This Castle Rock review contains spoilers.
Castle Rock Episode 6
Well, that cliffhanger can go straight to hell, which is coincidentally what awaits the people who caged the Kid for all those years. Bill Skarsgard goes from confused and doe-eyed (in a really weird way) to instantly menacing in this episode. I’ve had trouble pinning down exactly who his mystery character is and what drives him, but “Filter” makes a much more convincing case for the “He’s the Devil” theory than the past episodes. We get a real taste here of how the Kid can unsettle the world around him with a stare or even a few lines of dialogue.
Before I get into tonight’s story, I just have to say that Skarsgard has been overall brilliant as the Kid. The way he moves as the slightly clumsy and stiff mystery man has been especially fascinating to watch. I’ve met Skarsgard and can confirm he’s a pretty tall dude, but the camera makes him look freakish, all shoulders, bones, with barely the ability to walk like a normal human. The camera loves making the Kid look inhuman, and Skarsgard is very deliberate in the way he makes his character look like he’s never taken a step in his life.
But what perhaps made the Kid look like kind of a child — or rather, someone who’s spent most of his life locked in a room (which he has) — now looks monstrous, as blood drips from his hand while he waits for Alan to come home. Skarsgard’s line about Warden Lacy’s busted car becoming a monument to those who put the Kid in a cage is absolutely chilling, and it’s the most meaningful thing the character has said all season. He says it with purpose, too. Has the Kid hatched a plan to punish those who locked him up and is Ruth the first victim?
It’s so delightful to watch Sissy Spacek in a Stephen King story again and in a role that feels like a distant cousin to the original King protagonist, the tortured Carrie White. Like Carrie, Ruth is lost, unstuck in time (Spacek’s beautiful monologue about her dementia is a series highlight), unable to grasp the things that will bring her back to the present. Young Carrie, who is confused by basic adolescence, is kept prisoner by her psychotic mother, but something much worse is happening to Ruth: she’s become a slave to her own mind. The chess pieces keep bringing her back to reality but she’s running out of chess pieces. Still, I suspect we’ll see more of Ruth than this episode’s cliffhanger ending suggests.
Molly Strand gets one good scene this week and it’s a big one: she finally reveals to the incredulous Henry that she killed his father, the Reverend, but it’s not really that simple. This is a King story, after all — no one just kills someone for a reason that can be easily explained. The killers in his books need at least 300 pages of motivation. Castle Rock doesn’t really have that kind of time (although it’s just been renewed for a second season, so maybe it does!), but Molly’s explanation is about as complicated as a Dolores Claiborne confession.
Basically, the shining made her do it — or rather, young Henry willed her to do it through her connection to him. It’s obvious that Henry has some daddy issues, but we didn’t quite know how deep. Molly tells Henry that she could feel how much he hated his father and how he wanted him dead. That Henry can’t remember those feelings is another story entirely. In the end, Molly gets the best case scenario regarding her confession: Henry just thinks she’s “fucking crazy.” It could’ve gone much worse for her.
Shit gets much weirder of Henry, though. His search in the woods yields results, although they’re not what he expects. (At least he doesn’t encounter shit weasels.) What a surprise to meet Rory Culkin (Signs) as the nervous Willy, a shaggy kid who hangs in an RV with his creepy mentor, Odin Branch (CJ Jones). It’s Jones (Baby Driver) who steals the show as the deaf fanatic who damaged his own ears in order to hear “the Voice of God,” as Henry’s father called it.
All of a sudden, Henry’s recurring memory of his father leading him into the woods and asking him if “he could hear it now” makes sense. While Henry blocked that memory, he can’t block out the ringing in his ear, which Odin calls a “schisma” — an actual music term that you should look up because I’m not going to even try to explain it. But basically, Odin thinks this noise is the Voice of God and he’s created “the Filter,” a room that blocks out all sound except for the schisma. When in total silence, Odin says that the ringing, which he describes as a “rumor,” becomes “the truth.”
It all sounds like crazy talk, which is exactly why it’s totally true. The only thing Odin is probably wrong about is the source. There’s has to be something way more sinister emitting the schisma — like a certain king “dressed in a robe dipped in blood,” perhaps? Constant Readers, you know where I’m going with this. That’s a discussion for another day, though.
The point is that Henry gets a chance to hear for himself when Odin locks him in the Filter. What proceeds is a series of confusing and trippy images that don’t make much sense. (You eagle-eyed fans will probably have picked up on a few things by the time this review is published, so feel free to shout out any clues in the comments!) Will we get to hear the Voice of God next week? Not if the Devil speaks first.