Going Villainous Was Easy For Locke & Key's Griffin Gluck

"Locke & Key" is one of the best comics of recent decades. Written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez, the series is a great coming-of-age story that mixes horror and fantasy, treating its characters with respect as they deal with rather mature and horrific things but still understanding that they are teenagers with teenage lives and problems.

The comic follows the Locke kids as they move back to their ancestral home following the murder of their father. At the giant house that has its own name (Keyhouse), the Lockes find a set of magical keys with various powers. One turns you into a ghost. Another makes you super strong. One even lets you fly.

Though the Lockes certainly do have some fun playing around with the magical keys, the games end quickly. That's because a demon named Dodge, who once took control of the best friend of the Lockes' dad, has returned from the grave with a vengeance. Dodge is one of the best parts of the comic, and even despite the many, many problems with the Netflix adaptation, Dodge remains one of the best things about the show.

Deliciously evil

What makes Dodge a compelling villain is that they could have easily been just a Disney cartoon villain, a goofy and inept (yet still scary) demon who cannot seem to catch three kids. Instead, Dodge is terrifying, smart, calculating and powerful, capable of fooling both the Lockes and the audience with their charm and their surprising affinity for the human world.

Because of the magical keys, we've seen Dodge assume different forms over the show. Before he was possessed by the demon Dodge, Felix Mallard's Lucas Caravaggio was the cool guy you'd most want as your best friend in high school, fun and loyal. After Lucas is killed and Dodge is summoned back to life, she is played by Laysla De Oliveira, who has more of a dangerous yet alluring presence in the show. She flirts with Tyler (Connor Jessup), and tricks Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) to think of her as a friend, before quickly revealing her nefarious and murderous goal.

Then there's Gabe. An original concept from the Netflix adaptation, Gabe is an entirely different persona that Dodge adopts by morphing their entire body in order to infiltrate the world of the Lockes. Gabe quickly becomes friends with Kinsey Locke (Emilia Jones) and eventually starts dating her, while becoming friends with her brothers.

Mischievous devil

A big part of why Gabe works is Griffin Gluck's performance. Having already proven to be adept at comedy with a dark edge in "American Vandal," he gives gabe a good combination of charming and diabolical. At one moment he is playing with Bode around the house, and at the next he is stabbing someone to death.

Speaking to ScreenRant about his role in season 2, Gluck talked about how fun it was playing up being evil for the audience and playing with Kinsey not knowing his identity. "I'm genuinely blessed with the cast and the crew that we got because everyone got along so well and it was so nice," Gluck said: 

"Emilia and I have a great rapport, so it was a lot of fun to do these scenes, and then be like, 'Hey, by the way, I am coming after you.' We would laugh about that on set and offset, but when we got to do the scenes, it was an experience to sort of both of us to know Gabe's true identity, but she had to play it off and act like she didn't know and I had to put it on and pretend that I didn't know that she didn't know."

Because Dodge, as Gabe, had spent so much time among humans, he started growing used to the human world and even fond of it. That internal struggle makes his story in season 2 fascinating, and a cool new layer to the source material as it heads to its final season.

"Locke & Key" is streaming on Netflix. The third and final season debuts on August 10, 2022.