Life can be a bit ambiguous sometimes.
What color is that dress, really?
The only sure thing is that it’s ugly!
So, in order to deal with the ambiguity that is life, sometimes you just need to kick back…
And remind yourself of something:
M-O-O-N, that spells schisma!
In other words, go watch Castle Rock!
No ambiguity there!
Back to reality this instant!
You know, the reality where having kids for dinner is actually literal?
And the reality (or maybe realities in this case) where Castle Rock is confusing as fuck and makes you question everything that you thought you knew, at least according to the last episode.
In other words, let’s review and dissect the season 1 finale of Castle Rock, titled Romans.
And, as always:
The episode begins with a flashback of Warden Lacy considering the murder of The Kid. He points the gun at his prisoner, but does not shoot.
The episode the flashes to the present. The Kid tries to convince Molly of his story, and wants her to talk Henry into meeting him at the woods, as he he believes that Henry can harness the power of the schisma and return The Kid to his proper dimension. Molly agrees to talk to Henry, and The Kid goes to the cemetery to wait for Molly and Henry.
Henry is driving back from the bed and breakfast. Crows bombard his windshield while he is driving, and he loses consciousness.
Molly drives into town to search for Henry. She finds Ruth instead, who is poised to jump from the bridge, distressed over the death of Alan. Molly talks her down, and takes Ruth home. Molly repeats The Kid’s story to Ruth, telling her that her alternate self had left Matthew Deaver, and led a much happier life.
Warden Porter returns home and finds flecks of soap, along with a figure of herself that has been carved from soap.
The next day, Warden Porter visits Molly and demands to know where The Kid can be found, and states that The Kid is the devil. The warden is then run over by a bus carrying several prisoners of Shawshank State Prison.
While unconscious, Henry has a flashback to his time in the woods with his father. Reverend Deaver catches his son in the lie in regards to hearing the schisma. The reverend also tells Henry that he knows his mother is cheating on him with Alan Pangborn, and that he plans to murder Ruth. Henry then runs away from his father.
Reverend Deaver looks for his son at the edge of Castle Lake. Henry has covered his tracks, and proceeds to push his father off the cliff, in an attempt to defend his mother.
Henry awakens in the present, and finds Molly. Molly tells him the story that The Kid told her. Henry states that The Kid needs to be turned in to the authorities. The conversation is interrupted by a phone call from Wendell, who has been pulled back to Castle Rock because he can hear the schisma.
When Henry tries to retrieve Wendell from the police station, he is arrested for the murder of Odin Branch and placed in a holding cell. He is then transferred to another cell when the prisoners from the bus are booked. Henry’s new cellmate is The Kid.
The Kid says that he needs to get out of the prison and go back to the woods. He tells Henry that he is not sure how much longer he will be able to hear the schisma, which he believes is the key to helping him return home.
The Kid then appears to use his powers to cause a brawl in the prison between the prisoners and the guards. The slaughter spills out into the sheriff’s office and even the downtown area of Castle Rock.
The Kid forces Henry into the woods at gunpoint, stating that this is the only way for him to return home. Henry begins to have flashbacks of his time in the cage. The Kid tells him that more memories will return in time.
Henry and The Kid struggle in the woods. Henry takes control of the gun, and appears to see The Kid’s face replaced with the face of something old and evil.
The show then jumps forward one year. Things appear to be back to normal in Castle Rock.
Henry is now living in Castle Rock and practicing property law. Ruth had passed away a few months prior and was buried next to Alan.
Wendell visits his father for the holidays in Castle Rock. He and Henry play chess with Ruth’s old set.
Molly has moved to Florida and is selling real estate.
We then see Henry visit Shawshank State Prison. The Kid has been returned to his original cistern and is being held captive by Henry.
The Kid smiles a sinister smile and reminds Henry of what happened to Warden Lacy, as Henry brings him his holiday meal.
Post credits, we see Jack working on a novel about her experiences in Castle Rock. The novel is titled Overlooked. Jackie contemplates taking a trip to the western part of the country so that she can learn more about her family.
I am sure that this was the collective reaction of everyone who stuck with the season after the conclusion of this show last week.
Yep, just a girl, stuck inside due to hurricane hysteria…
With her internet connection and Hulu subscription…
So yep, even more to unpack this week.
So, let’s get to work on that, chop chop!
Let me say one thing though:
Was that a hard left turn or what?
(Emphasis on the “or what”, of course.)
Last week’s episode:
Let’s give our Constant Viewers a nice, tidy, little package, with a clear path towards the end destination.
In other words, hey, yo, The Kid is not actually evil! How could such a nice little tushie actually be evil!
This poor dude got stuck in the wrong timeline through no fault of his own. The universe apparently hates pineapple with its pizza, so bad shit happens whenever he is in a five mile radius of pretty much anything, even people opening up an innocent bed and breakfast with a murder house theme!
Season finale: Lolz, kidding. Maybe. Or maybe not kidding. Who knows, we will just let you try to figure that one out, silly Constant Viewer! LOLZ!
So, most of this entry will likely be spent talking about the conclusion, what it means and how it fits in with the themes that make up this show. Trust me, we will get there.
But let me jump ahead to the post credits scene…
Yup, that scene…
Another shining moment in this series…
(Yeah, see what I did there? You’re welcome!)
Our favorite millenial, Ms. Thang, aka Jackie Torrance!
With that post credits scene, we are either getting a sneak peek into the next season of Castle Rock, or the writers are just having some fun trolling us!
And given how this show is, it could be either one.
I am hoping that we get to see more of Jackie, who is actually walking meta fiction.
I believe her to be us, the viewer, or Constant Reader, who is trapped in this crazy story taking place in the Stephen King multiverse.
So maybe she can have her own adventure, and the writers of the show will let us in on it.
Oh, and before I go on to discuss what really matters:
Yep, acting, writing, blah blah were all there for this episode. So kudos to all that!
Okay, we have finally made it to home base…
So no pulling out, and let’s talk about the ending to this season.
I realize that I am little late writing this review.
This is partially due to Mother Nature doing her bitchy PMS stuff by way of a hurricane, and I had some internet problems too.
But more so because I just needed time to think, before I sat down to write and attempt to enter both er all my readers with my thoughts in regards to this ending.
Now, for a little bit, this ending made me feel a bit like how I used to feel after a bedroom session with my ex:
Unsatisfied, kinda sad and disappointed and just looking for more.
(I know, I said “little bit.” Huh huh huh. So funny!)
But then, I thought about it.
(The ending of the show, not my ex. Just so we’re clear.)
And I actually thing that this ending fits in well with the themes that the show has explored this season and what the writers have been trying to show us.
Let me preface my thoughts on the ending with this statement:
Stephen King stories are not just about horror.
He writes about people and the human condition. Blah blah blah blah.
Human horror blah blah blah blah.
Take on issues plaguing our society blah blah blah.
Insert some more intellectual statements right about here, so you sound cool.
Tailor sentences or sentences to specific book or adaptation.
And boy, are humans really horrible and boy do people suck.
Clear as mud, right?
Well, I think we can all catch the drift.
Oh, and I know this is not *technically* an original story written by The Master.
But he lent out his multiverse to JJ Abrams and company to play with, so in a way, we watched a Stephen King story on screen, that wasn’t actually written by King.
In other words, there is a lot more going on than people with PSI abilities, a possible devil incarnate and thinny Twinners.
Throughout the show, ambiguity has been on the one constant.
Is The Kid evil, or is he just stuck in the wrong universe, and can’t catch a break?
(I have reverted from Henry Prime back to The Kid. Because…well because!)
Does Ruth have dementia, or can she travel between worlds and timelines? Or both?
Do bad things happen in Castle Rock because of the presence of The Kid, or do bad things happen in Castle Rock because see that part about humans being really horrible?
I could go on and on, but I won’t, I think anyone who has watched this from the beginning can see where I am going.
What is reasonable doubt? How much do we need to be comfortable with, before we pull the trigger, either metaphorically or literally?
There have been some trigger happy folks in this show.
Matthew Deaver was one of them.
In one universe, the not so good reverend kept a child in a cage for 27 years, because he believed that child to be the devil.
In another universe, the still not so good reverend nearly murdered his wife and was only stopped by his 11 year old son and wily neighbor who happens to possess PSI abilities.
In either reality, things did not end well for the reverend. So being trigger happy did not pay off.
We also have Henry.
Before Henry found his new career of defending azalea bushes from some the more colorful characters in the King universe, he was a death row attorney.
This episode opens with a voice over from Henry in regards to reasonable doubt.
Henry asks us how much reasonable doubt we can be comfortable with, when someone’s life hangs in the balance.
And really, how much is enough? 90%? 95%? 99%? 99.99999%?
Of course, some questions do not really have answers.
The show has reminded us of that several times this season.
Did Zalewski simply snap from the stress of working in the hell that is a privatized prison in this country? This assumption is not unreasonable.
Or did The Kid somehow pass on his evil influence to Zalewski? This is another reasonable assumption, given how The Kid is seemingly able to make people do bad things. Again, no easy answers.
And of course we have the $19 million dollar question…
Is The Eater of Wonder Bread the devil incarnate? Or is he just unlucky enough to become trapped in the wrong universe, which apparently causes death and destruction to spread everywhere he is?
And again, no easy answers.
We can take a lawyer stance, like Henry probably did, in his mind.
On the one hand, bad things happen around The Kid and his cute little tushie. We can’t dispute this.
(I am taking about both the fact that bad things happen and the fact that Pennywise does have a cute tushie. Fight me.)
On the one hand, it seems that The Kid does have control of his abilities. We saw this in the prison. We may have seen it with his fine, upstanding white supremacist cell mate.
But, according to the laws of the King multiverse, the universe does not like pineapple with its pizza.
In other words, get your butt to the right universe, and all will be well. This has been established time and time again, in various King works, like 11/22/63.
The Kid also quotes the same passage in the bible that Henry’s father quoted to him.
But, as Henry also points out, The Kid spent a ton of time in the garage in the Deaver home, probably gathering a ton of intel in regards to the Deaver family.
And Henry did see that ugly, withered face when he struggled with The Kid in the woods, right?
Maybe, maybe not.
Can we trust Henry here?
I would like to think that we could, but then again, people see what they want to see.
Henry was pretty firm in his belief that The Kid is a bad guy. So it’s possible his mind was trying to convince him of this.
Or Henry saw something of himself reflected in that face. Or maybe he just saw the town.
Now, Henry is continuing the same cycle that others have perpetuated, like Warden Lacy.
We may as well just refer to him as “ole long, tall and ugly at this point.”
Old habits die hard (in a literal sense here.)
So Henry is cursed to be the gatekeeper for someone or something who may be evil, but we still have at least a little bit of reasonable doubt in regards to that.
Poor Wendell will likely be dragged into this at some point.
How much more dark and depressing can this get?
Uh, that was meant to be a rhetorical question, but I am looking forward to any future seasons that may provide us with clues.
Well, that’s it for Romans!
And for season 1 of Castle Rock!
I will be continuing on my journey in the world of The Stand, and will likely be providing my opinion (since everyone is entitled to it, after all) in regards to anything else in the King universe that may strike my fancy between now and next season.
So tune in whenever…
Same bat time, same bat channel!