Castle Rock resident Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek) gets confused sometimes about what year it is, what day it is, and who’s she’s talking to. She says it’s like being on moving walkway at the airport and stepping off, but being unsure of ‘when’ you will end up. Her perspective of how things are happening can be confusing. Step into the mind of “The Queen” as she tries to sort out what real and what’s memory. A lot happened in this episode.
Puck was Henry’s childhood pet. She used to leave dead squirrels on Ruth’s pillow. The dog disappeared one day. Ruth found a box of rat poison in the trash and believes that Matthew (Adam Rothenberg) killed Puck. She says she used to see the birds circling something in the woods, but she was too scared to go look. Ruth admits to Alan (Scott Glenn) that she was afraid of Matthew was capable of.
The day that Alan gave her the Norwegian chess set, Ruth let the dog out of the house and it was hit by a car. Ruth gave Alan a suitcase to bury the dog in. Ruth was asleep when he buried the dog. She woke up to a squirrel on her pillow and blood on her hand. Ruth gets out of bed and the dog is there to greet her. She leaves her room and goes downstairs.
It’s the day that Henry (André Holland) arrived from Texas. Ruth was supposed to be getting linens for Henry’s room and got distracted. She hears Henry talking Alan in the living room. When Ruth walks in, she looks confused. Then remembers to get the sheets for Henry, where she finds a gun linen closet.
After Ruth jumped off the bridge, she spent a couple of days in the hospital. Dr. Vargas asks her to repeat some words back to her to check her condition. Ruth is distracted by the flowers on the doctor’s desk. Alan tries to help her and Dr. Vargas asks him to leave the room. Ruth can hear his thoughts. He verbally expresses his anger to Dr. Vargas, but is thinking that the doctor is an idiot.
Ruth asks the doctor if she has Alzheimer’s. Dr. Vargas says that’s something they can only diagnose post mortem. As the doctor explains what symptoms to look for, Ruth can hear her thoughts as well. The doctor is thinking about what to say next to Ruth so she will understand what is happening. Dr. Vargas say they can treat Ruth with medication and systems of coping mechanisms, but ultimately the need to think about changing Ruth’s living arrangements.
When Alan and Ruth return home, he promises Ruth that they aren’t going anywhere. He asks her what she said to him when he returned to Castle Rock. She told him, “don’t leave.” Everything is still there. Alan says he has to leave for a little bit, but he will return and they will set her up.
Ruth places the chess pieces around the house. She remembers special moments about each room. In the living room, she sees herself reading to Henry (Caleel Harris) when he was a child. In the dining room, she is talking to adult Henry on his birthday. When she gets to her bedroom, she remembers when Alan taught her how to magically make things disappear.
Henry brings Wendell (Chosen Jacobs) to the house and they go to the kitchen to get lunch. But Ruth goes to church with young Henry. Matthew is preaching, but Ruth isn’t paying attention. She’s looking at the younger Alan (Jeffrey Pierce). And he’s looking back at her. She smiles and then looks back at Matthew. Henry breaks up her daze, telling her to relax while he makes lunch. She goes to get a cup out of the cupboard, looks out the window and sees the Kid (Bill Skarsgård), dressed in Matthew’s suit, staring back at her.
Voice of God
Ruth is putting a chess piece in Henry’s room when she sees Henry and the Kid leaving. Ruth turns around and sees leaves on the floor. She remembers walking in the woods with Matthew and Henry. They are going on a picnic. After they sit down, Matthew takes a gun out of the picnic basket, scaring Ruth. He tells them that he had a beautiful experience that he wants to share with them.
Matthew says he sees the suffering in Castle Rock and wonders, where is God? So he bought a gun. He went into the woods, put the gun to his ear, and asked God for proof that he was listening. He started to pull the trigger and that’s when he heard a ringing in his ears…it was the voice of God.
Ruth thinks he’s sick and wants him to see the doctor, but Matthew says they scraped all of ‘that’ out of his head. She reminds him that God helps those who help themselves. She says the ringing in his ears is a symptom, but he insists it’s God talking to him. Ruth sees a chess piece on the ground. Matthew asks Henry if he can hear it. Henry says no, so Matthew tells them to be silent and listen. Ruth picks up the chess piece and goes back to the present.
Ruth returns to the dining room. She tells Wendell about the chess pieces being her coping mechanism, bringing her back to now. Wendell calls her a time walker, like in his AR game. Time walkers are the most powerful, because they are the only avatars that can kill the dead. The dead can change their skin and appear as your allies. And if you’re not careful, you could end up killing your nemesis and nixing the whole timeline. So you have to be sharp.
Ruth decides to pour all of her medications in the garbage. She has trouble opening the last bottle and spills it out on the floor. She bends over to pick up the pills and Matthew walks in the back door. But it’s not Matthew, it’s the Kid. She stands up to talk to him and he tells her to go to bed. She looks again and sees the Kid standing in front of her. In her head, she hears Matthew citing Bible scripture.
Ruth sees a new report about a fire at Juniper Hill Psychiatric Hospital that killed fourteen people. The newscast puts a picture of the Kid on the screen, saying he’s the primary suspect for the fire. Ruth says Matthew’s name, runs to the linen closet and grabs her gun.
Smaller Than A Tea Cup
She remembers talking to Henry while she took a bath. They played a guessing game. It’s Henry’s turn and his clue is, he’s smaller than a tea cup. Matthew interrupts them and tells Henry to go say his prayers. After he leaves, Matthew says Henry too old to watch her take a bath. Ruth thinks it’s okay because he’s her son, but Matthew says they are not blood related so it’s different.
Ruth changes the subject, asking what he did with the gun. Matthew answers that God helps those who help themselves. He says he put it in the top drawer of his dresser, but he locked up the bullets where no one will find them. Ruth sees a chess piece in the medicine cabinet and returns to the present.
Ruth sits in the bathroom, gun in her hands, watching the Kid on a baby monitor. In her head, she hears Wendell say she could kill her nemesis and nix her timeline. She runs to the attic and finds Matthew’s safe, but doesn’t know the combination. She finds some tools and tries to pry the safe open. Ruth looks out the window and sees the Kid walking to the shed.
Molly (Melanie Lynskey) stops by, looking for Henry. Ruth is confused and asks when it is. Molly tells her that something bad is about to happen. Ruth says it’s already happening. She admits to seeing Molly in her house as a little girl. She knows that Molly killed Matthew. Molly starts to apologize, but Ruth says she did right, but it didn’t take. He’s back and she’s going to fix it.
Ruth returns to the dining room, startled by an old photo of her family. The glass is shattered over Henry’s face. The Kid put it there. Ruth hears Blue Moon by Roy Orbison. He asks if she remembers and she says she doesn’t. Matthew played it at their wedding. The Kid steps to a terrified Ruth and starts dancing with her. She calms down enough to ask the Kid about the combination to the safe. The combination is her birthday. She stops dancing, saying she feels lightheaded. Ruth asks the Kid to make her something to eat.
Wendell watches them from the hall. He asks Ruth if she’s okay. Ruth gives him some money and tells him to go spend it at the mall. Wendell is hesitant to leave, but Ruth insists that she doesn’t need a babysitter. So Wendell leaves. The Kid hears the door open and asks where he went. Ruth plays it off like she doesn’t remember, so the Kid tells her to lie down. She starts to go up the stairs, but the Kid stops her, telling her to stay where he can see her.
A timer goes off. Ruth is back in the past, taking Henry’s temperature. Henry was out in the rain with no shoes on. His temperature is not high, but higher than normal. Henry asks her to tell his father that he needs to rest. Ruth believes Matthew has the best intentions with Henry. She admits that Matthew had a growth on his brain that caused him to see things and have headaches. Henry tells her that Matthew believes he can pray his sickness away.
Ruth questions why Henry was in the rain with no shoes on. Matthew looks in on them, suspicious of Henry’s fever. He tells Henry to rest and leaves the room. Henry tells ruth that his father was teaching him. Ruth suggests that Henry lie and tell his father what he wants to hear. Tell his father that he hears it. There is a knock at Henry’s door. She looks up and sees young Alan at the door of his office at the police station. She leaves Henry’s bedside to go talk to him.
Ruth went to the station to ask Alan to look for Puck. The dog doesn’t have any tags because Matthew couldn’t stand the jingling. Alan questions why she’s there. the real question is if they are friends or if they are more than friends. Ruth says it would look bad if she left her husband for him. Alan doesn’t care what people think. He says he will go wherever she wants to go. Ruth won’t leave Henry behind so Alan says to bring him. They are interrupted and Ruth jumps up to leave.
Ruth walks into the kitchen to feed the dog and finds a box of poison in the garbage. She goes outside to look for Puck, but the dog is nowhere to be found. Ruth sees birds circling something in the woods. Then she sees a chess piece on the fence and returns to the dining room.
The Kid brings in food for Ruth and a sedative. He says he found her medication in the trash. God helps those who help themselves. Ruth takes the pill and then asks the Kid to draw her a bath. After he leaves the table, she drops the pill from her hand. She used Alan’s magic trick to make the Kid think she took the pill.
Ruth goes up to the attic to open the safe. She takes a bunch of stuff out, but no bullets. She hears the Kid call for her and the music starts to skip. Ruth runs to the bathroom and hides in the tub behind the shower curtain. The water starts to overflow as the Kid enters the bathroom.
The Kid moves toward the bathtub and grabs the shower curtain. As he pulls back the curtain, Ruth stabs him with a screwdriver and runs away. She runs through a bunch of people in her house. They appear to be there for a funeral, but then more people are there for a party. She finds the stairs and runs into the first door that she finds and a light comes on.
Ruth remembers packing her bags to leave Matthew. She remembers putting the gun in the suitcase. She also remembers rethinking her decision. As she watches herself change her mind, Ruth tells herself to leave him. She turns around and the dog is barking at her. She turns back around and ends up in the living room. She’s at a funeral and there’s a casket is in the living room. She sees Alan standing by the casket, but then asks if its her in the casket. He tells her that he’s sorry. She turns and sees her younger self, crying. She walks to the kitchen to get a glass of water.
Matthew and Henry enter through the backdoor, returning from the woods. Ruth and Matthew discuss Henry’s well being. She demands that the walks to the woods ends and that he let her take him to the doctor. Matthew says there’s no need because Henry heard the voice. She admits to telling Henry to lie to his father, but Henry insists that he heard it. Matthew sends Henry to his room. He tells Ruth that she could hear it too if she knew how to listen.
Ruth says she won’t let him hurt Henry. Their bags are packed and they are leaving. Matthew says they won’t leave because she never does. He reminds her that they are in her head and he’s not really there because he’s dead. He says Ruth has lost touch with reality. The only reason he’s there is so she can ask him where the bullets are because she can’t remember. He reminds her again that she never left him. She even unpacked their suitcases and put the gun in the linen closet. That triggers her memory of packing the bullets in the side pocket of the suitcase. She never took them out.
Ruth runs to the backyard and starts digging. She finds the suitcase, opens it up and the bullets are still in there. She looks up at the house and sees the Kid watching her from upstairs, so Ruth runs to the shed to hide. Ruth loads the gun and waits. She hears Matthew in her head taunting her about leaving. The door to the shed opens and she fires the gun at the man who walks in. Ruth sits back and takes a deep breath. She hears someone struggling to breath. It’s Alan. Ruth shot Alan. She goes to him and sit with him. Neither of them say anything. Alan takes his last breath as Ruth lays her head on his chest.
The next morning, Ruth returns to the house. She cleans herself up and gets dressed for the day. The doorbell rings. It’s Alan. He tells her that he has returned to Castle Rock. Someone called him to check out her place because they heard gunfire. Ruth is a little confused, but smiles. Alan says he moved back for her, but if she doesn’t want to be bothered he can leave. Ruth starts crying and hugs Alan, telling him, “don’t leave…please don’t leave.” Alan says he’s not going anywhere. The Queen chess piece sits on a table in the hall with her King laying beside her.
Sissy Spacek is amazing! This was such an emotional roller coaster. Poor Ruth. And Poor Alan. Who will take care of Ruth now?
I do have to wonder…is Ruth like Molly? She heard Alan’s thoughts, the doctor’s thoughts, and I’m pretty sure she heard the Kid’s thoughts as well. The same way that Molly hears Henry’s thoughts. So if she is part of the schism, is she just out of time and space?
That brings me to my next question. Is the Kid, Matthew? He knows a lot about Matthew and Ruth’s life together. I’m actually afraid for Ruth. There is a fan theory that everyone the Kid touches dies. The Nazi prisoner, Dennis Zalewski, Alan Pangborn…Ruth touched him when they danced. Did Henry touch him? WHO IS HE?
There are only a few episodes left. We will find out all the answers soon!!
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