TV Review: Castle Rock – Episode 6: Filter

CASTLE ROCK 
Episode 6: Filter

Starring: André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgård, Sissy Spacek, Scott Glenn, Jane Levy, Chosen Jacobs, Rory Culkin, CJ Jones
Director: Kevin Hooks
Writers: Marc Bernardin, Vinnie Wilhelm, Based in the works Stephen King

Reviewed by Sidney Morgan

This review CONTAINS SPOILERS. You’ve been advised!

It’s night time. There’s a thin fog hanging in the air, and a pale blue light diffuses from the background, outlining two silhouettes. Like when Father Merrin arrives at Chris MacNeil’s house in The Exorcist, the scene is ominous and foreboding. The two men are in a standoff. Holding the Kid at gunpoint, Alan is angry at the hand life dealt him (a nod to his beloved Ruth) and just wants answers. But the Kid, as he’s done so many times already, won’t give any (at least ones we’re expecting or looking for). Instead, in the words of Vito Corleone (The Godfather), he makes Alan an offer he can’t refuse.

Alan (Scott Glenn) looking for an old wreck.

Alan (Scott Glenn) is a hopeless romantic. He’s in love with Ruth (Sissy Spacek) and has been for a long time. Seeing her suffer is tearing him apart, and when love is in play, rational thought often goes out the window. So it isn’t surprising that he agrees to complete one task for the Kid (Bill Skarsgård) in exchange for his help. But while Alan’s gone to retrieve Dale’s car (how the Kid knew where it was is either lazy writing or a sign he’s got an ability to know things), something happens at the Deaver household. When Alan returns, he’s alarmed to see blood on the Kid’s arm. But whose blood is it? He goes inside to look for Ruth, and… the show ends on that cliffhanger. Surely she can’t be dead, can she? She’s such a joy to watch!

Ruth is one confused woman. One minute she reads Henry like a book, confronting him about his plans to move her to Texas, while the next she tells him to go ask his father, who’s been dead many years, for answers to his questions. We’re given a medical reason, but it just seems too easy and obvious, making me question whether she really is suffering from dementia. Could there be an alternative explanation to what’s happening to her? When she explains to Wendell (Chosen Jacobs) the purpose of the chess pieces, she’s remarkably lucid. There’s something that rings true, though cryptic when she tells him that “we’ve been here before, this same conversation, and we’ll be here again.” Could it be that there’s a temporal anomaly in Castle Rock?

Wendell (Chosen Jacobs) and Ruth (Sissy Spacek) playing chess.

There are clues, obvious and subtle, sprinkled throughout the show to make a case that time is disjointed in Castle Rock. There’s the Kid’s agelessness, as well as Ruth’s odd behaviour. And in Filter, there’s Odin (CJ Jones) explanation of the ringing in Henry’s ear. He and Henry’s father tried to hone in on the sound, going so far as to build a room to isolate all sounds, except the ringing. And though there’s no denying there’s a ringing sound, I don’t think the source is as benevolent as Odin thinks. Nevertheless, he claims that the ringing is a sound that the universe emits trying to reconcile all of the nows and the thens, the pasts and the presents. So, maybe Ruth isn’t sick after all.

I dug the similarities with Twin Peaks in this episode. The woods around Castle Rock hold many secrets. Henry’s walk, trying to find answers about what his father did there, isn’t unlike Agent Cooper’s own excursion, seeking the entrance to the Black Lodge or the location of Jacques Renault’s cabin, both associated with dark outcomes. And this noise Henry hears, the schisma, comes from elsewhere, from another place. The Man from Another Place also made reference to sounds that could be heard sporadically in the real world, indicating their presence. Finally, when the Kid goes into Ruth’s house, he puts on a record, like Leland Palmer, who always had music in the air. If the parallels hold, it won’t bode well our characters in Castle Rock.

The Kid (Bill Skarsgård) snooping around.

The real terror in the show is the Kid. Bill Skarsgård just looks intimidating and creepy. For the first half of the show, there’s been somewhat of an innocence about him, being a victim of Dale’s plan. The Kid seemed lost, even vulnerable at times. But boy, oh boy! In Filter, things change as he takes charge and becomes menacing. He simultaneously manages to get Alan and Henry out of the house, presumably to get Ruth alone. He makes a monotone and cryptic comment about turning Dale’s car into a monument. And he finally asks the question, wondering why Alan never helped him all those years ago. Remaining calm thought it all makes it all the more terrifying, and it’s brilliant!

The Bare Bones:

  • Seems like going drug-free is letting Molly’s powers come back (great PSA isn’t it?). So, is she hallucinating due to withdrawal or does she actually see dead people?
  • Molly finally tells Henry she killed his father. She tells him she could feel the hate he felt for his dad and knew he wanted him dead. When she killed him, she says it was him acting through her. Crazy? Bonkers? Absolutely, yet as insane as she sounds, as he leaves, Henry looks as though he believes her.
  • Ruth and Wendell playing chess reminded me of Locke and Walt playing backgammon, or even Jacob and The Man in Black playing Sennet in Lost. And, is it a coincidence that she put the queen in her pocket, the most powerful piece on a chessboard?
  • The Kid puts on The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) by The Walker Brothers. It’s safe to say that with the events that are unfolding, this doesn’t bode well for Castle Rock.
  • Another alumni from IT made his appearance. Henry’s son Wendell is played by Chosen Jacobs, who played the young Mike Hanlon.

Verdict

Up until now, Castle Rock has given us bits and pieces about the various characters involved. Their present activities are shown, while past secrets are teased. In Filter, the best episode so far, it’s all starting to come together. Although the Kid seems to be on a personal vendetta mission, one can’t help but feel there’s more to his actions than simply ‘settling an old score.’

Once again, this episode delivers and maintains the high quality set by the previous ones. With only four left, the final act appears to have started, and it’s the Kid who’s made the first move. Who will be next? Will it be Henry? Molly? Or some yet unknown player? Castle Rock continues to shine with its outstanding storytelling.

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