Castle Rock is an American anthology television series consisting of two seasons. It was published by Hulu in 2018 and is still today a very underrated little pearl of the television landscape. Yet the names of Castle Rock they are far from unknown. Let’s start by saying that Castle Rock freely draws inspiration from the universe of Stephen Kingit is not a slavish reproduction of one or more novels, but a real mosaic of places, Easter Eggs and characters that intertwine with each other to form an unpublished story.
For Stephen King fans it will be a real one treasure huntbecause in addition to the more obvious references (such as the title and the location) Castle Rock it is chock full of very subtle references, which might go unnoticed even to the most attentive eye.
Added to this is an excellent cast led by Bill Skarsgård, Sissy Spacek and Terry O’Quinn. The series was conceived by Sam Shaw, and was produced by the wild genius of JJ Abrams, together with Stephen King himself, Sam Shaw, Dustin Thomason, Ben Stephenson, Mark Lafferty and Liz Glotzer.
If I haven’t already convinced you to watch the two wonderful seasons of Castle Rock, perhaps I will be able to convince you that it is a series of the highest level thanks to five key moments that have left me speechless.
1) The Queen – Castle Rock 1×07
The Queen is one of the key episodes of Castle Rockconsidered by many the best episode of the entire series. This is the seventh episode of the first season, and lets us enter the life of a very important character: Ruth Deaver (a wonderful Sissy Spacek, who Stephen King fans will also remember for her performance in Carrie).
The woman comes to terms with memory loss and a constant sense of disorientation. Yet Ruth is revealed custodian of crucial information for the advancement of the story. “Ruth is sort of an outsider in her own story, it almost seems like it was that town that stamped a story on him” – said Sam Shawn in an interview about this episode.
Everything is told with a veil of poetry and delicacy sometimes touching. The themes are not easy to deal with, and only true artists are able to grasp the right nuance, and the right point of view through which to narrate the events.
2) The season two finale
In my opinion, the season 2 finale is built very well. Annie Wilkes is now completely alienated from reality, and is getting closer and closer to the character we met in the book of the King, and in the famous film. The narration makes us identify ourselves to the point of not fully understanding what is happening. joy is just how Annie would like it: he has his own ambitions, is disinterested in the world and, indeed, makes the “mother” the center of gravity of his universe.
The chair, however, is empty. The book lies alone, occupying a place that is already occupied in Annie’s mind. Meanwhile, the final words give us goosebumps, bringing back flashbacks of sleepless nights spent in the company of Paul and his number one fan.
3) The acronym
We talked about hunting for Eater Eggs in Castle Rock, but nothing will beat the initial theme song. In addition to being a beautiful intro, in fact, it is full of references to our King. From images stolen from the covers of famous novels, to real excerpts from books. Between the first and second season we see an excerpt of Miserythe introduction of a chapter of Salem’s Lotand some sentences taken from Dolores Claiborne.
To this they add symbolic places both of the stories of Stephen King, and of the series itself: Shawshank prison, Derry just to name a couple.
Finally, the unforgettable “They float, Georgie“, in reference to IT. On the other hand with Bill Skarsgård (interpreter of Pennywise in the two films based on the famous novel by King) in the cast a wink at the dancing clown was truly inevitable.
All this, however, denotes a sensational attention to detail, which is a huge strength of Castle Rock.
4) The Pilot – The boy comes out of his cell
We are going to relive an iconic scene, with a Bill Skarsgård phenomenal. In general, the pilot is a fundamental episode, this is because viewers of the TV series still don’t know what to expect, and the producers have only one chance to capture the attention of the viewer.
Let’s say that J.J. Abrams he knows something about pilots and, even in this case, he does not disappoint. The pilot is intriguing, mysterious and creepy. It almost seems that the nameless boy’s gaze goes beyond the screen, and he chases us into our nightmares.
Maybe I wouldn’t recommend viewing to the most susceptible, but for lovers of the genre it’s just the prelude to a high-level horror series. From the pilot, and from the iconic scene in question, we understand that we are not approaching a commercial product full of sterile jumpscare or splatter moments. The horror is produced by an articulated plot, which continues to arouse doubts and curiosity throughout the season.
The stories of the protagonists get under our skin with the same sly crawl with which evil has entered Castle Rock.
5) Annie Wilkes’ past
The second season of Castle Rock, as anticipated, it features one of the most famous characters in the Stephen King universe: Annie Wilkesi.e. the terrifying paranoid villain of the literary masterpiece Misery.
The work is also famous for its film adaptation in the successful 1990 film, directed by Rob Reiner, starring James Caan as writer Paul Sheldon, and a mammoth Kathy Bates as his number 1 fan: Annie Wilkes.
As already pointed out, however, Castle Rock is not a simple adaptation of a Stephen King novel, but a work that has a life of its own. Thanks to Castle Rock we see an unedited version of Annie.
We can already clearly see her foibles and obsessions, but we are dealing with a young woman in the company of her Daughter. We enter the life of Annie Wilkes, e let’s dig into his troubled past. Just the continuous flashbacks that slowly reconstruct her childhood and the Joy story are the added value of the series, reconstructed with the delicate style that characterizes the entire narrative.
All this without never disrespect the original work brought to life by the King.
Added to this is the lavish interpretation of Lizzy Caplanwhich manages to bring out many complex nuances of this character that is anything but easy to interpret.