Welcome to Castle Rock. A Hulu original series based on the literary canon of Stephen King. The fictional town is the setting for many of King’s novel and short stories. As magical as the name may sound, things around town aren’t always so pleasant. There’s lots to discover here. So let’s not waste any time jumping in.
In the winter of 1991, a young boy by the name of Henry Deavers (Caleel Harris) went missing for 11 days. The whole town was looking for him until the snow got too deep. The authorities call off the search until warm temperatures could allow them to find his body. A man hears the announcement while sitting in his truck. He goes to the woods anyway to continue searching for Henry. The man stops at Castle Lake and looks around. He hears a strange noise coming from the woods. And out of nowhere, Henry appears, standing on the ice in the middle of the lake.
Dale Lacy (Terry O’Quinn) is up early to make breakfast for his wife (Frances Conroy). She says he should have taken the buyout deal years ago. Dale is retiring and Mrs. Lacy is ready. She kisses him goodbye and sends him on this way. Dale drives through town, into the woods and stops in front of the bluff at Castle Lake. He turns off the radio and puts a noose around his neck. The noose is tied to a tree behind Dale’s car. Dale puts the car in drive and hears a twig break. A dog comes out the brush and starts barking at him. Dale punches the gas pedal, driving toward the cliff at high speeds. The noose beheads him as he drives over the cliff.
The new warden (Anne Cusack) arrives at Shawshank State Penitentiary after the death of her predecessor, Dale Lacy. A guard shows her to her to the warden’s office and mentions that the last four wardens have committed suicide. Officer Dennis Zalewski (Noel Fisher) gives her a rundown of the number of prisoners currently house at Shawshank. All blocks but one are full. He tells her that Lacy left an entire wing of the prison unoccupied. The warden sends Zalewski and another guard (Chris Coy) to that cell block. They look around, but Zalewski’s counterpart would rather take a nape. Zalewski finds a door in the floor of one of the rooms. The door leads to an underground room. He finds a can full of cigarette butts on the floor next to a chair. In front of the chair is a cage. That’s where he finds him…the Kid (Bill Skarsgård).
The guards count all of the prisoners to make sure everyone is accounted for. They fingerprint the Kid and give him a shower. The Kid is quiet, malnourished, and scared of everything. They don’t have any records of him being a prisoner at Shawshank. The whole situation is a PR nightmare. The warden doesn’t want any of it leaking to the press. She talks to the Kid, but he doesn’t reply to any of her questions. Finally he says a name, Henry Deaver. Henry Matthew Deaver. One of the guards recognizes the name and tells Zalewski…that ain’t Henry Deaver
Henry Deaver (André Holland) lives in Houston. He is a defense attorney for a woman Leanne (Phyllis Somerville) who killed her husband in self defense. He argues that circumstances behind the murder, and both of her trials are sketchy and she deserves to be re-tried. Leanne is on death row. Unfortunately, he loses the appeal and Leanne prepares for her execution later that day. Henry tries to console her, but she only wants to talk about memories. She asks what his first memory is. He remembers a song, “24 Hours from Tulsa” by Gene Pitney. Leanne talks about her first memory. Henry is the only person who stays with Leanne until the end.
Henry has flashbacks of the day he was found at the lake. The man who found him quickly puts him in a car to keep him warm. The Gene Pitney song was is playing on the radio. The man’s name is Alan (Jeffrey Pierce). He says he’s a friend of Henry’s mom. He checks Henry over and realizes that Henry doesn’t have any signs of frostbite. Alan asks Henry if he’s been inside somewhere and Henry nods. Alan puts the truck in drive and races back to town.
After the execution is over, Henry picks up Leanne’s belongings. An alarm goes off and the prison guards race back to the execution room. One of the guards tells Henry that Leanne came back to life. He runs back to the witness room. The guards are trying to re-administer the drugs. Henry screams at them to stop, saying they don’t get a do over. They close the curtain on him as he tries to break the plexi-glass.
Here’s what the warden’s people found out about Henry. Henry went missing when he was eleven. The whole state searched for him, but only found his dad. Mr. Deaver was almost dead from the freezing temperatures and his back was broken. He didn’t live much longer. Henry reappeared eleven days later. The whole town blames Henry for his dad’s death. Henry said he doesn’t remember what happened. Now he’s a criminal defense attorney who works capital punishment cases in Houston.The warden doesn’t think it’s a good idea to contact Deaver. She also doesn’t want to release the Kid. Her assistant suggests they can make him disappear. Zalewski overhears their conversation while pour coffee for the warden.
Henry goes to Doc’s Lizard Bowl Zoological Park to watch them feed the alligators. While he’s there, he gets a phone call. The man on the other line tells him that they have one of his clients in custody. Henry says all of his clients are dead. The man, Zalewski, tells Henry that they found a kid in a cage and there’s no one else who will help him. When Zalewski tells him to come to Shawshank, Henry is even more suspicious. he asks for the man’s name, but Zalewski hangs up on him.
Molly Strand (Melanie Lynskey) drives up into the school parking lot to meet Dean (Charlie Tahan), her drug dealer. She tells him she has a condition as her reason for needing more drugs. On her way home, she sees Henry get off the bus. She stops long enough to take a pill.
Henry walks around town, taking in all of the changes before heading home. Along the way, a man sees Henry walking and says “Hey Killer.” Henry keeps walking, and comes upon an empty parking lot next to a church. He gets upset standing in the middle of the lot. He goes into the nearby church and finds a picture of his dad, a former reverend of the church.
Henry remembers when Alan took him home on that wintery day. Alan says Henry should be dead because of how cold it was. He asks if Henry knows what happened to his father. Henry doesn’t’ say anything. He sits in the truck and watches his mom run out to get him.
Present Day Henry walks up to his mother’s house. When he walks in, he hears the fire alarm going off. A skillet is burning on the stove and there’s no one in the house. Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek) is in the backyard looking at her trees. She doesn’t recognize Henry at first, thinking he’s the gardener. He reminds her of who he is, saying he wanted to see her while he was in town. She asks about Henry’s son Wendell, thinking he’s still a baby. He reminds her that Wendell fifteen now. Ruth has dementia. Henry is upset that the home care assistant is gone.
He hears footsteps upstairs and asks if someone is in the house. Ruth gets scared. Alan (Scott Glenn) enters the living room asking if the room is on fire. Ruth introduces Alan as the country sheriff, but Alan says that was years ago.. Henry is not happy to see Alan. Ruth leaves to prepare a room for Henry and Alan asks why Henry is in town. Henry is more interested in why Alan is hanging out with his mother. Alan says they enjoy each other’s company. And he has been watching over her and her affairs.
At the prison, the Kid watches a mouse run along the wall. He sits quietly by himself, isolated from the rest of the prisoners. Henry arrives at the prison, but doesn’t know the name of his client. The warden isn’t happy about Henry showing up. She allows Henry to go through a notebook with all of the prisoner’s photos. He doesn’t recognize any of them and asks if there’s anyone left out. She says it’s pretty unlikely that they would have any of his clients since the state of Maine outlawed the death penalty. He finds it interesting that she knew he worked capital cases, since he never said he did. She explains that she saw him on the news. Henry leaves the prison and sees Zalewski yelling at the prisoners to go inside. He recognizes his voice as the mysterious caller.
Later that night, at the Deaver’s home, Henry looks out the window and sees someone from the house next door looking at him. He goes downstairs and finds Alan. He tells Alan about the phone call from Shawshank about the kid in the cage. Alan dismisses the story saying corrections is a whole different game. Henry asks why Dale Lacy killed himself and Alan says it’s a hard job carrying the keys. He tells Henry that Dale killed himself by driving off the bluff at Castle Lake. The same place where Alan found Henry in 1991.
Elsewhere, Molly takes out a box in her basement. She sets a timer for one minutes. She pulls out missing poster with Henry’s name on it and then a child’s jacket. When the timer runs out, she packs up the box and puts it away.
Henry drives to the bluff and finds a memorial for Dale Lacy. He sees the wind pick up in the trees. Henry walks to the edge of the bluff and looks at the lake, hearing Alan’s voice in his head. As Henry looks over the cliff, younger Henry appears behind him. Older Henry turns around, but no one is there.
And at the prison, Zalewski is in the security camera room, reading a baby name book and drinking coffee. Some of the cameras start blinking on and off, but Zalewski doesn’t notice. When he finally looks up, he sees that the Kid is not in his cell. Zalewski starts looks at different cameras to find the Kid. The Kid appears in a dark lit hallway. When the light comes on, the Kid is looking directly at the camera. Zalewski looks away for a second and all of the cameras change. When he looks back, there are dead bodies in every room. Zalewski sounds the alarm.
Before Dale Lacy killed himself, he went to the mystery room where he kept the Kid in a cage. Dale lights a cigarette and looks at the Kid. He instructs the Kid to ask for Henry Deaver when they find him and leaves the room.
When you hear the name Stephen King, you automatically think you’re going to be scared. And you’re probably right. But he’s also a master of mystery. That’s the fun part…figuring out the mystery! I think we’ve got a good one here! I’m most intrigued to find out what’s the connection between Henry, The Kid, Dale Lacy, and Castle Lake.
- THE WHEEL OF TIME Recap: (S02E07) Daes Dae’mar - September 29, 2023
- Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week: ELORA DANAN - September 27, 2023
- RESERVATION DOGS Series Finale Recap: (S03E10) Dig - September 26, 2023