Castle Rock is the answer to your Stephen King fix while waiting for part two of It, the Pet Sematary remake, his next book, whatever King property you’re waiting for. For each episode, we’re taking a look at each episode of Castle Rock to see its connections to the rest of the vast King library.
This week we’ll be taking a look at episode four, “The Box.” If you’d like to catch up–or avoid some possible spoilers–take a look at our articles for the first episode and episodes two and three, then come back here!
The first thing I noticed about this episode were some more details in the intro. We actually see some book titles typed out. One is Cujo, King’s book about a gentle dog that goes on a rampage after contracting rabies. We know that this has happened within the canon of the show.
Next is Misery, which is intriguing. That book is about a mega fan who imprisons her favorite author after saving him from a devastating car crash. This book is set in Colorado, not too far from The Shining, actually, so I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t just a random name-drop or a real plot tease.
Finally, there’s a fragment of a picture of an awful, grinning, made-up mouth. It’s got to be It, though I don’t really believe we’ll be seeing any of Pennywise within this show. It’s outside of the being’s “feasting” years, and Bill Skarsgård, who plays It in the new film, already has a role as a mostly mute inmate in Shawshank.
In the beginning of this episode, we heard a little more from Henry Deaver’s dead father about the devil coming in the form of a little boy, implied to be Skarsgård’s character. Again, the more I hear this, the more I become convinced that this is the young years of Randall Flagg, King’s big bad that appears in a number of his books, such as The Stand, The Dark Tower series, and “Children of the Corn.”
The mostly mute inmate spoke extensively for the first time in this episode when he was being threatened by a lawman. He stands and spits out some biblical language about being “dipped in blood“–he isn’t exactly quoting out of the Bible, but the fervor is there. King often displays a fascination with this evangelical religious fervor, especially in regards to how it can be twisted into something truly evil and perverse. It’s easy to imagine that Skarsgård’s character absorbed evangelical phrases while being lectured at by those who thought he was the devil incarnate. The character might also be convinced that he really is an positive religious figure suffering to gain his purpose.
I noticed for the first time that the bar/bowling alley Molly Strand often meets people at is The Mellow Tiger. This bar is featured predominantly in Needful Things; two murders take place there. It seems a little more high-end than it did in the book.
Deaver and Strand seem to have rekindled their old awkward friendship. While chatting in The Mellow Tiger, Deaver is distracted for a moment by some flashing images. He says that lately he’s been, “having these little ‘daydreams'” and Molly reassures him, saying she sees “pictures” of the past, as well as people.
In my article for episodes two and three, just about the only thing I had to say about episode three was that I suspected Strand had a touch of the Shining and Deaver may develop it as time goes on. Strand and Deaver’s conversation seems to support this prediction, as visions brought on by the Shining can act as intrusive daydreams and can sometimes incapacitate the viewer. Dick Halloran, in Kubrick’s version of The Shining, also describes the visions as being like “pictures in a book” to young Danny Torrance, who can see both the future and the past thanks to his ability. The similarity of language seems purposeful.
Strand, when attempting to sell a house, also mentions that a strangler died in the house she lives in and she sleeps fine. This is another reference to Frank Dodd, a serial killer in The Dead Zone. Depending on the age of the main characters, this could indicate a modified timeline of Castle Rock events.
That’s all we have for this week’s episode of Castle Rock; check back next week for our “Curiosities and Connections” article for episode five, after it is released on Hulu August 8! And if you think you noticed something that we missed, please let us know in the comments below.