It’s clear now that Castle Rock is not the Laughing Place.  In “Restore Hope,” Ace’s (Paul Sparks) disappearance caused the Merrill family to turn on each other.  Since he returned, he hasn’t been the same.  Can Pop (Tim Robbins) bring the family back together? 

Annie (Lizzy Caplan) accidentally cut Joy (Elsie Fisher) in the arm after Joy tried to help her. Joy ran away and Annie had another episode.  Things are just getting worse for the Wilkes family.

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SOMALIA, 1993

Abdi (Barkhad Abdi) and Nadia (Yusra Warsam) grew up in Somalia and left when war broke out in 1993.  Before they left, their mother was shot by U. S. soldiers because she was carrying a gun.  Nadia was very upset by her death and lay on her mother’s body apologizing. 

 They migrated to the U. S. anyway and were fostered by Pop Merrill.  He asked for Abdi and Nadia specifically.  Ace and Chris (Matthew Alan) were a little apprehensive at first, but eventually Chris grew close to the kids, especially Nadia.  Ace never warmed up to them.  That might be the real cause of the animosity between him and Abdi.   Ace learns all of this by watching old home videos of the Merrill family. 

FAMILY SQUABBLE

Joy left Annie and ran right into Ace at the Castle Rock bus stop. He offered her a ride, but she avoided him by jumping on the bus.  The next day, Nadia found Joy at a homeless shelter. She found out that Joy blames herself for Annie’s latest episode. Nadia tries to tell her that it’s not her fault. She has no control over what Annie does.  But Joy thinks she does. she says she can go home and be good. Joy asks Nadia if she can stay with her until they figure things out. Nadia says they have to call the police or her mother. The phone at the cabin rings.

Chance (Abby Corrigan) breaks into Annie’s cabin and starts packing a bag for Joy. She grabs the locked box in the closet and puts in the bag.  Annie comes home and catches Chance throwing a bag out the window. She asks where Joy is, but Chance says she doesn’t know. Annie says she needs to talk to Joy and tries to get rough with Chance.  Chance says Annie almost killed Joy, making Annie cry.  

WHAT’S BEST FOR JOY

Annie meets Nadia at the mall and asks for Joy.  Nadia calmly tells her that Joy is at her house because it’s safer than the shelter, but Joy’s not ready to talk to her.  Annie says Joy is safer with her. Nadia tells her that Joy was covered in blood when she showed up at the shelter. Annie tries to say that Joy’s sutures opened up.  That Joy has quite an imagination.

Joy told Nadia that they were running from her father.  The doctor wonders if Annie has full custody of Joy. Annie doesn’t think she has to explain why they are running from a violent man.  They weren’t in any danger until Nadia decided to help. Nadia says Joy needs a stable home and Annie needs specialized care. Because of all of this, Annie can’t return to the hospital. 

Annie goes to Nadia’s house and bangs on the door.  Abdi answers and points a gun at Annie’s face. Annie asks to see her daughter, but Abdi says Joy doesn’t want to see her.  Joy told them what her mother did to her. Abdi tells Annie to never come back to their house. Annie starts to leave and sees Joy looking out of the window. She calls out to her, but Joy hides.

BAD NEWS
Nadia works to save Pop's life on Castle Rock, "Restore Hope"

CASTLE ROCK — “Restore Hope” – Episode 204 — Nadia learns a dark truth about her past Dr. Nadia Omar (Yusra Warsama), shown. Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu

Abdi calls Nadia about Annie’s visit and agrees to stay home until Nadia gets off work.  She’s been pretty busy watching over Pop. Nadia gets Pop’s latest blood work and it’s bad news. She tells Pop that the chemo isn’t working. There are other therapies that they can try, but Pop says he’s done fighting. Nadia disagrees. She says she came back to fix him and he has to try too.

Nadia calls the veterans hospital to see if there is a study Pop can get  into. He has never registered with the VA so there’s a lot of paperwork to go through. Next, she goes to Chris to help talk Pop into fighting. 

STRANGE BEHAVIOR

Annie returns to the cabin and see Ace walking around talking on the phone.  He speaking in French and mentions Abdi’s name. He didn’t even look at Annie.  Later that night, Ace puts several bags in his truck. Bobby is tied up outside and barks at him as he leaves.  Ace drives to the creepy mansion where Hasan (Faysal Ahmed) and Valerie (Alison Wright) are waiting for him.

Pop goes to talk to the pastor.  He questions whether or not he needs to tell someone a secret.  The pastor asks why he’s not confessing to God. And what would the confession cost the person Pop wants to tell.  When Pop leaves, the pastor sees Hasan watching the church. Hasan gives him a creepy smile. 

Pop finds an unopened letter in his desk and opens it.  He reads it and then burns it. Chris comes into the store and Pop tells him to set up a party at the bar.  He wants to have an Irish wake for himself. Chris tries to talk to him about continuing the chemo, but Pop is okay with dying. He says Chris should be too. 

THE LOCK BOX

Chance brings Joy her stuff.  Joy asks if Annie saw her. Chance says she did but she didn’t see her take the box.   She asks if Joy knows the combination. Joy assumes it’s her birthday. She thanks Chance for helping out.  Chance says she put more minutes on Joy’s phone so she could call her. 

Joy tries to open the box, but none of the combinations are working.  She gets frustrated when nothing works and says to herself, “Christmas, Joy.”  That’s it. The combination is the code. She matches up the letters of her name to the corresponding numbers and enters it on the lock.  BINGO! She opens the box and finds a gun and several license plates. There is a disk labeled, “9-7-2004.”

Joy buries the gun in the backyard. She borrows a computer and looks at the disk.  There is one file on the disk, labeled “The Ravening Angel.” It’s a story, so Joy reads it. Meanwhile Annie is eating her feelings and watching TV. She watching The Wizard of Oz. 

RESTORE HOPE

Nadia spends the night with Chris.  After he’s gone to sleep, she gets up and checks her phone.  She gets a message from the VA hospital. They have a spot open in the trial. They needs Pop’s discharge papers.  Nadia goes to Pop’s office in the Emporium to look for it. 

Nadia doesn’t find anything in his desk so she checks his filing cabinets. She hears something downstairs and calls out to Pop and Ace.  No one answers so she keeps looking. She finds the military files and leaves.  

On the way out she runs into  one of Ace’s boys, Lance (Owen Burke). He says he’s making Ace’s deposits.  Billy (Chad Knorr) comes up behind her and they try to grab her. They want to send a message to Abdi.  Billy pushes her down on the register, but Nadia knows there is a gun under there. She shoots it on the floor and then points it at the two men.  They ask if she knows how to use a gun and she shoot at them. She says she grew up in Castle Rock and leaves the store.  

POP’S WAKE
Pop has a secret to hide on Castle Rock, "Restore Hope"

CASTLE ROCK — “Restore Hope” – Episode 204 — Nadia learns a dark truth about her past. Pop Merrill (Tim Robbins), shown. Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu

Most of Castle Rock turns up for Pop’s wake.  Pop catches Timothy (Skylan Brooks) taking beer from the cooler. He asks if anyone is under 14. Timothy says they’re not, so Pop gives him more beer.  Ace shows up and Pop is not happy to see him. Ace says after pop is gone, he won’t make any more trouble with Abdi, but Pop doesn’t believe him.  

Ace gives a crazy look to Sheriff Boucher (Greg Grunberg) and Valerie.  Valerie eats the eggs at the bar and catches the eye of the bartender. She winks at him.  Chris addresses the crowd and thanks everyone for coming out to celebrate Pop’s life. Pop interrupts him before it gets too emotional.  Pop eulogizes himself. He commends himself for raising Ace and Chris and adopting Abdi and Nadia. He says the adoption was a debt.

Nadia goes over Pop’s military files and finds out he was stationed in Somalia.  She puts the pieces together based on the records and heads to the bar. Chris gives the mic back to the band when Nadia arrives.  She asks if he knew, but he obviously didn’t.  

Ace is watching so Chris asks if he said anything to Nadia.  Ace says he’s trying to grant a dying man his final wish. Chris tells him to stop being weird.  Ace says there’s something else going on, but nothing like what Chris is thinking He tells Chris to go with him.

FINDING FELLOWSHIP

They head to the church. Ace says he had a conversion of sorts. He says 400 years ago, Jerusalem’s Lot was called New Jerusalem. It was settled by a very special group of people.  The land is still theirs. They were brave souls that fought enemies from East and West to defend the land they were promised. They never gave up and they never will. 

At that same time Timothy is riding his bike back to the Lodge when he is hit by a truck driven by Hasan. Valerie lures the bartender into the back room and kills him. Sheriff Boucher puts a very drunk councilwoman in the back of his car and kills her.  

Chris thinks Ace is going crazy.  Ace leads him into the basement of the church to a classroom.  Chris asks if Ace is joining AA. Ace chuckles and says no, but he is creating a fellowship.  He asks Chris if he wants to join and stabs him in the stomach.  

Chris fights back, pushing Ace away and hit him.  He slams Ace’s head into the floor and goes back upstairs to find help.  Chris yells for help and the pastor finds him. The pastor leaves to call an ambulance. Chris is hurt pretty bad. The pastor comes back with an ornament that has sharp ends.  He says they will make Chris as good as new and stabs Chris in the neck, killing him. 

THE SECRET

Pop approaches Nadia and expresses his gratitude, but he says he’s finished with treatments. Nadia says she needed his discharge papers to get him into a new cancer study.  It took her a while, but she found them. She also found out that he was stationed in Somalia, in her hometown of Mogadishu in 1993.  

He starts to explain that it was a classified mission.  Nadia always wondered why Pop wanted her and Abdi, specifically.  She asks why. He doesn’t say anything. Nadia knows he was the one who shot her mother.  They both start crying. He calls her “inanta” and she yells at him to never call her that name again.

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Noetta Harjo
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