Hulu’s Castle Rock
Season 2, Episode 9: “Caveat Emptor”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Scott Brown
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Dirty” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Clean” – click here
After the crowd gathered around the statue, Pop made a run for it back to Emporium Galorium. He searched for letters sent to Alan Pangborn, finding a drawing in one of them that looks curiously like part of the Kid’s face. Elsewhere, we see a familiar face: Martha Lacy, whose husband was the warden of Shawshank State Prison. She finds there’s someone waiting for her in her room, one of the Marstenites. Then she’s murdered. Because she’ll be another of the Marsten House dead, too. Ace wants to make use of what she knows about “an angel” from the cage in the basement of the prison her husband kept. She suggests the letters her husband sent to Pangborn might be of use, and that Pop has them.
At the hospital, Pop finds Nadia weeping over Chris’s corpse. They head outside to leave, where Chance happens to turn up. They all take off together with a vehicle in hot pursuit. They get away briefly, only to find themselves cut off from up ahead. A gunfight ensues, putting Nadia and her adopted father against their attackers until Abdi, following his family, rams the men with a dump truck.
In other words, shit’s getting real.
Soundtrack: Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Danny Boy” plays here
Back at Emporium Galorium, Pop tells Abdi, Nadia, and Chance about the letters to Pangborn and all the secrets inside. He put things together, from Marsten House, to the statue in town and everybody following it like zombies. He’s figured most of it out, other than why not everybody was affected by “the sound” all the others apparently heard. Right now, the group try to arm the place with booby traps to keep themselves safe. Pop has lots of violent stuff on-hand, figuring someday his shadiness would catch up to him eventually. Before the basement’s armed appropriately, somebody breaks in. An alarm sends the whole crew down there to check it out. Pop sees somebody sneaking around and then they discover Annie, and others, hiding away.
Problem is, Pop and the others don’t trust anybody from outside right now. Annie’s insane, but she isn’t one of the Marstenites. She had to kill people to get there and she just wants to find Joy, to protect her daughter, who “fell in line” with all the others that heard the noise. Pop figures the best thing is an impromptu interrogation, each of them questioning these outsiders. Eventually Annie explains to him about his nephew, how she killed Ace and dumped him in Salem’s Lot, finding the tunnels below. Slowly, they’re getting towards the truth of what’s going on in Castle Rock. Also, turns out Jamal IS one of the Marstenites. He nearly kills Pop before Nadia incapacitates him with a bullet. The doc’s going to use Haldol on Jamal, like Chris, to try getting info. He tells them a bit about Amity’s planned return.
Perfect time for insects to buzz through the vents.
“All these insignificant little trades
adding up to a tomb of trash”
Ace has arrived, calling for Pop on the radio in hopes they’ll “make a deal.” Of course the rest of the Marsten House ghouls have come along, too. They’re like an army on the doorstep of Emporium Galorium. Pop knows they’ve come because of what Lacy knew, what’s in the letters. Ace— a.k.a Augustine— says things will go bad if he doesn’t get those letters, and Pop isn’t tripping over himself to hand them over. At the same time, Nadia and Abdi are concocting a plan involving the train tracks to get them away from the Marstenites.
And while nobody’s watching, Annie questions Jamal about where they’ve got her daughter. Funny to see her in a situation where a man’s strapped to a bed, in light of Misery. Well, more like terrifying when she stabs him in the eyes with a couple syringes. Doesn’t sit well with the others when they come in to find Jamal dead.
(For those wondering, here’s more on the Latin phrase Caveat emptor.
Perfect in a place like Galorium Emporium.)
Some hard words are exchanged between Augustine and Pop, as the undead priest uses what he’s absorbed about Ace’s life against the “walking corpse” that is the old, dying man. Pop claims he’s burned the letters. Even if that were the case he can be made into a Marstenite, and then they’ll have all that information anyway.
Pop uses what time he has left to talk frankly to both Abdi and Nadia. He tries to get out the words, but neither of them especially want to hear it. Nadia’s ready to turn her back on Pop and Castle Rock if they make it out alive. She won’t allow the old guy to make peace for his own sake. Not everybody gets the happy ending they want. Pop does go up and burn the letters from Lacy this time, after reading them all. After that he makes himself a suicide vest full of C-4.
The Marstenites start their assault on the Emporium, so the crew inside hide. Pop and Abdi kill a couple men, as Annie saves Chance from being murdered. They all regroup downstairs with the resurrected cultists hot on their trail. Pop locks a door between himself and the others, giving the a chance to get away while he holds more of the attackers off. He’s ready for a brutal fight, taking down one Marstenite after another. Nadia fights to get herself and the rest of them out, though Evelyn gets gunned down. They soon make it outside and across the train tracks in time for the train to pass.
Pop steps out to confront Ace upstairs, ready to bow himself apart. He’s now offered “a trade” for immortality, like Augustine has for himself. He won’t take it, choosing to blow himself. Sadly, for him, the detonator won’t work. All Pop can do is laugh and sit down for one last smoke of his bowl. Once he’s done he takes a bullet in the head.
Soundtrack: “What He Wrote” by Laura Marling plays here
What a wild and tragic episode. Castle Rock’s been digging in its claws again this year. Only thing left now is the finale. It’s going to be an intense one, no doubt. We’ll definitely see some of the Season 1 connections fully in play, too. What role does the Kid play now?