Hulu’s Castle Rock
Season 2, Episode 3: “Ties That Bind”
Directed by Anne Sewitsky
Written by Scott Brown & Obehi Janice
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “New Jerusalem” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Restore Hope” – click here
Annie sees Ace standing behind her vehicle. But he’s dead! Well, we all know that things around Castle Rock and Jerusalem’s Lot aren’t normal. This doesn’t do anything to help Annie’s nerves. She rushes inside, terrified. She feels she’s going crazy, though she has no idea the forces at play in that place.
Abdi is left tied to that chair with the dog barking, barely held by an unconscious Reg. He gets out and gets Reg into the back of the truck, driving the old guy over to the hospital. When Reg wakes up he’s mumbling about whether he “hurt him,” and Nadia’s angry to think it’s possible her dad could’ve hurt her brother.
Paranoid Annie drives out to the construction site. She can’t help but be drawn back to the Marsten House, either. She drives up and takes a look around. Inside, there’s a bunch of plastic laid out like someone’s working, and behind Annie somebody is most definitely lurking. She sees a man covered in something nasty— the same guy who recently went in there and got killed.
Chance comes over to tell Joy they’re going to search for dead Ace’s corpse, potentially dumped in the lake. Because that’s where the bodies are usually dumped. Funny, because Ace appears in The Body, which is all about a search for a dead body. Joy decides that, as macabre as it is, she’ll join Chance and her friends on the adventure. Gotta fit in somehow. When they’re out in the boat, Joy notices a strange sound in the water after jumping in to retrieve an oar.
What’s down there?
Dr. Nadia gets a call from Annie who says she’s having “visual hallucinations.” The doc doesn’t have time to deal with it because she has her own family things to sort out. In the meantime, Annie is going off the deep end at home. She’s in the throes of a dark depression when her daughter arrives. Mom is convinced Nadia poisoned her somehow. She feels worse than ever. And she comes clean to Joy about killing the “dirty bird,” Ace Merrill. “I ended him,” she says. She rambles about Ace coming back, so it all sounds insane to the girl. The tragic part is the supernatural is at work in that town, making Annie look worse. Joy takes it upon herself to use a syringe they keep for emergencies to calm her mother down.
Pop gets a visit from dead Ace, who claims he was in Derry. The old man’s angry with him. Is the dead man really there, though? He is, but he’s not himself, like a walking sack of skin being floated around by those bugs. Ace goes drinking and driving in his truck along a road where he purposely speeds, taunting a cop who chases him down.
An interesting subversion of what we see in the film Misery, when Annie wakes up to see her daughter’s strapped her down to bed. Father Gore loves the way Castle Rock uses things and changes them and turns things into new views on characters we know already from the King universe.
Joy finds out Ace is ‘alive’ and so this has her fearing the worst about her mother. She’s sure Annie is out of her mind. Mom begs to be untied. The daughter refuses to let her go until she’ll take the medication. Mother gives in eventually, taking the pills.
Will she pull a Paul Sheldon? She’s certainly not swallowing the drugs.
Ace is up looking at Marsten House with the realtor. He hears about the history and the man who built the place, Hubie Marsten. He curiously asks the realtor if she can still “have children.” Yikes! Once inside, the realtor hears something. She discovers the cop who stopped Ace earlier, covered in slimy stuff, and maybe maggots.
Bad news for Ms. Realtor.
Annie’s having terrible dreams about Ace coming to kill her and her daughter. Joy tries reading books to her mother, keeping her company. She asks about the lock box in there, and mom sly dances around trying to tell her what’s inside. The girl is so much more keen than Annie gives her credit for, she knows when her mom’s lying. And whenever Joy has her back turned Annie is trying to get out of that bed. In between that, they confront harsh family realities. Now Joy feels betrayed by the one person she believed she could trust. She soon sees mom isn’t taking the pills, too.
A knock at the door. Joy goes to see who it is, as Annie frantically tries getting out. She smashes up glasses and bloodies herself attempting her escape, dislocating a shoulder pulling on the ropes. At the door is Dr. Nadia checking in on Annie. Joy’s nervous, not wanting the doc to come inside. She mentions her mom needs a “head doctor.”
And in the bedroom, Annie nearly frees herself when Joy gets back, accidentally slicing her daughter’s arm by lashing out. This sends the girl running out. Annie frees her wrists, but her daughter’s nowhere to be found, and there’s somebody else out there waiting in the rain. It’s that tall man from her vision.
“You‘re going to kill her,” he says. Does he mean Joy? Or Nadia? Uh oh.
A terrifying episode.
Great use of the Misery scenario, flipped on its head to have Nurse Annie in the position of Sheldon / her daughter Joy calling the shots. Really love where this season is headed.