Welcome back to Castle Rock: Curiosities and Connections a column where we take a look at some of the connections between various Stephen King’s works in Castle Rock the new series available on Hulu. Today we’re looking at both episodes two and three.
The first thing I noticed with episode two, “Habeas Corpus,” was just a quick thing in the show’s intro. There’s a second spent on the table of contents of a book. One chapter is named “The Two Dead Girls.” It seems likely that this is a reference to The Green Mile, another Stephen King book-turned-movie set in a prison. The plot hinges on the murder of two young girls. This book was also originally released serially, in six slim volumes. The first volume was originally titled The Two Dead Girls.
There has also been some speculation that this refers to the two girls whose ghosts are seen in the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. This connection seems less likely to me, even if it would be the more recognizable reference. Interestingly, both The Shining and The Green Mile are a part of that small body of King works that do not take place in Maine.
When Henry Deaver flips through newspapers and ephemera early in the episode, he sees a newspaper headline about a rabid dog. Cujo, of course, a friendly Saint Bernard that got rabies from an errant bat in Cujo.
Deaver also visits a church where the people inside are reciting crimes and “sins” of locals. The “Strangler” mentioned was Frank Dodd, a serial killer/sheriff in The Dead Zone, who was finally fingered by the psychic Johnny Smith. He then committed suicide.
During this same scene, a fellow is described that had a history of indecent exposure and robbing graves. I confess that I missed the name, but it sounded an awful lot like Joubert, a serial killer in Gerald’s Game. He had a nasty history of serial killing, necrophilia, and cannibalism. Finally, a woman named Jackie Torrance is invited to speak. Jack Torrance is the name of the father in The Shining.
When describing the strangeness of the town of Castle Rock, a character relates a football injury, describing it as happening in 1961, around the time a “boy’s body [was found] out by the train tracks.” The whole goal of the journey the boys is Stand By Me/”The Body” was to see the dead body out there. This scene also features a man in a clown outfit committing suicide. It seems unlikely that this is Pennywise (it’s outside of its “feasting” years), but the events of It do take place in the neighboring town of Derry.
Molly Strand appears to use the old yarn mill as a base for projects. This might be reaching, but in the short story “Graveyard Shift” (and the movie!) a team descends into the bowels of a local textile mill and discovers thousands of disgusting, evolved, and ravenous rats wriggling around.
Nan’s Luncheonette is a local diner that appears in both Needful Things and its something-of-a-prologue “The Sun Dog.” It’s also mentioned in It, although It takes place in a different town.
One character mentions that Castle Rock is, legally, “no longer on the map.” I thought this was a nice, sly, tongue-in-cheek gag: Castle Rock is a fictional town invented by Stephen King (as are nearby towns Derry and Jerusalem’s Lot). It is literally not on the map.
This last one for episode two is more of speculation than anything else. The reasoning for imprisoning Bill Skarsgård’s character has a distinctly religious flair to it. It said that God gave the warden the idea to imprison him. Although King often focuses on how damaging fanatical religious behavior can be, it is sometimes used as a powerful force against the darkness. I almost wonder if Skarsgård’s character is an entrapped Randall Flagg, better known as the main antagonist of The Dark Tower series and The Stand. He is also rumored to be “He Who Walks Behind the Rows” in Children of the Corn. You know, Randall Flagg: the early years.
I actually didn’t notice too much in the third episode of Castle Rock, “Local Color.” The big thing I latched onto, though, is Molly Strand’s description of what others might term “clairvoyance.” She sees things, she feels what others are feelings, and some–like Henry Deaver–can’t be ignored. I immediately thought of Dick Halloran in The Shining, when he’s explaining how the semi-psychic ability he calls Shining works to young Danny Torrance. He says, “Some [people] shine and some don’t.” He is also overwhelmed by Danny’s ability to tap use the Shining.
Oftentimes the ability is cited in King’s other works, most notably in Carrie, where it’s implied that Carrie’s grandmother shone, and Carrie’s abilities might be a form of Shining, too. In the book Dolores Claiborne, Dolores talks about having an “inside eye” that opens and closes. At one point it even lets her see the events of another King book, Gerald’s Game. It almost makes me think that Deaver has some latent ability that will develop over time as well, considering how hard it is for Molly to just ignore him. Even the pills don’t seem to help her with that.
Likewise, Molly Strand is haunted by a manifestation of a dead man. He appears real and interacts with the world as if it was real, disappearing at the last moment. In Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining (the original book, not the Kubrick adaptation), the adult Danny Torrance was haunted for years by the ghost of the rotting lady in the tub. She would just appear to him and threaten him and try to take him away–until Dick Halloran taught him how to capture her in a part of his mind. This manifestation of Molly’s appears to be of the same nature.
That’s all we’ve got so far for these two episodes of Castle Rock. Did we miss anything you thought was obvious? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to check out our “Curiosities and Connections” article for episode one.
The fourth episode of Castle Rock will be available to stream on Hulu starting August 1.