With episode six of Castle Rock we get the sound. Next comes the fury.
The show took a detour down a rare science-fiction-y lane, as two mystery figures stepped forward to deliver an explanation of the weirdness in Stephen King’s fictional ‘burg that seems academic and realistic … until we discover they’re crazier than the loons down south near Prospect.
Meet Odin Branch (C.J. Jones) and Willie (Rory Culkin) — Willie does all the talking, but Odin does all the thinking. Odin is the older, more wizened member of the duo. He’s also deaf, and Willie is his fast-talking translator.
Henry Deaver discovers them while traversing the woods where his father used to trail him with a video camera, asking the boy: “Do you hear it, son?”
They offer an explanation of what “it” actually is — a discordance in the time-space continuum, of sorts. A clash between alternate universes that leaves an audible trace as the universe reckons with the collision.
Henry’s father, the good reverend, believed this sound was the voice of God Almighty, and he was even able to discern specific instructions from it. (More on that later.) It’s also probably the voice Warden Lacy heard that led him to capture and imprison the mystery man played by Bill Skarsgård.
But to Odin, this phenomenon — he calls it “the schisma” — is not supernatural. It’s science.
“I have advanced degrees in bio- and psycho-acoustics,” Odin, by way of Willie, tells Henry as they stand by the firelight in the deep woods. “Best I can tell, schisma is actually nanoscale turbulences caused by quantum totalities upbraiding in parallel. Other years, other nows. All possible pasts, all possible presents. Schisma is the sound of the universe trying to reconcile that.”
Henry gives him the same look you have right now. (Shout-out to writers Vinnie Wilhelm and Marc Bernardin for delivering this cascade of exposition in a way that’s both intriguing and utterly believable.)
“To some listeners, schisma sounds like ringing in the ears. You ever have that, Henry?” Odin asks.
Of course, we know he does. And now we know what it is. Sort of. And this may explain why Castle Rock is the source of so much malevolence and chaos. It exists on the shore of this raging sea of cosmic disturbance.
“Your father called it The Voice of God,” Odin tells Henry. “Most people can’t hear it at all. Some hear it once and never again. A lucky few hear it constantly, are practically deafened by it. There are variations, naturally. It’s quiet in some places. Much louder in others.”
To steal a line from Hamilton: Who the eff is this? Odin admits right away that he was an associate of Henry’s father from back in the day. They were apparently hunting this sound together, and Odin and Willie have been lingering this whole time in the background of Castle Rock.
Like the schisma, they were there only for those who were looking. And they’ve built something, based on the guidance Henry’s dead father got from this “voice of God.”
But this is how the episode concludes. It begins not with an uncovering, but with a burial. The body of Henry’s father is returned to a cemetery in Castle Rock. No one is there to say goodbye except the dead man’s son.
Henry’s own son, Wendell (played by Chosen Jacobs, who was Mike Hanlon in the recent remake of It) is also on the scene now, visiting his estranged father and mentally decaying grandmother, Ruth.
“Behold I tell you a mystery,” says the new reverend, echoing a line that Molly heard the masked vision of Henry’s father say a few episodes back. “We will not all sleep. But we will all be changed.” Later, Molly sees the same vision of him outside her office window, watching her.
As Henry is busy trying to reconnect with his son, the mystery man is in their guest house exploring old tapes of searching through the woods that were made by Henry’s father. He has a mission for Alan Pangborn: Recover the car that Warden Lacy used to commit suicide.
But the vehicle has been sold to a junkyard in Syracuse. “Then you go to Syracuse,” the man tells him.
Why? “I can’t explain in words you’d understand.”
“Try me,” Pangborn says.
“Time is her enemy, sheriff,” the man says. He was right. Pangborn doesn’t understand. But he goes anyway.
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