In episode 5, Harvest, the Kid is released from Shawshank Prison, thanks to Dennis Zalewski’s
heroic efforts shooting spree, which has left the prison exposed and liable for much more than just a prisoner held without due process. Kid’s suddenly a free man, living on the outside, as much as living in Castle Rock can be called free or living in the normal world.
Kid doesn’t know how to handle it at first, but he gradually reacclimates over the course of the episode, and even seems like he gets his memories back. Molly spends some time with Kid and doesn’t like what she finds in his head. Henry attempts to remain oblivious to anything unusual happening. He’s got a plane to catch, and nothing is going to stop him.
Boat, family, church, white, dog.
That’s the list of words that Henry is asked to repeat during his
psych evaluation in the opening scene. No race and class bias in that list. Henry repeats it, then goes into the tube for an MRI.
Kids, do not do what Henry does during an MRI of your head. The slightest twitch will cause a blurry area. The way he’s wiggling around would make the thing useless. Plus, that’s the most open MRI I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them. I need to get an MRI of my head every two years, and the ceiling is generally about two inches from my face. It’s like a coffin. I close my eyes and don’t open them again until I’m out of the tube. Otherwise the claustrophobia is unbearable, and I’m not normally claustrophobic. That would have been a good horror element to play up. Surprised they didn’t.
The very sweet MRI technician tells Henry that his MRI looks clean. She’s not sure what causes the intermittent ringing in his ear(s) that he’s had since he was a teenager and suggests it could be loud music. She’s so innocent.
She also asks where he’s from, and likes the sound of small town Maine. When Henry’s not enthusiastic in return she says, “I guess everyone thinks they grow up in the worst place on earth, huh?” Henry gives her his world-weary look, because he did grow up in the worst place on earth, if we’re measuring according to how haunted by creepy and violent supernatural energy the place is.
Fade to Castle Rock, where even the local radio news is wondering why so many bad things are happening at once.
Radio voice 1: Five days after the massacre, we still have so few answers. Why did the much-liked corrections officer unleash on his fellow guards. Along with the shocking…
Radio voice 2: …Privatizing of the prison, along with the suicide of its beloved warden, the tragedies at Shawshank keep piling up.
Radio voice 3: In other news. the wild fires continue to spread across Black Mountain, engulfing as many as 200 acres.
Radio voice 4: firefighting teams from across the state are pitching in, but the residents of dozens of houses between Castle View and Castle Lake have already been evacuated.
Henry is on the phone with someone as he walks to his father’s old church, discussing the delays in Kid’s case. The person on the other end isn’t being understanding about it. He hangs up when the current Pastor meets him outside. Henry assumes Pastor has asked to meet about reburying Matthew Deaver, but that’s not quite the reason.
Pastor Deaver has developed Exploding Casket Syndrome, an appetizing situation where the casket bursts open due to the pressure build up of gasses from the deteriorating body. A liquid we aren’t going to examine is dripping from the new opening in the casket seams. It’s unusual for the body to still be in a condition to even create ECS after so many years, and the sealed packaging the casket was put in for transport should have prevented further deterioration. This whole thing is odd.
The stress exacerbates Henry’s tinnitus. He misses some of what Pastor says, but does hear him say that while there’s a plot ready for Pastor Deaver tomorrow, there’s a waiting list for funerals, given the current circumstances. The sign on the church front lawn said that Zalewski is being buried Sunday at 2:00 and CO Potts will be at 4:00.
Warden Porter is busy being told off by her boss, who sarcastically but clearly summarizes the situation. Then he tells her to fix the debacle, using whatever methods necessary, or she’ll be thrown under the bus.
Henry installs a new security system in Ruth’s home, including cameras, 4 inside and 4 outside. Alan asks, “Why don’t you just put a chip in her, like a golden retriever?” The correct answer is, “Because I can already use her phone’s location to find her.” But Henry doesn’t push his luck with Sheriff “In the olden days we caught murderers using nothing but our intuition and then we walked 20 miles in the snow to arrest them” Pangborn. Who knows what he’d do with the information that there are useful apps for his phone. Definitely something involving obstruction of justice.
Henry is saved from that awkward conversation by a phone call telling him that Kid is being released from Shawshank tomorrow. Before his release, Kid is shown a hilarious video encouraging him to rewrite his history and pretend he’s not an ex-con. There’s no other way to explain the advice to go out and be whoever you want to be, regardless of your prison record. Every job and housing application for the rest of his life will ask about his criminal record, and he’ll face massive prejudice because of it. For real life ex-cons, there is no way to pretend it didn’t happen without falsifying an identity, or lying on applications and hoping the background check misses the offense.
But Kid is fictional and has remained nameless, not even going by John Doe, so what the heck, let’s go with it. Kid is given a set of baggy gray sweats, and set loose on the world. That step officially taking him outside the prison is a big one, and he feels the weight of it.
Henry’s there to meet him, and, as always, act like this is a totally normal situation. Some of the prisoners are being transported to Black Mountain to fight the fire, he explains to Kid. Then Henry reintroduces himself as he holds out his hand and tries to get Kid to give his own name. Kid gives him a bewildered look and doesn’t move or speak.
Flashing back to a time not long before Lacy’s suicide, he sits in the tank, talking and smoking, while Kid eats Wonder Bread and listens avidly to Lacy’s words.
Lacy starts with a condensed version of Genesis 6:14-15, God’s instructions to Noah, ” ‘Make thee an ark of gopherwood, and this is the fashion thou shalt make it of.’ So I built my ark. And when his voice came into my dreams for six nights in a row, he told me exactly where he would stand, at the quarry. The reason, the stain, the curse on our town, dragging evil behind you everywhere you went. And when I brought you down here, I was on fire with the Holy Spirit, righteous and so strong. And you looked, you looked so small next to my faith. And now, now you still look small. But I look old. I am old. After all these years, I still don’t know who you really are, or if I did the right thing.”
Lacy puts out the cigarette he’s been smoking, crouches down next to Kid, and takes off the rubber gloves he’s wearing. Then Lacy reaches through the bars of Kid’s cage to tenderly stroke Kid’s cheek. Lacy asks if Kid remembers the crazy story Kid told him the first night in the cage. Kid, who looked almost happy during the story of his capture, now looks terrified.
In the present day, Kid has a psychological evaluation, which ends with a diagnosis of pure retrograde amnesia, with no structural damage to the brain. It’s an emotional phenomenon. The doctor suggests that the best treatment is to take him home to his familiar environment, so that his memories can be triggered. Henry balks at this plan. He wants to leave Kid with the doctors, but they aren’t an inpatient facility. The doctor can get him a spot at Juniper Hill in a few days, but Henry has to take care of Kid until then.
Molly offers to let Kids stay in the old yarn mill for the weekend, sleeping on an air mattress. Henry tells Kid to stay inside. Since no one in town knows that Kid’s out of prison, it’s best to keep it that way. Henry worries that Kid is dangerous, and he’s left Molly exposed.
Pangborn comes home late to find Ruth still up, her mind lost in time. For a moment she thinks he’s Matthew and that he’s had a sick Henry out late at night. Pangborn brings her back to the present, and she tells him that, “Something terrible is gonna happen.”
Kid goes out for a walk after dark. The streets are deserted and it seems like it must be the middle of the night, but Kid follows the sound of Shirley Temple singing about Animal Crackers to a house where the family is celebrating a little boy’s birthday. The family seems happy and loving until Kid sneaks into the house. The closer he gets to them, the more antagonistic they get, until the parents are furious and at least one is trying to murder the other using the cake knife. Kid sits out of sight in a hallway and watches for a moment, then sits on the house’s roof.
The next morning, the news announcer on the radio says that the wildfire continues to spread. No one knows how it started and traditional methods aren’t working for putting it out. Many in the town think its an omen of worse things to come.
Pangborn sees Ruth’s chess set with several pieces missing, and remembers back to when he gave them to her. He thought she’d like them, because the originals were carved by a Viking woman, Jane the Adroit. She loves them, but wonders if he also got them because he read that playing chess would be good for her mental state.
Jackie shows up for work at the office downstairs in the yarnmill. She hears someone moving around and goes upstairs to check on it, then gets distracted by the new bed. Kid comes out of the bathroom naked and finds her there.
Pangborn is getting fancied up for the bridge dedication ceremony. He’s nervous and his arthritis is acting up, so Ruth has to tie his tie. When Henry stops by their room to ask to borrow Ruth’s car, he catches them in a loving moment. Ruth insists he come to Alan’s ceremony before borrowing the car.
Henry is periodically having flashbacks to the last moments of Zalewski’s life, making it harder for him to keep focussed.
The mayor introduces Pangborn, who’s uncomfortable with this kind of attention, as expected. The mayor mentions Pangborn faces his own tremendous challenges. Pangborn begins by mentioning that he wanted to be a magician when he was a kid, but he was never any good at the distracting patter necessary to misdirect the audience while the magician makes the switch.
In the audience, a dog begins barking in Ruth’s direction, while Pangborn goes on to thank the town for their trust in him. When he looks back toward Ruth, she’s wandered over to his bridge and is standing on the railing. Henry runs toward her, but she jumps just as he reaches the bridge. Henry quickly jumps in after her.
Molly finds the mill empty when she goes to the office after the ceremony. Kid has built several sets of metal shelves for her, and carved a man out of soap, which he’s placed in the middle of her town diorama. Molly calls Henry.
Jackie and Kid are getting high in her car. Or, at least, Jackie is. She’s also telling him stories about the bad old days of the eighties and all of the terrible things that were connected to the town back then. The cherry on top is her story about her Uncle Jack, who went crazy at this old hotel in Colorado and tried to kill his family. She took his name just to bug her parents. Her real name is Diane. As every Stephen King fan has already figured out, her uncle was the main character in The Shining.
A news announcement comes on the radio, stating that one of the firefighters’ helicopters has exploded, after the pilot lost control while his crew was spraying flame retardant. This brings the death toll from the fires up to 5, with many more in the hospital in critical condition.
Ruth has been rescued from the river and is in the hospital. Henry and Alan wait in the corridor together. Alan tells Henry that he bought Ruth a ring in ’91, but she wouldn’t take it, because she thought it would confuse Henry. Plus, she thought she didn’t deserve happiness. After a while Alan gave up on her and moved south, all the way to New Hampshire. When he eventually moved back, he figured it was too late for them. Then, one night someone called him and told him that there’d been gunfire at Ruth’s house. Even though he wasn’t sheriff any more, people still called him sometimes. When he got to her house, she looked terrible, and begged him to stay. He’s tried to keep her safe.
The nurse lets them know that Ruth is awake. She’s upset that she ruined Alan’s ceremony. She explains that the barking dog influenced her. “Nothing stays dead in this d*mn town.” She talks as though she’s floating through time, and never knows where she’ll end up in her life’s story. Then Ruth looks at Henry and assumes that he understands what she’s talking about, because he’s forgotten his story as well. Henry is taken aback. He probably doesn’t think of his amnesia in the same way at all, when he thinks of it. He’s always moving forward, trying to leave the past behind. He lives solely in the present moment.
Molly pulls up to the old shirt factory where Jackie and Kid were parked. Kid has bolted, and is standing on the highest point of the edge of the factory roof, hearing the sounds of despair emanating from the surrounding area. Zalewski’s voice is in there, so some of it’s from the past; it could even be that all of it’s memories.
Molly comes up behind Kid and tries to talk him down, but Kid says he should still be in the hole. Molly tries to tell him that he shouldn’t pay attention to whatever Lacy said, but then she starts to pick up what’s in Kid’s head and falters.
Henry asks his ex-wife, Maret, to send their son, Wendell, up to Maine on the bus for a visit. He wants Wendell to see Ruth again before her dementia gets to the point where she won’t recognize him.
When Henry gets home, Molly is in the living room waiting for him. She knows where the spare key is hidden, but he doesn’t. She’s the keeper of the memories for the two of them.
She gave Kid an oxy to clam him down enough to come down off the roof. Now he’s in her car sleeping it off, but he feels wrong to her. Henry starts to thank her for taking care of Kid, and says they all just need some rest, but Molly’s not going to let him pretend to misunderstand her.
She tries again, explaining that everyone broadcasts at their own frequency, sometimes loud, sometimes faint. Kid sounds like all of the pain from the entire town combined. She figures out that Henry doesn’t believe in her power, so tells him all of the complicated thoughts in his own head, including that he’s worried about Wendell, who barely has a father. She ends by saying, “I’m telling you, there’s something wrong with that kid,” just in time for Kid to walk in and hear her.
Henry rushes over to Kid, and suggests that he stay at Ruth’s house tonight, then drags him out back to the barn. Kid gives Molly a look as he leaves. The barn was Matthew Deaver’s territory. It has a pullout couch amidst all of the clutter.
Kid is drawn to play the dusty, old piano next to the pullout. He becomes more confident as he plays. When he finishes, he says, “I remember.” Henry, who never asks a question, like, “How much do you remember?”, if he can help it, is encouraging, assuring Kid that more will come back over time.
I think all of Kid’s memories came back right then. Henry is the worst at seeing inside people’s heads and figuring out motivation. Either he saves it all for the courtroom, or he’s the worst lawyer ever.
Kid, on the other hand, watches and listens to everything and keeps it all to himself. He says as few words as possible, but how many voices did Molly hear inside his head? None were his at that point, but with his memories back, his own voice must be in there too. Although, it could be part of his power to hide his own voice from her power.
Alan gets drunk on his bridge and pries his plaque off, then throws it in the river. He gets an alert from one of Henry’s security cameras, showing Kid in the yard, staring straight at it.
Kid is still outside when Alan gets there. He asks if Kid remembers him, then tells Kid not to pretend. He knows Kid remembers. When Alan pulled over Warden Lacy on that fateful night, 27 years ago, when Lacy said he’d captured the devil, Kid was closed in the trunk of Lacy’s car, pounding on the roof and yelling for help. Alan opened up the trunk and looked at Kid, then let Lacy continue on his way, with Kid still inside.
Alan has never forgotten Kid’s face, even used to dream about him. He’s always wondered if he did the right thing. Meanwhile, Kid hasn’t aged a bit in 27 years. He asks if Kid really is the devil, but Kid says he isn’t.
Alan goes on a bit of a rant, about doing his job and trying to keep people safe, and waiting 30 years for the woman he loved, but she’s slipping through his fingers. “Where’s the justice in that?” He points his gun at Kid’s head and tells Kid to answer the question.
Kid looks like a bird of prey once again, just waiting for his prey to lose focus for a moment, so that he can pounce.
“I can help her. You have no idea what’s happening here, do you?”
SlashFilm.com keeps a running list of the Stephen King references in each episode, updated after each new installment is released.
Warden Porter’s boss refer’s to Kid as the Count of Monte Cristo, the character from the novel of the same name by Alexandre Dumas. The Count, aka Edmund Dantes, is framed and wrongfully imprisoned, escapes, then seeks revenge against those who betrayed him and brought about his imprisonment. He has a patron in prison who educates him and leaves a treasure trove to him, making him wealthy. The Count later executes complicated plans to ruin his enemies and the families of his enemies.
Terry O’Quinn deserves an Emmy nomination for his delivery of the ark speech in the tank. It was subdued and restrained, but so, so powerful and haunting. Without saying a word, Bill Skarsgård matched him in powerful delivery. That feels like one of the key scenes of the season: Lacy’s explanation of why he captured Kid, and why he let Kid go, along with evidence that Kid believed his powers needed to be contained, at least once they were contained.
The two actors and characters show an incredible chemistry and bond for having so little screen time together. I hope that at the end of the season someone makes an edit of their scenes in the tank, in chronological order. Send me the link if you make it or find it! Their relationship is fascinating. It appears to have been the most important relationship of Lacy’s life, to the point where he decided to die when it was over, rather than share Kid with someone else or watch whatever comes next.
What’s with Ruth and the dogs? They are the land sharks of this show. Any episode now, there will be a dognado.
Jackie/Diane is writer, just like her ill-fated uncle. Is she writing this story?
Alan says he wasn’t a good magician because he can’t do distracting patter, but he manages to do his share of misdirecting anyway. The show is also misdirecting us. Misdirection is a favorite tool of horror stories, and the fact that they’re reminding us of it suggests that there’s something important in the background that we’re probably overlooking (besides Ruth jumping).
Oxy= Oxycodone or Oxycontin, a prescription narcotic analgesic (opioid painkiller).
Alan’s plaque shows a dedication date of October 14, 2018. The show takes place just after the completion of season 1’s release.
This week, the audience has Kid’s powers confirmed. He seems drawn to use them, like exercising a stiff muscle, testing its capabilities. We also begin to get a sense of the rules for who’s affected. The more time Kid spends with someone, and the closer he is in physical proximity to them, the greater the influence of his powers. Usually, if he has skin to skin contact, or even stands next to someone, it will be fatal, but some people seem immune, like Henry and possibly Molly and/or Jackie.
When the Kid approached the family having the birthday party, he seemed to need to flex his “evil power muscles” to see how well they worked. He also seemed to feed on their negative energy in some way. By the time he got some or all of his memories back at the end of the episode, Kid was confident in his powers and more confident that he could direct them.
Face, velvet, church, family, red. Kid is given these words, as opposed to Henry’s: Boat, family, church, white, dog. They both have family and church, two cornerstones of community life, and a color, symbolic of mood, temperament, personality. Kid has red for anger/hatred/blood. Henry has white for innocence/surrender/blankness. Velvet is soft, fake, inanimate fur, while dogs are loyal, real fur that can turn dangerous.
This all seems to suggest that Henry is as dangerous as Kid, but he’s submerged his power under the surface. Ruth keeps worrying about aggressive dogs that can’t be trusted. Is Henry the one she’s actually afraid of? Is he the one setting off the dogs? Both Kid and Henry start the episode with amnesia, but Kid quickly overcomes his, presumably because he wants to remember. Why doesn’t Henry want to remember what happened?
Henry was likely in a dissociative fugue state while he was missing, and has had dissociative amnesia since then. The fact that he’s forgotten his entire life prior to the day Pangborn found him suggests that there was some kind of ongoing abuse happening, and it came to a head in the woods. That doesn’t mean Matthew was the abuser. The abuser could have followed them into the woods. But the “Henry did it” note suggests that it was Mathew, and Henry fought back.
The Children of the Corn/evil children references continue with the title. Also brings to mind sayings like reaping what one sows, which meshes with the Count of Monte Cristo reference.
Here’s an out-there thought: Remember the Sex Club? Nan’s Luncheonette, where the prison guards used to drink, housed a notorious sex club for decades that was frequented by everyone who was anyone. Matthew Deaver was a chaplain at the prison. Pangborn refused to answer questions about his relationship with Ruth and whether Matthew knew. Sooo…Were they swingers? An open triad? Was Pangborn sleeping with both Deavers? Chekov’s SexClub has to come up again eventually. Especially with the concept of blackmail already being connected to it. If the pastor was involved with a sex club, that opens up practically an infinite number of other story possibilities.
If Castle Rock had a sex club for decades that went all the way up to the highest authorities in the state, what else was going on? Maybe a torture club? Pedophilia club? There are all kinds of sick things a town like Castle Rock could use an 11 year old boy like Henry for before and/or during his missing days. I hate to have to say this, but the fact that he was a rare black child in a predominantly white area would make him more valuable to disgusting monsters like that.
I don’t actually think they’re going to pull the sex club back into this season’s story, but we’re only halfway through, so you never know. I also believe that Ruthie is the love of Alan’s life, and he wouldn’t sleep around on her. Like the colony of parentless kids on the edge of town, I think the sex club is a set up for a future season of this anthology series, which has been renewed for season 2 (!). The linked Hollywood Reporter article is pretty thorough as far as what’s known about season 2 right now. I’ll post an update when casting news and a season 2 release date becomes available.
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