Hulu’s Castle Rock
Season 1, Episode 8: “Past Perfect”
Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
Written by Mark Lafferty
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Queen” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Henry Deaver” – click here
We see the couple – Gordon (Mark Harelik) and Lilith (Laure Bowles) – who Molly Strand (Melanie Lynskey) showed one of her properties – the Castle Rock B&B – to on their way out to Castle County. They’ve got their own dark troubles even before getting there. Seems the wife’s been having fun on the side, and Gordon attacked the man who slept with her. Despite having tenure, he’s got to leave.
But something else we discover is, Gordon likes “the art” in the house, so he’d like to keep it. Including a bunch of paintings of the kid (Bill Skarsgård). That’s not a great welcome to town, though this couple’s got no idea what they’re in for in their new home.
Gordon and Lilith are running the B&B as a “fully immersive lodging experience of historical integrity for the true crime aficionado.” They’ve even got a couple guests. But Gordon’s a little thrown off when they only want to stay the night and leave early.
That night he has to listen to the guests have sex— he and his own wife aren’t intimate lately, so it’s particularly tough. In the middle of it all, Lilith hears a scream, and not the sexy kind. She goes to check on the guests to find her husband’s murdered them in gruesome, bloody fashion.
“I thought I knew how the world worked— what was real, what was not…”
Molly’s having troubling visions. She’s worried for Henry Deaver (André Holland). Rightfully so, seeing as how he’s stuck in a silent chamber by Odin Branch (Charles Jones) and Willie (Rory Culkin) somewhere out in the woods in that camper. She’s able to track him down using that eerie sixth sense of hers, like a super powered empathy. She whisks him out of there, as we see a dead Odin lying in the bushes with a screwdriver in his eye. After his latest experience Henry begins to see his old friend isn’t as crazy as she once appeared to him.
At home, Henry finds only quiet. He finds Ruth (Sissy Spacek) in bed, but his son Wendell (Chosen Jacobs) is nowhere to be found. In the kitchen is the kid, still lurking. Luckily, Wendell gets back not long after and he’s confused by everything going on. His father wants to deal with the kid, who’s headed down to the guest house to show him Pangborn’s dead body.
He’s told what his mother accidentally did. Worse, he and the kid have become closer. The kid knows he can hear the noise. Now, he wants to go “to the woods” with Henry. A wrench is thrown into things when Wendell calls the police and his father ends up at gunpoint briefly.
Gordon and Lilith are disposing of the guests’ bodies. They’ve got a new “never happened” memory to share. Maybe it’s a tit for tat kind of thing— he forgets the cheating, she forgets the murder. This is right at the moment Jackie Torrance (Jane Levy) turns up trying to do business, shelling out a business card for her taxi service. The couple quickly shoo her away so they can get back to cleaning up the gore. On her way, Jackie finds a bloody piece of jewellery.
Cops are swarming Ruth’s place. When Henry talks to her, his mother still believes her husband’s come back in the form of the kid: “I don‘t know how he came back, but he did.” Sadder still, she doesn’t remember Alan’s dead. Afterwards, Henry talks with state police officer Daria Reese (Jayna Atkinson). She remembers him well, recalling an awful nickname they called him years before— “the Black Death.” She’s suspicious of him being back as soon as all this madness begins. While the madness continues, Henry must send Wendell back to his mother. On the bus ready to go home, the son starts hearing that hideous ringing, just like his father. Oh, shit. He can’t make himself leave yet.
The kid said HE rescued Henry from a basement then “waited for 27 years.” (Also weird that Skarsgård plays Pennywise, whose cycle is 27 years.) This makes Henry wondered about Warden Dale Lacy (Terry O’Quinn), whether there was something hidden in his basement. So, Henry’s going exploring. Is it possible Lacy was the one who took him all those years ago? Did he think Henry was the devil, too? At the warden’s old house – the B&B – Henry breaks inside to have a look. He sees mannequins in the basement. He finds paintings of the kid upstairs, all signed by Lacy. One dates to the year Henry went missing.
Suddenly, Gordon finds Henry. When the latter tries leaving, Lilith stabs him. This starts a nasty knife fight in the upstairs hallway, as all three of them get cut or stabbed. Lilith winds up putting the knife in her own neck during all the terror. Henry makes a run for it while Gordon comes rushing after him. He almost dies, if it weren’t for Jackie keeping an eye on the place. Nice nod to her uncle Jack, putting an axe in Gordon’s head.
In all the fucked up excitement, Henry hears his mother’s out around town, disoriented. He rushes off from the scene before anyone can stop him. At the same time, Molly finds the kid waiting for her, he knows all about her childhood. He knows everything. He goes on to tell her: “Out there, in the woods, that‘s where you died.”
One of the spookier episodes of Castle Rock to date. Really loved the score during the scene with Molly/the kid, with the vocal sounds in there— very creepy addition to the already creepy images.