Castle Rock Season 1 Episode 2: Habeas Corpus Recap

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In episode 2, Henry investigates Lacy’s suicide, hoping it will lead him to his missing client. He stops by the church again and connects with Jackie Torrance, a local history buff who helps with the local church program to minister to the prisoners. Henry also connects with Zalewski, who helps him get his first look at the Kid. The Kid is having adventures in the regular prison population, as the Warden agrees to put him into solitary, doubled up with a roommate. Pangborn is playing his own complicated game using inside information.

More of what the town put Henry through when he was a child begins to come clear. It’s obvious that he was convicted in the townspeople’s minds as soon as his father’s injured body was found, while Henry himself was still missing. Being black and adopted was enough for the town to use their imaginations to come up with a story that they found believable. The truth was irrelevant, and still is.

Episode 2 picks up where episode 1 left off, with Zalewski hitting the alarm button because the surveillance monitors are telling him that he’s seeing dead people in puddles of blood and the Kid out of his cell, staring directly into a camera with his big, haunting eyes. Zalewski pulls out his gun and races through the prison, checking to see who’s escaped and where the trouble is. The other guards come out of wherever they were as well. When Boyd comes barreling straight toward Zalewski, he shocks Zalewski so much that Zalewski fires at him. Zalewski’s worked up and misses, so no harm done.

Boyd’s a jerk, so I’m going to enjoy watching a fictional idiot get shot at, but in real life that would be pretty awful. $9 an hour probably doesn’t include much weapons or emergency response training.

There’s nothing wrong in the prison, and the monitors show everything being (back to) normal, so it’s declared a false alarm. Did Zalewski doze off and have one of those dreams that feels real? Or did the Kid insert images into his mind? Kid sits in his cell and enigmatically watches everything.

Dale Lacy’s voice over is interspersed throughout the episode, as he reads aloud from his last letter to Alan Pangborn. This is essentially his suicide note:

People think we’re just one of those dead towns they’ve heard about. A run of bad luck, worse judgement, broken promises. We know different, don’t we? It’s not luck. It’s a plan. And not God’s, either. Remember the dog? The strangler? Sure you do. How about all the others that didn’t make headlines?

1961. It was the fall after they found that boy’s body out by the train tracks. I took a hard hit. Almost didn’t make it home. Turned out, I wasn’t the one people needed to worry about. My younger brother was. That was my first taste of what this town could do to someone.

[Onscreen, a high school football player is knocked out during a game, but gets up again after a minute. While the crowd is still cheering for him, a boy wearing the team mascot costume climbs up to the top of the school roof. A little girl watches and waves to him. He waves back, then jumps to his death, his blood pooling on the pavement of the high school parking lot.]

Take any house in this town. H*ll, take mine. Every inch is stained with someone’s sin. I lie awake at night thinking about all the blood spilled under my roof alone. People say, “It wasn’t me. It was this place.” And the thing is, they’re right.

[Onscreen, the camera peeks around the bathroom door in the Lacy house to spy on the aftermath of a grisly murder in the bathtub, then shows a man who died from carbon monoxide poisoning after his wife set it up so that the car’s exhaust would fill the living room. These are set in some unspecified time in the first half of the 20th century.]

[A middle-aged Dale Lacy calls to his wife that his meeting will run late, so she shouldn’t wait up. Then he grabs a camping lantern and drives away. The ground is covered in snow, as it usually is during the flashbacks. He drives across the train tracks just as the alarm is sounding to say that a train is coming. At the prison, he makes his way down into the tank and lays out a set of tools. He is building the cage that the Kid was found in.]

I used to get down on my knees and ask God to show me my purpose. With all the guile of H*ll arrayed against this town, what can one decent man do? “Let me stand athwart the doorway,” I told him. But God, he doesn’t take requests. So I waited, for years, for instructions. And then, one day, one beautiful day, God answered.

In the present day, Henry visits the Lacy house to speak with Dale’s widow. When he says he’s an attorney, she assumes that he’s there to sue the prison. She invites him in, where he explains that he’s looking for a particular inmate. It might’ve been someone that her husband took a particular interest in? Martha says that her husband believed in rehabilitation. “Off the clock, he called it grace,” she tells him. Henry tells her that the prison can’t even find the man’s file. Did Dale bring work home with him? Martha offers to let Henry take a look in Dale’s home office.

On the way to the office, Henry looks at some wildlife paintings on the wall, which Martha says were done by Dale. Then the phone rings. Martha answers. While she’s on the phone, Henry begins to poke around the office.

He finds numerous prayer cards and a file of strange crimes from Stephen King’s previous works that Dale has saved as evidence of how demonic Castle Rock is. Cujo is in there. While Stephen King wrote it really well, rabid animals are all over in the northeast. No one would actually take that seriously as a sign of the devil. It’s a sign that you really need to get your pets their rabies shots.

Henry moves on from the newspaper articles to searching through Dale’s desk drawers. He has a drawer full of old calendars from different years, each turned to the page with the same Bible verse, Acts 16:33: Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.

Henry is interrupted by Martha returning and asking if he’s black. Her next door neighbor called to warn her that Henry Deaver was her visitor. Martha Lacy is blind, so she didn’t know it was Henry. She says hateful things to Henry, assuming that he killed his father, who was her pastor, and throws him out of the house. Before he leaves, he notices the giant, cartoon-style padlock on the basement door. He asks Martha what’s down there. She just threatens to call the police unless he leaves immediately.

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Henry goes back to his father’s church. The minister is holding a meeting, looking for prayer partners for two new inmates. One is a drug dealer and one murdered 6 people. Multiple parishioners volunteer to help save their souls. These are the same people who condemned 11 year old Henry for being kidnapped at the same time that his father was assaulted. But of course these inmates are white.

Henry asks the pastor about Dale Lacy, but Dale has been spending his Sundays in the woods rather than in church, so the Pastor can’t help Henry. Pastor does, however, bring up Henry’s work with death row inmates.

Pastor: I just mean I find it really inspiring. We work with some colorful characters in our Prayer Partner Program here, and for you to be involved in that kind of work, after what you came from…

Henry: What I came from?

Pastor: Your… history in this town. It’s just, well, it’s nice to see redemption in the flesh. Ya know?

Henry looks like he’s been alive for about a thousand years. He also looks the pastor up and down like he’s trying to figure out which bone to break first.

Castle Rock really probably should get sucked down into the H*llmouth once Henry, Zalewski and his family leave.

Zalewski is let into the Kid’s cell to pick up his food tray. The food is untouched. Zalewski asks Kid if he left the cell last night. He just has to check, you know? Kid just continues to stare at Zalewski with his big eyes. Zalewski tells Kid about sympathetic pregnancy, blaming his screw ups on the stress of impending fatherhood. Kid turns his head slightly to follow Zalewski to the door. He’s otherwise still while watching and listening to Zalewski, like a bird of prey.

Did Kid decide that Zalewski is vulnerable and he should continue to target him, or that the CO is a decent guy, and should be spared? Or is Kid an innocent victim, who’s learned not to do anything that might upset his captor, and he’s hoping Zalewski might help him?

Kid’s not talking. Maybe his power is like Black Bolt’s and any attempt at communication is deadly. Kid’s definitely thinking something, though.

Pangborn stealthily finds Porter at a hotel bar in a nearby town, maybe Portland. He orders a beer and starts talking. She thinks he’s trying to pick her up and tries to leave. He quickly gets to the point and lets her know who he is and that he has information about Lacy that needs to stay outside of normal channels.

Pangborn: I remember one night, this town car whips past, bat out of H*ll. I pulled the guy over. It turns out to be your predecessor, Warden Lacy. Well, that night he told me he had finally figured out what was wrong with Castle Rock. He said he had always thought the devil was just a metaphor, but now he knew the devil was a boy. And old Dale said he’d caught him. Had locked the devil in a box. And from here on out, it was blue skies and butterflies.

Porter: How long ago was this?

Pangborn: Don’t let that f**king kid out.

Pangborn gets up and leaves without saying another word. Porter is new in town and doesn’t know that she’s supposed to trust him as the Word of God. She’s sitting there thinking that Lacy was delusional as well as a sick pedophile.

Maybe Pangborn could have given Porter a little more to go on than a growled order from a stranger in a bar. There was a whole lot of white male entitlement in that speech. As a woman, Porter’s skin has to be crawling at this point. The sheriff they’re naming bridges after knew the prison warden was keeping a kid in a cage for years and did nothing about it.

If she’s supposed to think otherwise, he owes her the professional courtesy of the real story. As far as we know, in addition to the Dale Lacy abduction story, he also did nothing about the Henry Deaver situation, when he could have tried to clear Henry’s name and allowed Henry to bring harassment and hate crime charges against the townspeople. Pangborn’s a real standup guy when it comes to protecting kids.

Porter and Reeves visit the tank and cage themselves to discuss this new development and whether it’s time to call the board. They decide that since Dale Lacy has a widespread reputation as a decent man, he must have had a good reason for keeping Kid locked up in an underground cage in the dark, alone, for years. There’s no reason for them to investigate what that reason was, they can trust the decent man. Instead, it’s time to make the problem go away.

Are they going to rehabilitate Kid? Send him to a mental ward for therapy, or to case workers who will help him find his family? Of course not. They’re putting him in solitary confinement, but doubled up with a hardcore Nazi murderer who’s very touchy about everything. It’ll be fine. Kid’ll enjoy having some company for a change  who isn’t his kidnapper.

Kid tries to look meek and mild as he’s locked in with the white supremacist. He’s about 6’4″ and very thin, so the results are mixed. But I’m pretty sure some sort of deadly power is hiding in his eyes. Lasers, or poisonous gas, maybe a mind control/reality warping power. Maybe just the power to stare at you until you’re so uncomfortable that you’ll do anything to get away from him.

Then it’s back to Dale Lacy’s farewell letter for the beginning of Act 2:

Only a few others knew those terrible things we did for our town. For our home. And, well, I pray they’ve long since forgotten it.

[Onscreen, the Deaver home exterior is shown, then Henry Deaver getting ready to go out. Henry’s forgotten a few things. So has Ruth.]

Ruth has been going through her cupboards, trying to find something she can use as a birthday cake for Henry. It’s past the actual day, but she figures it’s still close enough. She asks him if his birthday is still the 27th. Don’t laugh, my father’s birthday somehow changed from the 3rd to the 2nd sometime when he was an adult. I think it had to do with the politics between his mother, 1st wife, and 2nd wife, and the fact that he was born close to midnight. Since Henry’s adopted and we don’t know his backstory, anything could happen. He and Kid could be related. Or Kid could be Matthew Deaver’s biological son.

When Ruth wishes Henry “Happy Birthday”, there’s a moment where you can see and feel the deep love and affection between the two. No matter what else has happened in that town, she is his mother and he is her son.

Ruth reminds Henry of his 7th birthday, when she made him a cake with buttercream frosting, then he promptly vomited it up, because they hadn’t discovered his lactose intolerance yet. Henry doesn’t remember it, because all of his memories from before his abduction are gone.

Does that mean that Henry was adopted not long before his 7th birthday?

Flashback to the period around the abduction. Young Molly, who lives next door,  and Henry are using lights to send signals back and forth between their bedroom windows. She’s also written his name in her notebook dozens of times. Her obsession has already started.

At 3:20 AM, Molly is awoken by a car pulling up outside Henry’s house. Matthew Deaver calls out, “Henry, quit dragging your feet! Let’s go!” Young Henry runs out and jumps in the car, which drives away. Young Molly watches from her window.

In the present day, adult Molly stands in the same window with dark sunglasses on. The scene shifts to her sitting at a table in the town’s one bar and grill, still wearing the sunglasses. Her sister, who is unnamed, arrives for their lunch date and apologizes for being late. Her son has pink eye again and she had trouble finding child care for him. He gets it so often that she thinks he gets it on purpose, just to spite her.

Next she informs Molly that Henry is in town and is ironically now a lawyer who represents murderers. Molly asks why Sister thinks she’d care, but Sister calls her Miss Preteen Voyeur 1991 to show she knows about Molly’s crush.

Then she moves on to criticizing Molly and her choice of restaurants. Also her need to wear “blue blockers” for social anxiety, which doesn’t even make sense. Molly tries to explain that she doesn’t have social anxiety, but Sister just dismisses her further by referring to her “undiagnosed psychic affliction.” Molly patiently gives it another try. “There are nerves in the brain. They’re called mirror neurons. And they’re responsible for empathy…”

Her sister, who has no mirror neurons, asks if she’s high and accuses her of stealing Sister’s leftover Percocet from her root canal. Molly says, “I take half a pill, once a day, just to muffle other people’s noise. Forget it.”

Molly actually called her sister because she has a new business venture. She’s a real estate agent, but she’s going on the local talk show Local Color next week to talk about the revitalization of downtown, which is starting with the old yarn mill. She wants to remortgage their parents’ old house for $40k so that she can get a lease on the mill.

Sister is predictably negative about the whole thing. She doesn’t think Castle Rock will attract business, she doesn’t want Molly to mortgage the only stable financial asset she has, she knows Molly will make a fool of herself on live TV, and she very much enjoys co-owning the house so that she can use it to control Molly.

But Molly has already forged Sister’s name (she must actually have one) and filed the papers this morning. Oops. Molly leaves, thanking her sister for picking up the lunch check.

Back in Dracula’s castle the prison, Kid and his roommate are getting to know each other. Kid is staring at Roomie, and Roomie is making threatening comments. Roomie gets right up in Kid’s face, and Kid finally speaks again. He very softly tells Roomie that Roomie doesn’t want to touch him. So softly that Roomie doesn’t hear him the first time and Kid has to repeat it.

Henry stops in at the bar and grill, which is also where the Shawshank guards drink after work. When he finds out that it’s the only bar and burger place left for 37 miles, he asks what happened to Nan’s. Jackie Torrance, who has slipped up behind him, responds by asking if he wants the cover story or the real story. She explains that Nan was running a sex club out of her backroom for decades. Nan got greedy and blackmailed one of her regulars, the Maine governor’s chief of staff, to help pay for her nephew’s titanium prosthetic leg. The scheme backfired on her. They shut the luncheonette and the sex club down.

Henry asks what the cover story is. Jackie says that Nan retired when the town voted to unincorporate. For the last few years, Castle Rock has literally been taken off the map.

Jackie cheerfully asks if she can see Henry’s feet. He asks why. She heard he lost three toes to frostbite, and says she’ll show him her feet. He tells her no. She moves on to telling him that kids used to dress up like him for Halloween, but then someone instragrammed a photo, and the blackface became a whole thing…

Henry interrupts her description of how kids putting on black makeup was more offensive than framing a 12 year old for murder and slandering him for decades, to ask to hear the current version of the Henry Deaver, Town Bogeyman, story.

“Beloved preacher opens up his home and his heart to poor screwed up orphan. Weirdo kid gets weirder. Ninety-one, mega snowstorm, Guinness book sh*t. You lure him out to Castle Lake, push him off the rocks. Bye bye Pastor Deaver. Wander out of the woods 11 days later, and pretend you can’t remember what happened.”

Sounds like the same old story. I’m seriously getting the feeling that the reports of Matthew Deaver’s sainthood have been greatly exaggerated. Especially with the way the story lives on, but none of his specific good deeds, other than adopting Henry, have been attached to it in order to teach the kids about how great he was and why they should care that the evil bogeyman killed him.

He’s simply a convenient, generic innocent and theoretical good person to serve as a victim of the evil, scary black kid. The story is really about teaching the kids what happens when you let the wrong kind of outsider into town and into your home. Henry is the Big Bad Wolf, come to eat Red Riding Hood, Grandma, and the Three Little Pigs. In the town’s version of the story, the pastor let the wolf in and tried to teach him to be a person, but wolves never learn. They always revert to type.

I think we’ve stumbled on the theme of the season. Who are the real wolves, can they be taught to be “civilized” people, or will they revert to type?

Henry asks if Jackie’s tale is the real story or the cover story. Jackie says, “You tell me.”

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Henry is saved from giving much of an answer when the guards that he’s been waiting for walk in. He does tell Jackie that his father died at home rather than in the woods. Then he writes a note to Zalewski on a napkin and has the bartender pass it to him. Once the note is delivered, Henry pays for his drink and goes home.

Home, where Pangborn is digging something up in the backyard.

More from Lacy’s letter:

Give a man the keys to the dungeon. Tell him to lock up the monster. Or pin a star on his chest. Call him “sheriff”. Maybe he succeeds a while. A year, a decade or two if he’s lucky. But evil outlasts us all.

Henry: Burying the evidence?

Pangborn: Digging it up. Your mom’s been leavin’ food out for the neighborhood mutt. We buried it New Year’s Day. “Truck”.  She loved that b*tch. She’s got it in her head it’s been nosin’ through the garbage again. Said she’d feel better if I checked. make sure it’s still dead.

Henry (gets a sick look on his face): This morning she seemed fine.

Pangborn: Yeah, they call it sundowning. Real common. Nights are hard for your mom.

Henry: Have you told Doctor… The Portland guy.

Pangborn: We go to a clinic in Boston now. Next appointment’s in November. Come on by, tell ’em yourself. You free in November?

Pangborn is gentle, for once, but he makes his point. He’s the one that’s there, taking care of Ruth everyday, and he doesn’t mind doing it, but it’s a lot of work. Henry’s not there, so he needs to stop being so territorial.

Then there’s the issue of whatever’s been getting into the garbage, and whatever killed Truck. Not to mention why Ruth needs to be reassured that Truck hasn’t come back from the dead. She didn’t ask Pangborn to set a trap or a camera to figure out what’s getting into the garbage. She specifically asked him to make sure that it isn’t Truck. The look on Henry’s face could mean that something like this has happened before. But which part of “this”?

Pangborn reaches the plastic case that the dog is buried in. It’s much more elaborate than what you’d expect for a stray dog. The dog looks like it was buried yesterday and looks like it’s mid vicious attack. Something isn’t right about this whole thing.

Pangborn takes a photo of the dog’s body as proof for Ruth, and says to Henry, in a resentful voice, “Don’t worry about your mom, Henry. I’m sure you’re real busy in Texas.”

Henry gets in Pangborn’s face and replies, “Court made me my mother’s conservator three years ago. It means they needed my permission before they moved my father’s grave. It also means that I say who comes in and out of this house.”

They stare at each other for a minute, then Henry walks away. Pangborn watches him go and nods his head. Pangborn just couldn’t quite get through what needed to be said without turning it into a p*ssing contest. Henry established what his rights are. Has Pangborn made some kind of decision?

Pangborn doesn’t cut Henry any slack for the level of toxicity the town heaps on him. It would be detrimental to Henry’s health to spend any kind of time there. The real question is, why does Ruth still live in the place where her husband was murdered and her son was ostracized? Why doesn’t Henry move her somewhere close to him in Texas?

No fair-minded person would expect Henry to stay in Castle Rock, but if Ruth won’t leave, you’d think Henry would be grateful that Pangborn is willing to take care of her. Unless he has another reason to dislike Pangborn. When Pangborn found Henry in 1991, he described himself as a friend of Henry’s mother. We were meant to think that was because Henry’s father was dead. But maybe it was because Pangborn was her special friend and they were already having an affair.

Molly stands at her window and remembers when the police questioned her after Henry’s disappearance. They went straight to blaming Henry as soon as Matthew Deaver was found, maybe before. Molly is so scared that she refuses to share the evidence she has that could help the case. Both Molly’s mother and the sheriff’s deputy insist that Molly share any incriminating evidence that she has, but aren’t interested in any other kind. Molly refuses.

When the deputy asks if Henry ever said anything about wanting to hurt his father, Molly says that Matthew Deaver isn’t Henry’s father. Molly’s mother insists she be more forthcoming, because the sheriffs need to know why Henry did this. The deputy is more diplomatic, suggesting that Molly should help them find Henry because it’s so cold outside that it’ll get dangerous for him. Molly still says that she doesn’t know anything.

Henry goes inside after his talk with Pangborn and gets a phone call from Zalewski, who’s parked in front of the house. Zalewski says he can’t talk to Henry, to which Henry sensibly replies that Zalewski shouldn’t have called him, then. Henry confirms that Zalewski was the one who made the initial call to him, then goes out to join Zalewski in his car to talk.

Zalewski is way too honest and good to survive being a whistleblower. He’s going to get the Silkwood treatment for sure. ☠️

Henry starts making plans for Zalewski to testify in front of whoever it takes to get Kid on the books with proper representation, but Zalewski cuts him off. With a pregnant wife and no other job options, he can’t do anything that will risk this job and the health insurance it gives him.

The United States of America, greatest country in the world if you’re one of the 1% who doesn’t have to worry about how you’ll pay medical bills. So glad we got the Affordable Care Act gutted so that everyone can go back to being on the edge of poverty and debt at all times. 🤥💀👿🤢😱💉💵

Henry still needs to find a way to get to Kid. Zalewski says that the prison is watching for him. It would take an act of God for Henry to find a way in.

Act of God it is. Pastor is no doubt even more inspired to see Henry join the prayer partners so that he can help his fellow murderers find God. While Henry takes part in the church service for the prisoners, Kid’s Roomie is found dead in his cell. As Roomie is taken away for his autopsy, I think I sense a glint of satisfaction, maybe even happiness in Kid’s eye.

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Question: In a town like Castle Rock, how would you tell the difference between the devil committing random acts of evil, and an archangel delivering God’s wrath upon the sinful? How would you figure out when what looked like an act of God or the devil was really just karma catching up with someone?

That’s what we supposedly have Pangborn for, right? The archetypal great, straight, white arbiter of justice?

Back to our story. Porter and Reese view the end of Roomie’s autopsy in person. The coroner tells them that Roomie died from cancer that had metastasized throughout his body. She’s surprised he was still able to walk. As we saw, he seemed to be in perfect health and spirits, and full of energy, a few hours ago.

Porter and Reese are officially FREAKED OUT. Their mouths are hanging open. They’d probably hand Kid over to Henry right this minute, if he’d promise it wouldn’t come back to bite them.

But Henry’s an officer of the court. He’s all about playing by the rules. Sort of. As he exits the chapel, he slowly walks toward the bus. His fenced walkway is separated from the prisoners yard by 50 feet or so. Zalewski brings Kid to one of the doors and shoves him out, alone, into the area across from Henry. It’s the first time Kid’s seen unfiltered daylight since Lacy locked him up.

Lacy’s letter:

Never again let him see the light of day, that’s what God told me. He told me where to find him, how his prison should be built, how to put an end to all the horrors we’ve seen in this town. 

Oops. God needs to work on communicating with more than one person at a time, so these important plot points don’t get lost. Too late to turn back now. No one told Henry or Zalewski to keep Kid in the dark. He’s out in the sun, so whatever that triggers is on its way.

Kid goes to the fence where he can see Henry.

Henry: Hey, I can be your lawyer if you want me to be, but you have to say it.

Kid: Henry Deaver.

Alarms go off and guards rush out to drag Kid back inside. Henry takes photos of Kid and the guards taking him away. At least he has proof of Kid’s existence now. If Kid shows up on the photos. 👻👻👻

That night, Pangborn sits in his car on the same bluff where he found Henry, and where both Matthew Deaver and Dale Lacy died. He finishes reading Lacy’s last letter.

Lacy:

What he didn’t tell me was how full of doubt I would be about what we did, or where I’d wind up in the end. I fear for this place. I fear what’s to come, Alan. But I also know Castle Rock still has a defender, even in the dead of night.

The fluffy dog who watched Lacy drive off the cliff happily runs through the woods, then stops and digs something up. It’s Lacy’s head, which has been missing since the day he died.

When Pangborn finishes reading the letter, he folds it up and burns it.

IS HENRY DEAVER MEANT TO BE THE NEW DEFENDER OF CASTLE ROCK???

Well, that would be the height of irony, wouldn’t it.


 

So, do you think Dale was hiding something in the basement from his blind wife behind that comically huge padlock? Did it stick out that way because he liked seeing her walk into it and smack her face on it when she got tired? The guy had a sick sense of humor, after all. That door is likely at least a hundred years old. It will break long before a lock like that does its job. Or the house will fall down around it.

What is Dale hiding in the basement of his house? We know he likes hiding people underground. The murders we’re shown when he mentions the blood spilled under his roof are a classic misdirect. Either he’s been accumulating bodies in his basement himself, excavating someone else’s bodies, or he’s got a giant murder board/crime lab set up where he’s tracked and connected the crime sprees in the region through the years. Or all three.

You’d think Lacy could have come up with a better system for passing the mantle of devil keeping and making sure the Devil continues to stay locked up. Come up with a devil imprisoning cult, created a secret holy scripture and apostlistic chain of devil keepers. Added a giant set of keys to be ceremoniously passed from warden to warden. This breakdown shows a real lack of imagination on his part.

Was Martha Lacy the little girl who watched Dale’s brother jump to his death? Did it trigger blindness as a conversion disorder?

Dale Lacy probably spent his Sundays in the woods painting. Among other things.

There’s a big box of the Kid’s finger and toenail clippings still in the tank. Let’s not think about why Dale would have kept them.

Alan Pangborn has dug up a dead animal in both episodes, and both have been connected to Ruth Deaver. That dog didn’t look like it died peacefully in its sleep. We also have a dog digging up Lacy’s head with Pangborn nearby. Pangborn has some kind of power or karma that has to do with dogs and the dead. Symbolically, the dogs probably refer to his loyalty and stability. The death refers to the monsters he’s had to fight, leading him to do terrible things as the town’s sheriff.

And why is Ruth afraid that dead things aren’t staying dead? Is that a Pet Sematary reference? Henry’s death row client, Leanne, did come back from the dead, so this could be foreshadowing beyond Pet Sematary.

Of course they don’t explain why the dog is named Truck, or if Pangborn really meant that the dog was hit by a truck the first and or second time it died, or all of the above. In Pet Sematary, most of the pets who are brought back to life are run over by trucks on the highway that runs through town.

If they’re going to use Pet Sematary as part of the plot, or any of Stephen King’s other works, then they need to explain its premise to viewers rather than assume that everyone watching already knows it. All they need are a few minutes of conversation and throwaway lines like they did with the prison. There’s been enough time spent repeating the racist version of Henry’s story and showing close ups of The Kid’s eyes. Some of that could be spent explaining the town and region’s back stories.

The Kid is the Firestarter of this series, but what are his powers? Mind control of some sort? How many other townspeople have powers?

By the end of the episode, it’s quite clear why Henry left town and wishes he never had to go back. Even his mother mistook him for a hired hand, while the town acts as though they cared about his father more than he did. The current pastor accepts the town’s rumor mill as fact. Even Pangborn, who found Henry and saw how traumatized he was, doesn’t seem to have stood up for him.

So what did happen? Henry could be the one with the power to bring back the dead. That could be why Ruth was suddenly worried about the dog. It could be that Matthew Deaver came back. It could be that Matthew Deaver abused his family, and one of them killed him. They dumped him in the woods, but Henry’s power brought him back. Henry’s amnesia could be a conversion disorder, or the Kid could have put a spell on him.

Maybe Dale Lacy decapitated himself so that he couldn’t be brought back from the dead. Maybe the Kid is a boy who was brought back. Maybe we’re going to find out where the power that fuels the Sematary comes from, beyond “Old Native Burial Ground”.

Molly does drugs to quiet her oversensitive nerves and mind. It was her darkened house that Henry was looking at from his bedroom window in episode 1.

Ruth has a large white chess king (or queen?) and many cans of B&M brown bread in her fridge. Henry removes the chess piece. I’m sure that means something.

Pangborn tells Porter that they’re naming a bridge after him. 150 tons of concrete and steel. He also says that he’s from the days when a cop had to rely on intuition and instincts. In other words, he’s the bridge between the past and the present in this series, and the character we can trust. He has a finely honed sense of the truth of a situation and a good moral compass. Or so he and the show want us to think.

Thank God there’s a gruff but honest silver-haired old white guy to show us the way. Didn’t see that coming at all. Meanwhile, the list of female characters includes the corrupt prison warden; a stalker/drug addict; an elderly woman suffering from dementia; a blind, racist who didn’t notice that her husband was holding a kid captive; and a woman obsessed with the prison and the town’s unsavory history. Let’s not forget the ex-death row inmate and the self-absorbed, judgmental sister. There are no female counterparts to the CO with a conscience, the beleaguered do-gooder attorney, or the honored ex-sheriff and pillar of the community there. At best, the flawed but honest eye candy blonde town historian will partner up with Henry to solve whatever mystery this season settles on solving. At least Henry’s mother loves him.

No f**king misogyny there. Just a typical Stephen King cast of characters. <That was sarcasm, for the sarcasm challenged.>

To continue the Big Bad Wolf analogy, Pangborn appears to be the huntsman who saves Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. He found the dead deer and Henry in the woods, brought Henry home, and is now keeping Ruth safe. He’s trying to continue Lacy’s work of keeping the town safe from monsters.

The obvious conclusion, if Pangborn is the huntsman, is that Ruth is the grandmother and Henry is Red Riding Hood. That subverts the town’s version of the story, where they cast themselves as the Three Little Pigs (yes, I had fun writing that). I have a feeling they will remain the Little Pigs, two-thirds of whom are fools who depend on the one intelligent pig, who they’ve mocked and scoffed at, to save them.

But Henry will be one of the Brick House Pigs, if not the THE Brick House Pig. He’s been Red Riding Hood for a long time, with his memories lost inside the belly of the real Big Bad Wolf. Maybe Lacy wanted to bring him back to town in the hope that enough time had passed that Henry would be ready to let those memories resurface. Or maybe those memories implicate Lacy or Matthew Deaver and exonerate Henry, but will also explain why Kid needs to be locked up.

There is the off-chance that Henry really is a demon or some other form of evil with amnesia. Or that he did attack his father. The question then becomes why, and did his father deserve it.

Lacy may have told Kid to ask for Henry as part of his plan to prove that Kid is the devil. If so, it’s an odd plan, since we have decades of proof that no one in town will believe anything Henry says. Then again, Henry really only needs Porter and Reese to believe him, and, along with Zalewski, they’ve seen some strange things already. Kid may also have finally managed to affect Lacy’s mind, and what we’re seeing now is Kid’s master plan.

There are a significant number of featured characters left nameless in this show. It could be that the production is leaning into the fact that it’s using stock characters, or that the town is such a typical town that many of these people could be found in any town. Or it could be that the production cares so little about its characters, beyond the regulars and most important guests, that they can’t be bothered to name characters who only appear in an episode or two to help drive someone else’s story. That attention to detail or lack of it is the difference between a middling production and a great one.

Plus I hate having to repeatedly refer to characters as “Pastor”, “Sister” or “Bartender”, unless there’s a very good, plot-determined reason for it. It’s cheap and demeaning.

 

Images courtesy of Hulu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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