Castle Rock has brought nothing but ‘Misery’ to Annie Wilkes (Lizzy Caplan).  Her search for “The Laughing Place” has been hard, but nothing like what she’s experienced in Castle Rock.   Joy (Elsie Fisher) left Annie after Annie cut her arm with a piece of glass. Now Annie wants to talk to her, but Joy isn’t ready to listen. 

Annie won’t answer any of Joy’s questions about her past.  In an act of defiance, Joy took a locked safe that Annie kept in the closet. Joy found a disk with one file one it labeled, “Ravening Angel.” It was a story, but Joy doesn’t know who wrote it or what it has to do with Annie’s past.

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BRAD RABBIT

Young Annie (Madison Johnson) had trouble reading.  The kids at school bullied her for it, calling her a retard. Annie retaliated one day by hitting a girl in the face with her lunch box. The school officials thought it would be best to send Annie to a psychiatrist, but her parents said nothing was wrong with her.  Carl (John Hoogenakker) and Crysilda Wilkes (Robin Weigert) decide to remove Annie from public school and home school her.

Carl stayed home with Annie, telling her that there is nothing wrong with her. There was something wrong with the book she was reading. They were reading a “contemporary” version of the Brer Rabbit stories, one that is friendlier.  He tells Annie the true Brer Rabbit story and says the Laughing Place is anywhere she wants it to be.  

Carl has Annie help with his book to help with her reading.  He is old fashioned and prefers to use a typewriter. But publishers prefer he send the manuscript via email. So Carl has Annie type his story onto the computer. 

I’m Your Mother!

CASTLE ROCK — “The Laughing Place” – Episode 205 — In the beginning…. Annie (Lizzy Caplan), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)

Abdi (Barkhad Abdi) has to go to the construction site.  Joy says she will be okay alone, but he promised Nadia (Yusra Warsam) he’d watch over her.  While Joy waits in the car, she sees Annie running toward her…at the construction site. 

Joy gives Annie five minutes to say what she needs to say. Annie says she would never hurt Joy. She hit a bad patch, but she’s over it now.  Joy suggests that Annie gets help. Annie says putting her head in the hands of a doctor will put Joy’s life in their hands too. She has seen enough of the world to know they can’t be trusted. Joy says she’s checked herself in before and she got better. All Annie can do is pull the  “I’m Your Mother” bit about how she knows what’s best for them.

Joy asks what her father’s name is, but Annie says the less she knows, the safer she is.  Her dad is a bad man. Joy says that’s not enough. She asks Annie to tell her the story about her father.  Annie doesn’t say anything, so Joy says their done. Abdi makes Annie get out of the car and leave.

THE TUTOR

Annie (Ruby Cruz) grows up, but is still having trouble reading. Crysilda can see that Carl’s teaching is not working, so she hires a tutor.  The tutor’s name is Rita Green (Sarah Gadon). She’s kind of young and easy to talk to. 

Something to note about Crysilda is that she is a nurse. She often says ‘Christmas!’ when frustrated.  She tells Annie that the world is dirty and that people are either all good or all bad. And she also cleans Annie’s teeth for her in their bathroom.  Crysilda wants the best for her daughter, but she can see that Annie is getting caught up in her father’s work. And that causes a lot of arguments between Carl and Crysilda.

Annie is reading Pinnochio with Rita and gets upset that Pinnochio gets a happy ending. She says he’s a liar, so he should have been killed.  If someone is all bad, then they should pay for being bad. Rita knows that kind of thinking come from her mother.  

Carl interrupts and asks to talk to Rita.  At first he’s upset that Annie is reading a children’s book.  He is asking questions, but keeps talking over Rita, not allowing her to answer his questions.  Rita politely tells him to let her speak. She says Annie is very smart, but she can’t learn from reading his story and only his story.  She likes his story, especially the part about Settlers and Searchers. But it’s not Annie’s story. Carl calms down when he hears that Rita likes his book.   

TEST TIME

CASTLE ROCK — “The Laughing Place” – Episode 205 — In the beginning…. Teen Annie (Ruby Cruz) and Crysilda (Robin Weigert), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)

Rita continues to work with Annie for several months, into October.  Rita is pregnant and has become good friends with Annie. Annie is set to take the GED soon and Rita won’t have anyone to teach.  Rita says she will teach her baby. Annie asks about the father, but Rita says it’s complicated. Annie doesn’t think so. He’s either all good or all bad.  Annie thinks Rita is all good.

One night, Crysilda watches Annie study and says she’s a poor thing.  She will pass the GED and that will be enough. Annie asks who will say that.  Dirty birds who want her close and low to the ground so they can snatch what they want when they want it.  Just like Carl did to her. Crysilda starts drinking.

Carl finishes his book and Annie loves it.  He tells her that a publisher is interested in reading it.  For once, Carl looks happy and Annie can see it. She says he found his Laughing Place.  Carl tells Annie that he did and that’s why he’s moving out. He has to find his place in this world.  Annie gets sad and thinks he’s leaving because of her. Carl assures her that she is not, it has to do with stuff with her mom.  No matter what, he will always be her number one fan. 

CARL’S TRUTH

Annie passed the GED.  She calls Carl and you can hear his excitement over the phone. Crysilda says he has her where he wants her.  She takes Annie on a tour of the college where Carl attended. Crysilda asks why Annie doesn’t want to go further away.  She says it’s no place for a good woman in this dirty world, so Annie suggests that they clean it up.

Crysilda insists she is on Annie’s side, saying there are things she doesn’t know about.  Annie walks to the car to get in. Crysilda takes a long look at the lake then heads to the car.  She says she sees it now. She says there’s a way for them both to get away clean. They get into the car. Annie is distracted by the college brochure and doesn’t notice her mother locked the doors.  Crysilda puts the car in gear and drives into the lake, full speed ahead. 

Annie was able to get out of the car, but her mother drowned.  Annie was very depressed for a long time. Carl moved home to take care of her and watched her lay around for months. One night, Annie realizes that Carl is expecting guests.  She’s happy to see that it’s Rita and her baby, Evangeline.  

They sit down to eat dinner together. Annie’s mood is cheerful until she finds out that her daddy, is also Evangeline’s daddy too. But her mom only died a few months ago.  Reading was her problem, not math. Annie jumps up from the table and grabs a knife. She screams “how could you?”  After seeing the fear in everyone’s faces, she drops the knife and runs away.

THE LAUGHING PLACE
Annie and Carl search for the Laughing Place in Castle Rock

CASTLE ROCK — “The Laughing Place” – Episode 205 — In the beginning…. Teen Annie (Ruby Cruz) and Tall Man (John Hoogenakker), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)

Rita and Evangeline move in with Carl and Annie.  Annie doesn’t interact with them much, she spends a lot of time in the attic.  Carl and Rita turned Annie’s bedroom into the nursery and moved Annie upstairs.  So all Annie can do is watch them live. One day, she hears Rita suggest that Carl go back on his medication.  Carl responds that he doesn’t want the Lithium clouding his judgment with the girls. 

Annie begins to try though. She likes looking at the baby and even asks to hold her. Rita allows it, but she’s very nervous about Annie.  The baby can sense that hesitation because she begins crying when Annie is around.  

Carl’s book is published and he holds a celebration with friends.  He makes a toast to Rita at the celebration. Later that night, Annie reads the final product.  At the end of the story, Carl dedicates the book “Rita K. Green, My Laughing Place.” That sets Annie off, waking up Carl in the middle of the night.

ALL GOOD OR ALL BAD  

Annie throws a book at Carl not for the dedication, but because Rita is his Laughing Place.  He says he can have more than one and tries to hug her. Annie pushes him away, causing him to fall down the stairs.  The stair railing breaks, exposing a riser. Carl flips on the stairs and is impaled by the riser. Annie tries to push him off of the riser, but he’s too heavy.  Carl loses a lot of blood and dies.  

Rita finds them and screams at the sight of Carl.  Annie grabs a pair of scissors and says she thought Rita was good.  Rita runs to the nursery, thinking Annie wants to kill Evangeline, but she stabs Rita instead. She kicks Rita in the head, knocking her out and takes the baby.  

Annie puts Evangeline in a bankers box and takes her to the woods.  This is like the first scene in the series. Annie walks through the woods and comes up on the river.  She takes the box to the river and sets it down. Annie takes Evangeline out of the box and looks around. She carries the baby into the water and repeats her mother’s last words to her. There’s a way for them both to get away clean. Annie lowers Evangeline into the water and the baby starts laughing.  Annie is surprised and starts laughing too.  

RITA K. GREEN

Annie returns to Castle Rock and goes to the bar.  Everyone stares at her as she walks in. Annie sits at the bar and asks for a glass of vodka on the rocks.  She starts to space out a little, still upset about Joy. What she doesn’t know is, Ace (Paul Sparks) is sittng next to her.  

Joy finishes the story sees the dedication to Rita K. Green.  Joy looks up Rita K. Green on the internet and Facebook. She finds one without a profile photo.  There’s a phone number listed in her profile.

Flashback, Rita woke up from Annie’s kick. She lived through the ordeal.  Joy calls Rita and asks if she knows anything about a book called the Ravening Angel. Rita pauses for a minute and asks who’s calling.   

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THOUGHTS

Castle Rock is a brilliant platform for delving into the pasts of these characters we’ve known for some time.  Annie is one of the most interesting, so it’s good to see how and why she ended up that way.  

I knew that Joy wasn’t her baby, but I had no idea that they were sisters.   I think I can predict what’s about to happen between Joy and Annie though.  Either Joy will reunite with her real mother, Rita, or Annie will kill them both. 

Now, show us what is possessing Ace and his minions and what their master plan is for Castle Rock.  Ace is getting really creepy…in a different way. 

 

 

Noetta Harjo
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