Hulu’s Castle Rock
Season 2, Episode 2: “New Jerusalem”
Directed by Phil Abraham
Written by K’Naan Warsame
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Let the River Run” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Ties That Bind” – click here
In Jerusalem’s Lot, Annie Wilkes is at the bottom of a large hole in the ground. She’s actually standing among a crypt. There are names, like Daniel Aucoin, engraved on a bunch of monuments to the dead. Everywhere the beetles and other insects chirp, fluttering their wings. Annie attempts to climb her way up. She takes a small fall, realising it might be futile. She decides to follow the water’s stream.
Annie continues on further into a labyrinthine cavern. It goes on for what seems like forever until she comes to a twisting set of stairs headed upwards. She runs up until there’s only crawling space left. She opens a hatch that takes her into a room with brick walls covered in graffiti. There’s even more stairs, so she goes up again. Creepy things like a rocking horse litter her way. She hears someone grunting nearby. She sees some old man fucking a woman from behind. “Christmas!” she screams in fright as she takes off outside. This place is the Marsten House. Spooky dookie.
While Reg Merrill does chemo there’s a short glimpse of his obvious time in the military. Was he in Somalia? Does that have anything to do with why he adopted Abdi and Dr. Nadia Howlwadaag? Could be a man seeking redemption.
Nadia tells her dad what Ace did. It sends him rushing off to find his nephew. None of them are aware what’s happened to Johnny Boy. Even Abdi is preparing the AK-47 he has tucked away to go looking for his adopted cousin.
Annie gets back from taking care of the murder she committed and can’t find her necklace. She has problems at home with Joy, who can’t understand her ramblings about this “filthy world” or anything else. Tough to juggle two lives when you’re a secret killer like mom. She wants to get out of town, after only recently deciding to stay. No help to have the Merrill business boiling over nearby.
Back to 1994, briefly.
A pastor talks of the military going to Somalia. He’s preaching about Pop Merrill seeking to help refugees in their town. This is what’s on Reg’s mind, all the time. Right now, he’s looking in all the places where Ace might turn up. Nobody around the whole of Castle Rock has seen him.
This scene features “America” by K’Naan— who also wrote this episode.
At the hospital, Annie has to let her 16-year-old daughter have privacy when she goes in for stitches. Dr. Nadia looks after Joy. This gives the doc time to figure a few things out about what the home life is like for the girl. Including lies Annie’s told her daughter. The “completely confidential” time they share might prove enlightening for Joy.
We get a small look at Pop when he first began to foster his eventual adopted Somalian children. They started to learn about American culture. Some fast food is, of course, representative of the United States. Meanwhile, Chris and Ace were left out somewhat. Now there’s a weird thing between Chris and Nadia, at least from his side. They’re only adopted-related, no matter how weird that might be if there were anything romantic.
Bad news for Annie potentially.
Her necklace is found on the construction site in Salem’s Lot. Only be a matter of time before the body of Ace is found, right? Surely the people doing construction are going to stumble upon what’s down there. One of Abdi’s guys goes looking for squatters up at the Marsten House, finding a tent, like Annie saw on her way out. Someone’s been cooking food. And doing something with corpses. Poor dude gets killed for being in the wrong place, wrong time.
Who’s hiding out there?
In the hospital, Joy is beginning to try searching her mom online. Annie’s busy dealing with Pop, who has questions about when she saw Ace last night. She breaks down. She tells him “he had done something” and threatened to kill them. She witnessed the fire, so she knows for sure what occurred. Annie doesn’t admit to the murder, claiming that Ace ran into the woods and someone came in a car, following him.
She puts the frame on Abdi. Goddamn.
And simultaneously, Abdi’s abducted.
Skip back to 2014. Pop was telling Abdi he’d be getting the mall. He wanted to adopt them officially, making it particularly easy for the transition in the business. This obviously soured John towards his adopted cousin/stepbrother, or whatever they call themselves. In current day, Pop’s got Abdi tied to a chair, interrogating him. The adopted son doesn’t think Reg will do anything to him. Maybe he’s wrong. Pop brings in a dog, and he goes into a PTSD-like shock, falling over. He’s remembering time in the army. This leaves the dog on a shorter and shorter leash, all but in Abdi’s face.
Back home, Annie’s seeing things. She’s sure Ace is standing behind her vehicle.
Bugs are flying everywhere around her.
What’s reaching out of the ground in Jerusalem’s Lot?
Another wonderful episode for Season 2. Caplan is excellent, and Robbins gets to shine once more in a Stephen King universe of characters. So there’s much to enjoy. The creep factor is dialled up to 11 already.
“Ties That Bind” is next.