It's finally here - the much anticipated release of Joe Hill's latest adaptation and Netflix original, Locke & Key.
Episode one, titled "Welcome to Matheson", begins with an unnamed male arriving at his home and receiving a phone call stating "Rendell Locke has died." He then enters the house and begins scrambling around collecting various documents and eventually a hidden key, which when stabbed into his own heart, causes himself and the house to combust into flames almost instantaneously.
We then fast forward three months and join the Locke family (Bode, Tyler, Kinsey and Nina) on their cross-country move from Seattle, Washington to the cape of Massachusetts following Rendell Locke's death. Bode Locke is the youngest son and played by Jackson Robert Scott (Georgie from IT Chapter 1 & 2), Tyler Locke is the oldest son and played by Connor Jessup (Falling Skies, American Crime). The lone daughter Kinsey Locke is portrayed by Emilia Jones (Doctor Who, Brimstone, Ghostland) and Darby Stanchfield (NCIS, Mad Men) portrays the Locke-family matriarch, Nina. The family arrives at their new home, called Key House, after a quick stop for ice cream and are greeted by their Uncle Duncan Locke (Aaron Ashmore) who gives them a quick tour of the estate which includes a generations-old family-curated library and a "creepy portrait gallery." After unpacking his urn and placing it on the mantle, we are introduced to Rendell Locke (Bill Heck) for the first time when Nina flashes back to his gruesome murder.
We find Bode walking around outside taking photos with his Polaroid camera before stumbling into an old well house. Bode squeezes through the bars on the windows and leans over the well to take a photograph, which slips out of his camera and plummets to the bottom of the well. Before exiting the well house Bode turns around to see the photo sitting back on the edge of the well, and when he hollers down into the well he is surprised when he is answered by a female voice.
During lunch at her new school, Kinsey is greeted by the boy from the ice cream parlor the previous day. He introduces himself as Scott and invites her to hang out after school with his friends the "Savini Squad", a nod to horror makeup and special effects legend, Tom Savini.
One of my favorite scenes in the first episode is a shot of Bode using a pair of Heelys (sneakers with a single roller skate wheel in the heel) to skate through his house which feels like a very obvious reference to the Danny Torrance tricycle scene in The Shining. Afterwards, Bode sits down in the kitchen and begins hearing strange whispers coming from somewhere in the house.
Concerned, he grabs his camera and heads back out to the well house to see if the strange female voice he calls his "echo" can tell him anything about the house. She explains to him that the house is filled with several magical keys, including one that can take you anywhere in the world, but to find them he must listen for the whispers. Nina, who had taken a trip to the hardware store, arrives back at home and the echo tells Bode to leave and not tell anyone about speaking with her, or they might get worried.
While Kinsey is in the shower, something about the gold bracelet on her desk catches Bode's eye. When he picks it up and squeezes it, out pops the golden key with six interlinking circles that the echo said would allow him to travel anywhere in the world. He imagines an ice cream parlor and after a couple of attempts turning the key in Kinsey's closet door, Bode finds himself standing in the same ice cream Shop they had visited the day before. When he turns and exits the ice cream parlor door he finds himself back in Kinsey's room, but nothing happens when he tries to show her.
Later in the kitchen, Bode hears more whispers coming from the drain in the sink and reaches in only to find another key, this one containing the images of two faces and a mirror. He takes the key back to his echo in the well house who explains this key will grant him his number one wish in the entire world. When he mentions that his wish would be to see his father again, the echo explains that the mysterious mirror key allows you to see people who have died and that he should bring it inside and show it to his mother.
He brings the key inside and attempts it on the door, his reflection appears in the mirror and waves to him to follow. He reaches into the mirror but is interrupted when Nina enters. He turns the key once more which causes Nina to follow her reflection into the mirror. On the other side, Nina follows her reflection but when she reaches out to touch it, mirrors begin breaking in every direction which causes her to become disoriented.
In a panic, Bode returns to the well house to ask his echo for help. A woman in a green dress appears (Laysla De Oliviera from In The Tall Grass) and advises him she can help in exchange for the "anywhere" key Bode used to transport to the ice cream parlor. After handing the key over, the woman explains that the mirror key opens the door to the "Prison of the Self" and that it does indeed allow you to see the dead because many people have died within. She then turns the key in the lock of the storage closer in the well house and disappears.
Bode grabs a rope from the storage closet and heads back to the house where Tyler and Kinsey have arrived home from hanging out with friends. He explains what has happened to their mother as Tyler sees his own reflection in the mirror signaling for him to follow. Bode and his sister tie the rope from the well house around Tyler's waist and he enters the mirror. After touching his mother's reflection causing the never-ending mirrors to shatter once again, Tyler and Nina are able to close their eyes and follow each other's voices to locate one another and exit the "Prison of the Self".
The final scene shows Sam (Thomas Mitchell Barnet of Run This Town, Until The Real Thing Comes Along and Wayne), the man who murdered Rendell Locke, sitting in a prison visitation room speaking with the woman in the green dress from the well house who proclaims, "I told you I'd come see you."
The buildup to the release of Locke & Key has been nothing short of incredible, and the very first episode did not disappoint. From actors with connections to other Stephen King and Joe Hill works to various easter eggs hidden throughout, episode one gives fans plenty of reasons to tune back in on top of an already strong story. If the foundation that the first episode laid is indicative of the rest of the series, we are in for a real treat.