This review is spoiler-free.
First of all, I easily managed to binge Season 2 in one sitting and never found myself finding it a chore. I think ten episodes is a nice sweet-spot for shows like this and the story was well thought out and executed within the framework perfectly. The production scale and set design was once again on point and there was a real sense, now that the show has established the premise, that they had a story they wanted to tell and that was the main focus. Now, this was both a positive and negative, because despite the season being enjoyable and well performed, there was one factor the show failed to deliver on – the keys.
If there is one major failing of Locke & Key Season 2 is that I think they sacrifice the keys for the drama and the more adult tones of the show. Now, the source material has always been graphic, and there were plenty of violent and mature moments in the first series, but here I just felt this focus shift went too far in one direction and we lost a little of the show’s unique selling point. Now, don’t get me wrong, the keys still played their part in the show and there were some really great moments, but it just felt like the keys’ role in show needed the same emphasis as the first season, if not more. There were also some story changes and omissions from the graphic novels that I think the show could have handled better and chosen to include which would have taken things up to another level.
In terms of the cast, first and foremost, the entire cast gave it their all and there are some truly incredible performances on display! We also get some new characters this season and, for me, it was the right amount, as it still allowed the established characters to progress even further. Emilia Jones (Kinsey) and Connor Jessup (Tyler) take it to another level with some truly astonishing moments. There was also a step-up for some performers from the first season, most notably Aaron Ashmore (Duncan) and Hallea Jones (Eden) who both get a lot more story involvement and screen-time. The show’s villain Griffin Gluck (Gabe/Dodge) was menacing throughout and while she only had a few scenes, Season 1’s Laysla De Oliveira (Doge) made the most of her part in the story. And finally, it’s hard not to mention the super talented Darby Stanchfield (Nina) who has one season-stealing scene that will knock your emotions right down to the floor!
As for the ending? If Season 2 is to be the final outing for Locke & Key, then there is more than enough character and plot closure to end on a satisfactory note. However, there are also plenty of elements in the final episode that points towards a third season. Whether this has been green-lit already or they are waiting to see how the season performs, we’ll have to wait and see. If it wasn’t to come back, it would be more a case of “it’s a shame we didn’t get that” rather than outrage of an unfinished story. On a personal note, I’d welcome a third season. I still feel they have so much story and unique concepts leftover from the graphic novels to pull from.
Locke & Key Season 2 focuses on increasing the adult themes and drama, sacrificing a lot of the magic and whimsy in the process. While the story is engaging and the character performances are great, the balance was slightly off and the season loses just a little of its charm. There is still lots to enjoy, and if they can mix the best parts of season 1 and 2, then a third season has incredible potential.