Wednesday, October 23, 2019

REVIEW: 'Castle Rock' - Annie Uncovers the Horrors of the Past While Pop Searches for Ace in 'New Jerusalem'

Hulu's Castle Rock - Episode 2.02 "New Jerusalem"

The Merrills search for answers.

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 next episode of Hulu's Castle Rock.

"New Jerusalem" was written by K'naan Warsame and directed by Phil Abraham

The long-simmering tension within the Merrill family has exploded with Annie's presence in Castle Rock. Ace threw a molotov cocktail through Nadia and Abdi's window completely independent of Annie and Joy. He made that decision without them being involved in the slightest. However, he spiraled out because he feared Joy saw something and reported it to the police. Meanwhile, Annie was actually in the house when the fire started. That's how she came to learn of the bad blood between Ace and Abdi. In that moment, it was all about self-preservation for her. She had to get out of this place before the fire took her away from her daughter. She then had to kill Ace before he could do the same to her family. That response is her general impulse. This hour opens with her in a completely strange and foreign environment. One that highlights the eery history of this community. New construction is happening in the world above to make way for the future. But all it takes is one wrong step to be plummeted to the horrors of the past below. There may be a way out of this catacomb through a secret passageway. But that highlights how this community still has its roots in this trauma. There is still a way down there for people to experience all of this without needing to fall through the ground. Annie may have made it back to the construction site to cover up her work before anyone learned what happened. However, it seems like only a matter of time before things unravel for her once more. That's what incentivizes her to leave this place. It's not a strange concept for her to pack up Joy and hit the road. It's the natural state of their lives frankly. They never stay in a place for too long. Annie may have made a promise to Joy. Everything has changed now though. Joy should be concerned about her mother coming home in the middle of the night covered in mud and blood. Instead, that confrontation paints a stark picture of just how domineering Annie can be. She may no longer be able to control her daughter though. Joy is lashing out in hopes of interacting with the world. That highlights how much her mother has deceived her. Joy's innocence was taken away from her a long time ago. But now, she is learning some of the dark truths about what her mother is capable of. She simply wants to know the truth. She isn't interested in running away or turning her back on her mother. She just wants to know why they are running. That honesty could foster a more open and genuine conversation between them. Instead, Nadia is the one who gets a small peak into this dysfunctional relationship. She may be wrong to place so much sympathy and compassion in Annie. She will likely come to regret giving her a prescription. That hasn't stabilized Annie at all. Sure, she views these pills as a cure-all for her woes. When she gets overwhelmed, she can simply take a pill. However, she is still being haunted by the people she has killed. That likely explains how Paul Sparks is a series regular this season despite being killed in the premiere. More importantly though, Ace's death sends Pop on a quest for the truth. He may think he knows what happened. He understands the feud between Abdi and Ace. He knows that it probably had lethal consequences. He does his best to step up. Instead, he underestimates Annie's ability to manipulate. She sends him after Abdi in such a vicious way. He may not act on his most dangerous impulses because he has love for the man he wanted to adopt once. However, his health is too compromised at the moment for him to get the answers he seeks. Chaos has invaded his world. It has completely destroyed this family. And yet, no one truly knows the extent of Annie's involvement just yet. That makes her such a pivotal operator in this world even though she fears the truth isn't far from catching up to her and her crimes. It's always lurking just over her shoulder in the form of a ghost. Meanwhile, Joy is just a few steps away from figuring out the horrors her mother is capable of pulling off. That doesn't even take into account that another killer appears to be on the loose as well. One who uses the Marsten House and what's underneath to conduct his or her lethal business.