This week’s episode of Castle Rock, “Past Perfect” is a stylistic departure from the previous episode, delivering more thrills and (blood) spills.
Getting into spoilers right away, creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason have no issue dispatching recently introduced characters. As a fan of the American Horror Story-esque ‘Murder House’, I wish we had seen more of the historic homicidal recreations. Rather, the entire arch of the location and its owners is burned through in the span of one episode. Ironically, the titular town is being shown less and less in the last act of season 1. We’ve moved beyond Shawshank Prison and it seems that we’ve done the same for Juniper Hill. Castle Rock started with a wide scope encompassing the Stephen King universe and has now moved to a much more narrow focus.
The former Warden Lacy’s house is turned into a macabre Bed & Breakfast by Castle Rock newcomers Gordon and Lilith. The pair relocated from Iowa after an affair by his spouse spurred a violent outburst by Gordon causing him to lose his tenure. When an unfortunate pair of lovers visit the B&B for their tryst, we see how much more mad Gordon has become since discovering the Warden’s collection of paintings of The Kid (we finally found out why the basement was locked), when he murders the adulterers mid-coitus. We know he was violent prior to Castle Rock, did the town pull him in or did it just push him further into the dark side?
Meanwhile, Henry is finally rescued from the filter by Molly. As they leave the woods, we see Odin’s body with a fire poker sticking out of an eye. Unfortunately for this Odin, it seems unlikely that he will be able to continue with just one eye. Henry and Molly debrief in the car outside of the Deaver house. They commiserate the experience and reassure the other of their sanity.
When Henry enters the house everything is back in order-someone has done some cleaning since we last saw things: The Kid, who Henry finds in the kitchen. The Kid leads him to the barn behind the house and to Alan’s body. His plan is to take the body into the woods to protect Ruth, and informs Henry that it was he who rescued him from “that basement”. When he learns that Henry can finally hear the noise/schism/voice of God, he is relieved. Unfortunately, because Wendell had called the police the plan is interrupted and The Kid flees into the woods.
Back at the Lacy house now Historic Bed & Breakfast, Gordon is at work disassembling bodies when Jackie comes by with a proposal of a partnership. Initially she is bummed that she missed the boat on the idea of a murder attraction, she offers her services as a docent correcting their error in axe choice in a particular murder. Having their hands full with cleanup the hosts curtly dismiss Jackie. If her suspicion was not already on the rise, on her way out she finds a bracelet covered in blood.
With the cops surrounding the house investigating, Ruth thinking that she is about to be arrested confesses to Henry that she was only trying to protect him from his father. She is clearly confused about the events that took place as she tells Henry to find Alan. Unable to help the police with any answers, Henry has an uncomfortable encounter with Officer Reese who blames him for the town’s recent misfortune calling him a lightning rod. He is somewhat of a grim reaper as those around him often end up dead, take a look at his professional record: Leanne Chambers.
As the coroner hauls off Alan’s body, Henry decides it’s time for Wendell to leave town and puts him on a bus. Sensing something is off, Wendell begs his father to come with him. As the case with their relationship, Henry disappoints his son and sends him off by himself. The moment after he takes his seat on the bus a rogue bird flies into the windshield, suddenly Wendell hears the sharp ringing noise. The bus makes a stop at Jerusalem’s Lot before continuing to Boston, here Wendell disembarks and begins the 24 mile journey back to Castle Rock.
Molly calls Henry with her condolences after learning about Alan’s death, and he relays the conversation he had with The Kid to her as he tries to work out the mystery of his past. Feeling the desire to find out what Lacy had in the basement (remembering back to how it was locked and the widow was hella suspicious about the whole thing), Henry decides to visit the former Warden’s house. When he gets to the now ‘historic’ hotel no one is home, so he decides to break in through the basement-which is now mostly empty. The dozens of paintings of The Kid now hang on the walls on the second floor, as Henry finds on his B&E romp through the B&B.
Taking the canvases out of the frames, the voice of The Kid saying “I waited for 27 years” goes through his head as he looks at the dates of the paintings confirming his anti-aging via the dates printed on the bottom. Caught up on one ‘masterpiece’ dated from 1991 (the same year he went missing), Gordon interrupts him and tells him to leave. As he backs out of the room, Lilith stabs Henry with a large kitchen knife. A cluster-f*ck of a scuffle ensues between the three, in which the female assailant is the one who gets her carotid artery nicked. Henry makes it out of the house and to his car before Gordon catches up to him and pulls him from the vehicle, knife in hand. He pins Henry to the ground, seeming to get the upper-hand before a blow to the back of the head wielded by Jackie stops the murderer. In a shining moment, she fulfills her ax-wielding birthright. The police arrive but before Officer Reese can lambaste Henry again, he gets a call from the new Reverend about his mother causing him to take off.
Experiencing an episode and unable to cure it without self-medicating, Molly decides to go to the Deaver’s. After a winding drive through the dark woods, she ends up on her old street where she notices the light on in her parents’ house. There she finds The Kid sitting on the stairs. He says that she knows him, though she denies this, he proves to know her past very well claiming that he was there. As the two look out her bedroom window to the woods, he tells her “that’s where you died.” The two exchange a look and the episode ends.
The way that she was weaving on the windy dark road, it wouldn’t be surprising if Molly met her end on her erratic drive. It also wouldn’t be very surprised if she had died at some earlier point. As Castle Rock has already pointed out to us several times, it is possible that events are not occurring in sequential order. With still no explanation as to where The Kid came from, or what he is, seeing the (recently?) departed could be one of his abilities. Whether Molly and Henry’s connection will be affected by this new information remains to be seen. At the rate that Castle Rock goes through the main characters, Molly’s fate is truly in question.
Episode 9 entitled “Henry Deaver” streams on Hulu Wednesday night. All other episodes are currently available on the platform.
Main image from Castle Rock on Hulu Facebook page (@CastleRockHulu). Gifs from Tumblr.