Season 1 | Episode 4 | ‘The Box’ | Aired August 1, 2018
In the fourth episode of Hulu’s series Castle Rock, we don’t seem to get many King multiverse references. Molly still has the shining. The character of Josef Desjardins shares a last name with the sympathetic gym teacher at Carrie’s school in Carry as Rita Desjardin. But the big one, if it is one at all confirmed a suspicion I have had since the hidden prisoner has been seen.
In the King multiverse, the devil takes many forms, but he is the same character throughout tied together by King’s magnum opus The Dark Tower series. The devil in King’s worlds is The Crimson King. He can transform his appearance and control subjects. He is all-powerful and is King’s ultimate evil, even outclassing IT. His most famous incarnation is Randall Flagg from The Stand. Flagg has appeared in many novels as himself, I’ll mention the ones that have already been brought up or take place in Castle Rock; Children of the Corn, ‘Salem’s Lot, Hearts in Atlantis, and Gwendy’s Button Box.
When there is an unknown evil in King’s works, you can assume The Crimson King (or Randall Flagg) has something to do with it, and you’d be right more times than not. So, when the unknown prisoner is found, and throughout the show, you learn there is more to him than meets the eye, I jump to The Crimson King. Especially when the word “devil” is thrown around. Well in the fourth episode of Castle Rock we get our first sentences from the prisoner in the box, and they are, “He has a name. He has a name written on him which no one knows except himself. He’s clothed with a robe dripped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God.” So Crimson King or servant of the Crimson King, yeah? If I were right in thinking this show would ultimately be trying to explain the evil that happens in the town of Castle Rock, as IT does to Derry, then a servant or even the King himself would undoubtedly be that force.
Alright, on to the episode. Once again, the acting is very on point and impressive. The location of the town feels small and ominous, and the characters that might know what is going on are still suspicious and quiet.
Henry is finally starting to have some memories of before being found on the lake, and they include being trapped in a cage. A cage on a dusty floor with stairs outside of it, so not the same enclosure as our prisoner but the same idea. Outside the cage, we see a rope, and he is playing with a car in the dirt, a callback to Dale Lacy’s choice of suicide. But at this point with Molly’s abilities and her murder of Henry Deaver’s father I’m leaning towards him as the captor over Lacy.
Shawshank employee Zalewski has had enough. He is trying to help Deaver’s investigation as much as he can, but Deaver due to drama from his mother and Alan are making him regret coming back to the town. He is ready to take the deal to let the prisoner out, but Zalewski is sick of the evil of the city going ignored.
Henry has his father’s body moved back to the church where he was a pastor and wants to take his mother to Texas with him to put her in assisted living. He tells Alan this, who fights it and claims that on his deathbed Henry’s father confessed that Henry did it. Alan tells Henry’s mom, and she is not a fan. So much so that Henry is willing to take the prison’s deal and pull the prisoner out with an apology of $300,000.
Henry also goes to a Josef Desjardins house, which is close to the part of the lake that Henry was missing from. There he finds a man that was briefly a suspect but ruled out by Alan himself. There is a wooden shed in his backyard with food in a bowl in it. Although there are no stairs, so it wouldn’t seem this is the same cage in which Henry was being held. Desjardins also has Henry’s missing person case file that he saved from the dump as he is a hoarder.
Henry is ready to leave town. He meets Molly at the local bar, and they talk about visions and flashes of the past before they are interrupted by an excited Zalewski who has been playing boy detective and drew up a picture of the now destroyed cage. Henry informs him that he is going to take the deal and go back to Texas.
Zalewski doesn’t take this well as the final scene of the episode is him going on a shooting rampage of corrections officers in Shawshank. We see a lot of it from the view of the observation room monitors, and it looks reminiscent of the scene earlier in the series where Zalewski has a vision of the prisoner getting out and guards appearing dead. He kills his way to the warden’s office where he finds Henry and after saying, “I want to testify” he is gun downed.
The show so far for me is interesting. It has an excellent central mystery and great acting, but the horror elements are dwarfed by other horror television shows on right now such as American Horror Story and Channel Zero. If you’re watching for the scares, you may need to bail as I do not see many coming. It has tense moments, but they don’t feel dangerous to the main cast, and they don’t even feel relevant to the shows central mystery. And for being the show’s central mystery, five minutes every week isn’t going to cut it, even if it does involve The Crimson King.
Castle Rock airs Wednesdays at 12 a.m. on Hulu