Castle Rock S2E10 opens on the same scene that the penultimate episode of the season ended on: Nadia attempting to hail Pop over the radio as Augustin drag’s Pop’s corpse across the floor. An aerial shot over the steeple of the church follows Ace’s Emporium Galorium pickup truck as it drives across town and through the woods, eventually arriving at Marsten House.
Just outside the house, the statute of the hooded figure continues to emit the disquieting noise that has transfixed the majority of the residents of Castle Rock and ‘Salem’s Lot: the crowd is still gathered around the yard of Marsten House. Augustin and his people bring Pop’s corpse into the subterranean cavern, where they close him in a good-filled sarcophagus for the “weaving.”
The next scene cuts to Augustin’s people preparing Joy to be the vessel for Amity. Although Joy is still in the vegetative state caused by exposure to the statute, Augustin’s assistants apply lotion to her skin and prepare her hair and makeup for the arrival of Amity at sundown.
Augustin addresses his people about the return of Amity as we see a montage of the preparations being made for her arrival: her coffin is brought to the yard and offerings are arranged around it as Augustin says that they will protect their place in the world and then fight for domination of the rest of it, with the army of empty souls outside the Marsten House being used as their army.
Castle Rock S2E10 – “Clean”
After the opening credits, we cut to Annie, Abdi, Chance, and Nadia arriving at Abdi’s construction site. Annie has identified the statue as the source of the thrall that has taken control of the citizens. While her top priority is rescuing Joy, Annie postulates that taking out the statue will release the hold it has taken on the people of Castle Rock. Nadia points out that they don’t know what will happen if they hit the statue, and Annie asks her what her plan is, then.
In the next scene, Abdi pulls explosives out of the designated cabinet in his office on the construction site as Annie shows the others where she fell into the cavern. Annie reminds them not detonate the bombs until Joy has been rescued, and Abdi tells her that they only have one chance given that Amity is meant to return at sunset, which is only an hour away. Chance and Annie head toward Marsten House, leaving Abdi and Nadia at the construction site. Abdi asks why they’re doing this and Nadia tells him, “For the people up there.” Abdi remarks to Nadia that if they don’t get Joy in time, they’ll still have to detonate the bombs.
Meanwhile, in the cavern, the goop-covered Pop regenerates, climbing out of the coffin. In the next scene, Pop is once again sitting across a table from Augustin. Augustin addresses him as Etienne and gets in a few more jabs at the late Pop.
“Etienne” tells Augustin that he was at first confused at finding himself in such as diseased vessel, but then understood when he realized the information Pop knew. Augustin confirms this to be the case, noting that Pop learned the intel from an “apostate” (Warden Dale Lacy) who kept their “Angel” imprisoned.
Augustin asks Etienne about the contents of the letters, and he is told that the letters talked about a sound called the schisma, which Augustin identifies as the sound of the Angel. Etienne tells him that Castle Lake is intertwined with the sound: the lake is a door to other “heres” and “nows,” other dimensions; or you might say, other levels of the Tower, say true and say thankya. Etienne explains to Augustin that the Angel uses this door to travel between the different worlds at his will.
At the construction site, Abdi and Nadia manage to break into the cavern using a backhoe. They enter the cavern and place bombs at strategic locations among the coffins. Elsewhere, Annie and Chance walk through the forest toward Marsten House. Abdi and Nadia find a passageway filled with beetles and proceed through the insects regardless.
Meanwhile, Annie and Chance have arrived in the yard of Marsten House, where they hide in some bushes and survey the perimeter. The yard is filled with the people who have fallen into a trance as a result of the statue. Chance begins to move stealthily between the transfixed people as Annie watches in fear from the bushes, but Chance nods to her, indicating that she seems to be able to move among them without being detected.
In the caverns, Abdi and Nadia find the place where the beetles seem to be congregating, and Abdi surmises that the statue of the hooded figure must be directly above them. He begins climbing the cavern wall in order to place a bomb just below the location of the statue.
Up above, Chance has made it partway through the crowd of transfixed people, while Annie continues to watch from the bushes. Chance sees her friend Vera among the crowd and is momentarily distracted, but she continues moving toward the house… However, Vera apparently saw her, and says, “no,” turning to face Chance. Vera keeps saying “no” and raises a hand to point at Chance, who tells her to shut the fuck up, but rather than silencing her speech, this merely causes more of the transfixed people to begin pointing at Chance and chanting “no,” as well. Thinking on her feet, Chance begins pointing at Vera and chanting “no,” extracting a handgun as she does so, but before she gets an opportunity to go any further, she is ambushed by the deputy and taken hostage.
Underground, Abdi and Nadia are ascending the subterranean staircase when Annie attempts to contact them using the walkie talkie, telling them that Augustin’s people have captured Chance and that the detonation must be delayed. However, the only response Annie gets in return is her mother’s voice stating that she must save Joy and that “a good mother” would not have let this happen.
The Marsten House
Inside Marsten House, the deputy delivers Chance to Augustin. Chance isn’t willing to talk, but at that moment, Annie begins pounding on the door and shouting that “they’re underneath the house” and screaming that they have to get Joy out. In the caverns, Nadia attempts to get ahold of Annie using the walkie talkie, but to no avail.
Annie sees Pop, but while his presence momentarily distracts her, she continues to insist that they release Joy. She informs Augustin that Abdi and Nadia are in the tunnels and that they plan to use dynamite to destroy the house. Augustin dispatches the deputy to kill anyone in the tunnels who isn’t among their people, and Pop says that he’ll accompany him. Augustin nods and gives Pop a handgun.
In the tunnels, two of Augustin’s men corner Abdi and Nadia. The Marstenites demand to know the location of the bombs… but they are betrayed by Pop, who shoots both of Augustin’s men then shouts, “it’s me” when Abdi points his gun at him.
Pop says that it’s him for now but that he can hear Etienne attempting to take over from the back of his mind. Pop explains that he injected himself with Haldol before Augustin shot him, and when he regenerated, he used some of the information from Warden Lacy’s letters to gain Augustin’s trust. Pop confirms that Abdi and Nadia have placed more bombs then takes a walkie, telling them that he’ll place the final bomb and get Chance out. Pop tells them that they have to hurry because “he’s coming,” then tells them to go when they ask for clarification.
As the sun begins to set, we see a shot of Castle Lake before returning to the yard of Marsten House, where the made-up Joy is standing beside Augustin and Amity’s coffin. Annie is being held at gunpoint by a Marstenite, Abdi and Nadia are fleeing the underground tunnels, and Pop brings the bomb into Marsten House. At the cliffside overlooking the lake, the hooded figure stands at the same location where he met Amity 400 years prior.
After arriving back at the construction site, Abdi detonates the first set of bombs, destroying the coffins in the cavern. The second set of bombs is detonated, and the statue of the hooded figure falls into the ground, horrifying Augustin. With the statue smashed at the bottom of the cavern, the thrall it held over the people of Castle Rock is dispelled. As a swarm of beetles flies upward from the caverns, the people begin to scream and panic.
Pop releases Chase and gives her his gun. Annie takes the opportunity afforded by the distraction to escape her captor, fleeing into the crowd. Augustin looks down at the broken statue, and Joy uses the distraction to stab him in the back with a large knife. Augustin collapses and Joy drops the bloody knife beside him (recalling the shot of the knife on the counter of Cabin 19, just before Annie murdered Ace using an ice cream scoop).
Over the walkie talkie, Pop tells Nadia to detonate the bomb. Nadia hesitates, and Pop insists that he only has so much time left as himself and that he deserves it. Annie spots Joy in the crowd and runs to her, embracing her. Although he’s been stabbed, Augustin manages to pull himself off the ground. Pop continues to implore Nadia to trigger the detonator, and she finally complies. As Augustin gets to his feet, the explosion destroys Marsten House, which collapses inward, House of Usher style.
Back at the construction site, Nadia sobs as she sees the cloud of debris rise from the former location of Marsten House. On the cliffside, the hooded figure scowls, then walks away from the cliff, disappearing as he does so.
In the next scene, we see Annie and Joy driving in their Jeep, recalling the opening shots of the season. Annie smiles at Joy sleeping in the rearview window as they pass a sign reading “Castle Rock, City Limit.”
Misery Rides Again
One week later, Annie and Joy are staying in a motel room. Annie wakes Joy, who seems distraught, and barely acknowledges Annie’s greeting. Annie turns to the books in the room, and alights upon a well-worn paperback: Misery’s Quest by Paul Sheldon – the author and series who were the subject of Stephen King’s Misery. Annie reads the back of the book, which is labeled “The Adventures of Misery Chastain” on the front.
Annie opens the book and begins to read it aloud to Joy, pausing after a few paragraphs to remark, “good beginning.” Annie continues to read the novel to Joy, becoming increasingly engrossed in the story.
Later, Annie and Joy arrive at the Canadian border. Joy is writing in her notebook in the backseat as the border guard approves Annie’s documents. Time passes and Joy continues to possess a morose demeanor. When Annie asks if she wants to talk about what happened, Joy declines.
While filling up the gas tank at a Backwater gas station, Annie sees Joy flirting with the young attendant. As she stares at her daughter with suspicion, a “Missing Person” sign for Henry Deaver, one of the main characters in Castle Rock season one, can be seen on the gas pump. The sign, which is ostensibly from the Castle Rock Sherriff Department, says that Deaver was last seen on July 7, 2019. There is also a sign for a missing cat, which calls to mind the lost pet posters used by the low men in yellow coats to track their quarry in Hearts in Atlantis. On the other side of the poster display, Annie sees a flier looking for a caretaker for an elderly patient, advertising a compensation package that includes rent and utilities.
In the next scene, Annie and Joy arrive at a nice home flying a Canadian flag out front. Joy asks about Montreal and Annie says that it’s only an hour away, emphasizing that the patient is bedridden, so they’ll essentially have the house to themselves. However, Joy is still sullen in spite of Annie’s enthusiasm.
Annie easily lies about her father as she answers the interviewer’s questions, cheerfully claiming she was an army brat who moved around a lot. Joy is sullen as she and Annie are shown around the house, and the woman performing the interview empathizes with Annie over Joy’s teenage hormones, remarking that it’s like “a stranger’s living in your house.”
Later, we see Annie performing her duties as caretaker, reading Misery’s Paradise to the bedridden patient. Annie sees Joy sitting on the dock behind the house and leaves the patient’s bedside to go sit beside her. As they sit beside the water, Annie tells Joy that they may have found the Laughing Place, but Joy remains silent. Annie offers to buy hair dye next time they go into town to return Joy’s hair to its natural shade, but Joy says that she likes it the way she is – the color the Marstenites had dyed it in anticipation of the arrival of Amity. Joy jumps in the lake and starts swimming away from the dock, and as Annie watches her, she thinks of the expression on Joy’s face when Annie reunited with her outside Marsten House…
In the next scene, Annie comes upon Joy watching a French language program on television (French being the language spoken by the Marstenites). After seeing how involved Joy is in the program, Annie turns off the television, declaring, “That’s enough of that.”
Later still, Annie is reading Misery’s Paradise by herself when she notices that the landline is in use. She picks up the phone receiver and hears a mysterious man’s voice arranging to meet Joy the next day. Annie confronts Joy and asks who she was talking with, but Joy denies that she had been on the phone. Joy asks if Annie is running low on pills again, and Annie gets defensive, saying it isn’t about her.
In the next scene, Annie takes her medication before bed. Nevertheless, she awakens to the sound of her mother’s whispering voice calling her name. In a scene that echoes Annie staring at the washing machine in the first episode of the season, we learn that Annie continues to be plagued by her late mother’s whispering voice, imploring her to “make her clean,” a phrase that recalls the conversation Annie had with her mother just before her mother attempted to drown her in a river.
Annie confronts Joy and says that while Joy doesn’t want to discuss what happened to her at the hands of the Marstenites, Annie needs to know what Augustin did to her. Joy says that she doesn’t remember, but it’s clear that Annie doesn’t believe her. Annie searches Joy’s room and eventually locates the notebook her daughter has been using. Inside are drawings of the hooded figure, especially his eyes. Annie sobs as the realization sinks in.
In the next scene, Annie grinds up pills and then mixes them into a bowl of ice cream. She brings the ice cream to Joy, who tries to decline, but Annie insists. Annie watches Joy closely as she eats a few bites, and Joy remarks that it tastes weird. Joy asks if Annie put something in it, and Annie admits that she mixed Haldol into it.
Annie rounds on Joy, accusing her of being Amity and tackling her. As they wrestle, Joy manages to grab a pen off the table and stab Annie in the back with it, allowing Joy to escape her mother’s grasp. Joy flees outside and Annie chases her outside. Joy attempts to untie the boat to escape across the lake, but Annie reaches the dock before she can successfully release it. Annie knocks Joy into the water, and after some struggle, she manages to hold Joy’s head under water, drowning her.
Annie returns to the house in a daze, and sees a letter in Joy’s notebook addressed to “Mom.” She opens the letter and reads it: Joy had been planning on having herself emancipated and going on a personal journey to find herself. The letter explains that while Joy doesn’t want Annie to try and find her, she does plan on one day reuniting with her mother when she’s ready.
Annie runs out of the house and toward her daughter’s floating body. Annie performs the Heimlich, sobbing, begging her daughter to return. Eventually, Joy begins to cough and she awakens, asking what happened. Annie lies and tells Joy that she fell in the water and almost drowned, but Annie saved her.
Let the River Run
A cover of “Let the River Run” plays as we see Annie and Joy traveling in the Jeep once again. Joy is wearing bright colors and sitting shotgun, drawing a picture of the house where Annie’s caretaker job takes place and labeling it “The Laughing Place.” Annie and Joy share ice cream, and while there are kids Joy’s age nearby, Joy’s attention remains with her mother.
As they arrive at the Garneau Public Library for an Author signing, Joy tells Annie how excited she is to be there. Inside, they sit among an exciting crowd. As Annie surveys them, she sees her late mother and her late father among the people waiting. A man approaches and asks Annie if the seat is taken, and Annie tells brusquely him it is, apologizing to Joy afterward.
Joy calls Annie’s attention to the front of the room, where Paul Sheldon walks past a pile of copies of Misery’s Love to stand at the podium and address the crowd. Joy tells Annie that they have to get Paul to dedicate a book to Annie, and Annie replies, “Of course he will. I’m his number one fan.” The camera pulls back and it’s revealed that the seat next to Annie is unoccupied: Joy isn’t there. It’s only Annie, sitting alone.
The entire second season of Castle Rock is currently available for streaming on Hulu. In spite of incorporating elements from many different stories in the King canon, Constant Readers will attest that it may be the most faithful adaption of Sai King’s work yet to appear onscreen.
Castle Rock has not been confirmed for a third season, but let’s hope one is forthcoming: between an outstanding second season and the groundwork that’s been laid for a full-on King parallel universe story, to end the show now would be a crime worthy of incarceration in Shawshank.