Castle Rock: Season 2, Episode 10 Recap and Review

Oh, Christmas!

And no, this is not from excitement for the upcoming holiday.

Nor is it some kind of weird callback to a certain Marvel Universe character.

And no, I do not want to visit Christmasland…hard pass!

No, this is more of a “curse word,” in the vein of a character from a show that is now done for the season.

Sniff…

In other words, the season 2 finale of Castle Rock aired today.

In case you are not familiar with this blog, I have become quite invested in this little corner of the King Multiverse this season, along with its characters and their hopes, dreams, issues, loves, etc.

I love it when a story starts on a separate paths, and those paths begin to gradually converse, and then meet.

Sometimes that meeting is explosive, as it was for the season finale of Castle Rock.

But that meeting can also be heartbreaking.  And just bleak.

I think we covered all of those with this season finale.

So, without further ado, here is my recap and review of episode 10, titled Clean.

And, as always:

Synopsis

The episode begins with Ace heading back to The Marsten House and laying Pop in one of the coffins, so that Pop can be resurrected.  Ace and the rest of his cult are looking for information that Pop possessed from Warden Lacey’s letters.

Annie, Chance, Nadia and Abdi head to the site where Annie had buried Ace.  Abdi and Nadia plan to use explosives to destroy The Marsten House for good.  Chance provides a distraction, by walking in the crowd of the bewitched town people.  However, Chance is captured by one of the members of the cult and taken to Ace.

Pop is resurrected and Ace speaks to him in regards to The Kid.  Pop reveals that Castle Lake is the site of a gateway that The Kid uses to travel between worlds.

The conversation between Ace and Pop is interrupted when Annie allows herself to be captured and pleads with Ace to release Joy.  Ace refuses, and forces Annie down to the tunnels, after Annie tells him of Abdi and Nadia’s plan.

Pop then turns on Ace and his cult, and we learn that he injected himself with anti psychotic drugs before he was shot by Ace.  Pop then organizes Abdi and Nadia to destroy The Marsten House.  Pop then helps Chance escape.

Ace is stabbed by Joy, who escapes from the cult.  The air is filled with thick clouds of smoke.  A figure in a dark hood watches from Castle Lake as the chaos ensues.  The figure then disappears into thin air.

Joy and Annie are reunited and head for Canada.  Annie finds a book called Misery’s Quest and becomes obsessed with the story, reading in between driving to the Canadian border.

Annie and Joy arrive in Canada, and Annie finds employment in a town just outside of Montreal, and figures that she and Joy now have the fresh start that they need.

However, Joy becomes distant from her mother, and Annie grows suspicious, theorizing that Joy is still possessed by the spirit of Amity.

Annie crushes some anti psychotic medication and puts it in Joy’s ice cream.  She fights with Joy, convinced that Joy is possessed.  Annie chases Joy out into the lake and drowns her, convinced that her daughter is an evil being.

Annie then heads back into the house and finds a letter written by Joyce, addressed to Annie.  The letter states that Joy is desiring her independence and some space from her mother, and that Joy is looking to become an emancipated minor.

Distraught, Annie rushes out to the lake and pulls Joy from the water.  Annie performs CPR on her daughter, and seemingly revives Joy.

A few days later, Annie and Joy head to the local library to attend a book signing by Paul Sheldon, the author of Misery’s Quest.

Annie smiles and declares herself Sheldon’s number one fan.  It is then revealed that the seat next to her is empty.  Joy is not alive and Annie has been hallucinating.

My Thoughts

Well, you are probably tired of hearing this.

But, here we go again:

What a finish!

Really, I feel like we got two finales for the price of one…

Not a bad deal!

Before I go on, I gotta give some applause out to certain folks.

First of all, Paul Sparks.

He has actually played two characters this season:

Asshole Ace, key member of one of Stephen King’s crime families, along with a bat shit crazy French speaking 17th century preacher.

And the portrayal of both characters was fantastic, so he gets kudos from me.

And Tim Robbins.

Of course, Robbins is a Hollywood legend, but I still need to give him kudos as well.

He was playing a guy pretending to be possessed by another guy for the sole purpose of tricking the guy playing a guy possessed by another guy.

And Pop, sneaking the shot of anti psychotic drugs so he could trick that crazy 17th century French preacher and his equally crazy followers.

Whew!

Oh, and:

*French Fucker*

Much love to that one.

We got closure on the Marstenites.

In other words, most of them appeared to get blown to Kingdom Come.

However, I don’t think that we can count every single one of those people out, and that includes Ace, who may have lived through all of that.

I would have liked some closure on Nadia and Abdi.

However, we were previously sandbagged and we now know this show is not an anthology, so we may get a  follow up in a future season.

And who loved The Eater of Wonder Bread, looking at all the boom booms, smoke and general chaos and just deciding to peace out?

Again, that is someone else who we definitely have not seen the last of, given the pseudo anthology nature of this show.

But, let’s get down to the most significant part of this episode:

The killjoy known as Annie.

(And if you are still reading at this point, then congrats.  You are the real MVP!)

Now, I know that we have gotten a lot of background info and character development for Annie and Joy this season.

Did we necessarily need it?

No, we did not.

But, Castle Rock is a show that is set in the Stephen King Multiverse.

In true King fashion, the show has fleshed out characters who are sympathetic, even when they are behaving in not very nice ways.

Also, in true King fashion, the show releases the monsters, after building these complex, sympathetic characters.

The fact that the monsters are both supernatural and human is also true to King.

Annie and Joy escaped from the cursed town and the people in the town who were possessed by the spirits of 17th century settlers.

They headed to Canada, in search of a new life.  And the laughing place.

(And yes, I did notice that poster.  All I can say is that season 3, if we get one, has some questions to answer!)

But, the monsters still followed Annie and Joy.

This season has served as sort of an origin story for Annie Wilkes.

Now, Annie is an iconic character in the Stephen King Multiverse, and just an iconic character in literature in general.

But, we can also argue that we didn’t need a Joker origin story, but 2019 gave us a phenomenal one any way.

And the producers and writers of Castle Rock gave us a solid Annie Wilkes origin story.

Annie was never able to escape the monsters.

She was finally convinced that Joy was “dirty” and needed to be “clean.”

So she murders her daughter, but then finds out the truth.

Joy was being a normal teenager, testing boundaries, working out her traumas and exploring her sexuality.

However, the monster of Annie mental illness told her otherwise, and Joy murdered her own daughter.

Too late, Annie realized the truth.

And retreated into a fantasy, where Joy was revived, and she and Joy shared a love of Paul Sheldon, and Joy had aspirations to do cover art for Paul Sheldon.

So now we understand why Paul Sheldon’s books on Misery Chastain are so important to Annie:

Those books are her last connection to her daughter and keep her bonded with Joy.

Annie is the number one fan.

And heaven (or maybe hell) help us all if Paul Sheldon stops writing those books.

Well, that’s it for Clean.

What a ride this season has been, and here’s hoping for a season 3 and beyond next year and beyond.

Tune in next year…

Same bat time, same bat channel!

 

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