Wednesday, October 23, 2019

REVIEW: 'Castle Rock' - Annie Wilkes and Her Daughter Land in Castle Rock After a Car Crash in 'Let the River Run'

Hulu's Castle Rock - Episode 2.01 "Let the River Run"

A nurse gets waylaid in Castle Rock.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Hulu's Castle Rock.

"Let the River Run" was written by Dustin Thomason and directed by Greg Yaitanes

Annie Wilkes does not want to be in Castle Rock. That seems like a very sensible position after everything that occurred during the first season. She only has to be here for a couple of days to hear the many horror stories that have happened in this town. It's a weird and dangerous environment. Of course, the narrative isn't shy about revealing Annie as a lethal and sinister threat as well. The opening montage depicts a mother and daughter traveling the country stealing from hospitals. It's a pattern that has existed for Annie and Joy for years. Joy has never had the chance to settle down before. She yearns for a more traditional life. She wants to hang out with friends. She wants to experience the world herself. Her mother is just insanely protective of her. Joy has compassion because she knows that her mother desperately needs these pills in order to keep functioning as a rational person in society. But again, that may just be a crutch that Annie holds onto in order to stop thinking about all of the horrible things she has done in her life. The first time she is seen isn't in the context as a mother. That may be a predominate quality for her. It may consume her every thought. But before that reveal, she is seen covered in blood in a secluded patch of woods. She is a killer. People should rightfully be concerned about her when she is off her meds. And yet, these pills may not curb these violent tendencies either. They may allow her to present as a reasonable mother. However, there are plenty of red flags for people to be concerned about. All she has to do is be in one spot for some time for people to start putting the clues all together. That's what makes it miraculous when she decides to start planting some roots in Castle Rock. She doesn't like this place. She can list all of the reasons why the people who live here are actually trapped believing their crummy lives is all that's possible. However, she views this as a sustainable place for her family because she can manipulate Nadia into giving her a real prescription for her medication. She is caught for the first time trying to steal drugs. That comes from the extensive security around the pills in hospitals because of just how vast and crushing the opioid crisis has gotten. It means she has to be more crafty to get her fix. She excels at doing so though. She breaks into Nadia's home to steal her key card. She escapes the burning building without being detected at all. Nadia's brother, Abdi, believes that it was Ace who caused the damage. Ace is furious that Abdi is stealing all of his loyal business tenants in Jerusalem's Lot. He too is much more cynical about the world. He will intimidate others to get exactly what he wants. He will burn down a house not caring who might be inside. When he thinks Joy is the reason why the police are interrogating him, he threatens Annie to keep her daughter in line. He believes himself to be the benevolent landlord of this world. He sees all that goes on by the people caught up in his web. He mostly uses that to try to control others. He may know that Annie is wanted for murder but he still thinks he can threaten her. She proves that she is a killer. She doesn't even have to use a knife. She can eliminate him as a threat with an ice cream scooper. That is such a brutal and gruesome visual. Annie presents as someone who would do anything for her daughter. She may try to justify all of her murderous impulses. However, she is now a member of Castle Rock society. She wants to plant roots here with Joy. She may fit right in based on the number of lives she has taken. And yet, there are constantly unraveling secrets in this world. Everyone has their own agenda in the hopes of gaining prosperity. The people of this world cross paths with each other not knowing the true horrors that are lurking nearby. At any moment though, the ground beneath them can open up and swallow them whole. That too is very terrifying and throws Annie into more dangerous situations.