Castle Rock Season 2

Castle Rock Season 2 Episodes 1,2,3 Theories-All Your Questions Answered

The first three episodes that dropped on Hulu today of season two have a much more character forward approach to storytelling than last season’s meandering plot. Last season was designed to entice the King lovers into a thrall state of rapture as they hunted and searched for each and every little Easter Egg. If the story got a little muddled and the intercrossing timelines got messy, so be it because we were too busy chasing ghosts. Season two gives us literal ghosts and an origin story that is as compelling as the end result.

Make no mistake, season two will love or die on the narrow shoulders of Lizzie Caplan. She brings a sympathetic spin to the obsessed sadistic killer who holds and tortures Paul Sheldon in Misery. Long before she has completely succumbed to the darkness there was this Annie. A devoted mother, Annie will do anything to protect Joy. As Ace Merrill finds out at the shocking end of episode one that includes some nasty wet work with an ice cream scoop. It’s an interesting spin on the character who is so iconic thanks to Kathy Bates’ Academy Award-winning turn in the 1990 Rob Reiner film.

A great deal of the known facts are rearranged just a tad to give us Castle Rock’s Annie who is on the run from a terrible event when she was much younger. What that was we still don’t know but it involves a baby in a bankers box, a mysterious man, and gallons of blood. That isn’t the only question swirling this season. Here are all the burning questions so far.

Who is Annie running from?

Annie never says who she is running from. There are a number of possibilities though. A previous boyfriend and father of Joy is the most obvious option. A second and far more intriguing idea is her dead Dad. If Annie had to kill, or in hallucinated she had to kill her father it would set up a nice bit of guilty paranoia that would continue to play well off the real ghost people like Ace Merrill who everyone can see.

Is Joy the baby from the banker’s box?

We know Joy is 16 as she tells her age to the group of friends she makes at the hotel. Annie looks to be somewhere between 14 and 18 years old in the opening scene of episode one Let The River Run. With that in mind, Annie would be in her early to mid-thirties. It is conceivable that the baby in the box was Joy, but it is just as likely that it was a red herring. Annie Wilkes in King’s misery was an angel of death to a number of babies prior to kidnapping author Paul Sheldon. It was never proven but strongly suggested she murdered the infants. The infant in the box could be one of those unfortunate children and Joy is an altogether different baby. It is strongly implied Joy is the child in the box, however. She could be a result of incest, rape, or an affair with an older man who took advantage of Annie. It is hard to imagine the prim and proper Annie being overcome by lust in a normal setting.

What is in the locked box?

Birth certificates and pictures from her romance are strong possibilities. It is something she needs hidden from even Joy which implies it relates to her.

How do dead people return?

The handy way Annie wields the ice cream scoop in episode one leaves little doubt Ace was dead. There is no coming back from that kind of injury. By burying him in the bowels of Marsten House, Annie inadvertently created a vampire, ghost, zombie(?) who is now creating a small army of like-minded monsters. In Salem’s Lot, Hubie Marsten the original owner was an evil man and the next owner Barstow is a vampire who tries to turn the entire town. I’m not sure what they would all eat if they turned all the humans but never mind that. The house seems to have a new resident caretaker and it is the unpleasant piece of work Ace. He told his Dad he made a pit stop in Derry the home of Pennywise. Clearly Pennywise and the evil that controls the house are connected. Somehow the bathtub of clear goo allows people to keep coming back as witnessed by Abdi’s henchmen who die in the house and later eats a raw egg(gross) and the policeman who attempts to arrest Ace.

How is the Marsten House significant?

The Marsten House is a significant dwelling in Salem’s Lot. It is originally home to Hubie Marsten and later Kurt Barstow. It is a place of great evil and is said to summon those who have evil inside. Ace Merrill is now hanging out there where he has already created several undead. The house looks over Abdi’s mall construction and the town of Jerusalem’s Lot. It is rundown overrun with junkies and homeless people.

Who are the major players?

This season the major players are Annie Wilkes from Misery and her daughter Joy. Ace, Chris and Pop Merrill along with step siblings Dr. Nadia H and Abdi. There are side characters including Chance a potential love interest for Joy who live at the Stargazer Lodge along with Annie and Joy.

What does Lithium treat?

The cocktail Annie is self-medicating with are all antipsychotics used in the treatment of a number of mental illnesses. Among those are paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Annie seems to suffer from at least one of those illnesses.

Why is Annie obsessed with Let The River Run?

Let the River Run by Carly Simon was released in 1989 as part of the soundtrack of Working Girl. It won an Academy Award for Best Original Song that same year. If she was a young teenager when this movie came out she would be familiar with the song and it might have marked one of the final times before whatever terrible event happened that found her running in the woods bloodied.

Who is Ace Merrill?

He is a returning character from season one who did not have a major role in last season’s plot. This season he has a more prominent role serving as the master of Marsten House. For all intents and purposes, he is the Kurt Barlow of the decrepit estate now. The novel Salem’s Lot introduced the King Universe to this evil house where Hubie Marsten first lived and eventually killed himself and his family. Later Barlow and Straker live in the house. One is the head vampire, and Straker runs an antique shop and acts as his Renfield. Ace is the nephew of Pop Merril a war veteran and somewhat shady businessman who runs Emporium Gallorium among other less legal enterprises. His step siblings include Abdi and Nadia, Somalian refugees Pop fostered after the war. Ace is an unhappy, brute of a man who has very few redeeming qualities. He is mean, racist, violent, misogynistic, and vile. He is the primary antagonist in The Body and a secondary antagonist in Needful Things. 

If the first three episodes have shown us anything it is that this is a whole new beast. The protagonist is also an antagonist, bad guys rise from the dead, brutal extended scenes of self-mutilation are reveled in, and the past can’t ever be outrun in season two of Castle Rock. Ms. Wilkes has a way with words, and they sum things up the best. “He’s the roach you can see, the rest are in the walls” There is an insidious corruption in Castle Rock and the surrounding areas. It is spreading and when Annie Wilkes looks like the hero, you know you are in trouble. Episode four premieres next Thursday.


  1. Pingback: Castle Rock Season 2 Episode 8: Dirty-Review- All The Questions Remaining - Signal Horizon Magazine

  2. Lithium treats Bipolar mania and can help with Bipolar depression, it is a mood stabilizer. I’m going to guess she is Schizoaffective with Bipolar Disorder based on the medication she named. Risperdal and Haldol are antipsychotics. She probably has some personality disorders as well.


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