Quote from Castle Rock by Ruth Deaver: “Life used to go in one direction, forward, like one of those people-movers at the airport. But somehow I got off it.”
I was looking forward to this show coming out on Hulu during the summer. I didn’t get around to it until August, then took me even more time to get back to it in September, and finally finished the last episode not too long ago in October. For Stephen King fans who can forgive his wordiness and copious description in his books, this will be the show for you because he can do no wrong. Now for those who have never read a book of his or cared for his movie adaptations that are centered around evil and good, life and death, sane and insane, have and have nots, well this probably won’t be the show for you. In other words, this isn’t the best adaptation of King that had been made.
The issue is not that it isn’t compelling because it grabs your attention. The issue is there are so many parts to it that you can’t keep left from right, up from down, and front from back. It’s a show where everything including the kitchen sink is found, and because of it, it’s highly confusing for someone who hasn’t and some that have read his books. Not saying you have to explain everything that every character does, but without adequate explanation you are left with too many unanswered questions. It needed a little more purpose for the back and forth between the past and present. The randomness of minor and major characters was okay, but the transitioning caused unnecessary confusion. There were times I was thinking so X happened, then why did Z happen?
The universal themes of the show such as future uncertainty, past influences, past mistakes, drug addiction, allure to darkness, different personas, effects of prison, and fear of the unknown are not what you have to grapple when the show ends. It’s the significance and meaning of the character played by Bill Skarsgård. I won’t go into detail of his character, but it begs a lot of questions: those with deeper meaning or possible multiple meanings. There’s basically spooky stuff going on throughout the show. It took me a while to be invested.
The actors who shined the most were André Holland as Henry Deaver, Bill Skarsgård as The Kid, and Adam Rothenberg as Reverend Matthew Deaver. Sissy Spacek as Ruth Deaver, Melanie Lynskey as Molly Strand, and Scott Glenn as Alan Pangborn deserve applause too. There were many additional cast members such as Francis Conroy, Rory Culkin, Aaron Staton, Terry O’Quinn, Ann Cusack, and Charlie Tahan. With this in mind, there are 10 episodes with a length of 60 minutes to see these characters interact together. It has a TV rating of MA (Mature Audience). I’m curious what Season 2 will bring. It has been renewed, but no release date yet. I would like to see fewer ideas jam packed into the next season or at least, have more of a direction of the different plots, and if they do intersect, see more definitive answer(s). I feel a little guilty about my rating because King is a master storyteller with great understanding of human interaction and problems. I’m glad I stuck with it to the end, but this is a watch one time only show for me.
Castle Rock gets Three Fingers with 75%.