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Netflix's Locke And Key Ending Explained: What The Hell Just Happened?

Locke and Key spoilers ahead!

Netflix's Locke and Key doesn't tread the exact same path as the comics--as we've already established, there are plenty of differences between the Netflix show and the original books. And that makes the final couple of episodes in Season 1 extra exciting for comics readers--even those who think they know what's going to happen likely wound up surprised by the end.

And that's exactly what we're here to discuss--what happened at the end of Locke and Key Season 1, and how it differed from the comic books. Here's your second spoiler warning: If you haven't finished the show and you don't want to know what happens at the end, stop reading now.

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Now Playing: What Is Locke & Key? | Comics Behind The Netflix Show Explained

Still here? Great. Let's go.

In Locke and Key Season 1's final episode, the Lockes do battle with Dodge's shadows, ultimately coming out on top thanks to--of all things--the plastic rainbow light sword Bode's been comically wielding all season. Who saw that coming?

Having apparently knocked Dodge unconscious, the Lockes and their friends drag her limp body to the Drowning Cave, where they devise to open the Black Door using the Omega Key and toss her through. As she sails into that sparkly dimension, she has a very un-Dodge-like reaction, reaching out to Tyler and calling him by name, with what appears to be a look of real terror on her face. Seems fine, though.

Or not! As the audience soon discovers, there's been another player in this game all along: sweet, innocent, nice, cute Gabe. Looks can be deceiving when you have tools like the Identity Key, after all. And as Gabe rides away on his bike and a smirk starts to develop on his face, our perception of everything that came before comes crashing down. Through a series of new flashbacks to slightly earlier events, we learn that Dodge used the Identity Key to make Ellie look like her, then knocked her unconscious and planted her at Keyhouse during a pivotal moment. Dodge then walked outside, turned into Gabe, walked back in, and helped the Lockes throw Ellie, who they thought was Dodge, through the Black Door.

Gabe was Dodge and Dodge was Gabe all along. This echoes a storyline from the comics that, for the show's first nine episodes, it seemed like the Netflix version was simply skipping. In the books, when Dodge escapes the well house, she immediately uses the Gender Key (which doesn't exist in the show) to turn back into her "natural" form: that of Rendell's best friend, Lucas. Lucas cuts his hair, gets a weird lip ring, and immediately attaches himself to Tyler and Kinsey. Going by the name Zack, he becomes the former's best friend and dates the latter, all to manipulate them into confiding in him about the Keys. Bode doesn't recognize him from the well, but several other people do--since he looks exactly like Lucas--and he has to do a whole lot of murdering to keep his cover. But while we, the readers, know who he is, it takes the Lockes a long time to catch on.

The really genius thing the Gabe twist did for the show is preserve that surprise a little bit longer so that it could be a reveal for viewers. In future seasons, we'll get that tension of knowing that the Lockes' friend is actually Dodge in disguise, while they're totally in the dark. It just took a bit longer to get to that point, and wound up being a lot more shocking as a result.

Read More: Here's Easter eggs and references from Episode 1, Episodes 2-5, and Episodes 6-10

In addition, the show had one last surprise for viewers: When the gang opened the Black Door, Eden was struck with a "glowing bullet" and infected with the same thing that got Lucas all those years earlier. This was another huge surprise for existing fans--nothing similar happened in the books, particularly not so early in the story. And Eden doesn't even exist in the source material.

What does it all mean? Season 2 is going to be lit. The Lockes believe they've defeated Dodge, but we know better. It's going to make for a lot of tension and some intense drama when Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode realize they're not out of danger yet, particularly now that Dodge will have help. Plus, there are plenty more keys still left that they haven't discovered yet. We can't wait.

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Michael Rougeau

Mike Rougeau is GameSpot's Managing Editor of Entertainment, with over 10 years of pop culture journalism experience. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two dogs.

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