November 13, 2018
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‘Castle Rock’ draws to a thrilling, open-ended season finale

Dana Starbard | Hulu
Dana Starbard | Hulu
"Castle Rock" image of Andre Holland

Editor’s note: Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t watched this episode of the series, which is available on Hulu, and don’t want to know what happens, go watch it before reading this.

There are two Henry Deavers who we follow in season one of “Castle Rock” — the Henry as played with intelligence and emotional depth by Andre Holland, and the Henry previously known as The Kid, played with equal parts innocence and horror movie menace by Bill Skarsgard.

Neither character’s accounts of their pasts can be fully believed, as evidenced by the two major plot twists found in the final episode of season one of the show. They are both classic unreliable narrators, a trope Stephen King himself has used many times throughout his career.

[Want to read about all the episodes? Click here]

There’s the revelation that Henry as played by Holland did, in fact, essentially kill his father, Matthew, all those years ago — he pushed him off a cliff, after learning that his father planned to murder his mother, Ruth. Eleven-year-old Molly Strand then finished the deed a little while later, after his father was barely hanging onto life after his rescue, when she unhooked Matthew’s respirator, as we saw back on episode three.

And then there’s the revelation that The Kid is not just a man lost in time, as we saw on the previous episode. There’s something demonic lurking underneath that wide-eyed stare. The idea that The Kid is a sort of magnet for evil and chaos is not entirely untrue — but neither does it tell the whole story, as we see The Kid use his “powers” to drive a cell full of violent Shawshank prisoners to murder each other. We also see, all too briefly, what may be The Kid’s true form: a monster, shriveled and screaming, in a very satisfying jump scare.

Over the course of the episode, we see both Henrys get arrested — one for the situation surrounding Odin, the deaf guy in the woods who was later found dead, and the other because, well, it’s The Kid, and people die around him all the time. After The Kid’s psychological murder spree, which coincidentally unlocks both their jail cells, The Kid holds Henry at gunpoint and forces him to walk out into the woods, saying they “don’t have much time.”

Meanwhile, Molly manages to avert tragedy when she comes across Ruth Deaver, standing once again on Pangborn bridge, ready to jump. She tries to talk her down, and Ruth tells her that they’ve both been there before. Is this what a woman suffering from dementia truly believes? Or is Ruth a time traveler, as was suggested on episode seven? Also, we briefly see the new warden at Shawshank, Porter, who finds one of The Kid’s carved figurines in her house — something she clearly recognizes as ominous, not long before she’s creamed by a bus. Bye bye, Warden Porter.

Anyway, back in the woods, Henry not only unlocks his long-buried memories of pushing his father off a cliff, but he also manages to wrest the gun from The Kid, causing him to manifest his monster face. Everything fades to black, and then we get one of the most overused plot devices in modern storytelling: the “One year later” title card. I mean, it works, but man, it’s overused. Anyway.

One year later, Henry and his son Wendell are living in the cozy Deaver homestead, enjoying a quiet Christmas morning. Henry’s a local lawyer in Castle Rock, opting for property law instead of death row trials. Molly has apparently moved to Florida. And Ruth — poor Ruth — is dead, buried next to the love of her life, Alan.

Henry leaves home that morning and drives to now-abandoned Shawshank Prison. He walks through the empty corridors until he reaches the hatch that leads to where The Kid was found on the very first episode, after his long imprisonment by Warden Lacy. It seems that Henry Deaver is now the caretaker for The Kid, who is back in his cage. Henry brings The Kid Christmas dinner and then splits.

The last we see of The Kid is a closeup on his face, as he ever-so-slowly breaks into a sinister smile. Is he evil? Is there an evil being inside him? Both? Neither? Boy, am I glad there’s a second season planned. Because I’ve had more questions than answers.

But wait! There’s more. A post-credits scene shows Jackie Torrance (Jane Levy), sitting in the bar at the bowling alley in Castle Rock, reading from her in-progress novel, “Overlooked” — with a laptop sporting a for-real WKIT 100.3 FM sticker! Nice direct reference, guys! Anyway, the title of her book is a reference to her famous uncle, Jack Torrance, who as we all know went a bit mad at a hotel of the same name out in Colorado. Jackie says she might go west to do some research.

Good luck, Jackie. You’re gonna need it.

Thanks for reading our full season recap of “Castle Rock.” Season two will premiere sometime in 2019.

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