“It wasn’t me. It was this place. That’s what we say. But that’s a story, too. It doesn’t change a thing…”
“Maybe something turned you into a monster. Or maybe you were one all along.”
So ends the first season of Castle Rock, which leaves us with more questions than resolutions as we see the hero of the story, André Holland’s Henry Deaver, becoming the thing we’ve come to fear from this story — the misguided captor.
Bill Skarsgård’s alternate-universe Henry Deaver, previously known only as the prisoner with no name, is back in his cage beneath the now abandoned Shawshank Prison, and all seems to be right with the world, which is an abrupt shift from a climax soaked in bloodshed.
Creators Sam Shaw and Dusty Thomason are clearly setting us up for season 2 of the Hulu series with a leap forward that is meant to elicit curiosity, even if it leaves the Constant Watcher with unresolved questions.
It starts with Warden Lacy considering an execution of the mystery man, but he can’t bring himself to pull the trigger. Later, Holland’s Deaver will find himself in the same position, which leads him to return the mystery man to his prison rather than risk him spreading the malevolent power he can harness any further than he already has.
All the mystery man Deaver wants is to go back to his own dimension, his own timeline, and his own life.
“To you, we’re strangers,” he tells Molly. “But I’ve known you all my life. I need your help to convince Henry to go out there with me. He hears the sound. I think it’s some kind of door from one world to the other.”
She agrees to talk to Holland’s Henry, and Skarsgård’s Henry says he’ll be waiting at the Harmony Hill Cemetery, visiting his own grave — the marker that reads on “Deaver Boy,” died before he could even be named.
Holland’s Henry is driving back from the slaughter at the bed & breakfast when his windshield is dive-bombed by kamikaze crows. That leads him to crash his car and pass out for a while.
Molly finds Ruth on the bridge, again poised to jump. She tries to talk the older woman down, but Ruth just wants to go.
“Alan’s dead, Alan’s alive. I’ve been here before. I’ll be here again. You and me on the bridge,” Ruth says.
“Let’s go home,” Molly tells her.
“You always say that. Every time.”
Molly decides to tell her what she’s learned, about the other Henry, and the other timeline. The happier one. “You left Matthew, and you went away with Alan. You already had a bag packed.”
This gets Ruth’s attention. “First time you’ve said that,” she tells Molly.
Warden Porter goes home that night and finds some soap flecks in her house. The mystery man has paid her a visit and left behind a tiny sculpture of her.
The warden goes to Molly’s office the next day, demanding to know where she can find the mystery man.
“Warden Lacy was right. He’s the devil,” she says, and something in her tone alarms Molly.
“Are you all right. Do you need to come in and sit down?” Molly asks, but the warden walks away.
And she is promptly crushed by a bus, which is transporting prisoners from Shawshank now that the penitentiary has been shuttered due to the corruption and violence that has taken place there.
Holland’s Deaver has a flashback of his father in the woods. “I know you don’t hear it. I know why you don’t. I figured out the problem. She’s the problem, she’s forced you to deceive me, the way she has deceived me for the past year with the sheriff.”
Henry’s father tells the boy, “When she’s gone we will live pure in the cathedral of his voice.”
The minister quotes Romans 6:23, which also gives this finale episode its name: “For the wages of sin is death.” He’s going to murder Ruth.
That’s why, later, we see the reverend looking for his son, standing at the edge of Castle Lake (the same spot where Warden Lacy killed himself) and Henry emerges from the woods to push his father to the bottom. It wasn’t self-defense exactly, but now we know he was protecting his mother the only way he knew how.
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