Episode 3: Local Color
Starring: Melanie Lynskey, André Holland, Noel Fisher, Bill Skarsgård, Ann Cusack, Adam Rothenberg, Jane Levy
Director: Dan Attias
Writers: Gina Welch, Sam Shaw, Dustin Thomason, Based in the works Stephen King
Reviewed by Sidney Morgan
This review CONTAINS SPOILERS. You’ve been advised!
Two important moments happened at the end of the last episode. First, Henry finally got his proof that the kid (Bill Skarsgård) exists. For good measure, he takes a few pictures of him on his phone. Second, it’s revealed that Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn) knows far more than he’s let on so far. Not only was there his warning, albeit odd, to Warden Porter, but he has a letter from Dale.
In it, Dale explains that he’s got a plan to rid Castle Rock of the evil that resides there. So what does Alan do? He burns the letter. Hmmm… Why did he do that? What does he know of this evil? Did he know about Dale’s plan? Assuming he’s the Alan Pangborn, he’s seen his share of strange things in Castle Rock (Needful Things). So what is he afraid of? Alas, answers will have to wait as episode three does not feature Alan at all.
Local Color is a showcase episode for Melanie Lynskey, and what an episode it is! Ever since playing Pauline in Heavenly Creatures, she’s given many great performances. This time is no different. She’s an asset to Castle Rock. She plays Molly as strange and quiet (which she claims is due to her social anxiety), but her pensive gaze betrays an observational acuity or even a madness hidden under that facade (not unlike Anthony Perkins’ Norman Bates). But stranger still is her ability.
There’s no denying that Molly has the shine, or some version of it, like Danny Torrance in The Shining. It’s how she’s able to read people’s thoughts and feelings, though it’s stronger with some people, like Henry. But it’s more than that. When young Henry went missing in the middle of winter, her own breath became visible, as though she was outside with him. But she was inside her house, her warm house. And Molly fears this connection to Henry as she tells him, “when we’re together, things happen.” What these things might be, isn’t known yet, but it sounds exciting.
To assume Molly is kind and benevolent could be a mistake. There is the possibility she’s bad. (**SPOILER ALERT**) After all, she did commit a murder when she walked into Henry’s house and took his father, Reverend Matthew (Adam Rothenberg) off the respirator. (Did you notice how she walked to his house on the snow, barefoot, without so much as a wince?) But why did she do it? Did she read or sense something about him, something he did to Henry that she just couldn’t let him get away with? Or is there something else? Whatever the reason, it couldn’t have been easy as she’s literally haunted by the guilt.
Henry finally gets to meet his client, under the pretext that he’ll discuss the hush offer the warden is offering. But that meeting doesn’t quite go as expected, which isn’t all that surprising given the kid’s strange behavior so far. So while Henry rambles on about legal strategy, the kid asks whether it has begun… Come again? Has what begun? Could he be referring to that good v. evil battle Dale’s been going on about? And as if that wasn’t enough weirdness for Henry, the kid then asks, “Can you hear it now?” Woah! That’s the exact same thing Henry’s dad said to him as they entered the woods on the night he went missing!
Something is definitely happening. The past and present are reconnecting. The kid, Henry, and Molly have now met. But were they meant to? Are they necessary pieces to something or is there more? As we near the mid-way point of the series, some of the questions that keep piling up will need to be answered.
Local Color finally gives us a real dose of horror, all involving Molly. When she heads to the Timberland Motor Court, there’s an eerie Children of the Corn vibe. As she walks into a mock courtroom scenario run by masked children, they point to her and claim, “Guilty!” It’s an unsettling scene. Later, like Dennis, the Shawshank guard, she sees someone that isn’t there. But is she hallucinating, or is it a sign or message? After all, she does have some psychic ability. Whatever she’s seeing, it’s bizarre (listen to the words spoken during her ‘visions’, it’s revealing). Clearly, Henry’s return seems to have taken its toll on her. Oh, and running out of drugs doesn’t help her either.
Castle Rock is taking its time evolving the story. Character development, a strength of both King and Abrams, is the focus at this point. And it works! These people are incredibly interesting and complex, and the intrigue and suspense generated from their stories is increasing. Of course, the overall arc continues to develop as well. Enough pieces have been exposed so far to start putting them together, though it remains to be seen if the end game will work out for Castle Rock, as Dale intended.
Castle Rock is an incredibly well-crafted show, with each episode meeting and even exceeding the bar set at the beginning. The show creators have assembled all the elements necessary to make this must-see TV. From the sets, to the easter eggs/references, and the actors, this show continues to stand out and should not be missed.
Castle Rock is available on Hulu.