Spoiler alert for Wednesday’s episode of Castle Rock
Castle Rock was pitched to the Hulu audience as an anthology series where every season would feature a new cast in an unrelated story. The first season dealt with the discovery of a mysterious stranger locked away in the bowels of Shawshank prison and the second focused on the early life of Misery‘s Annie Wilkes. Two seasons, two stories. That’s the show.
Rather, that would be the show if any of that were true. After the seventh episode of its second season, which aired Wednesday, it appears that Castle’s Rock‘s oft-promoted anthology format was the best sort of bullshit — the kind that leads up to a truly spectacular twist.
Season 2 Episode 7, “The Word,” deals out a series of incredible revelations, all of which pertain directly to the sinister machinations of the body-snatchers that have plagued the town of Jerusalem’s Lot since the early episodes of this season. First reveal: the body-snatchers are the immortal souls of the town’s founding members, who fled their pilgrim church in the early 1600s to follow prophetess Amity Lambert and have now awakened to be reborn in the 21st century bodies they’ve been stealing all season.
Second reveal: the soul living inside Ace Merrill was Amity Lambert’s lover, and he’s planning on using Annie Wilkes’ body as a host for the prophetess’ reborn spirit.
Third reveal, and the heart of the lie that breaks Castle Rock‘s anthology farce: the “angel” Amity Lambert convinced her flock of parishioners to worship in exchange for prosperity and eternal life is…The Kid from Castle Rock Season 1. He’s also definitely, like 100% for sure this time, the devil.
Just like that, Castle Rock answers the biggest question of its first season — the identity and intentions of The Kid — seven episodes into what was supposed to be an entirely unrelated story. Season 1 ended on an intentionally ambiguous note, with no one really knowing whether The Kid was really Henry Deaver from an alternate timeline or an actual aspect of Satan, and leaving that question open made for a spooky and satisfying finale.
To finally deliver a far more terrifying answer with The Kid’s appearance in Maine as far back as the seventeenth century and semi-reappearance in statue form at Jerusalem’s Lot’s 400th anniversary parade is a massive shock to anyone who thought they knew what was going on in Season 1 or Season 2, and certainly spells bad luck for Annie Wilkes, Pop Merrill, and everyone else still in a town apparently run by an immortal satanic overlord.
It also raises questions about what exactly has gone on in Castle Rock and Jerusalem’s Lot since the end of Castle Rock Season 1. “The Word” also shows Ace Merrill visiting Shawshank and seeing that The Kid is no longer in the cage Henry Deaver trapped him in in the first season’s finale, so the question of how that happened is particularly prescient.
The Kid being free to roam also might explain some of the dark events that have happened in Season 2 so far. As seen in Season 1, The Kid has the power to generate violence wherever he walks, so it’s possible that some of this season’s more wild moments like Ace Merrill firebombing his cousin’s house or Annie’s whole ice-cream-scoop-in-the-throat thing actually happened under his influence.
Putting The Kid back into play could completely change the way events in Season 2 are interpreted by the time the finale comes around, just as his sudden reappearance as Amity Lambert’s guardian devil clears up the central confusion of Season 1. Wherever it’s going with its new serialized existence, hats off to Castle Rock for making a complete reversal of its status quo (and one balls-out lie) work as one of 2019’s biggest television twists. Welcome back, Hot Satan. We didn’t expect you, but we missed you all the more.