Castle Rock: Romans
September 13, 2018 7:03 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

The story comes full circle as Henry Deaver realizes his true purpose in Castle Rock.
posted by Strange Interlude (11 comments total)
Hmmm, I have mixed feelings. King himself does have a history of whiffing his endings, but is this a whiff or a hit? Was the Kid telling Molly the truth (which she wouldn't be able to tell, because she can't get a read on him), or is he just a deceiving creature at the heart of the town's miseries? Was Henry in Alternate Castle Rock for 27 years, or was he in the creepy barber's house for 11 days? There's enough for reasonable doubt.

This ep felt rushed, especially after last weeks ep. How did Henry get the Kid back to Shawshank? How did he escape and presumably clear his name? What about Wendell hearing the thinny?
posted by lovecrafty at 2:00 PM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Definite whiff on this one.

This is a show that spent a huge amount of its running time on the Sound in the Woods. Henry's father, the deaf guy and his sidekick, Wendell, Henry himself - all are drawn to/obsessed with it in some fashion. Yet Wendell just gets stuck in a car and sent back to Boston, and Henry, despite being able to hear it, turns back when he gets the upper hand on the Kid. Nothing to see here, back to the cage with you.

(Also, I have to register my objection to the soundtrack for all the in-the-woods scenes. Please, people, if the plot depends on whether or not a given character can hear a sound, don't layer the whole goddamn track with various drones, whines, and other noise. I had no idea what was going on in most of those scenes, because the drone would get quiet/loud with no reaction from the characters, and then one would wince - why?)

Finally, and this is minor but it's bothering me, why did what is presumably the Kid's true face look that old? That was a classic "500 year old vampire about to die" look. But we watched a full episode where the Kid as alternate-universe Henry Deaver who wasn't stillborn found 11-year-old current universe Henry Deaver at an apparent age of 27 (Bill Skarsgard's age). That was 27 years ago, so the Kid's true face should be 54 or so. That, and the smile at the end, would imply that the Kid is not in fact alternate-universe Henry Deaver, but then why did we waste an entire episode on that story? If it was a lie, then whose lie is it? The Kid's or the show's?

It's like they were making a 13-episode series and then somebody went back and read the contract, and they were like, welp, I guess we need to wrap things up, and so we got this. But hey, we got another Jack/Jackie Torrance joke nobody asked for!
posted by five toed sloth at 1:35 PM on September 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

It looks like they set up the second season with a more derivative storyline that could equally whiff its ending, too.

If I'd have guessed which Easter Egg would trigger the S2 story direction prior to this episode, I would've expected it to follow the son getting off that bus in Salem's Lot and potentially encountering another thinny. I'm always quietly happy to be wrong, because I get to learn things and not be bored by predictability. But you know how new series often suffer visibly in the first 3 eps from "production by committee" issues? That seems to affect ONLY the Castle Rock season finale.

Like, until this ep I wasn't just satisfied with this show. I was ELATED. And then we get to this rushed, WTF ending, almost like they cut a few eps out of the season.

Part of me felt mildly insulted at the end. Now, this is reflecting back a few days after viewing. I'll give you that the actual "reveal" and finale shot scenes were fantastically scary. I screamed AND jumped, so, fucking scary as hell, for sure.

A lot of that's down to the incredible sound editing and original score.

I'm on board with S2, but worried this is going to burn me like Channel Zero S3 did. Channel Zero: No-end House (S2) was literal perfection. Castle Rock eps 1-9 are on that level, too. Horror series can be so hit-or-miss, and Castle Rock already proved its artistic potential.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:27 PM on September 15, 2018

Gah, I now have a theory that "the one thing universally feared is the unknown" is why the writers made the ending so ambivalent. Since we cannot confidently say The Kid is really the Devil or Henry Deaver-gent, and whatever it is seems satisfied with that bullshit jail cell ending, it's... unknown.

I mean, maybe, I guess? That's a little more precious than clever, if that's truly the writers' intent. But it wouldn't surprise me, and whiffed endings is what made King's short stories such a flip of the coin to read. Either they made me feel ill/shudder/chilled afterwards, or I was annoyed at their wasted potential.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:52 PM on September 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Any chance TK is really Matthew Deaver? Or like... half-Matthew Deaver sharing a body with TK?
posted by rhiannonstone at 5:18 PM on September 16, 2018

So... The Kid is really a 27 year old neurologist from a parallel dimension, but because our Henry Deaver can't tell for sure that The Kid is telling the truth (on account of him having become so changed by his decades-long imprisonment and weird chaos-attracting powers) he can't be sure that trying to return The Kid to his own timeline is the right thing to do/attempt... so he sticks him in the oubliette again? Is that what happened?

I found this whole season, and especially it's denouement, very unsatisfying and frustrating.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 8:34 PM on September 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was sort of onboard with the schisma having magical cross-universe powers and the Deaver boys got swept up into it, but only the adopted Henry made it back to the right world, and the kid was in the wrong world and his presence made Bad Things happen around him.

And then this episode sorta went "nah, actually it's much simpler and less explained than that", TK actually had some sort of powers, has an aged vampire face in 3 frames, all the backstory with TK's wife and possible future kid? yeah just yanking your chain. LOL he's just evil incarnate and needs to be locked away again.

And yeah, if S2 is just a retelling of the Overlook Hotel, ugh.
posted by Kyol at 6:21 AM on September 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, chalk me up as disappointed too. It just didn't seem to do a whole lot, and the story ended up eliciting a kind of shrug from me. I guess it doesn't help that I'm completely sick of divergent timeline plots in shows. It felt very LOST-ish towards the end.
posted by codacorolla at 9:05 PM on September 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Well it was J.J. Abrams produced.

I binge-watched this, and because King and Abrams were involved, I expected a blah ending and for me this satisfying, maybe because my hopes were low. My take on it was that the writers want us to think that PROBABLY Nick Cave is demonic because he wandered into the wrong dimension, just like Henry starts all kind of shit when he's in the wrong time stream.

So if somehow Nick Cave had wandered back into the thinny with Henry, let's say he goes back to his time slot and his wife and medical practice, and Henry is the demon who gets put in the cage and maybe gets out and terrorizes Castle Rock.

There's probably two dozen holes you could pack in that theory (and the conflation of Alzheimer's with some sort of time-traveling powers is sort of off-putting) but I think that's what the writers were getting at.

I've always found King to be at his most compelling when he's really engaging with the setting and when he gets off into let's face it his probably drug-inspired multiverse. I think this production does amazing things with setting and acting, so we get the sort of characters that King might create. The whole different streams of time felt like a J.J. Abrams spin on the Dark Tower multiverse, so it's satisfying in that it creates a huge mystery, but, as is often the case with J.J. Abrams, the mystery isn't solved satisfactorily.

That's okay though. I recent read what I think is King's latest, The Outsider , and the ending is AMAZINGLY bad. It's like, he must have been edited or maybe high when he plotted the ends of Cujo, The Dead Zone, the others that worked. But when it comes to The Outsider or Under the Dome, he sets up these premises and delivers plenty of gore and the ending is just--tacked on. Like he has to produce or the tower will fall or something.

I'm enjoying his tweets about Donald Trump though
posted by angrycat at 4:25 AM on January 1, 2019

I finally finished watching Castle Rock last night, and I can't remember the last time I was actively mad after finishing a show. "Have to get this person back to the right parallel universe or there will be dire consequences" is such a hackneyed Star Trek plot device, and even all the various incarnations of Star Trek knew better than to drag it out for 10 episodes.

What really irks me, though, is that that they just didn't resolve anything. Like... if the kid actually is mirror universe Henry Deaver and they're going for "antihero twist ending" then WTF was with the old monster jump scare and the kid's ominous smile at the very end? Or if the kid actually is the actual embodiment of evil then WTF was the point of the 'voice of god in the woods' that they spent so much time building up, and why did the kid let himself get put back in the cage (and how did Henry get him there, and by the way why isn't Henry in jail after all the crazy shit he's been implicated in?) What was this series even supposed to be about? Sissy Spacek and Scott Glenn were amazing, but why were they even in it?

Stephen King's endings can definitely be uneven but he didn't actually write any of this; he just gave the blessing for Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason to use his locations and characters. Which reminds me that I'm also kind of pissed at them for killing off Alan Pangborn for no particular reason.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 3:02 PM on May 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Hmm, I'm glad Hulu cancelled this.
posted by Monochrome at 4:30 PM on April 2, 2022

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