This is the one where you get all of the answers. And they are good answers! There’s nothing so satisfying as a series that poses lots of interesting mysteries, then gives you compelling origins and solutions for all of them. Also, when some of those answers manage to surprise you, and re-contextualize what you thought about the story previously.
Clockworks opens with a strange flashback to the Revolutionary War, and we learn at last the origin story of the Keys. And so too do Kinsey and Tyler, as they discover the Timeshift Key, which allows them to visit and observe events in the past. This turns out to be how all of the past Keepers of the Keys have learned most of the secrets of the Keys and Keyhouse. So while Dodge hiding in Bode’s body is finally in possession of the Omega Key, Kinsey and Tyler not only learn where the Keys come from and how they work, but also go back to see what happened that year that everything went wrong for their father and his friends.
Up until this issue, I thought Dodge was an okay villain. He’s so so evil and creepy that it’s hard to emotionally connect to him, even as it’s easy to connect to his victims. But we learn in this issue that SPOILERS Dodge was once a genuinely great person. I’d been thinking this whole time that he was some sort of ageless spirit that had infiltrated Rendell’s group of friends in 1988 for the same reason he infiltrated Tyler’s group in the present day: to find the Omega Key. But no. Dodge was a real kid. A good kid. And this issue is mostly the story of how he lost that goodness and became the villain of the piece. And it’s heartbreaking. END SPOILERS
So now the stage is set for the final act. Presumably the Lockes will find a way to defeat Dodge, and hopefully save Bode. If that last thing doesn’t happen, I will riot.