Review: ‘Locke & Key’ Season 3 – Bittersweet Ending to a Great Series

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As fans of all things nerdy probably know all too well, all good things must eventually come to an end. Be it your favorite book series, television show, or movie franchise, a conclusion is necessary to bring closure. The third season of Locke & Key arrives this Wednesday on Netflix, bringing with it one more adventure with the Locke family before their story reaches its conclusion. 

Following the initial plans of an overall story told in three parts, Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, and Aron Eli Coleite have just eight episodes in the final part to wrap up the story of Tyler (Connor Jessup), Kinsey (Emilia Jones), and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott). So how successfully does Locke & Key wrap up the story in a satisfying conclusion? In some ways, it was a fantastic ending and yet I found myself questioning my feelings about it long after the credits rolled. If you need a quick refresher on season 2 of Locke & Key, check out my review!

[Warning: light spoilers from Locke & Key season 3 are below!]

A new threat emerges in Locke & Key season 3

Picking up months after the conclusion of season 2, the Locke family is attempting to find a new normal. Kinsey (Jones) and Bode (Scott) are living in Key house still with their mother Nina (Darby Stanchfield) and preparing for their uncle Duncan’s (Aaron Ashmore) impending wedding.

While the two are having fun and adventures, finding even more keys throughout the house, there’s an energy shift from the loss of Tyler (Jessup). Not that Tyler is dead, however, he has little involvement in the rest of the Locke family’s lives now that he has moved away and lost all memories of magic.

It feels like a lot of the emotional work falls on Kinsey, who is attempting to balance Bode and her mother. While all three are doing well, the latter two seem to be going through some emotional difficulties when the new season picks up.

Tyler, on the other hand, is living a complete life far from Key house and his siblings. However, with the wedding taking place at Key house, it isn’t long until Tyler returns to the family. The dynamics when he returns also create anxious energy, with his inability to recall anything about magic and the keys.

Locke & Key family season 3
(L to R) Darby Stanchfield as Nina Locke, Jackson Robert Scott as Bode Locke, Connor Jessup as Tyler Locke, Emilia Jones as Kinsey Locke in Locke & Key season 3. (Amanda Matlovich/Netflix)

While the Locke family attempt to have a normal family experience, a new danger is looming in the shadows. Shown throughout season 2 with a return to modern times in the closing moments, Frederich Gideon (Kevin Durand) serves as the big bad of this finale season. His goal, along with every villain in this series, is to gather all the keys for his own nefarious reasons. Unlike Dodge (Laysla De Oliveira), who wanted to use the powers of the keys, Gideon needs them for a different purpose.

A race against the clock

Once Gideon’s presence becomes known, it’s a race against the clock as the Locke family, along with some friends, attempt to stop Gideon from enacting his master plan. The episodes begin to fly by at a breakneck speed, a race that I couldn’t turn away from. One episode turned to six easily in one sitting, with great use of cliffhangers between episodes. The need to know what happens next consumed you every time the credits roll, leaving you craving just one more episode. But it is never just one episode.

Feeding into that desire was the pressure that all the characters felt throughout the season. Gideon, while not as scary as Dodge was in previous seasons, feels more knowledgeable than the other villain. He appears like he is always one step ahead of the Locke family, where a few times it felt like the children were even matched with Dodge. 

Quite a few times throughout the season it seems like the Locke family might have figured out a solution, only for Gideon to already be ahead of them. If and how the Locke family stops Gideon is part of the magic of this season that needs to be experienced and not just read about, because the experience is worth it.

Sticking the landing

As I said before, all good things must come to an end and Locke & Key is no exception. The ending wasn’t what I wanted or expected for this family that I have come to know and love, but it is a definitive conclusion for the family. However, I think this ending may be divisive among fans of the series because it is vastly bittersweet. In many ways, the story brings a sense of happiness for these characters, although long after I was done I felt a growing sadness.

Locke & Key Gideon
Kevin Durand as Gideon in episode 306 of Locke and Key. (Amanda Matlovich/Netflix)

Did my sadness stem from the fact that the ending came only three seasons into a show that felt like it had so much more life left in it? I think that might be a leading cause. The fact that we were thrown into a story where magical keys breathed life into a family who had suffered a horrific loss was something that could have made many more seasons. Perhaps it is because I will no longer be able to spend time with a group of well-written flawed characters, who were so real in so many ways.

Whatever the reason is, the sadness that came with the ending tarnished what I was hoping would have been an excellent season. While it was still really good, the story needed something more to its ending to be great.

Final thoughts on Locke & Key season 3

Also, for a show about magical keys, the final season felt a little keyless. While the keys remained super important for the overall storyline, it seemed that the goal was to hide them away from use more than use them to save the day. It’s possible that the epic season 2 finale ruined my expectations of how well the keys could be utilized, but it felt like I was missing some of that magic.

However, some new keys are essential to a huge emotional chunk of this final season, bringing about some of the best moments of Locke & Key. Definitely make sure to have to have the tissues ready as the season progresses, for the emotional scenes come quickly and without much warning.

Overall I’m glad that I got to watch the conclusion to this fantastic show, even tho this season just wasn’t as good as the first two seasons of the show. I needed more magic, more time with the Locke children, and more uncle Duncan than the two cameos I got.

The show still had a lot of heart and managed to still bring me to tears, but left me with a strong desire of needing something more from the closing moments. Locke & Key season 3 drops on Netflix this Wednesday. Will you be binging it like I did? Let us know over on Twitter if you do! If you haven’t already, check on our review on Locke & Key season 2, for a quick refresher!

Locke & Key Season 2 Review

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