Castle Rock: The Queen
August 22, 2018 5:30 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

As Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek) tumbles unpredictably through a lifetime of memories, the escaped Kid makes himself at home (again?).

(Oh hey, this was another really great episode! Sissy Spacek gave us a little bit of everything here, and I love how she conveys Ruth's mental state and shows us those wheels turning in her head in every scene. I'm looking forward to rewatching the entire series with this episode in mind sometime soon, so many random things from earlier link up here. And the ending is 100% sentimentality done right.)
posted by Strange Interlude (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Wow. That was a hell of an hour of television.

This feels like the episode they built the show around -- almost everything "mysterious" that the show has given us so far gets referenced and re-contextualized here. The dead dog, the line that ends the episode (brought up earlier in this one and I think in a previous one), what was going on between Michael and his dad, etc. All given new meaning through the mechanism of the time-walker.

I wonder if The Kid somehow accesses other people's memories and their trauma and inserts himself into it. I'd be surprised if he is specifically connected to Matthew Deaver in the end.

I hope Melanie Lynskey's character gets more to do at some point - it feels like they still haven't figured out why she's in the story. Having her show up on the doorstep and just get blown off seemed appropriate for what the show's given her so far.

Still, best episode of the series by far.
posted by five toed sloth at 8:26 PM on August 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Agreed, that was pretty amazing. Sissy Spacek is a treasure.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:28 AM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the difference in quality between this episode and the previous one was night and day.

Also, we're now 70% through the season and I still don't have the slightest idea of what the show is doing. Bravo?
posted by Balna Watya at 1:43 AM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Damn, that was good. Sissy Spacek is amazing. I'm guessing there's some kind of Dark Tower-eque multiverse thing happening, which will also eventually serve to explain the seasonal anthology structure of the show.

Ruth definitely associates The Kid with Matthew (and I totally knew he was going to end up hinky. King does like his corrupt(ed) ministers in small towns...). Is he Matthew reborn? Some kind of hybrid between an... extradimensional being and Matthew? I notice they're being very careful not to show The Kid being explicitly evil. Bad shit happens around him, but is he intentionally causing it?

She also latched onto the "kill your nemesis and fix your timeline" theme of Wendell's game. But if The Kid can be killed, why didn't Warden Lacy do that? If not when he captured him, then when he was forced out of Shawshank.
posted by lovecrafty at 10:44 AM on August 23, 2018

My take is that the Kid is basically a passive magnetic conductor for all of the bad vibes in Castle Rock. Imagine that the town is like a dark, evil sun sending unfocused rays of malign force outwards in all directions. The Kid basically receives, amplifies, and refracts those rays into a deadly laser beam of awfulness that's beyond his control. He might cause someone to develop late-stage cancer, or go on a murderous rampage, or maybe even tune in the uneasy memory of somebody long dead. What we saw in tonight's episode was a complex interaction between the Kid's abilities and Ruth's dementia, with elements of each taking pieces of the other and blurring them.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:07 AM on August 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

She also latched onto the "kill your nemesis and fix your timeline" theme of Wendell's game. But if The Kid can be killed, why didn't Warden Lacy do that? If not when he captured him, then when he was forced out of Shawshank.

Because (again via Wendell's game) only the timewalker can kill the dead so they stay dead? Doesn't make a ton of sense yet, but they spent enough time on that expository scene to make me think they plan to explore the idea further.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:32 AM on August 23, 2018

Hmmm... Okay, so maybe we're heading towards a Scooby gang of Henry, who can hear the Schisma, Molly, who can sense whether an ally is for real or not, and Ruth, who can pull the trigger.
posted by lovecrafty at 11:53 AM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Whoa just watched this and teared up multiple times! I loved that this episode made me reassess my own previous reactions to Ruth (and to mental differences in general). Her Alzheimer's – I have to admit – made me think "less" of her in previous episodes and scenes. The scene where Henry and Pangborn are talking about Henry's father's burial and Ruth rushes in and says "Oh the sheets!" - the first time around, I was like, Oh jeez! But the second time around, I realized the experience she was having was much more layered, astute, intelligent, emotional, sensory, complex, powerful - than any of the other characters were having. I had the same reaction to all those reappearing scenes. It made me respect her so much.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 9:23 PM on August 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

The unexpected emotional suckerpunches of this episode closely parallel how I felt watching Bojack Horseman S04E11 - "Time's Arrow"... the reframing of his mother's perspective and struggle through a faulty memory was heartwrenching, and felt like the entire series elevated itself an order of magnitude beyond what had come before.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:47 AM on August 24, 2018 [5 favorites]

Ruth and Alan's characters and relationship are the strongest part of Castle Rock IMHO. Sissy Spacek and Scott Glenn have delivered such compelling and nuanced performances. The ending to this episode was so sad, and I hope it turns out differently than it appeared.

I love that Ruth is not portrayed as a helpless dotard. The show has deliberately shown us that she is smart and strong, and this episode was very clever to take an old horror trope---the protagonist in the house with an intruder---and flipped it around so that the real antagonist is her own dementia, and she is fighting against it by using intelligence and coping mechanisms like the chess pieces.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 2:11 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Well that was depressing.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:21 AM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I liked the artistic pivot of reframing Ruth's story and I enjoyed Spacek's performance a great deal.

But it didn't do nearly enough to reframe the overall story for my money. I've been feeling like I've been watching the same episode every week. Literally retreading the same ground, even if done with a twist, only made me more frustrated.

It seems like I'm solidly in the minority on that, though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:22 PM on September 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also, I cannot be the only one who thought:

Listen: Ruth Deaver has come unstuck in time.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:46 PM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Literally retreading the same ground, even if done with a twist, only made me more frustrated.
Yeah, I'm finally getting around to finishing Castle Rock after a long hiatus and there were a few moments early in the episode where I was like "Wait, did I already watch this one?"

And I understand why they did it, and I thought it was a very good episode of television, just not a great episode of this show, if that makes any sense. It didn't feel like it advanced the story in any meaningful way other than to kill off Pangborn (which made sense from a cruel irony standpoint but otherwise... kind of wastes a great character) and reveal that Matthew Deaver's obsession with sounds in the woods was straight up mental illness and/or a side-effect of gliomas. But, maybe the pacing was intended as a deliberate pause and deep breath before the final arc of the series.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 11:46 AM on April 23, 2019

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