Castle Rock is notorious for strange things happening.  In “Ties That Bind,” Annie Wilkes (Lizzy Caplan) finds out first hand how strange things can get.

Joy (Elsie Fisher) made some friends and doesn’t want to leave town.  Annie is pretty sure she killed Ace (Paul Sparks) and insists they need to leave town immediately.  How will Annie react after seeing Ace behind her car? 

Pop Merrill (Tim Robbins) was told that Abdi (Barkhad Abdi) killed Ace. He tried to intimidate Abdi into confessing, but ended up collapsing.  Abdi mentioned something about a secret that Pop didn’t want Nadia (Yusra Warsam) to know. What is Pop hiding? 

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So Ace is alive and Annie is freaking out!  Joy can’t do anything but watch her spiral. At the same time, Pop collapsed in front of a tied up Abdi. Abdi is able to get out of his bond and get Pop to the clinic. When Pop wakes up, Nadia is there. She has a lot of questions about what happened, but Pop is so disoriented, he can’t really say.  He asks about Abdi that leads Nadia to ask if Pop hurt him. Pop doesn’t really know. 


Annie decides to go to the construction site to make sure Ace is still buried. The place where the ground caved in is covered by concrete.  So Annie goes to the house that connects to the cave. She finds the door to the cave, but it’s locked.  

Hasan (Faysal Ahmed) walks into the kitchen and screams.  Annie hears him and watches him eat a raw egg.  He’s covered in some kind of goo.  He eats the egg then starts screaming in another language. Annie gets scared and runs out the door.

Annie calls Dr. H about the pills she gave her.  She says something is wrong. She having visual hallucinations and asks Dr. H if she changed the recipe.  Dr. H says she gave her generic brands, but the prescriptions are the same. She tells Annie to go to the clinic if something is wrong, but she can’t talk to her right now. Dr. H is still dealing with Pop. 

Joy spends time with her friends on Castle Rock

CASTLE ROCK — “Ties that Bind” – Episode 203 — Annie tastes her own medicine. Vera (Tenea Intriago), Timothy (Skylan Brooks), Joy (Elsie Fisher) and Chance (Abby Corrigan), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)

Chance (Abby Corrigan) invites Joy to go looking for Ace’s dead body. She’s pretty sure he’s in Castle Lake. They meet up with Vera (Tenea Intrigago) and Timothy (Skylan Brooks) to go on a boat ride around the lake.  Chance and Timothy mention Warden Lacy (Terry O’Quinn) committed suicide in the lake. They found his body but not his head.

Joy finds out that Vera’s dad was in Shawshank and is in Ohio now.  Timothy’s dad might be beating him. And Chance is emancipated. They start asking Joy what her mom would do if she just started cussing. Joy starts to explain that she knows her mom is weird, but she knows why.  She starts rambling about how stupid the rules are, cussing up a storm around the kids. Vera reveals that the brownies had marijuana in them.  

Chance’s arms get tired so Timothy says he will take over. He drops the oar in the lake, so Joy jumps in to retrieve it. When she gets back, she says there’s a weird sound under water. The kids go back to the lodge.  Timothy and Vera live on the opposite end so they say goodbye. Joy is starting to feel normal. Chance gets close to Joy, hands her a phone and tells her to keep it on.    


Nadia finds Abdi and he’s upset that Pop accused him killing Ace.  He only helped Pop because Nadia cares about the old man. Abdi remembers the look on her face when their mother died. He never wants to see that look again. 

Ace visits Pop in the hospital.  He says he was in Derry for the night.  Pop is mad because he caused everyone to worry about him.  Pop asks what’s wrong with him for trying to burn down Nadia’s house.  Ace admits that was a mistake. Pop can tell something isn’t right about Ace. The nurses have to make him lay back down as he yells at Ace, telling him to leave. Ace goes to the bathroom and examines his face in the mirror.

Ace leaves the clinic and drives back to Castle Rock, passing a police car.  He speeds up and starts drinking, knowing the cop is watching him.  Sheriff Boucher (Greg Grunberg) stops Ace and tells him to get out of his truck. Ace doesn’t comply so Boucher pulls his gun out and walks toward the truck. 

Later Ace meets Valerie (Alison Wright) at the house that connects to the cave. She tries to sell it by telling him a gangster used to own the house, but Ace already knows the story.  He seems more interested in whether or not Valerie can have children. When they get inside, it’s obvious that someone has been staying there. Valerie goes upstairs to investigate and discovers Sheriff Boucher in a bathtub full of goo. Ace comes up behind her with a chain in his hand and Valerie screams. 


CASTLE ROCK — “Ties that Bind” – Episode 203 — Annie tastes her own medicine. Joy (Elsie Fisher), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)

Joy finds a mess when she gets home.  Annie is standing in the bathroom, staring in the mirror. She thinks Dr. H poisoned her. She says the pills made her worse.  Annie admits to Joy that she killed Ace because he threatened to hurt them. She cleaned up the kitchen so well that no one will find a trace of Ace.  Annie says she buried him in a pit, but he came back. She believes Ace came back to kill her and Joy. 

Annie looks at the window, giving Joy the opportunity to grab a case from her bag.  Annie says she is trying to be her best for Joy. Joy says Annie imagined killing Ace, but Annie knows it happened. She asks Joy if she believes her. Joy nods her head and Annie hugs her.  Joy injects Annie with a sedative. Annie pulls back, saying that was for an emergency only before going to sleep.


When Annie wakes up, she is tied to the bed.  Chance messages Joy that Ace was found alive. Joy starts crying because she knows her mom has really lost it.  Annie lets her know that she’s awake and there’s no need for the ropes. The plan was to sedate her in an emergency, but they never talked about what an emergency looked like. Joy says it’s an emergency because Annie is seeing things that aren’t there.  

Annie blames the pills, but Joy says it’s there right pills with the right dosage.  She can’t let Annie go until she takes those pills. At first Annie tries to argue, but then she gives in and takes the pills. Joy makes sure she swallows but asking Annie to open her mouth. Annie asks to be untied, but Joy says she’s not ready.  She says Ace Merrill is still alive and leaves Annie tied up in the bedroom. 

Annie has a dream that Ace comes into her cabin, kills Joy and tries to choke her.  She looks around to find a way out and sees a glass on the table. Joy comes in and reads to Annie.  She decides that it’s late and puts one of Annie’s pillows in the closet. Joy asks about the locked box in the closet.  Annie says it’s full of papers. Joy wants to look at the papers, but Annie says it’s just a bunch of nonsense. So why does the box have a lock?  An alarm goes off, indicating its time for more pills. Annie says she feels better, but Joy still won’t let untie her. 


CASTLE ROCK — “Ties that Bind” – Episode 203 — Annie tastes her own medicine. Joy (Elsie Fisher), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)

While Joy is in the kitchen looking up visual hallucinations, Annie is able to reach the glass. She puts it under her pillow so she can break it with her head.  Joy comes back in and says if Annie is feeling better, she will tell the truth. She wants to know what they’re running from. Annie remains quiet so Joy leaves the room.

Annie stops her by telling her that they are running from her father.  He didn’t want Joy, but Annie did, so she ran away with the baby.  Her father is a bad man and he will never stop looking for them.  Annie says Joy needs to untie her so she can protect her. 

Joy gets angry because Annie lied to her about her father.  Annie says it was better for Joy to be running towards the Laughing Place. Then Joy gets mad because Annie lied and that’s the worst thing you can do to someone you love.  Annie says she’s done bad things to protect Joy and she would do it again.  Joy is her world. 

Joy looks at the floor. She sees two dead mice and a part of Annie’s pills.  Joy is angry that Annie lied again. Someone knocks at the door. Annie begs her not to answer the door.  


Joy leaves the room and Annie works on getting a piece of glass to cut the ropes. She cuts up her face doing so.  Annie has to stretch so far to get to the ropes that she dislocates her shoulder.  

Dr. H is at the door and asks to see Annie. She’s worried because Annie called her with some serious symptoms. Joy says Annie is sick with a stomach bug, but she will be fine.  Dr. H isn’t convinced. Joy says Dr. H should have sent Annie to a head doctor and closes the door. 

Annie cuts one rope and works on the other when Joy walks in. Joy tries to stop her, but she pushes Joy back by slashing at her, cutting her arm. Joy gets scared and runs away. Annie yells that she didn’t mean to cut her.  She continues to cut on the rope so she can run after Joy.

Annie runs outside, but Joy is gone. She sees the tall man (John Hoogenakker) though and runs back in the cabin.  Annie picks up the pills that she dropped on the floor and takes them. She hears the door open and freezes.  Annie stands up and the tall man stands behind her. He says she knows how this story ends. Annie’s going to kill her.  

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Noetta Harjo
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