As efficient an opening episode as you’re likely to see, “This Will Be Us” is a great introduction to the world of Lockwood & Co.
This recap of the Netflix series Lockwood and Co Season 1 Episode 1, “This Will Be Us”, contains spoilers.
Lockwood & Co. has as good an opening episode as I’ve seen in a while. It’s economical storytelling and worldbuilding that presents far-out concepts as though they’re run-of-the-mill and leaves audiences to connect the dots themselves, delivering just the right amount of ghost-busting, character development, and setup to establish what the show is about without overwhelming the audience with clunky exposition. It even literally fast-forwards through stuff we don’t need to see, confident that we’ll get the gist. And we do!
Lockwood and Co Season 1 Episode 1 Recap
The first case
“This Will Be Us” is framed by the titular agency’s first real case, or at least the first involving Lucy Carlyle. It also becomes a catalyst for a lot of the action that follows in subsequent episodes, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, the introductory scene gives us a sense of what’s happening, a brief introduction to Lucy and Anthony Lockwood, and a vague outline of this world’s version of ghosts, often called “visitors”.
Lucy’s talent is listening. Anthony’s is seeing. The opening scene gives us a simple idea of what these talents constitute. We get a primer on how ghosts in this world function and manifest, see how they’re connected to a “source”, and see that they can be dealt with using iron filings and chains and rapiers. We get a sense of the show’s tone, a slightly Sherlock-y mystery vibe, with a jolt of horror when the ghost itself makes an appearance. And, thanks to the cavalier nature in which Anthony and Lucy are employed for this obviously dangerous job by an old lady who laments them having to do it at their age, we get an idea of The Problem.
What is The Problem?
The problem, in this universe, is that ghosts haunt the living at night. They’re referred to as visitors and connected to a source and they come in two types — one, and two. This is made clearer when the episode cycles back three years — we’ll return to the first case later — to show how Lucy made her way to Lockwood & Co. Initially, her mother signed her off to the Fittes Agency, a paranormal agency that trains children and teenagers to battle ghosts. Crucially, only kids can see them. The “talent” manifests in various ways, like Lucy’s listening and Anthony’s seeing, and then gradually fades with age, meaning that the adults in the agency can pass on knowledge and training but can’t actively participate in the missions themselves.
The Fittes Agency was founded by Marissa Fittes, the only person in history, at least that we’re aware of, who can communicate with Type 3 ghosts, who’re intelligent and can speak, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Lucy’s mother doesn’t much mind the dangers of the job but is very concerned with who the wages will be paid to, so it’s obvious immediately that Lucy comes from an uncaring family (her dad drank himself to death). Luckily, she takes to the training like a duck to water, or perhaps like the heroine in a supernatural teen drama, and through her tutelage, we get a little more solidity on some of the concepts described above. We skip rapidly through a couple of years of Lucy excelling in her training, and then on simple missions, with a team of other trainees who she quickly becomes close to, especially her best friend Norrie.
Why does Lucy go to London?
One of Lucy’s missions goes badly wrong, resulting in the death of her entire team, and Norrie becoming persistently “Ghost Locked”, a kind of supernatural coma. Almost entirely to blame is Lucy’s teacher, Jacobs — “Why does he drink out of a silver flask?” asks Norrie at one point. “Because it’s the only way he can trap spirits.” — who fails to intervene and leaves the kids to die. After, though, he feigns innocence, and Lucy is blamed for her recklessness. When her mother pushes her to apologize to Jacobs — “Why is he called Jacobs?” asks Norrie. “Because he’s crackers.” — and beg for her job back, Lucy packs her bags and heads to the train station.
Lockwood & Co. is an independent agency run by Anthony and his research expert, George, who is initially hostile to Lucy when she applies for a job there. But she aces the interview process, which has her deduce otherworldy happenings contained within various objects, including a skull contained within a jar that will become important later. It’s obvious that Lucy is talented but equally obvious that Anthony, charming though he may be, has something to hide. There is a locked door in the house that everyone is forbidden from touching, and nobody seems to know how he inherited this big house. Lucy takes the job.
When we return to the opening scene with this additional context, we understand what Lucy’s saying when she claims there’s something different about this ghost. She feels she has some kind of connection with it, like it’s trying to tell her something. In their efforts to contain the source, though, which seems to be a corpse bricked up in the wall, they inadvertently burn the house down. Lucy takes the corpse’s ring for her trouble and, with Anthony, jumps from the upper floor to safety.
Still, there’ll be hell to pay for all this.
You can stream Lockwood and Co Season 1 Episode 1, “This Will Be Us”, exclusively on Netflix.