“When continuity is interrupted, everything starts to slide.”
Well, we were begging for answers. And we got some pretty crazy ones this week.
Way back in the very first episode of Hulu’s “Castle Rock,“ a mysterious man (played by Pennywise himself, Bill Skarsgård) was found deep in the bowels of Shawshank, where he had been imprisoned by the warden for 27 years. Freed from his makeshift cell, “The Kid” was asked for his name. “Henry Deaver,” he told us. He was telling the truth. We just didn’t listen.
Last week, I had noted that watching “Castle Rock” is like trying to put together a puzzle, only there are so many pieces missing and someone keeps tossing pieces from other puzzles onto the pile. This week’s episode, titled ‘Henry Deaver,’ picked up all those pieces and threw them up in the air for a mind-bending 45 minutes that essentially rewrote everything we thought we knew about the series’ storyline. And by the time they landed back down, they formed an entirely different puzzle than the one we thought we were building these past nine weeks.
A puzzle, in many ways (but surely not all ways just yet), finally complete.
So what’s going on in Castle Rock? Well, ‘Henry Deaver’ managed to answer the two main questions that we’ve been asking ourselves throughout the season thus far:
1) What happened to Henry Deaver as a young boy, back in 1991?
2) Who/what the hell is “The Kid”?
The answers to both questions are highly otherworldly in nature, with ‘Henry Deaver’ informing us that there are multiple timelines/universes that can be accessed through a portal/thinny in the woods of Castle Rock (that’s J.J. Abrams for ya). What happened to young Henry? He traveled through the portal and was temporarily trapped in an alternate reality.
Who is “The Kid”? He’s… uh… he’s actually Henry Deaver too. To break it down as neatly as possible, Skarsgård’s Henry exists in one reality. Andre Holland’s in another.
Crazy, but none of this craziness came entirely out of left field, as the character Odin explained to us what’s going on in the woods of Castle Rock back in Episode 6, titled ‘Filter’…
“Other heres. Other nows. All possible pasts, all possible presents. Schisma is the sound of the universe… trying to reconcile them.“
This piece of dialogue is the key to understanding the events of ‘Henry Deaver,’ which mostly took place in an alternate universe. This week, Bill Skarsgård played the role of Henry Deaver, a doctor who has just made an incredible breakthrough on his quest to correct the disease his mother Ruth suffers from, Alzheimer’s. This version of Henry returns to Castle Rock when he learns his father has killed himself, and it’s there that he finds and rescues a boy in his estranged father’s basement: a young Henry Deaver (Caleel Harris). Yeah, they went there.
After, the alternate version of Adult Henry reunites with childhood friend Molly Strand, and the two of them are led out into the woods by the young boy who we know to be Henry Deaver. It’s in the woods that the big reveal is made, with Adult Henry (Skarsgård) traveling through a portal and arriving in the show’s main version of Castle Rock (where he doesn’t belong) and Young Henry (Holland) returning to the show’s main reality (where he belongs). As for Molly, she’s accidentally shot dead out in the woods by an alternate version of Dennis Zalewski (Noel Fisher) in the alternate universe, the same man who went on a shooting spree in the other universe. But don’t worry, she’s still alive in the main reality we’ve been inhabiting.
Yes, there are *at least* two different realities for everyone in Castle Rock, and the gifted Henry Deaver has traveled between those realities. In Universe A, which the series has primarily been set in, Henry (Andre Holland) is the adopted son of Ruth and Matthew Deaver, who spent many years locked up in the basement of Universe B’s unrelated Matthew Deaver… perceived as mere days in Universe A. He grows up, moves away from Castle Rock and becomes a death row attorney, returning to the town to defend “The Kid” after he’s found in Shawshank.
In Universe B, Henry (Bill Skarsgård) is the biological son of Ruth and Matthew Deaver, who moves away from Castle Rock and becomes a doctor, returning to his hometown after his father kills himself. After discovering and saving Universe A’s Henry, Universe B’s Henry crosses over into Universe A, where he’s captured by Dale Lacy and held captive at Shawshank.
Two ordinary men. Wrongfully imprisoned due to the belief that they were each the Devil.
All along, we’ve been watching Universe A’s Henry interact with Universe B’s Henry, the two realities bleeding together without Universe A’s Henry (or us) ever realizing it. What’s the secret behind all the nightmares that have been consuming Castle Rock? Well, it seems the bleed-over of different realities has been messing with the town big time.
Never the twain shall meet, lest all hell break loose. You know the drill.
Henry Deaver’s entire existence is vastly different depending on which universe’s Henry we’re talking about (he’s a special case, after all, having been biologically created by a couple in one universe and adopted by that same couple in another), but the lives of the town’s other residents are also quite different depending on the universe. In Universe B, for example, Ruth and Alan Pangborn moved away from Castle Rock when they were younger, Ruth escaping her abusive husband in the way Universe A’s Ruth was never able to. The town itself is quite different as well, depending on the universe, with Universe A’s Castle Rock being run down and haunted by its past and Universe B’s Castle Rock presented as a much livelier, happier place.
If Universe B’s Henry was returned to Universe B, would the darkness over Universe A’s Castle Rock lift and become more like that alternate place? It seems Skarsgård’s version of Henry Deaver is indeed a plague on the town, not because he’s evil but simply because he’s been brought into a world that he’s not actually supposed to be part of. In his own world, Skarsgård’s Deaver is by all accounts a good man, leaving behind a (possibly pregnant) wife when he was displaced into Universe A. We wonder, how much time has passed in his world’s timeline?
More importantly, where does “Castle Rock” go from here? With only one episode remaining, we expect the series’ mystery box madness to only get more intriguing in its final hour.
Here’s hoping it all comes together in a satisfying way next week.