Wednesday, November 13, 2019

REVIEW: 'Castle Rock' - Joy Makes a Major Choice About Her Path With Either Annie or Rita in 'The Mother'

Hulu's Castle Rock - Episode 2.06 "The Mother"

A familiar face arrives 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 next episode of Hulu's Castle Rock.

"The Mother" was written by Daria Polatin & Vince Calandra and directed by Mark Tonderai-Hodges

Joy is faced with a choice here. She is presented with two mothers who desperately want her to go with them. She feels torn because she doesn't know how to process all of the information being delivered to her. She is told that the woman who has raised her for her entire life is a killer. She is actually her half-sister who killed their father and seriously injured Joy's birth mother. Joy reached out to Rita in the hopes of better understanding her mother. Instead, she finds a woman determined to finally bring closure after all these years. She wants to hold onto hope that justice can be found and delivered. Her daughter, Evangeline, can be returned to her and Annie will face punishment for her crimes. And yet, Rita has spiraled in the years since - first with her recovery and then becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. Again, this season has teased that the opioid crisis has ravaged this community and has brought a huge focus to the hospital in their efforts to provide treatment. However, that is mostly just a simmering concern in the background that helps shade some of these characters. It proves that Rita is far different from the last time Annie interacted with her. In fact, both women reach for their guns the moment they face off. Of course, Annie no longer has hers. She just has the bullets. She doesn't know it's missing until she needs it. There are people in this world conspiring to control her. She is flailing around because she has lost the one thing she always thought brought purpose to her life. People tell her exactly where Joy is. She is in a group home while DCFS has opened a case to determine what's best for Joy's ongoing health. It's important for her to get as far away from Annie as possible. Rita presents as a valid alternative. And yet, she is also a stranger who is projecting a whole lot onto this interaction. It's devastating for Joy's entire world to implode. That's what the season has been about so far. Annie is willing to do anything for her daughter. That includes taking the fall for Rita's murder. That's what all of this is building towards. It's shocking that Joy decides that she can't be with either of these women. She doesn't know what she wants from her life. It's simply more tempting to hit the road with Chance to North Carolina. That may honestly be the best thing for her simply because of the chaos and destruction quickly ramping up in Castle Rock. Sure, that has created a very divided narrative. Annie's desperate need to keep her family together is a very emotionally taut storyline that gives the season a lot of weight and purpose. Meanwhile, Ace is bringing various Satanist spirits back to life for some nefarious reason. He revers Annie to a certain extent because of just how lethal and unsettling she can be. That's a body that is befitting whomever he holds in special regard. That tease mostly just allows things to be uncertain later on when Annie and Rita have their confrontation. It always seemed unlikely that Annie would be killed right now because she is positioned as the protagonist despite her many horrifying actions. She may be the only hope of saving this town from the mysterious threat quickly gaining traction. But now, she will be confined to prison leaving Joy in anguish over being responsible for Rita's death. That may not serve anyone well. Joy has been damaged by the world simply because of the horrifying world views people have ascribed to her and tried to get her to embrace. She thought she was doing what was right to protect Annie. It just delivered another fatal outcome that ensured this family drama will end one way or another in Castle Rock. But again, Ace already has a plan for Annie. So, it's unlikely she'll spend much time in prison. It just remains very unclear how these various narrative pieces will fit in with one another. The Satanist storyline especially feels like the show is keeping its distance for no real reason whatsoever. It's mostly just trying to gather some steam while also avoiding talking about what's actually going on. Meanwhile, Nadia is lashing out at her family because of the revelation regarding Pop's role in her mother's death in Somali. But again, the narrative essentially has to concoct reasons why these characters remain in Castle Rock as long as they do despite better judgment dictating that they should leave as soon as possible. Lip service is paid to that idea in Nadia's story but nothing really comes of that at the moment.