Locke & Key season 1, episode 1 recap – “Welcome to Matheson”

By Daniel Hart
Published: February 7, 2020 (Last updated: February 7, 2024)
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Netflix Series Locke & Key season 1, episode 1 - Welcome to Matheson


Locke & Key Season 1, Episode 1, “Welcome to Matheson” shows the Locke family making a new start after a tragic event. Secrets unfold very quickly.

This recap of Netflix Series Locke & Key season 1, episode 1, “Welcome to Matheson” contains significant spoilers.

Locke & Key Season 1, Episode 1, “Welcome to Matheson” opens the new Netflix series in dramatic circumstances. An unknown man is made aware that Rendell Locke is dead. The man proceeds to stab himself with a key which results in him being shrouded with flames. This will become important later in Season 1.

Episode 1 then moves to three months later in Massachusetts, introducing the audience to the Locke family heading to their ancestral home. This is a family torn by the trauma of losing the father of the group. It’s abundantly obvious. When they reach the house, Uncle Duncan greets them and they are given a tour of the rather large ancestral home that has clearly not been maintained.

The audience then receives the first flashback of the show, experienced by the mother Nina. She’s painting in their old house and her husband Rendell teases and flirts with her. Suddenly, a man named Sam Lesser enters the house and asks for Rendell Locke. Sam appears agitated and points the gun at Rendell and when he does not get the responses he wants, he shoots Nina in the leg. He asks about the key house before shooting Rendell in the chest.

Meanwhile, the youngest child of the family, Bode Locke, finds a well on the estate. He takes a photo of the bottom of the well but then the photo drops to the bottom. To his alarm, the photo then appears at the top of the well and he begins to speak to someone who is at the bottom — it’s almost a mirror of It Chapter 1 and 2. Bode tries to convince his family that someone was talking to him from the well, but they all reassure him that he’s hearing things.

The midway point sees the teenagers in the family, Kinsey and Tyler, attend their new school. Scot Cavendish wildly introduces himself to Kinsey in an irritating way and invites her to a social event with his friends. Tyler attends hockey practice and the sound of the hockey puck getting hit gives him flashes of his father getting shot.

Both teens have their problems but Episode 1 shows them making friends quickly — the Locke family are famous in this town.

Bode is left alone in the house and he hears the woman’s voice from the well again. His childlike curiosity sends him back to the well. The woman calls herself Echo and tells Bode that the house holds many amazing keys. Back in the house and Bode picks up one of Kinsey’s bracelets; when he breaks it apart it reveals a key — he asks the key to take him to an ice cream parlour before inserting it into a door. When he opens the door, he is at the local ice cream parlour and Scot Cavendish greets him.

When Bode returns, he tries to explain to Kinsey about the key’s powers. Predictably, when he tries to demonstrate the key, it does not work. Later, Bode finds another key in the sink drain in the kitchen which shows two faces and a mirror. Bode speaks to Echo again. She explains the new key allows its user to see people who have died.

At this point, it was easy to see that Echo was not trustworthy.

Tyler decides to attend the party and hooks up with a girl called Eden. Sam Lesser shows up in his mind and accuses him of being at fault for his father’s death. Meanwhile, Kinsey meets Scot’s friends and they watch Day of the Dead and the group talk about “final girls”. Kinsey experiences a flashback of Sam Lesser taunting her as she was hiding in the old house. Kinsey freaks out and explains to Scot that some “final girls” are cowards and hide, before running out of Scot’s house.

“Welcome to Matheson” provides a great understanding of the trauma that can be caused to young adults from a terrible experience.

At this point of Episode 1, a reckless Bode uses the mirror key and asks to see his father. The mirror shows another Bode who smiles wickedly at him. He shouts for his mother Nina who becomes tranced by what she sees in the reflection and she walks through the mirror. Inside the mirror, Nina sees loads of reflections of herself, and every time she touches a reflection, mirrors crack, making her more trapped. Nina cannot get out.

Bode asks Echo for help who is now out of the well. She asks for the Anywhere Key — it’s obvious she has tricked him; as soon as Bode hands her the key, she leaves by opening a door to another part of the world.

Bode now has no choice but to alert his siblings Kinsey and Tyler. All of a sudden, Kinsey is suddenly bought into Bode’s findings when he shows them the mirror. Kinsey suggests attaching a rope to Tyler so they can pull him out of the mirror. Tyler enters and saves his mother from the mirror world.

Disturbingly, after Nina and Tyler escape, Nina zones out and suddenly changes the subject. I could not tell if she had forgotten about the recent experience or she is choosing to avoid the conversation about the keys.

Locke & Key Season 1, Episode 1, “Welcome to Matheson” closes with another predictable twist — Echo visits Sam Lesser in prison.

Additional Notes:

  • The mother Nina remembers the time she and Rendell used to paint and used to make it smell like lemon. Flashes show blood on the wall.
  • Uncle Duncan reveals that he has neglected the ancestral house. Rendell Locke refused to sell it.
  • Kinsey asks Nina if there is a reason why they moved to the ancestral home.
  • Kinsey feels that Tyler is becoming more distant.

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