Hulu’s Castle Rock
Season 2, Episode 8: “Dirty”
Directed by Craig William Macneill
Written by Michael Olsen & K. Corrine Van Vliet
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Word” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Caveat Emptor” – click here
Up at Marsten House, Ace and the others are waiting for the arrival of their vessel for Amity— Annie Wilkes. Of course Annie has no clue what’s really happening, and Joy certainly doesn’t, either. Now they’re in the grips of this resurrected cult. In the streets, the statue of the shrouded Kid is being carried by many followers. And more continue to come under its spell, until it feels like nearly the entire town of Castle Rock is out there marching together.
Soundtrack: Leonard Cohen’s “Avalanche” is featured in the opening montage.
Annie faces an uncertain future, more than ever before. She’s essentially trapped with Ace, who’s playing up the fact that “everyone needs help sometimes.” He offers her to stay the night until it’s safer for her and Joy to leave. This doesn’t help the fact that there’s a wide divide between Annie and the girl she stole all those years ago. Annie’s determined to keep Joy safe, no matter what. Worse is the fact Annie’s hearing voices. Is it her mental illness? Or is it the supernatural presence in that place?
Next on the cult’s list is Nadia. This is Chris’s responsibility. He goes to the doctor’s place and uses their relationship to get an advantage, choking her. He didn’t think about the fact she is a survivor, and one hell of an ass kicker. She survives, choking him out with her stethoscope. She gets out of there and rushes to the hospital, but nobody seems to be there at all. She tries calling Abdi, getting no answer.
Not a soul to be found anywhere. One old patient remains, telling the doc everybody left after they claimed to have heard “a noise.” Chris starts having a crazy reaction, like somebody is inside him. He warns Nadia: “They‘re coming for everyone.” And it’s not much longer until armed men do come, forcing the doc to try hiding with Chris, who’s lapsed back into his resurrected identity. She barely makes it into the drug dispensary, locking them inside. Yet in there, she’s trapped.
Troubling things arise at Marsten House. Looks like Joy may be the “clean vessel” for Amity, not Annie after all. They’ve found drawings belonging to Joy, just like the ones that Amity used to do with charcoal centuries ago. Does this mean Annie’s now disposable? Ace asks her about Joy’s art and whether she’s always been artistic. Later, she’s having a near psychotic break. She’s hearing her dead mother, remembering all those horrible memories from her dark, troubled past. The supernatural forces inside Marsten House seem to be joining with her damaged psyche, making things hellish. Annie winds up stumbling onto the corpses there, right as Joy’s stumbling into Ace’s grasp.
The place is locked down now. Annie continues seeing her mother’s corpse, telling her to get Joy out of “this dirty world.” So she grabs a knife. She uses it to find out where Joy is, then slash a woman’s throat. She kills another cult member with a sledgehammer, grabbing some keys to free her daughter/stepsister. Annie has to resist the orders of her mother, to kill Joy and “make her clean.” The mother-daughter pair try to sneak out.
Then they see the entire town is in the backyard. Oh. My. God.
Enough of Chris is still present and he helps Nadia with the men. Unfortunately he winds up with a bullet in the gut for his troubles. Nadia wants to save him, but he reminds her: “I‘m already gone.” He’s been killed once already. He urges her to stop the cult, and he tries to confess his love to her but dies before it gets out of his mouth. Regardless of everything, it’s a tragic moment for Nadia.
The crowd outside Marsten House gasps at something, moving closer. Annie and Joy try to escape, but the girl gets caught up in the momentum of the crowd, lured on by the statue while her mother is captured by other cult members.
A suspenseful ending. What’ll happen in “Caveat Emptor” next?