Castle Rock Season 2, Episode 4: Recap and Review

Now, I like to get a rush as much as the next person.

The problem is, I am lazy.

And a chicken shit.

So mountain climbing and sky diving are out…d’oh!

I have Colts football, but coming down from that rush…ugh…

I realize that there are *other* options, but nose candy comes with its own set of issues.

But, I am lucky.

I have a Hulu subscription and an internet connection.

In other words, Castle Rock!

I just finished watching the fourth episode of Castle Rock, and boy are my knuckles white!

Seriously, never a dull moment in this show!

Castle Rock has all that anyone can ask for:

Crazy nurses, crime families, new and inventive ways to use kitchenware, cursed houses, you name it!

All set against the colorful back drop that is the small town in the Stephen King multiverse!

Although it is not as horrific as Colts football, it is pretty creepy, by Christmas!

So, let’s get down to it, and dive into the fourth episode of the second season of Castle Rock, titled Restore Hope.

And, as always:

Synopsis

The episode begins with a flashback to a scene in a village in Mogadishu, Somalia.  We meet young Nadia and Abdi, whose village is under attack.  Nadia and Abdi’s mother panics, and makes plans to flee her village with her children.

Nadia and Abdi’s mother leaves her children alone in their home.  Some American soldiers find the children.  The children’s mother returns, holding a rifle.  The soldiers shoot Abdi and Nadia’s mother dead.  Nadia places the blame for her mother’s death on herself and feels tremendous guilt.

In the present day, Nadia learns that Pop’s chemotherapy treatment is not giving her the results she wants and the cancer is terminal.  Nadia desperately looks for other forms of treatment.

Joy sits alone at a bus stop.  Ace drives by and offers her a ride, but Joy refuses and catches a ride on the bus instead.

Joy ends up at a homeless shelter.  She runs into Nadia, who volunteers at the shelter during her off hours.  Joy convinces Nadia to let her stay with her and Abdi.

Chance breaks into Joy and Annie’s home to retrieve some of Joy’s personal items.  Chance also steals a lock box that Annie keeps, as Joy believes that Annie is hiding vital information from her.

Annie confronts Nadia, but is told to stay away from Nadia.  Nadia also tells Annie that she cannot return to work until the issue with Joy is resolved.

Joy is able to open the lock box and discovers several different license plates.  Joy also discovers a CD that contains a PDF file.  The PDF file is actually a book titled The Ravening Angel.

Nadia receives a call telling her that Pop is eligible to participate in an experimental treatment program.  Nadia realizes that she needs Pop’s discharge paperwork.  Nadia breaks into the Emporium Galorium to search for Pop’s discharge paperwork.

Nadia finds the missing paperwork, but also runs into some of Ace’s cronies, who attack her, telling her that they are attacking her in order to send a message to Abdi.  Nadia is able to escape from the cronies, and begins to review Pop’s paperwork.

In the meantime, Pop visits a priest, as he feels that he has sinned.  The priest reminds Pop that his confession may cause someone else pain, and Pop burns a letter that he had written to Abdi and Nadia.

As Nadia reviews Pop’s paperwork, pieces begin to fall into place, and Nadia realizes that Pop was the soldier who shot her mother.

Pop is holding a wake at a local bar, celebrating his life.  The celebration is interrupted by Nadia, who confronts her adoptive father.  Pop confesses to the killing of Nadia and Abdi’s mother.

Chris confronts his brother Ace, admonishing Ace for his actions.  Ace lures Chris into a Church, telling Chris that he has a new change of heart, and that the original settlers of Jerusalem’s Lot continue to defend their promised land.

At the church, Ace attacks Chris.  The two struggle, but Ace is able to overcome his brother, stabbing Chris in the stomach.

My Thoughts

Wow, what an episode.

Again, wow.

Lots to unpack here, and I have absolutely no problem with that.

I wanted more, and I got my wish.

Some of the reveals in this episode were not exactly surprising, but they were still well done and carried an emotional punch.

The flashback to Nadia and Abdi’s childhood in Somalia (more on them later) was well done.  I was 15 in 1993, so this reminded of the nightly news.

In times of war, we forget that humans are still involved.  I think that this was the case with Pop:  he was finally able to put a face to what he was fighting, although it took a tragedy for him to be able to do that.

Again, zombies, witches, vampires, etc are scary, but there is nothing like good old human fuckery to really send a chill down your spine.

However, we had plenty of supernatural fuckery in this episode too, courtesy of zombie Ace.

Apparently, being un-dead allows you to suddenly become fluent in other languages.

A couple of episodes ago, Chance had described Ace as “rape-y.”

(Speaking of Chance, how cute is it to watch Chance and Joy flirt…my heart!)

And Ace is rape-y.

When he offered Joy a ride, I almost yelled at the television.

Luckily, Joy is smarter than your average horror movie character, and did not accept that offer, although she probably needed a shower after being within five feet of him.

As I have said before, being un-dead may have made Ace a little smarter, but it definitely did not make him less of an asshole.

We we were offered plenty of proof of that in this episode.

Ace and his zombie buddies clearly have something terrible in mind, as they continue to create new zombies (so far we have a bartender, a counsel woman and even a local teenager.)

Ace tried to have Nadia assaulted (and maybe even raped, how disgusting.)

Oh, and Ace has now murdered his own brother.

Chris is probably the most upstanding member of the Merrill Family, although the bar for that is low.

And now he is a member of the zombie cult.

Hopefully, Nadia kicks him out of her bed…

Because gross!

We know that in at least one reality, the infamous ‘Salem’s Lot has been the site of a cult.

De Vermis Mysteriis, anyone?

Now, I’m not saying it’s De Vermis Mysteriis, but man, this looks like De Vermis Mysteriis, or something similar, at least.

But, let’s get back to the non-supernatural element.

Part of the reason why King’s stories work so well is because they are infused with a healthy dose of reality.

Human relationships play a large role in most King stories.

The Shining, It, 11/22/63, Needful Things, The Dead Zone.

These stories are all great examples of stories that contain that dose of humanity.

The dose of humanity keeps the story grounded.

So the reader believes that the supernatural is that much more plausible.

That old hotel could be infested with ghosts.

Stay away from storm drains, as there may be things living in them.  And these would not be nice things.

Castle Rock has also dosed itself with that element of reality, via the story of Nadia and Abdi.

Again, the reveal that Pop was responsible for the death of Nadia and Abdi’s father was not exactly a surprise.

But this reveal was so well done, in terms of the scenes, camera work and the acting, especially on the part of Yusra Warsama.

Yusra’s body movements and facial expression were such that I felt that I was experiencing what she was experiencing, and that is something that is rare, indeed.

Nadia is shaping up to be one of my favorite characters on this show.

She is smart and tough, but is also fragile, given her feelings toward her dying adoptive father, and the fact that she will do anything to save his life, as she still carries guilt in regards to the death of her mother.

The overlap of Nadia putting the pieces together in regards to the death of her mother, along with Pop’s “sloppy Irish wake,” was brilliant onscreen.

It took us away from the zombie cult, the vampires and all of the other crazy that is Castle Rock, and reminded us that we are dealing with humanity and its messiness.

The fact that this show can switch from a horror story to a family drama and not miss a beat is just a sign of how well done this show is.

Well, that’s it for Restore Hope.

join me next week for the recap and review of episode 5, titled The Laughing Place.

Tune in next week…

Same bat time, same bat channel!

 

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