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Who is the intended target audience of Locke and Key? That's my first thought watching the show. On the trailers and my first impressions, I assumed I was watching a children's/family horror/thriller shown in the tone of the old Goosebumps books. But despite its children protagonists, there is a great deal of violence, swearing, and other elements that would traumatise younger children and cause no end of grief for onlooking parents. But it doesn't feel specifically like an adult show either, and I'm not sure how many older audience members would want to put up with idiot children and mopey teenagers for most of the screentime.
Locke and Key follows the adventures of the Locke family. Three children and a mother move to a ginormous old family house, where they soon discover various magical keys that grant incredible and dangerous superpowers. I liked some things about the show. Many of the situations presented by the keys are creepy, and I enjoyed the intrigue in trying to find and figure out what each key does, along with the broader plot of trying to understand where they even came from.
Less good is how the keys are used in the story. For instance, one character gets their hands on a key that allows you to take complete physical control of other people within earshot. Despite this being an incredibly powerful item, we see this key get used exactly once for some mean prank, and never again, even in life or death situations where it would immediately stop the villain and resolve the plot. Later, we learn there is a key that gives the holder perfect disguises; even when everyone knows about the key, most of the characters utterly fail to realise how this could be used against them in practically any situation. There's a red spy in the base, idiots! It seems likes the plot depends on the audience forgetting about these damn keys existing, despite them being the entire point of the story.
Then there's the villain, who gets utterly unresolved by the end of the story. It's fine to present her as this mystery who has beef with the Locke family, but you need to actually provide satisfactory answers at the end of these mysteries - simply swapping it with a handwave and a new mystery is the kind of Lost nonsense I'd hoped we'd grown past.
Overall, Locke and Key is great at atmosphere, but is disappointing in terms of story. If you have any hatred of teenage or child protagonists, you will find these stupid, uncommunicative, and constantly depressed Locke children fairly insufferable, and will most likely turn on the show before the season finale.
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