Hulu’s Castle Rock
Season 1, Episode 9: “Henry Deaver”
Directed by Julie Anne Robinson
Written by Vinnie Wilhelm & Scott Brown
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Past Perfect” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Romans” – click here
Some compare Castle Rock to “Sodom and Gomorrah,” as its long history of despair seems to parallel the tale of those biblical cities being judged by God. Reverend Matthew Deaver (Adam Rothenberg) recounts the tale of his life, particularly concerning his mother who thought “the devil” had her child in his grips. She tried to kill her own son. Except there was “resurrection.” This is why Rev. Deaver spent the rest of his life devoted to God. He prayed to the Lord, waiting for instructions. He waited until “one terrible day” when God answered him.
The kid (Bill Skarsgård) is out jogging in the city. We see him in a normal house, living a normal life. He’s actually involved in the search for a cure to Alzheimer’s. He tells a boardroom of people about his company’s “hippocampal implant.” It goes in the brain. They’ve tried it on a cat named Puck – sound familiar? – and their implant’s working so far. Next step, human trials?
Well, the kid gets a call from Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn). He asks if it’s “about mom,” but Alan says Ruth (Sissy Spacek) is fine. Apparently it’s about his father. Something strange is happening. The kid returns to Castle Rock. Is he somehow Henry Deaver (André Holland)? Remember, he once mentioned to Henry he found him in a basement then waited 27 years! Is there an alternate timeline?
He returns to the Deaver home. He heads down towards Molly Strand’s (Melanie Lynskey) place, where she and her sister (Allison Tolman) are unpacking the car. This is the first time Molly’s seen Henry Deaver in ages.
What a weird chapter of Castle Rock. Dig it!
Henry and Molly go for a beer. They reminisce. He tells her about his mother being with Alan, as well as having Alzheimer’s, which is why he does what he does today. We figure out the details of how Rev. Deaver recently shot himself in the head after leaving the church. Back at the house, Henry looks around the place. He’s going for the basement.
Do you see where this is headed?
He finds the electrical panel and gets the place lit up again when he discovers a cage. Inside, as expected, is a young black boy. Soon, police are swarming. A cop, Dennis Zalewski (Noel Fisher), comes to interview Henry. And just like the other story, the only thing this caged boy’s saying is Mr. Deaver’s name. Out of nowhere, the boy runs for the woods, though he’s stopped by the police. Was he hearing the noise?
At home, Henry listens to the tapes his father left behind, meticulously labelled by number of weeks. He finds a massive box of them, each rambling about Castle Rock’s horrors and biblical tales and other madness. He takes the recorder with him into the woods where he finds the remnants of a soundproof booth, not unlike the one we saw the real Henry trapped inside.
Rev. Deaver talks about the young black boy showing up claiming to be his adopted son and saying he heard the sound. The boy said he woke up and walked into Castle Rock, but nobody knew him. He said they “went to pray in Castle Woods” to hear the sound before everything happened. The reverend believed it to be “the deceiver,” the devil preying on his weakness. Holy shit.
All this freaks Henry out, particularly the fact young adopted Henry knew many things about him and his father. He talks to Molly and they start seeing the timeline doesn’t quite add up. Events talked about from Castle Rock happened decades ago. Henry and Molly later see a big fire at Juniper Hills, and the kid – adopted Henry – is under suspicion. At the police department, the two get in to speak with the kid. Adopted Henry says another kid was “too close,” pointing to his chest. Then he hears the noise and urges them to go to the woods. When he touches Molly by the hand she sees all their memories, the one where she unhooked the reverend from life supported, memories with adopted Henry in them. Timelines continue merging.
Molly and Henry take the kid home for the night. She believes they need to take adopted Henry “towards the sound.” She doesn’t understand why, she only knows the feeling. So, she takes off leaving the police escort behind. At the roadside, adopted Henry rushes off, and the other two follow not far behind. He stops at a clearing where he sees a woman dressed in old clothing holding a big, bloody knife. Molly touches his shoulder and sees the same vision. They run off just as Dennis arrives ordering everyone to stand down.
Further on, adopted Henry and Molly chase the ghostly woman. Then Molly takes a bullet after Dennis fires in the dark. She drops to the ground while Henry catches up, cradling her in his arms. She urges Henry: “Help him.” Suddenly, Henry and adopted Henry are each in a shared vision. They see all the ghosts of Castle Rock, from all eras colliding. Overhead birds fly by the thousands and the sky’s a fireball.
After a moment, it’s gone. Henry’s back alone in the woods. He rushes to a cliff’s edge where he sees Sheriff Pangborn rushing towards adopted Henry on the ice. Cut to the present, where the kid tells Molly how after that he wandered for days until the warden found him and locked him up in that cell beneath Shawshank calling him the devil.
Lord, this is insane.
“You believe me, don’t you?”
What a wild episode! One of the best, as it brings into question all we know, in that there could be alternate timelines going on in Castle Rock. That sound, the colliding ghosts in the forest— all of it has become a mix of sci-fi and horror, perfect for the realm of Stephen King.
“Romans” is the final episode, next time.