Castle Rock: The Box
August 1, 2018 7:59 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Henry's research finds him following a possible lead to his own disappearance 27 years earlier; meanwhile, Shawshank Prison guard Dennis Zalewski discovers a solution to his growing workplace anxiety.

(New threads posted weekly on Wednesday evening, following the release of each episode on Hulu. Although I haven't added a "books included" spoiler tag to these threads, feel free to share interesting similarities or Easter eggs from Stephen King's books and other media.)
posted by Strange Interlude (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had to watch this one twice to figure out what I thought of it. And now I feel like this might be one of the best, and most unsettling episodes of TV I've watched all year. It builds the tension so slowly yet mercilessly that you don't even realize what it's doing until it's too late.

So many details stick out for me: There's the use of Tom Waits and Roy Orbison (the first two non-diegetic needle drops in the show, I think?) to bookend the Zalewski storyline, letting you sense his downward spiral before it becomes clear that's what's happening.

There's the surreal, almost cartoonish dilapidation of the Desjardins house, and the way Henry's conversation with the owner itself never quite resolves its own messy ambiguity. Indeed, we never even figure out if the locked wooden crate is "The Box" of the title, or just one of dozens of other literal or figurative boxes in the episode.

The episode even goes so far as to promise the release of sexual tension by finally getting Henry and Molly together, and all we're shown is the awkwardness of the morning after, with Henry lying in bed looking exhausted while Molly stares blankly into the bathroom mirror. Nothing has been fixed and nothing is okay.

I'm sticking my neck out and calling it: This is where Castle Rock went from being merely diverting late-summer viewing to being Quite Good Actually.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:02 PM on August 1, 2018 [8 favorites]

The AC is out at my place, and I watched this episode in a sweat soaked fever state, and I loved it. Between _Castle Rock_ and _It _ I think we have finally entered the age of good Steven King adaptations. Notable things I noted:

- the cell block intimidation attempt that gets flipped on its head within the space of a few words
- the spreading cruelty/wrath of the prison guards. At least before it is curtailed.
- what's up with the Dad's corpse?
- In Deaver's flashback to his time in the box, it was underground like the one in the prison rather than above ground like the one in Desjardin's back yard. Also, he has a bible in there with Deaver like the Devil-kid had in his iron box.
- In episode 3, you see Shine-Lady ball her fist, and then Deaver mirrors the motion a half second later. Can she send as well as receive? Was she controlling Deaver when he pushed his Dad off the cliff? Which is why people think that Deaver did it, but Shine-Lady tells him not to blame himself? Is the answer to all these questions "Yes"?

I have no idea what is going on but I'm so looking forward to how they put these pieces together.
posted by Balna Watya at 10:14 PM on August 1, 2018 [5 favorites]

In Deaver's flashback to his time in the box, it was underground like the one in the prison rather than above ground like the one in Desjardin's back yard.

Oh man, I might have to watch this one more time. I'd interpreted this as Henry experiencing The Kid's imprisonment through a dream, but maybe there's something else going on there.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:51 AM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm a sucker for horrible-pasts-of-small-towns stories and I'm enjoying this. It's funny -- when the first three episodes posted, I read one major reviewer who said there were far too many references to King stories and another major reviewer who said there weren't nearly enough. So they must be doing something right!

I've been thinking that Henry might not be what he seems, possibly unknown or repressed even to himself. The warden said that the devil was a boy, but there are two boys in this story -- the kid and Henry. The prison fire was several years before Henry's disappearance in 1991. What if he was talking about Henry? What if Henry had been kept down there first by the warden? What if the voice telling Molly to kill Mr. Deaver was Henry's? After all, his voice has always been the loudest to her. And maybe there's some sort of clue to that in Mr. Deaver's coffin? I'm counting on some red herrings.

I loved the staging of Desjardin's home. Fantastic. I'd love to walk through it!

The closing sequence on the monitors with the Roy Orbison song was really chilling.
posted by mochapickle at 10:27 PM on August 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

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