Hulu’s Castle Rock
Season 2, Episode 7: “The Word”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by R. Christopher Murphy
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Mother” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Dirty” – click here
400 years ago. New Jerusalem, 1619.
Animals were dying and the crops rotted as if the ground itself were sick. Things in the village weren’t well. The people were dying, too. A preacher spoke to his congregation, hoping to instil perseverance and hope in them. A woman called Amity called out the church, led by a man. “This place is cursed,” she said. And before she could say more she fell into a fit, making everyone believe she was possessed.
This got her chained up. Her father believed she was possessed. The preacher only believed she was sick. Turns out he was actually sleeping with Amity, which dad and the others discovered, casting his daughter and the holy man out of New Jerusalem. This left the pair alone in the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
In the woods, the two tried to survive.
One night, Amity heard strange noises in the darkness, like an animal howling. She went out looking for the source of the sound, only to come to the edge of a cliff where a fire was burning. She peered over, down into the water. Then a hooded figure appeared behind her, approaching her. The figure revealed itself, as the sun rose, like a holy revelation. But was it?
A painting of this meeting is on the wall of Marsten House, where Ace— the preacher reincarnated— is overseeing the renovations of the mansion, watching over all the resurrected dead of Castle Rock and Jerusalem’s Lot, working together. The undead preacher is, effectively, building New Jerusalem again for himself, in his own image, where he and Amity can soon be together without anyone to cast them out.
The 400-year celebration is gearing up, too. Should be a festive time.
Father Gore wonders exactly what Ace has up his sleeve.
Annie and Joy are dealing with the aftermath of their latest mad situation. Mom’s trying to take all the blame for what happened. She hasn’t been taken in by the cops, though they’re looking through her place. The deputy sees the stash of pills Annie has, and he wants a thorough explanation, asking about the syringe. Annie’s struggling to keep it together. She pretends not to know Rita, which won’t hold up under much scrutiny.
Things with Pop are sketchy. He’s got his gun out, he’s cradling bullets while thinking long and hard about things. Afterwards, he heads over to Shawshank State Prison to make a visit since the place has been reopened. He’s there to speak with an old pal, John. He mentions only having weeks to live. He starts recounting John’s nasty history of domestic abuse. So, why’s he there? John killed Reg’s sister. Now Pop wants to offer forgiveness. Probably because he wants to find his own. John mentions Chris had been by to see him for the first time, as well. Hmm. Gets the old dying man thinking. He asks one of the guards, who mentions Warden Lacey’s “gimp” down in the basement cell, which is what Ace dropped by to see.
(Remember the Kid from Season 1? Will he be making a return?)
Of course it all leads Pop to the Marsten House. Uh oh.
More flashbacks to 1619. Amity returned to her village in New Jerusalem after supposedly meeting “an angel.” Suddenly the land became fertile again and the crops were growing wildly. Amity’s father believed it was witchcraft, believing she’d sold her soul to the Devil. Others in the village were more inclined to see Amity as a prophet, as the preacher called her. Everybody bowed in her presence.
Then she crucified her detractors upside down and burned them alive. Hallelujah!
Pop sees everything up at the Marsten House and doesn’t like it. He confronts Ace about what’s happening, unsure of what his nephew’s been up to around town. The undead man claims to have turned a page from his former life, and that many others feel the same about themselves. Pop wants to know why Ace was down in the old cell block at Shawshank. Soon he has to leave because the atmosphere gets scary. This sends Pop going straight to Abdi, trying to warn him something’s wrong, but that bridge is burnt.
In 1619, Amity started getting more words from beyond, when the insects began to buzz all around her, flowing out from inside the statue of Jesus. She called her congregation in again to pray. They had to prepare for the next leg of their spiritual journey, which meant digging beneath their place of worship. Each person would swallow an insect, then have their throat cut before their body was placed into one of the coffins awaiting their corpse— waiting for the day of their resurrection in another four centuries.
“The flesh is weak, but the soul springs eternal.”
While the 400-year celebration gets underway with a parade in town, Abdi is sneaking up around Marsten House. He sees a horrific image: three crosses, upside down, burning. It’s creepy because that could be a racist image in another context. But he sees his old buddy, not knowing the man’s been resurrected as a follower of New Jerusalem. Might mean trouble. And at the celebration, the undead priest brings up a statue to unveil, with Ace by his side to speak to the crowd. They unveil the statue of the angel and the whole town is transfixed by its image, unable to look away, though Pop manages to slip away.
Who was the angel? It was the Kid. Amity met him in the woods that day.
Season 1’s eerie events are not lost on Season 2.
Big things are coming in Castle Rock. Prepare yourself. “Dirty” is next.