Castle Rock: Season 2, Episode 9 Recap and Review

There are some things in life that inevitable.

Like being disappointed on Sundays, courtesy of my Island of Misfit Toys football team.

Or Mondays…being…

Well, Mondays.

And Wednesdays…being…


The day when I can finally watch the latest episode of Castle Rock, and then go crazy trying to dissect and figure out where this show is going.

But, like almost any TV show, we are at the point where the inevitable decides to rear its inevitable head:

The death of a major character.

In episode 9, titled Caveat Emptor, we had the inevitable delivered to us, in the death of someone significant to the show, and also to the Stephen King Multiverse.

Of course, this death was not unexpected, although the sting was  still there.

So, let’s get down to it.

Here is the recap and review of episode 9.

And, as always:


The episode begins with Pop Merrill escaping the crowd gathered around the statue and making his way back to Emporium Galorium.  Pop searches for letters from Alan Pangborn that contained information in regards to The Kid.

In the meantime, we meet Martha Lacey, the wife of the deceased Warden Lacey.  Martha is murdered in her room by one of the Marstenites, as Ace and his group believe that she has access to information in regards to The Kid.  Martha is resurrected and reveals that her late husband wrote several letters to Alan Pangborn, which may contain the information that Ace seeks.

Pop finds Nadia at the hospital weeping over Chris’ corpse.  Outside the hospital, Pop and Nadia meet up with Chance, who assures them she has not been possessed.

Pop, Nadia and Chance attempt to escape in Pop’s truck, but are chased by another vehicle.  The driver of this vehicle is Abdi, who is on the defense.

Pop, Nadia, Chance and Abdi head back to Emporium Galorium.  Pop tells the rest of the group about the letters written by Warden Lacey, which are in his possession.  Pop then arms the store and the rest of the group with booby traps and guns, as he knows that Ace will come to the store in search of those letters.

Someone then breaks into the basement of the store.  Pop discovers Annie and few other people from town, hiding away.

Pop and the others do not trust Annie and the other people from town, figuring that Ace may have sent spies.

Each member of Pop’s group questions the members of Annie’s group.  Annie then confesses to the murder of Ace, and tell Pop that she buried Ace at The Marsten House.  Annie also tells Pop about the tunnels she found in the house.

It turns out that Jamal, one of the people from town, has been possessed.  Nadia uses the anti psychotic drugs on Jamal so that she and Pop can find out more about Ace’s plans.

Ace then arrives at the store, calling for Pop on the radio, in the hopes that he and Pop can negotiate a deal.  The rest of Ace’s cult surrounds the store.  Pop refuses to hand over Pangborn’s letter.

Nadia and Abdi begin to work out a plan to escape from the store and the town.

Annie questions Jamal on the whereabouts of her daughter.  When Jamal does not provide answers, Annie attacks him and kills him.

Pop and Ace continue to exchange words.  Pop claims that he burned the letters.

Pop also tries to make amends with Nadia, but Nadia tells him she plans to leave Castle Rock and never speak to Pop again.

After speaking to Nadia, Pop burns the letters from Pangborn and makes himself a suicide vest filled with C4.

Ace and his cult begin their assault on the store.  Nadia, Annie, Abdi and Chance then make their escape from the store.

Nadia, Abdie, Chance and Annie kill several members of Ace’s cult.  They then run across the railroads tracks, barely missing the train.

Pop confronts Ace and refuses Ace’s offer of immortality.  Pop attempts to commit suicide via his  vest, but the detonator does not work.  Pop is then shot in the head.

My Thoughts

Here we go again:

Again, not that some of the events that occurred in this episode were terribly shocking, but still.

I actually got just a little bit dizzy watching this episode.  Felt like we were in constant motion.

This episode focused on the action, although there were also a few quiet moments.

And again, the callbacks to season 1.

We did not see The Eater of Wonder Bread, but we didn’t need to.

Bringing him (and his cute little tushie) back would have been the easy way, but the writers chose more creative ways to link to the first season.

For example, Martha Lacey, the widow of Warden Lacey.

(Another of the show’s creatively gruesome deaths.  But, give what we know now, we can understand why the warden went out the way he did, in order to avoid becoming an involuntary member of The Egg Eater Cult.)

But, his wife, who only showed up for a minute last season, is still around.

And who better to bring back if you are the spirit of a  creepy preacher inhabiting the body of the town creep, because you need information on a certain “lost” inmate of Shawshank, right?

I loved seeing Frances Conroy back as “Martha.”

(Quotes around the name, because we now know the spirit of an early 17th century settler is in control right now.)

I also loved the callback to Alan Pangborn, in the form of the letters sent to Pangborn, from Warden Lacey.

(Incidentally, Alan’s death does not look so accidental now.  It’s almost as if someone actually engineered it.)

And of course, Pop.

So much Pop.

Not surprisingly, Pop ties into all of this.

Season 1 hinted at the existence of some kind of club, one whose members had knowledge of the existence of a certain prisoner in a “forgotten” cell block.

Alan Pangborn and Warden Lacey were members of that club.

Conveniently enough, those two members are dead.

Pop also appears to have been a member of that club.

Yeah, I know.

This episode heavily focused on Pop, which I loved.

Tim Robbins certainly gave this episode his all, and he made it count.

One of the quiet moments I previously mentioned was the moment between Pop and Nadia.

Definitely a quiet moment, but not the loving moment.

Nadia basically tells Pop to fuck off and go to hell, and Pop takes it.

After all, as the title tells us:  there are no take backs.

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

And this perfectly describes Pop.

He ran a store that was in the business of taking a person’s money, no matter the cost.

Pop also took his choice by fostering two children who were orphaned by his actions.

Of course, the secrets don’t stay secret for long (true in so many ways on this show) and payment comes due.

In Pop’s case, it was his relationship with Nadia.

And of course, his life.

Again, there was a ton of action in this episode.

We had car chases, bombs and gun fights.

Interrogation scenes.

Annie coming up with more creative ways to use every day objects to inflict brutal deaths on people.

A few episodes ago, we celebrated Pop’s life with “a big, sloppy, Irish wake.”

In this episode, we finally accept his death.

Nadia, Abdi, Annie and Chase just barely make it across the railroad tracks and escape from the Marstenites.

Then, we are left with Pop.

One of his children is possessed by a crazy preacher.

One is dead.

Pop is dead to the other two children.

Pop takes that bullet to the head and in fact welcomes it.

And all we are left with is one last swirl of smoke that comes from the pipe.

Well, that’s it for Caveat Emptor.

Join me next week for the recap and review of the season finale (insert surprised Pikkachu face here) titled Clean.

Tune in next week…

Same bat time, same bat channel!


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