Castle Rock S2E7 opens with a crane shot on New Jerusalem in 1619. A series of shots establish the state of the settlement: a dead horse lies in the mud, a pair of ants crawl across a beetle’s carcass. However, everyone isn’t starving: Marius, the patriarch of the town, continues to eat well in spite of the rampant starvation throughout the rest of New Jerusalem.
At a funeral for one of the girls in the town, Pastor Augustin delivers a sermon. When he finishes, however, Amity looks up from the drawing she’s been working on and begins speaking. Her father orders her to be silent, but she continues speaking. She tells the other people present that they need to find new, fertile ground. She urges Augustin to testify, but he warns her to take care, nervously clutching his Bible.
Amity approaches the altar and says she wants to testify, but she soon succumbs to a seizure. Later, when she is chained up, Augustin defends her, saying it is a disease of the body and not the spirit and she deserves pity. However, another man counters that they all know about Amity’s fascination with the Indigenous people and “their dark mutterings.” Another mentions her that her artwork is “ungodly.”
Augustin continues to defend Amity, saying that his brothers are being superstitious. However, Marius reads from a love letter shared between Amity and Augustin, and accuses Augustin of having an affair with his daughter while their people starved. While he cannot deny the truth, Augustin begs Marius to banish him but not Amity, but Marius is unsympathetic to his pleas.
Augustin and Amity are banished from New Jerusalem and begin to travel through the woods with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the sticks they can forage. Augustin is close to death when Amity takes a burning stick from the fire and begins to make a sketch in her drawing book. As she works, she hears an eerie howling.
With wild eyes, she makes her way deeper into the woods, leaving Augustin and the fire behind. The strange sound continues and she soon comes upon an unattended fire on the edge of the cliff. She approaches the cliff and looks downward, at the water below… and when she turns back around, there is a cloaked figure standing behind her. The cloaked figure, who appears to be barefoot, approaches Amity and pulls back his hood, and Amity beams at whomever it is beneath the cloak…
Which is when we jump cut to the mural on the wall of the Marsten House that depicts Amity meeting the cloaked figure on the cliff. The sounds of construction reveal that work is still underway on the Marsten House’s renovation. Augustin (who now wears Ace’s face) surveys the progress as his associates continue to work on the house, and for a moment, we see the world through his eyes, with the 2019 ‘Salem’s Lot citizens replaced by the 1619 citizens who have evidentially possessed them. Augustin comes upon a portion of the wall mural that depicts him and Amity embracing one another in the woods, and he smiles.
In the next scene, Ace’s pick-up truck pulls up to the preparations for the Castle Rock four-hundredth anniversary celebration. Augustin approaches two of his associates as a volunteer explains that the parade will conclude in front of the church, which will kick off four days of celebration. The music grows increasingly ominous as the camera zooms in on Augustin, whose face is covered in an increasingly ominous smirk, and then we cut to the opening credits.
Castle Rock S2E7 – “The Word”
After the opening credits, we return to Stargazer Lodge, where the police are dealing with Annie in the aftermath of last week’s shooting. Once again, we get to see Annie lying in action. She tells the deputy that she doesn’t want a lawyer because she’s the one who shot Rita. Annie says that she’s confessing, and that Rita broke into Cabin #19 with a gun in a robbery attempt and that Annie did what she had to do. Meanwhile, the deputy examines the medication bottles in the bathroom.
He asks Annie if they’re her medication and she admits they are, asking “so what?” The deputy asks her to walk him through the incident again. Unfortunately for Annie, the deputy senses that something is amiss, and begins poking holes in her story by asking more questions. Why was the syringe there? Will he find her fingerprints on the syringe?
Annie begins to panic as she realizes that only Joy’s fingerprints will be on the syringe. The deputy (who still thinks she’s Ms. Ingles) asks if Annie knew the deceased. Annie lies and says she didn’t know her until she broke into her cabin, and the deputy continues by saying that they found Rita’s phone and discovered that while she was in New York, she received a call from a Maine number, causing her to high-tail it to Castle Rock.
The deputy asks what phone call could have summoned her to Maine, but Annie says that she doesn’t care what a “crazy woman” does, she only cares about the fate of her daughter. The deputy picks up one of the medication bottles and leaves the room without answering her question, but a few moments later, Joy enters the room.
Annie embraces her daughter and tells her not to say a word to the police, and sobs as she says that Joy saved her from Rita. Then Annie tells Joy that Annie will do the saving. When the deputy re-enters the room and says that he’s going to bring Annie and Joy to the police station, Annie says that Joy is a minor and that Annie should be the only one brought to the station.
The next scene opens on Pop Merrill’s ledger, which is filled with red ink. Pop has a handful of bullets that he’s playing with as sits at the desk, and a gun rests on the page. Pop gets up from the desk and then drives his pickup truck to a place we’ve seen before: Shawshank Prison.
Pop arrives at Shawshank and is buzzed in as a montage of images reminds the audience of Castle Rock’s first season. Pop has come to speak with John, his brother-in-law, Chris and Ace’s biological father. John asks Pop how much longer he has left, causing Pop to remark that there’s quite a grapevine in the prison. The pair discusses the fact that John has been to several different prisons, including Portland and State, but he says that it’s nice that they returned him to Shawshank.
Pop tells John that he only has weeks left, and John says that he’s got life, so they’ll just miss each other. John and Pop trade remarks about war stories (and whether or not anyone wants to hear them) and Pop brings up the fact that John murdered his wife 30 years prior, causing John to remark that he already knows that he’s a piece of shit.
Pop says that he came to Shawshank to forgive John. John is skeptical, and then brings up the fact that Ace had come to visit him for the first time in twenty years just a few days prior. This is obviously news to Pop, who narrows his eyes at John.
As Pop gathers his belongings from the guard on duty, he asks if Ace had come in. Jimmy, the guard, seems distracted, but he admits that Ace had come in and he “figured he couldn’t hurt anything down there because there’s nothing left to hurt.” Pop asks what he means, and Jimmy says Warden Lacy’s hole, “where he kept that gimp,” referring to the events of Castle Rock’s first season.
As Jimmy continues, a flashback shows Augustin and Jimmy in Warden Lacy’s hole. The cage that contained Warden Lacy’s prisoner is still down there in Block F… but Jimmy says that the really weird thing is the fact that the cage is still locked, and there is a pile of prison-issue sweats inside…. But there’s nobody inside the cage.
Jimmy tells him that Ace has been making all the stops: Block F, Hubie Marsten’s house. Pop’s suspicion reaches a fever pitch and he heads to the Marsten House, where he finds Augustin’s associates busily conducting their renovations. Pop gets out of his truck and approaches the mansion.
A flashback returns us to 1619, where Amity arrives at the New Jerusalem church carrying piles of fresh produce. She tells them that she met an angel. The citizens marvel at the foliage that has grown around the town, which was barren just a few hours prior. Amity tells her father that he was right, and the land is blessed, but Marius replies that the sudden growth is witchcraft.
One of the citizens asks Augustin for forgiveness, and he tells them that they don’t need his forgiveness, they need Amity’s, who is their prophet. The citizens of New Jerusalem fall to their knees and begin praying to Amity, who begins to rest her hands on their heads… another image that is captured by the murals in Marsten house.
We return to 2019 as Pop makes his way through the mansion, dumbfounded. Another mural depicts the Marten House. While many of the people working on the renovations stare at Pop, none make any attempt to interact with him. Pop comes upon a map of the town on a desk, and is looking it over when Augustin enters.
Pop asks him what he’s doing and Augustin tells him that they’re a group of “like-minded individuals” who are bringing two communities together: Castle Rock and Salem’s Lot. Augustin asks if Pop is going to the four hundredth anniversary celebration. Pop asks Augustin if he knows the history of the mansion, and Augustin tells him that Pop of all people should know that history doesn’t define something.
Pop demands an explanation, and Augustin responds by saying that he had “revelations” about the type of life he’s led. Pop doesn’t buy it and asks what he’s doing in Marsten House with Abdi’s right-hand man, Hassan, and the various other citizens who have joined them. The tension rises as Pop demands to know why Augustin was in Block F, and Augustin’s friends gather around, becoming increasingly menacing and forcing Pop to leave without any answers.
Down the hill at the construction site, Pop tells Abdi he needs to talk to him. Abdi confronts Pop over the fact that Pop told Nadia about killing her mother. Pop says that she figured it out herself, but Abdi asks if there’s anything Pop can’t fuck up, pulling a gun on him. Pop warns him that Hassan has become Ace’s associate, and insists that something bad is happening – the large and diverse group of people listening to Ace’s orders makes no sense. However, Abdi can’t forgive Pop for tying him to a chair just a week prior, and he cocks the gun before telling Pop to stay away from him and his family.
Back at Marsten House, Augustin and his people are gathered around the map on the desk. Augustin marks an “X” in front of the church and says that’s where they’ll do “it,” because that’s where the most people will be gathered. Augustin is informed that the police have Annie, the vessel for Amity, in custody. Augustin tells Patrice, who has possessed Officer Boucher, that Annie is now his responsibility.
In the cavern beneath Marsten House, Augustin strokes Amity’s sarcophagus as he remarks that it is only three days until the anniversary when she will return to him. In a flashback to 1619, Amity smiles as she oversees the execution of Marius and his men.
Amity turns away from the burning corpses and addresses the crowd, telling them that she has spoken to an angel and that they will have a Holy Crusade to bring his word to the earth. Amity and her people are merciless toward those who refuse to accept their new religion.
Amity paints the walls of the church with murals depicting the new religion, the images bearing a striking resemblance to those that have been painted on the walls of the Marsten House in 2019. If that wasn’t enough sacrilegious shenanigans for you, she and Augustin have sex on the altar.
In 2019, Patrice returns to Marsten House without Annie. He tells Augustin that because she’s at the police station, it will take some time to retrieve her, and further remarks that because she medicated by antipsychotics, they run a risk of “losing” the prophet if she is used as the vessel for Amity. Augustin says that it isn’t a problem now that they’re cognizant of it, but Patrice insists that nobody – including the prophet – had been aware of these “mind-altering chemicals.”
Augustin is insistent, declaring that the Wilkes woman brought them all back, but Patrice says that he’s seeing signs where none exist. Augustin rounds on Patrice and asks him who he believes the vessel should be.
In 1619, Amity kneels before the sculpture of the hooded figure who now resides in the New Jerusalem church. Amity tells the sculpture that she complied with his wishes and spread his word among her people. She asks the sculpture if she must complete the unspeakable act that he has commanded her to undertake. As she asks why a beetle emerges from between the lips of the sculpture and Amity begins to choke. More beetles crawl from the robes of the sculpture, swarming around Amity, convincing her.
Addressing her flock, Amity evokes Job and Moses and the tests they faced from god. Amity tells them that they must follow the message delivered to her by the Angel, even though it seems unthinkable. A montage shows the residents of New Jerusalem as they begin the preparations.
In the next scene, the residents of New Jerusalem are gathered together in the cavern beneath the location of Abdi’s construction site in 2019. Amity stands before a young boy. After she gently places one of the beetles into his mouth and his throat is slit, the corpse is placed in one of the sarcophaguses that fill the cavern. Addressing the citizens (who are being watched over by the sculpture of the hooded man), Amity tells the flock that in four centuries, they will awaken in new vessels with a whole new world to conquer.
Later, Amity and Augustin are the sole surviving members of New Jerusalem. Under the watchful gaze of the sculpture of the hooded man, Amity tells Augustin that she will be the last to be resurrected and that he must find the “Angel.” Augustin places a beetle in Amity’s mouth and then slits her throat before closing the lid of her sarcophagus.
The Anniversary Parade
Four hundred years later, in 2019, the Castle Rock anniversary parade has begun. Among the participants in the parade are several classic cars, including a distinctive red Plymouth Fury that will be familiar to Constant Readers from the novel and film Christine. Those watching the parade include a boy holding a single red balloon, strongly evoking IT.
At the construction site, Abdi looks toward Marsten House before beginning to walk through the woods toward it. Soon, he comes upon a trio of upside-down burning crosses, just like those used to execute Marius and his men in 1619. As Abdi peers closer, he sees that Officer Boucher (A.K.A. the doubtful Patrice) is among the burning corpses. As Abdi stares in slack-jawed horror, he sees Hassan among those conducting the 2019 execution, confirming what Pop had told him.
Meanwhile, the parade continues, and the mayor declares that he hasn’t seen such a large crowd since Thanksgiving Day 1992. Pop arrives and parks his pickup truck just as “Pastor Drew” of the Castle Rock church takes the microphone. “Drew” says that they’re so happy that everyone has come, they want to share their gratitude by giving the people a gift. A group of Augustin’s followers approach the stage with the sculpture of the hooded figure, currently concealed beneath a tarp.
Augustin emerges and approaches the microphone. Pop demands to know what “Ace” is doing and approaches the stage, but the police stop him. As Pop wrestles with the cops, the tarp is removed and the statute of the hooded man is revealed.
The effect is immediate: the crowd goes silent, transfixed by the sculpture. Pop, who is staring the other direction, is frozen with fear by the uncanny reaction. As Pop surveys the suddenly silent and slack-jawed members of the crowd, a truly spine-tingling shot reveals the reflection of the sculpture in a slowly rotating gold balloon.
A flashback returns to Amity in 1619, as she is approached by the hooded figure on the cliff, and the identity of the figure is revealed: the “Kid,” Warden Lacy’s prisoner from the first season of Castle Rock, as played by Bill Skarsgård.
In 2019, Pop flees from the crowd, managing to avoid the thrall of the sculpture. As many of the other citizens of Castle Rock and Salem’s Lot stare at the sculpture, Augustin takes the microphone.
He tells the crowd that he wants to tell them a story about starting over. “Someone once said that every good story ends where it begins,” says Augustin, a sentiment that should be near and dear to any of Stephen King’s Constant Readers. Augustin says that this story begins in Castle Rock, which is also where it will end. As he speaks, the camera pulls back from Amity and the hooded figure on the edge of the cliff.
Cut to the closing credits. Quite the fucking reveal, Castle Rock! Is it November 27th yet?
Castle Rock season two is currently available for streaming on Hulu, and the Beat will be back to recap the next episode, “Dirty,” next Wednesday at 19:00.