‘Locke & Key’ Season 3 Review: The Door Closes (and Locks) on a Remarkable Show


Photo Courtesy of IMDb

With the release of Season 3 on August 10, 2022, the three-year run of the Netflix original series ‘Locke & Key’ came to a close. Based on the comics written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, ‘Locke & Key’ centers around the Locke family, who move to their father’s childhood home, known as Keyhouse, in Matheson, Massachusetts, following his murder. The Locke children, Kinsey, Tyler, and Bode, soon begin to discover hidden magical keys that do extraordinary things. While they discover these keys, they unravel the mystery of their father’s past and confront a dangerous enemy, the demon known as Dodge. Season 3 begins after the Lockes defeat Dodge and use a key to allow their mother, Nina, to remember magic, unaware of the awakening of a new threat, the demon Gideon. 


On a thematic level, ‘Locke & Key’ hit it out of the park, especially with how all the Lockes overcame their personal demons and united as a family. By the end of the series, Bode had accepted Nina’s new boyfriend, Tyler learned to love again after the heartbreaking loss of his girlfriend Jackie, Kinsey brought back Tyler to unite the family, and Nina had moved on from her late husband and her alcoholism. After using the keys to solve their various problems for all three seasons, the Lockes realized to actually solve their problems, they needed to expel the keys. This allowed the Lockes to come full circle from a broken family haunted by the loss of Rendell to a united, happy family who had overcome their own challenges.

The major and minor plot details were also impeccable, an example of which is when Dodge returns to the show to possess Bode’s body. In Episode 3, Bode desperately searches for the Timeshift Key (which allows you to time travel) so he can see his dad again. He eventually finds it, but he first returns to the moment before he and Duncan are kidnapped by Dodge in Season 2 to…taunt Dodge for absolutely no reason? Either way, this leads to Dodge escaping to the present, and a brief battle involving the Ghost Key (which allows you to leave your body) results in Dodge possessing Bode’s body. Of course, it was infuriating to watch this happen to Bode, but having the villain possess a Locke’s body was such an astonishing twist, and I’m sure most viewers weren’t complaining that Dodge, a really good villain, was making another appearance. The writers even had Dodge switch to the side of good to fight the Season 3 villain, Gideon, before being removed from the storyline after the perfect amount of time at the end of Episode 5. Exceptional.

In terms of character issues, nothing was better than the return of Tyler. Season 2 concluded with Tyler refusing to use the key to make him remember magic before he turned 18, saying he wanted a normal life. He then departed on a road trip, and that was believed to be his exodus from the series. Except it wasn’t! Tyler returns for Duncan’s wedding in Episode 2, before allowing Kinsey to use the Memory Key on him, therefore regaining all of his magical memories and making it seem like he never left. And, I mean, who really wanted him gone in the first place?


There were also some mishaps on the thematic level, particularly relating to the background of the Demon World. While this one comes down to the personal preference of the viewer, Season 3 didn’t expand upon or give any answers on the truth about the Demon World. In other words, the Demon World remained a doorway filled with a strange blue substance for the entirety of the show. While this could have been a choice by the creators to keep the Demon World’s mysterious air, I would’ve preferred a little more explanation after a character, Rendell’s childhood friend Ellie, had literally been inside the doorway for nearly a full season.

Coming back to the characters, one of them felt a little stale, and that was Gideon. Gideon had his moments as the primary villain, but Dodge left some pretty big shoes to fill. While sometimes funnier than Dodge, Gideon couldn’t have been less complex. His only goal? Essentially to get all of the keys because they opened the portal to the Demon World (why did that work, by the way?). Throughout every single episode, Gideon would be searching for a way to get this key, or that key, or all the keys, without any character depth. He never broke from the traditional villain archetype, and no one likes to see the same thing again and again. I’m sorry, but no.

The show also swung and missed on one of the most important points in the plot: the final episode of the series. This one is complicated, which is why I said “The Final Episode” instead of “The Ending.” The reason I didn’t like the final episode is quite simple: it didn’t live up to the hype. Sure, that’s an opinion, but when Season 1 had the greatest cliffhanger of all time, and Season 2 had the defeat of the primary villain in an epic final battle, defeating a villain who’s supposed to be a literal demon god in basically half the episode (16 minutes) doesn’t cut it for a series finale. However, the remainder of the episode gave us plenty of aftermath, which I liked, plus the true ending of the series’ storyline was the Lockes choosing to give up the keys to close the Demon Portal at Keyhouse, an emotionally-complex, grade-A moment to end on. The finale was a mixed bag, but a finale shouldn’t be a mixed bag, it should be one of the best episodes of the series, which is why this is classified under ‘bad.’

‘Locke & Key’ is truly one of my favorite shows of all time, and I’m very sad to see it go, although I do believe that the story ran its course and another season wasn’t necessary plot-wise. That being said, I’m going to miss the magic and mystery of one of Netflix’s best originals.