the locke kids having ten thousand keys when all they need is a spoon

The Differences Between Netflix’s ‘Locke and Key’ Finale and the Graphic Novel’s Ending

After three seasons, the Netflix series Locke & Key has ended. The series has always been a huge change in tone from the original source material by Joe Hill. Today, we are gonna break down the ending of Locke & Key and how it differs from the graphic novel.

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Spoiler Alert

There’s a Different Big Bad

Dodge peering from behind a tree in Netflix's Locke and Key.
(image: Peter Stranks/Netflix)

Locke & Key switched up things when it decided that, rather than making Dodge the ultimate big bad, it would be Frederick Gideon, a former Red Coat in the American Revolutionary War who was the first person to discover the portal behind the Black Door (and become possessed by a demon in the process). At the end of the second season, Gideon is summoned to Earth, as an echo, by Eden. He returns in season three and brings back two former soldiers to help him get all the keys and destroy humanity.


The Show’s Ending Changed in Tone

Locke & Key's Kinsey, Bode, and Tyler stand over a well , looking down into it.

In the show, we see the Locke kids, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, work to stop Gideon and succeed in sending him back through the portal. When he falls in, a key falls with him and the portal closes. The Locke kids realize that the only way to be done with all of this is to throw all the keys in, giving up magic. Bode is the most reluctant to do that (as he’s a kid and he loves magic).

The family decides to use one of the keys to go back in time to visit their dead father/husband, Rendell Locke. They are able to have one more moment together as a family before getting rid of all the keys. This will inevitably make it so that they will all forget that magic exists. It is a bittersweet moment but has an almost Narnia-like impact, as we see the kids together and moving forward with their lives.

It is much more uplifting than the comic.

The Ending of the Graphic Novel

Dodge was the major antagonist throughout the entire series and towards the end, they end up possessing the body of Bode. Rufus Whedon ends up putting Bode’s body through the ghost door and that purges the demon from Bode’s body. However, Bode’s empty body is cremated before Bode’s soul has a chance to return to it, leaving him stuck as a ghost. It’s dark.

Then, in the epilogue of the comic, Tyler returns to the well where Dodge was first found to free Dodge’s soul from the demon. There, Tyler is able to speak with his father one last time, and they get some closure together before their dad restores Bode’s physical form. Bode is returned to the land of the living and there is some sweetness for the Locke family before the series ends.

Bittersweet, but in a different way.

Locke & Key the show feels like more of a contemporary Narnia story versus the more elder gods horror of the comic, but both series are deep, emotional, and thoughtful—which is par the course for Joe Hill’s work.

What did you think of the ending of the series? Do you prefer one version over the other?

(featured image: Netflix)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.