Episode 8: Past Perfect
Starring: André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgård, Jane Levy, Lauren Bowles, Mark Harelik, Chosen Jacobs
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Writers: Mark Lafferty, Based in the works of Stephen King
Reviewed by Sidney Morgan.
This review CONTAINS SPOILERS. You’ve been advised!
Wow! That was quite the episode. There’s no doubt that the end of the show is near as the actions are becoming more desperate, yet with purpose. There’s urgency and anxiety in the behaviours of Henry (André Holland), Molly (Melanie Lynskey) and the Kid (Bill Skarsgård), though it still isn’t clear what kind of ending awaits them. But in an effort to tease the viewers, after Henry’s encounter in the forest and Ruth’s outstanding episode, the story doesn’t return to them right away. Rather focusing on a side story, perhaps meant to distract or perhaps meant to tie in some of the back stories.
Gordon (Mark Harelik) and Lillith (Lauren Bowles), who we met in an earlier episode, have finalized their purchase of Dale’s house. Having left their old lives behind, they decide to turn the place into a themed Bed & Breakfast. Given the number of murders and tragedies that have occurred in Castle Rock, including right in Dale’s house, it’s no surprise that our new residents have chosen this as the theme. Dummies are used to recreate some of the murders, but what Gordon probably didn’t expect is that he would be carrying out his own acts. Lillith helps him cover up the crime, but not before attracting the attention of none other than Castle Rock’s historical guru, Jackie. And lucky for Henry, as her help comes in handy later.
After Molly rescues Henry from the trailer (notice that the women of Castle Rock seem to be the ones always doing the saving…), he returns home. Imagine his unsettled surprise when he sees the Kid there. After making sure Ruth (Sissy Spacek) and Wendell (Chosen Jacobs) are alright, the Kid shows him Alan’s body. And that’s when things become strange. As the police arrive, the Kid tells Henry that he saved him from the basement and that he’s waited 27 years for him to be ready. What? Really? So the Kid knows what happened to Henry? But instead of asking for an explanation, Henry thinks that the basement in question has to be Dale’s and decides to investigate.
Henry goes on to break and enter into the new B&B. He finds nothing in the basement, but upstairs, he sees all of the paintings of the Kid. When he begins to search for the artist, not only does he find out it was Dale, but with the dates, it confirms what Alan had already said. The Kid hasn’t aged a day in 27 years!
So, who, or rather what, is the Kid? And if this is, in fact, the basement used in Henry’s captivity, was Dale behind it? If so, why? There has to be a reason he told the Kid to ask for Henry Deaver once found, but what is it? Maybe we should be asking who Henry is? After all, Officer Reese (Jayne Atkinson) makes a damning comment, telling Henry that he is a lightning rod for death, that wherever he goes, death follows. And she’s got a point. Castle Rock’s body count spiked once he arrived. And really, how successful was he as a death row lawyer?
Meanwhile, unable to deal with the images that are flooding her mind, Molly resorts to taking pills again. It’s probably why she can’t sense that Henry is in danger, but she does need to speak to him about her visions. On her way to Ruth’s, she notices that the lights are on at her mother’s house. She stops to investigate and finds the Kid sitting on the staircase. He needs her help with Henry, to get him ready. But ready for what? When she meekly tries to decline, he tells her things about the house that he couldn’t have known. At all.
But the true horror, what’s most terrifying is that as they stand by the window, he points to the forest and tells her it is where she died. Yup, he uses the past tense. And she doesn’t argue because she had that vision, which is what prompted her to take her pills in the first place. So what does it mean? Could this be an alternate future? Or could the Kid be playing tricks with her mind? In any case, Molly is terrified, frozen. And Melanie Lynskey continues to be brilliant.
The episode was incredible. It was fun to return to Henry, Molly, the Kid, and Jackie. However, I was frustrated by one thing. After all that talk of the schisma, the time Henry spent in the crude anechoic chamber, nothing is shared with us, the viewers. What did he hear? Or see? Is there any truth to this “voice of God”? I am expecting answers and assume that it’s something the writers simply chose to reveal later.
- When Henry returns to Ruth’s house, he walks up the stairs, the camera acting as our eyes, looking at the house at a slight angle. It was eerily reminiscent of Norman Bates (Psycho) walking up to his mother’s house. Well done.
- Past Perfect is another reference to time and the past. Grammatically, it refers to an action that took place prior to some time in the past. Could this action be something that happened in Dale’s basement? Could it be about Molly’s vision?
- In a clear homage to her dear uncle Jack (The Shining), Jackie Torrance comes to Henry’s aid, using an ax!
- You might have noticed that Wendell gets off the bus in Jerusalem’s Lot, the setting for Salem’s Lot!
- Speaking of Wendell, guess like father like son applies here, as the sudden ringing in his ear begins, right after the crow slams into the bus.
Following The Queen was not going to be an easy feat. Sissy Spacek gave an incredible, emotionally packed performance. But Past Perfect is a great return to the main story and does not disappoint. It’s going to be sad when the show finally comes to an end, at least with these characters. But it isn’t over yet. With all of the events, two burning questions still remain: who is the Kid and what happened to Henry 27 years ago?