If you think your hometown is bad, you haven’t been to Castle Rock.
There’s one thing I learned while watching the first three episodes and it’s that you don’t need to have a vast knowledge of Stephen King to watch this show. It’s based on the characters and settings in his books, but the story itself isn’t. There are mentions of events like Cujo and Shawshank Prison is one of the main settings, along with Easter eggs of other stories, but you don’t have to read 10 different books to understand what’s going on.
What I hope to do is recap the show weekly as it airs, but for this review, it will be spoiler free.
The show starts out in winter 1991 with then-Sheriff, Alan Pangborn, out in search for a lost kid, Henry Deaver. Not only is it unlikely Henry survived the negative temperatures, but his adoptive father died and Henry is the main suspect but doesn’t remember anything.
Forward to present day and Henry is a lawyer working with people on death row. After losing another client he gets a strange call from an employee at Shawshank telling him an inmate is asking for him, and Henry makes his way home.
Just A Small Town
Castle Rock may be your typical small town with people who are stuck in their old ways, but it also has a history of tragic events, like the Warden of Shawshank committing suicide by decapitation.
After this, a new Warden is brought in and she wants to open a part of Shawshank that’s been closed off for decades. They go in to inspect and find footprints leading to stairs and find someone locked in a water tank. “The Kid” has no background, no name, and his fingerprints aren’t in the system. The only thing he has to say is Henry Deaver’s name.
Just Another Physic
Not only is Castle Rock itself a strange town with an energy that causes people/things to act out, but comes along with familiar Stephen King elements. Molly Strand may run her own real-estate business but is also physic, hearing people’s thoughts and feeling what they feel. Ever since she was young Molly could hear one person’s thoughts louder than others and that was/is Henry.
At first, I wasn’t sure what was going on with Molly, since she has a box with Henry’s jacket and a notebook filled with his name, but more detail is given about their younger years and Molly is more involved with Henry’s dad’s death than anyone knows.
Just May Not Make It Out Alive
Another character to take note of is Dennis, who is a worker at Shawshank and has the most empathy towards The Kid. He’s stressed about his wife who is going to give birth and claims it to be the source of him seeing things on security cameras involving The Kid. But this is a Stephen King story and odds are, something else is causing it.
Just My Thoughts
I can’t make an overall judgment after three episodes because a lot is going on and there’s A LOT left to tell. There’s a mystery about the town that keeps you watching and wanting to know more. Is it an outside element like IT or something that’s always been there? Did Henry actually kill his dad like EVERYONE in town thinks even twenty-plus years later?
That may be the one thing that bothered me: most of the town thinks Henry did it and still brings it up, even in everyday conversations. “How ironic he represents people on death row.” Henry’s “I’m done” face when someone brings it up, is accurate as hell.
There is also a lot involving religion, and for someone who isn’t religious, it fits for the show. There’s supposed to be a “light versus darkness” theme going on, and one of the characters mentions he was on a path sent by God. However, it’s not forced or filling up the entire show.
Like most of Stephen King’s stories, there’s so much mystery in the beginning that you want to keep watching just to find out what’s actually going on. The vibe of the town is eerie. I noticed in the second episode how “drained” the color is. Henry is the only thing that stands out and, being the only black person in town, is probably on purpose.
Why did the Warden lock up The Kid? During the second episode, he narrates his reasonings, a sign from God, but what is up with The Kid? What’s actually going on in Castle Rock? How did Henry survive going missing all those years ago? It’s a pile of questions you want to know the answers to.
If you’re a fan of Stephen King, mysteries/the paranormal, or just need a new, good show to watch I highly recommend Castle Rock.
Before I wrap this up I did want to mention some theories I have, which will include spoilers.
And these are just theories, which will probably end up being wrong.
When it comes to Henry and his dad, I don’t get the feeling he hurt him, at least on purpose. It showed his dad getting mad at him a lot and something happening in the woods, which makes me think HE wanted to do something to Henry and maybe Henry acted in self-defense, or something else took over them, and that something kept Henry alive for eleven days.
I want to think that because Molly was the one who killed Henry’s dad. I think she knows what happened in the woods and that she hurt him because he wanted to hurt Henry. This was my immediate thought when it showed her pulling out his breathing tube.
As for The Kid, maybe he’s the “thing” that’s wrong with the town, but in a human body. Dale said God told him to lock The Kid up, then said he shouldn’t see the light of day, but if that’s the case why did he plan on people finding The Kid? He needed Henry to come back to town, so maybe it will end up with Henry versus The Kid.
Or maybe it’s just Maine. Most of King’s stories take place there and we know how they turn out.
However, there’s one thing I’m confident is going to happen and that’s Ruth’s dog is definitely going to come back.
That’s all I got for now. What are your theories?