Castle Rock: Severance
July 26, 2018 6:31 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Defense attorney Henry Deaver (Andre Holland) is called back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Maine, following the discovery of a mysterious man (Bill Skarsgard) hidden in the bowels of Shawshank Prison. Inspired by the works of Stephen King.

I'm going into this series as a comparative King neophyte, having only read a handful of his novels, and roughly as many of the adapations thereof. I think I have a good sense of his style and significance as a storyteller, but I don't know all of the mythology like his lifelong readers might.

I've always been interested in King, but have been daunted by the sheer size of his body of work, so I'm curious to see if this series functions as a good entry point, while also working as its own thing independent of specific connections to the books and films.

Of course, feel free to share any Easter eggs or intertextual parallels that you may spot as we run through the series over the next several weeks, it's all part of the fun!
posted by Strange Interlude (17 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Insofar as the first episode is more or less pure setup, I'm liking this so far. It feels basically in-tone with the King stories I've read and watched, and the references that I'm catching seem well-placed and non-gratuitous. The weirdness of casting Bill Skarsgard fresh off of IT (not to mention Sissy Spacek, 40 years after Carrie) makes me wonder if that's part of the plan somehow.

I'll admit, I kind of groaned at how plainly they spelled out how Terry O'Quinn's warden specifically told Skarsgard to ask for Deaver, but we do still have the question of "why" so it's not a total deflation of the mystery. I think I'm sticking with this one for the duration.

My plan is to put up threads for the first three episodes within the next day or so to keep the discussion compartmentalized for folks (like me!) who don't have time for a straight three-hour binge right now. Then a new thread will be posted every Wednesday evening following Hulu's normal episode release. Sound good?
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:24 AM on July 26 [6 favorites]


AV Club points this out in one of their recaps but the attempts as being self-referential is getting a bit distracting. I am by no means a super-fan and I admit to an internal giggle here (the reference to everything starting when they found that dead boy near the railroad tracks) and there but I hope they pick up the pace a bit.
posted by Johnny Hazard at 9:26 AM on July 26


Maybe someone who is more musically literate than I am can better explain this, but there is a lingering chord they use in the score whenever they cut to Shawshank that seems a reference to the score from The Shawshank Redemption. It's not even a full phrase, just a single ringing chord in the same key, used in the same way, as a sort of tip of the hat.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:30 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I'm wary because Abrams, et al. have a very poor track record of paying off what they set up in any sort of coherent manner.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:30 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


Warily, under protest, I have to do the thing here that someone has to do in every Abrams tv thread, where someone says, "Abrams doesn't usually pay off all of that setup in a tv show" and then someone else--in this case, me--has to say, "Yes, but: Fringe."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:48 AM on July 26 [10 favorites]


And I'll do the thing where I point out that people complaining about Abrams are usually complaining specifically about Lost, which after the first season was really Cuse & Lindelof's show more than Abrams'.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:51 AM on July 26 [4 favorites]


I watched all of Fringe. I respectfully disagree.
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:02 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


The young version of the Ruth character is barely visible, in the scene of young Henry being returned home, but I noticed in the credits that young Ruth was played by Sissy Spacek's daughter Schuyler Fisk.
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:44 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


And I'll do the thing where I point out that just because J.J. Abrams (or any other marquee Hollywood name) has an executive producer credit on a TV show, that doesn't mean that he is the sole or even dominant driving creative force behind it. It's produced under the Bad Robot shingle, but the creators of the show are Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason, who also wrote the first two episodes and share an executive producer credit with Abrams and King. I've never heard of them either, but it's their show, and I'm prepared to watch it with that in mind.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:50 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


...the creators of the show are Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason...

Good point. I may give it a go, since it's a slow time for TV.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:00 AM on July 26


I’m a diehard fan since I was in eighth grade and first read Firestarter. It’s been fun picking out the little things like store names, familiar places, characters. This episode felt a little slow, but it’s still held my interest and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as we go.
posted by notaninja at 9:09 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I'm really liking this. Admittedly, I'm a complete Stephen King nerd, I've read every single thing he's ever published, so all the references are like Christmas to me. I can see how they'd be distracting to people who are less familiar with his canon. I will say, don't get too distracted. I mean feel free to look them up, or pick up some of his Castle Rock focused books later on, but so far the references are mainly just easter eggs for Constant Readers, you don't absolutely have to know what they're referring to to understand what's happening in the show.

Suffice it to say that King tends to write a lot about the archetype of "the bad place" whether that be a town, or a house, or a hotel. It's a place that looks normal on the outside, but it's rotten inside and things within often go quietly and horribly wrong. And when they do rest, they rest uneasily. Just from the first episode I can tell that's a theme that will feature prominently in this show.
posted by katyggls at 12:31 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


Maybe someone who is more musically literate than I am can better explain this, but there is a lingering chord they use in the score whenever they cut to Shawshank that seems a reference to the score from The Shawshank Redemption. It's not even a full phrase, just a single ringing chord in the same key, used in the same way, as a sort of tip of the hat.

I think you're right and this is probably due to the fact that the composer of Castle Rock's score is Thomas Newman, who also worked on the music for The Shawshank Redemption. They discuss it in the Inside the Episode clip for episode 2, "Habeas Corpus".
posted by katyggls at 12:48 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


The title of this episode made me laugh and laugh. I’ve watched through epi 3 and it’s all muddled up so will say no more for fear of spoilering. I love the cast!
posted by mochapickle at 7:07 PM on July 27


I am guessing Deaver’s disappearance being 27 years ago relates to IT or is otherwise significant...
posted by Monochrome at 7:31 PM on July 28


BTW, the thread for Episode 2 is now up for anybody who's been champing at the bit to discuss beyond the pilot. Episode 3 thread forthcoming!
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:02 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Also, I just discovered that Hulu is running an official behind-the-scenes after-show podcast coinciding with each episode's release, hosted by Dave Holmes. So far it's been pretty informative, with the show's creators appearing on nearly every episode and giving a lot of good insights into the show's themes and key creative choices.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:19 AM on August 3


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