(Warning: This post contains spoilers through the Season 1 finale of Netflix’s “Locke & Key.”)
So if you’ve been watching “Locke and Key” on Netflix, then you’re certainly familiar with the array of magical keys that do all sorts of magical stuff. Those keys are, after all, what this show is about — thus the pun title.
But we’re willing to bet that you may not actually remember — or even understand — exactly what all 12 keys collected by Bode (Jackson Robert Scott), Tyler (Connor Jessup) and Kinsey (Emilia Jones), and a few by Dodge (Laysla De Oliveira), do.
Well, don’t worry, because TheWrap kept track of what powers each key unlocked (sorry, not sorry, about the pun) for the siblings as they discovered them tucked away inside their ancestral home, Keyhouse, and we’ve rounded them all up in the handy list below. We even got “Locke & Key” showrunners Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill to explain a few in detail for us.
Note: Fans of “Locke & Key’s” source material, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez’s best-selling IDW comic of the same name, will notice a few changes to the keys have been made here and there by Cuse and Averill. So just know what you see below is a list of the keys from the show and what they do on the show.
This key is the first key that Bode finds in Keyhouse. As Dodge explains it to him — back when she’s still trapped in the well house and claiming to be Bode’s “Echo” — this key lets you go anywhere in the world you want — but with a catch. Bode soon finds out that the key lets you travel to anywhere in the world you want to go — if that location has a door that you can picture in your mind. You have to know what a door looks like to travel through it, Dodge later tells Bode.
The Echo Key is used to summon an “echo” of a deceased person from Keyhouse’s well house. Ellie does it to bring back Lucas — which really unleashes Dodge. So, as we learn, while an echo appears to be a replica of the deceased, it’s not an exact copy. The echo also cannot leave the well house — unless they have the Anywhere Key.
The Ghost Key allows the user to leave their body and become a ghost when inserted into a specific Keyhouse door, (the one with the same skull symbol printed on the key itself). While a ghost, the user can fly around and interact with other ghosts, but is unable to be seen by the living. It’s important to note that the door that goes with the Ghost Key must remain open while the key is in use, otherwise the person who has left their body will die.
This key allows the user to open a literal door to the inside of a person’s head, giving them access to that person’s memories, knowledge and emotions, which can become personified, like Bode’s Glee and Kinsey’s Fear. Each door and “head” space is different, complementing the personality of the person whose head you’re in. When using the key, you are able to put things into someone’s head and take things out.
Cuse told TheWrap the Head Key, which existed in Hill and Rodríguez’s comics, functions a bit differently for the show.
“There’s just certain elements of the comic that work perfectly for a comic that don’t work in a television adaptation,” he said. “So there’s the Head Key, which allows you to go inside characters’ heads. In the comic, it literally tilts the top of someone’s head open and you can look inside their head and see the inner workings of their brain. Now, that just did not feel like that translated– it looks fantastic and, in fact, the splash panel in the comics of what’s inside Bode’s head is maybe one of the greatest pieces of comic art of the modern-age comic, mind you. But it’s not something that I felt like we could do in the show. It would look like brain surgery using the key. So we had to come up with a metaphoric way to do the Head Key and so we thought that we’d think long and hard about what the environments we created look like with a little bit of inspiration from ‘Inception,’ worlds within worlds kind of thing. And that was the major deviation that is really something that we really liked that was different than the comics.”
This key is incredibly powerful when combined with the Crown of Shadows. The key and crown together allow the person wearing them to control a group of shadow-like creatures, which is exactly what Dodge does when she sics them on the Locke children.
Mending Cabinet Key
This key has to be used with the Mending Cabinet itself to do anything, which isn’t something Bode figures out right away and so he thinks it’s useless. Nina later discovers its magic by accident and then attempts to resurrect Rendell by putting the urn containing his ashes inside the cabinet. And though he doesn’t come back to life, this allows the Locke children to later find the Omega Key in their father’s ashes.
Music Box Key
This key lets the person who inserts it inside its accompanying magical music box to have complete control over others.
Really a fancy lighter. A really, really scary and effective, fancy lighter.
Allows the user to change the visual appearance of a person after inserting the key into the chin of that person. And you can change the “identity” of people other than yourself — as we tragically learn in the finale, when Dodge makes Ellie looks like herself to trick the Locke kids.
Opens a mirror portal to “The Prison of the Self,” a location Dodge says many people have died trying to escape.
The key allows the user to control any plant. Teen Rendell and his friends a.k.a. the Keepers of the Keys used the tree as a hiding place for some of his little brother Duncan’s memories — including the one where Rendell killed Lucas/Dodge — which they extracted from his mind and placed into paint jars.
Here’s how Averill explained the Plant Key to us:
“Some of the keys that we used are actually only introduced in the comics in a single panel, they’re not even named. And that is an example of one of them. And the Plant Key functions in that if you kind of stick the key into any sort of plants or tree or root, you can manipulate that plant to kind of do whatever you want. And so the Keepers hid Duncan’s memories underground so that he would never find them. And so when Kinsey puts the key into the tree, it manipulates the roots to reveal the memory jars.”
This key opens the Black Door down in Matheson’s sea caves. We don’t know a lot about the world that lies beyond that door, but we do know it’s where the demon Dodge came from in the first place, back when Rendell and his friends opened the door when they were teens and a “glowing bullet” containing Dodge’s demon essence hit Lucas. In the Season 1 finale, the Locke kids and their friends throw Ellie (who they think is Dodge/Lucas) into the Black Door, not noticing that one of those glowing bullets hits Eden in the process. Viewers find out about what happened to the now-demon-possessed Eden when the closing moments of the episode show her meeting up with Gabe — who is revealed to have been Dodge in disguise this whole time.