Last week’s episode of Hulu’s Castle Rock left us trapped in a glass case of emotions, sobbing into our doilies and crying out to the immortal for reprieve. I have spent the last seven days wondering what I had left in the tank for this series. Where could they possibly go after an episode like that? At that point, there were only three episodes left, so how could they possibly bring us back into the mystery after ‘The Queen’?
I know several people who were ready to give up on the show after last week, doubting that the show runners could make the turn and get us back to the central story. I must admit that I was one of those people. Thankfully, I was dead wrong. Not only did they pull off the transition back to reality, but they also gave us a killer episode filled with blood, violence, dread and intrigue.
“…a gorgeous, subtle, and absolutely perfect way to hit the reset button and give us a few more bodies to pile up around Henry Deaver.”
‘Past Perfect’ does something that many of us thought impossible, and it did so in a brilliant way. We were brought all the way back to the story surrounding Henry, the Kid, and the sounds in the woods by telling us a completely separate story about the house-hunting college professor and his wife that we were introduced to a few episodes ago. This story distanced us far enough from Ruth and her tragedy to allow our minds to settle back into the world of Castle Rock. It was a gorgeous, subtle, and absolutely perfect way to hit the reset button and give us a few more bodies to pile up around Henry Deaver.
Gordon and his wife met with Molly a few weeks back to tour the former home of Warden Dale Lacy. He mentioned previously that they were moving across the country for a fresh start, but we see this week that he was most likely fired for assaulting a doctoral candidate who had slept with his wife. It turns out that they did, in fact, buy the home and have plans to turn it into a Bed and Breakfast that caters to lovers of the macabre and true crime. Gordon’s wife finds a key to the padlocked basement, where they find dozens of paintings that Lacy made of the Kid, dating all the way back to 1991. Instead of being weirded out and setting fire to the home like a normal person, Gordon becomes fascinated with one in particular, and hangs them all in the home.
Everything seems to have gone back to normal in their lives (you know, besides the posing of mannequins into awesome death-attractions) but everything Gordon does and says barely hides the river of white-knuckled rage flowing beneath his surface. We see this rage erupt on the first night that they are open for business when a cheating couple book a room to have some privacy for their nefarious anatomic adventure. He hears their sexual sin through the walls, and slowly puts on his glasses. These ear-splitting sounds of pleasure (someone is trying too hard to make it fun, it sounds like) soon turn into screams of pain and terror. You see, our new friend Gordon decided to do some late-night renovations by taking a knife and painting Room Number 3 red.
While we are focused on Gordon and his pointy paintbrush, we see Molly rescue Henry from the sound-tight chamber Odin locked him in two weeks ago (Episode Six: Filter ). He had only been in the Box for a few hours, but it felt like years to Henry, who runs away with Molly as we see Odin’s corpse in the woods. The two make it back to Ruth’s home, where Henry finds his mother in bed and the Kid at the kitchen sink. The Kid shows Henry the body in the garage and tries to get Henry to help him hide the body. It’s almost as if this mysterious chameleon is trying to protect Ruth and Henry, trying to keep the police and other mistrusting eyes away from the family. His plan doesn’t work, however, as Henry’s son Wendell does something the adults should have done long ago and calls the police.
“Do you hear it? You do. Finally… We have to go. We have to go to the woods.” – The Kid
Henry makes a good decision for the first time and puts his son on a bus back home. This place is dangerous, and he never should have brought him here, he tells the boy. After Wendell finds his seat on the coach, a bird slams into the window and a loud ringing fills his ears. He has inherited more of his father than he would like to know, and he gets off the bus at Jerusalem’s Lot and starts walking back to Castle Rock.
The climax of the episode takes us back to the Castle Rock Historic Bed and Breakfast as Henry decides to check out the basement that was locked to him before. He knocks, looks in the windows, decides to break in, and is faced with the paintings of the Kid. Dozens of them, covering the walls from the dining room the the bedrooms. Henry takes a look at the dating and finally learns what we have known for a while now. The Kid looks the same now as he did back in 1991. It’s while we are learning of the Kid’s apparent immortality that we see Gordon enter the room behind him. Henry apologizes and begins to walk out of the room, then he is stabbed in the back by Gordon’s wife and a semi-comical scuffle ensues. She stabs her husband on accident and ends up slicing her own jugular on accident, sending Gordon into a frenzy. He attacks Henry as the attorney tries to escape (getting the upper hand, even) when Ms. Jackie Torrance takes a page out of her uncle’s playbook and buries an axe in the back of Gordon’s head.
“I waited for you. For 27 years. I rescued you from that basement. I didn’t ask for any of this.” – The Kid
Horrific homicides and slapstick stabbings aside, the meat of this episode lies in our allegiances. It is becoming harder and harder to look at this story and not see Henry as part of the problem plaguing Castle Rock. While being questioned by a policewoman after Wendell called in Alan’s body, she mentions his old school nickname; “The Black Death”. While racially problematic, could those kids have been onto something? He has been in town two weeks, and we have seen a Shawshank Slaughter, a Juniper Hill Inferno, Alan’s Accident, Otis’s Optical obliteration and now the deaths of and those perpetrated by Gordon and his wife.
The bodies are starting to pile up, Henry. At some point we have to consider that the “devil” who was a “boy” that Lacy locked in a “cage” was actually Henry, and not the Kid. With only two episodes left in this story, let’s hope that Henry, Molly, the Kid, and Wendell can piece things together and stop the carnage that has befallen this town.
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