All hope is lost on Castle Rock.  Ace, now Augustin (Paul Sparks) and his followers have taken over the town. They have Joy (Elsie Fisher) and are preparing her for Amity’s (Mathilde Dehaye) return. The only piece of the puzzle that’s missing is the Angel (Bill Skarsgård).  There are a few people who aren’t under the Angel’s spell. Pop (Tim Robbins), Nadia (Yusra Warsama), and Annie (Lizzy Caplan). In “Caveat Emptor,” Pop finds the key to the mystery of Augustin and his followers.

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Martha Lacy (Frances Conroy), Warden Lacy’s (Terry O’Quinn) widow is Ace’s next victim. He specifically selected her because she retained Martha’s memories about the Kid.  She tells Ace that the Warden wrote down everything about the Kid in letters to Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn). The Collector has the letters now, the one who takes cast off things.  Pop Merrill.

After Pop ran away from the church, he went to the Emporium to look at those letters. One of the letters has a drawing of the Kid’s face. He reads the letter and has figured it all out.  Pop drove to the clinic, shortly after Chris (Matthew Alan) died. He helped Nadia pick up Chris and put him in a bed. They decide to leave the clinic and run into Chance (Abby Corrigan).  

Chance tells them that she’s not one of them but they are coming. And they are killing everyone in their path. The three of them jump into Pop’s truck and drive off. Another truck pulls up right behind them.  Ace’s followers start shooting at Pop’s truck and shoots a tire. They get out of the truck and try to run to the Emporium. Ace’s people pulls up, blocking their way. A larger truck crashes into the other truck and Pop hears two gunshots.  Abdi (Barkhad Abdi) gets out of the larger truck and they all run into the Emporium. Pop pulls a lever and the building is covered in metal. 


Later that night, Pop tells the group that after Pangborn was butchered by his wife, he bought Pangborn’s trailer.  He tells them about the letters from Warden Lacy. Lacy was a historian, saying he was in the business of remembering. He says Lacy knew what happened to the first colony of Castle Rock. Lacy said they never really left. Pop didn’t know what he meant by that, he didn’t want to know. But now he knows. 

Abdi wonders why none of them heard the sound from the Angel, but no one knows. What he does know is that the Emporium is the safest place to be, if they can keep it safe.  He reveals about seven or eight homemade bombs. He thought someone would come for him someday.  Pop tells Abdi and Chance to place the bombs around the perimeter of the building.  Chance puts one of the bombs in the basement, but the wiring comes off. Meanwhile Pop and Nadia load bombs at the entrance of the store and clean some guns. 

Nadia gets emotional, thinking about Chris.  She asks Pop how any of this is possible. He doesn’t know.  He apologizes for bringing her to a bad place. They continue to load as many guns as they can find.  At the same time, someone is breaking in downstairs. The alarm goes off and everyone grabs a gun. They go down to the basement and find Annie, a woman named Evelyn (Kate Avallone), and the nurse Jamal (Isayas Theodros).  


At first, Pop and Nadia think they are Ace’s people, sent into kill Pop. Annie insists that they aren’t with Ace.  Pop saw Annie at the Marsten mansion and Annie doesn’t deny it. He asks how she escaped and well, she killed a lot of people to get away and get to his store. She doesn’t care who Ace and his people are or what crazy thing they are doing.  She only wants Joy back.  Pop decides to interrogate each of them, military style. 

They find out that Evelyn and Jamal were in crowded places when other people heard a noise and started following the statue.  Neither one of them heard anything, they just watched the others leave. Evelyn says two people started shooting anyone who wasn’t following the crowd. 

Pop interviews Annie and asks if she heard anything. She didn’t, but Joy heard it.  Annie says this is all Ace’s fault. She admits to killing Ace and then burying him at the construction site.  She tells Pop there was tunnels under the site. He tells her to draw the tunnels for him. She says she thought she was going crazy, but it was real.  

Pop interviews Jamal and notices Jamal’s earring is missing.  And his earlobe is all healed up, like he never had a piercing, proving he’s one of Ace’s guys. Pop asks why Jamal’s people send in an assassin? So, Jamal starts beating up Pop.  He gets ready to kill Pop when Nadia shoots him in the shoulder.  

Nadia looks for answers in Castle Rock

CASTLE ROCK — “Caveat Emptor” – Episode 209 — Pop confronts his old demons. Nadia (Yusra Warsama), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)

They tie Jamal down to a bed, unconscious.  Nadia patches up his wound and gets ready to inject him with Haldol, an antipsychotic drug that she used on Chris.  She tells the others about that experience while planning to get information from Jamal. Jamal wakes up and Nadia asks why he tried to kill Pop. Jamal laughs, saying it’s over. ‘She’ will return the following night.  

Annie, Evelyn, and Chance are in the basement when Annie sees a moth fly in. She looks around and gets up to look out the window. Chance looks too and sees Ace’s followers surrounding the building.  Evelyn gets scared. 

Jamal says ‘She’ has been travelling, four hundred years to get to this moment.  They can’t stop her. Pop knows Jamal was sent in to retrieve the letters. Jamal doesn’t answer. Instead he lays down, watching moths fly into the room. Jamal lays back down and says ‘He’ is here.  


Ace and his followers are outside. Ace wants to make a deal with Pop.  Pop knows he’s not Ace and he’s much older than he appears. Pop asks for his name…Augustin.  Pop knows he wants Dale Lacy’s letters to Pangborn. He’s willing to trade for it. Pop hands over the letters and everyone inside gets to go free. 

Nadia finds the Castle Rock train schedule. She takes it to Abdi and asks if he remembers their game.  They have almost an hour to prepare. It’s the only way out.  Pop stalls as Chance and Evelyn run upstairs. They say they are surrounded.

It’s a stand off between Pop and Augustin. Nadia tells everyone about her plan but they need to find a way out. The train will be there shortly.  It’s a mile long so they can get a good head start on Ace’s people if they can make it.  The generator starts acting up, so Nadia takes the ladies with her to check on it.  When they get to the basement, she realized Annie isn’t with them. 


Annie slipped into the room where Jamal is resting.  She wants to know where Joy is being kept. Annie tried to threaten Jamal with torture and death, but he’s not afraid. She hears her mother’s voice, telling her to find Joy.  Annie pauses to listen and then continues to work on Jamal.

The man occupying Jamal’s body asks if Joy is better off with Annie.. He remembers when Jamal found her on the floor during the storm.  After what they do to Joy, she will never be the same.

Annie gets upset by what he’s saying. Add her mother’s voice inside her head and Annie just loses it.  She stabs Jamal with two big syringes in his eyes, killing him. Everyone heard him scream. Nadia yells at Annie for killing Jamal. Abdi takes Annie away.  


Pop tries to calm Nadia down and when she’s not looking he takes a few of the syringes.  He goes to his store front and finds an old wireless mouse. He takes out the batteries. Pop goes back to his office and hears Augustin calling for him.  Pop answers. Augustin has one last deal. He says the bombs will slow his people down, but it won’t stop them. He prefers a softer landing. Pop say she doesn’t deal with walking corpses.  He says the difference between them is that Augustin is a hitchhiker in borrowed clothes. Pop say she knows who he is. Augustin laughs and says Pop doesn’t know who he is. He’s empty on purpose and that’s why his life is going to end in a pile of garbage. 

Augustin knows everything that Ace knew. He remembers what Ace felt for Pop…love.  Augustin and Pop go back and forth about who Ace was and who Pop was. Finally Pop says he knows what Augustin wanted. He wants to know who Warden Lacy had in the cage, but Augustin will never find out because Pop burned the letters.  Augustin doesn’t care about the letters. He will make Pop one of them and Pop will tell him everything. 

The things that Augustin said, especially when he said that Pop ruined four young lives, really hits Pop hard. Abdi tells him not to let Augustin get in his head. Abdi agrees that Pop messed up their lives. Pop defends himself, saying he tried to give them a better life. Even when he didn’t feel like it.  Abdi thanks him for liberating him and walks away. 


Nadia finds an old pair of running shoes and switches out her boots.  Pop finds her, saying that Augustin is patient, but he’ll come for them soon.  He doesn’t think he can make it past the train. He tries to make peace with Nadia, but she won’t let him.  She says he doesn’t get to make his peace. If she survives the nights, she leaving Castle Rock and she’s never going to think of Pop again.  She leaves with Abdi.

Pop goes back to his desk and burns all of the Warden’s letters.  Augustin calls him one more time to give him a chance to surrender.  Pop prepares to meet Augustin with a vest full of C4. he ways when it blows, it won’t be easy to bring him back Augustin tells his men to move in.  

Augustin’s men chained the door to a truck and they pull the door off.  A bomb goes off when they enter the store. Nadia, Chance, Annie and Evelyn make their way to the basement. Pop and Abdi go to upstairs.  They all have guns. Augustin’s men run through the Emporium, but Pop’s group has the advantage. Some of Augustin’s men enter through the back. Nadia’s group easily take care of them. 

Pop and Abdi go downstairs to meet Nadia’s group.  Pop closes the door to the basement, telling Abdi to go on.  He injects himsel with the Haldol and holds off anyone getting close to the door.  Nadia leads everyone else, but Evelyn is killed before they make it to the back door. 


Augustin goes inside of the Emporium to find Pop.  Pop is looking for stragglers to kill. He hears the train coming.  He takes the batteries out of the mouse. Augustin finds Pop as Nadia leads the others to the back door.  Pop threatens to blow himself up and Augustin tries to stop him. Augustin says Pop is a dying man and he is a deathless one.  He is offering Pop eternal life. Pop says no deal and click on the mouse, but nothing happens. The train is getting closer. Pop laughs and coughing. Augustin laughs with him.  

Nadia and the others run to beat the train.  They make it over the track just in time, cutting off Augustin’s men.  Pop faces Augustin and lights up a pipe. August shoots him in the head.  Nadia calls Pop to let him know they made it. She calls for him until she realizes that Pop is gone.  

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Wow!  It looks like Augustin has won.  Except for the Haldol in Pop’s blood.  I wonder how long it takes for that stuff to wear off?  And he has another syringe, so Pop should have enough sense to inject himself with more when he wakes up.  

The final episode of Castle Rock is next week.  Will the Angel appear? Will Joy be lost forever? Or will Annie save her in time?  Honestly, I’m hoping she doesn’t.   

Noetta Harjo
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