreal — nevertheless it doesn’t final for lengthy. Ultimately, the demon makes its return, and the remainder of the season seems like a race because the Locke children attempt to defeat it. The brand new season is definitely darker than its predecessor, and it delves slightly extra into the historical past of magic on this world. Nevertheless it 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 sequence by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez, which follows the Locke household as they transfer again into their ancestral dwelling, referred to as Keyhouse, in New England. It’s a sprawling mansion with a particularly cool secret: it’s stuffed with hidden magical keys, every with unusual powers. One makes it attainable to enter somebody’s thoughts as if it have been an actual, bodily place; one other allows you to open a door to wherever you may image.

The Locke kids — which embrace Kinsey, Bodie, and older brother Tyler (Connor Jessup) — hear these keys whisper to them and steadily accumulate an arsenal of supernatural talents. The keys themselves are made out of an odd steel that comes from a hidden portal (stick with me right here), which additionally occurs to be dwelling to demons that may often 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.

On the outset of season 2, everybody thinks Dodge has been defeated, however — because the twist on the finish of the primary season revealed — it’s really simply in a special physique, due to a type of useful keys. Within the first season, Dodge was primarily depicted as a terrifying lady (Laysla De Oliveira) but additionally often 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 essential premise is identical — i.e., the youngsters have to defeat Dodge — the 2 seasons play out very in a different way. The primary felt like a mashup of the teenager drama of Riverdale and the darkish, household mysteries from one thing like The Haunting of Hill Home. You slowly discovered the secrets and techniques of the keys and the way they impacted the Lockes and their closest buddies. Season 2 will get into that slightly bit, notably with some flashbacks that make clear the early days of Keyhouse and particulars on how, precisely, the keys have been made. However largely, it seems like a race: Gabe dashing to create his military and the youngsters attempting to cease him. It’s chaotic. And the quick tempo means the present will get away from the very best elements of the story, specifically the entire 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 important thing that turns you right into a ghost so you may discuss to lifeless kinfolk — they really feel extra like superpowers. One offers you tremendous power; one other is basically a residing chain that can be utilized as a weapon. Fairly useful for coping with demon teenagers however not as attention-grabbing as delving into somebody’s unconscious. It additionally doesn’t assist that the brand new villain is nowhere close to as intimidating as the unique. De Oliveira’s tackle Dodge was ruthless and menacing, an impeccably dressed monster you undoubtedly didn’t wish to mess with. However Gabe has a really totally different vibe: much less scary, extra a pompous jerk you wish to punch.

Picture: Amanda Matlovich / Netflix

There are some cool concepts right here. As the youngsters grow old, they begin reckoning with the fact that they’ll overlook about magic as quickly as they flip 18. After which are some very darkish, horror-like moments which are paying homage to the books; one notably terrifying scene entails residing mannequins inside a demon’s thoughts, and there’s a minimum of one shockingly grisly homicide. However most of those moments are fleeting or frustratingly underdeveloped, like a narrative thread involving a historical past instructor who is aware of slightly an excessive amount of in regards to the Lockes that by no means actually goes wherever. For probably the most half, all of those attention-grabbing moments are diminished to clear and apparent steps resulting in the ultimate confrontation on the finish.

It’s disappointing to see the present shift away from its most intriguing parts, and sadly, it doesn’t appear to be issues will change. Season 3 of Locke and Key has already wrapped filming, and primarily based on the best way the present season ends, there’s going to be one more massive unhealthy to struggle. Hopefully, it brings some secrets and techniques alongside for the experience.

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

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