"Romans" – Castle Rock S01E10 Review

And so with "Romans" they wrap up the first season of Castle Rock with... nothing.

If you were expecting answers to any of the show's pressing questions, too bad. We never find out who or what the Kid is. Or if he was telling the truth last week about his story of coming from an alternate dimension. Or why people tended to drop dead and go berserk around him. We were supposed to think last week the Kid was an innocent bystander, maybe cursed with some kind of "bad things" magnet because of his transition between worlds.

But then the Kid apparently took time out of his busy schedule to leave a soap figurine with Warden Porter. Who was a jerk, admittedly. And I suppose you could consider her sorta of responsible for the Kid's imprisonment, albeit the last couple of days of it. And the Kid did vow revenge on everyone responsible for his being in Shawshank, and she got run over by a bus shortly after she got the figurine. Still, it seems a stretch to claim she was responsible for the Kid being locked in the cage for decades.

But let's recap, since this is even more confusing out of sequence. Henry drives back to Castle Rock and his car gets hit by a flight of crows. He slams into a pile of concrete bricks, passes out, and a guy wakes him up the next morning while ranting about how crow attacks are caused by global warming. James Nguyen, eat your heart out!

Meanwhile, the Kid asks Molly if she believes his story about passing between dimensions. She says she wants to, and he asks her to convince Henry to come out into the woods with him and use his gift of hearing the schisma to lead him to the doorway so he can return to his dimension. Or so the Kid claims. The Kid asks Molly to have Henry meet him at the town cemetery.

Wendell wanders back into Castle Rock and comes across the RV in the forest where Odin was murdered (and his body moved) by... someone. We never find out who. If he was trying to track the schisma, wouldn't the Kid want him alive whether he was good or bad, sociopath or sexy cad? So I guess the Kid didn't kill Odin, so who did?

State trooper Daria arrests Henry for Odin's murder, helped by Willie saying Henry and Odin had an argument. Maybe Willie murdered Odin? Odin did say he was going to deafen Willie, so maybe Willie didn't take that well. Daria doesn't seem to suspect the only person in town who knew Odin, but instead settles on Henry as the possible killer because Henry is a trouble magnet.

During all of this, Porter returns home and finds the soap figurine on her end table. She shows it to Molly at the factory while checking to see if the Kid is there. He isn't, and Porter gets run over as she walks away. By a prison bus holding the inmates they're evacuating from Shawshank. The irony! Even if the bus must have driven in circles since it left the prison the previous night.

When Molly tells Henry the Kid is at the cemetery (looking at the gravestone of his alternate self, who died as a baby), Henry tells the police. They arrest the Kid and toss him into a cell next to Henry. Then they bring in the inmates from the bus. The inmates go berserk, attack each other, kill the guards, run through the station, kill the officers and Willie, and then run out into the streets and cause chaos.

When he and Molly are talking, Henry tells Molly to take Wendell to Boston and then head somewhere south. Ruth died four months after the main story ended and is buried with Alan.

The Kid takes Henry at gunpoint out into the woods. We do find out what happened to Matthew: Young Henry pushes him off a cliff when Matthew said he was going to kill Ruth for cheating on him with Alan. Henry then jumps the Kid, who briefly reverts to an aged face and then back to "normal" as Henry grabs the Kid's gun.

Cut to "One Year Later". Henry is staying in Castle Rock working as a property lawyer. Molly has moved to Florida and does real estate while visiting her mother. And we find out Henry has locked the Kid back up in his cage in Shawshank, and visits him from time to time. They have a cryptic conversation and after Henry leaves, the Kid smirks.

In the end teaser, Jackie writes up a blog about her putting an ax in Gordon's head. And then tells Dean Merrill she's going back to the Overlook Hotel to put an end to the story she's writing. Which may or may not be season 2. You wouldn't think a show named Castle Rock would take place primarily somewhere else, but who knows? They haven't done much with Jackie (Jane Levy) in season 1.

So was Castle Rock any good? Eh. It had lots of good cinematography: you can't go wrong with snow-covered landscapes. See also Wynonna Earp. The acting and music were good to great. Sissy Spacek and Melanie Lynskey in particular on the acting part. Andre Holland (who seemed to channel Morgan Freeman via The Shawshank Redemption with his end narration) and Bill Skarsgard as well. As noted, Jane Levy never had much to do.

But most viewers were concerned about the story. And it never quite seemed to come together. The Kid was evil incarnate, but whether he was actively evil or passively so was never explained. They started out making him really evil, then with episode 9 seemed to suggest he was just a bewildered dimensional traveler with evil hanging around him.

With the season finale, they seemed to go back to "The Kid is an evil demon". He leaves the figurine for Porter, he gets his demon face on in the woods, and he smirks and taunts Henry in the last scene. There seems to be a lot more going on there then we've been told. Castle Rock is supposedly an anthology series. But then again, so is American Horror Story. Being an anthology doesn't preclude a continuing storyline spread through multiple seasons. So the Kid and/or Henry could show up again.

There were lots of other little bits that didn't seem to get answers, either. For instance... who killed Odin? And why? The murder puts Henry and the Kid in the same cell near the end, which moves the plot forward. But it doesn't seem to actually accomplish anything or get any kind of answer.

And why is Castle Rock "cursed"? Was the Kid the reason for the curse? But the town has been around since long before the Kid arrived. So he's not the source of the curse. Did the curse bring him to Castle Rock, just because it's a cursed kind of place and stands near at least one "thinny"? Did the curse turn the Kid into... whatever the Kid is?

So overall Castle Rock was entertaining to watch. But it doesn't seem like there was much of a beginning and end for the story they were trying to tell. Even though King wasn't directly involved, it's another of his "endless cycle" story, which Jackie even signposts at the end. The Kid is in a cage, and a conflicted captor is watching over him. However, endless cycles don't typically make for entertaining television.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?

Written by Gislef on Sep 13, 2018

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