This week’s episode of Hulu’s Castle Rock seems to be lighter on the Stephen King Easter Eggs, instead, it further developed a greater universe that the world of the show exists in (still within the King multi-verse however).
We depart from the straight supernatural and by the end of “Filter” have crossed over to science fiction, with the discovery of the cause of the strange sound that Henry (and others) have heard. It has been established that Ruth’s perception of reality differs from what the majority of us consider to be normal. Now we are thrown into a larger theory of interconnected phenomena.
I give credit to show creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason for slowly getting us (the audience) pulled in to the characters and events before going a little fringe-y. Let’s take a closer look at what happened this past week.
While re-burying his father, Henry is struck by the “tinnitus” in his ear. At first, it appears that Henry is the only person, save the new clergyman giving his sermon (reiterating a favorite phrase “Death is swallowed up in victory”), but there are two other unknown men in attendance. Henry spots them before they leave in a vintage camper, but no idea who they were.
Meanwhile, at the Deaver house, The Kid is going through the former head of household belongings, including audio recordings and video of his excursions in the woods with Henry. His jaunt through the Deaver’s past is interrupted by Alan, who The Kid sends on a mission to Syracuse to retrieve the car that Warden Lacy kidnapped him in. Donning old Mr. Deaver’s funeral suit, he wanders through the main house like he owns the place. He uses the record player to set the soundtrack of “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”. Not knowing how or not caring to be inconspicuous, he awkwardly meanders around before Henry takes him to Juniper Hill. Upon their arrival, a bird drops out of the sky to its death-an act reminiscent of The Dark Half (with original inspiro from The Birds), or perhaps this crow is meant to represent a single entity, Randall Flagg. When a nurse says that this event has happened before this week, its ominous significance is amplified.
Henry’s son, Wendell (played by Chosen Jacobs from It) arrives at Castle Rock at the request of his father, who claims it is best to visit Ruth while he can. Though obsessed with his AR phone game (explaining the difference from VR to his father), Wendell and Ruth bond over a game of chess, despite most of her pieces are missing and have been replaced with various kitchen items. She explains that her little Lewis men help her know what time she’s in. Sometimes she loses track, for her time no longer moves in a single direction, and her temporal navigation is hinged on the breadcrumbs she leaves herself. Shortly after we heard over the radio of the fire and patient escape at Juniper Hill, we see The Kid casually enter the Deaver home to Ruth in a vulnerable position picking her pills off of the floor.
On his search for answers of his past, Henry talks to Molly and discovers her involvement in his father’s death. Still suspicious of her either abilities or motivation, he leaves for a solo exploration of the woods. There he runs into Odin Branch (C.J. Jones) and Willie (Rory Culkin), the travelers who crashed the re-interment of Matthew Deaver. Through Willie interpreting Odin’s signs, he explains that he was a friend of Henry’s father.
Odin and the deceased Deaver bonded over what the former calls “the schisma and the later called “The Voice of God.” They explain to a skeptical Henry the science; “schisma is actually nanoscale turbulences caused by quantum totalities upbraiding in parallel. Other ears, other nows. All possible pasts, all possible presents. Schisma is the sound of the universe trying to reconcile that.” This phenomenon may actually have real world manifestations in something called the hum.
After gaining advanced degrees in acoustics and making himself deaf, Odin has created a chamber called “The Filter” something that Matthew had conceived (from God) but never actualized. To some who can hear “the schisma”, it can sound like a ringing. Inside the creepy old RV (a la Doctor Sleep or Revival), is “The Filter” in the form of an anechoic chamber. Despite his understandable reluctance, Henry’s curiosity gets the better of him and he finds himself trapped in the soundproof room. Within a few moments, he hears the ringing, followed by the voice of his father over surreal images of his memories.
When Alan returns home a dazed Kid is sitting outside, he asks the former sheriff why he was complicit in his kidnapping. Alan sees a stream of blood on the Kid’s hand and immediately runs into the house to save the woman he loves. Over the cacophony of the phonograph looping the same sound, and the fire alarm going off, he sees that the house is a mess. The episode ends before he finds Ruth.
Though the teaser for next week’s episode “The Queen” shows Ruth, we were just told of both experiencing moments in time non sequentially and also parallel universes, so the cliffhanger we were left on could be the departure of another pivotal character. After all, The Kid did say that “time is her enemy”, so this could have been more short-term than long foreshadowing.
I have previously referred to Castle Rock’s incorporation of Stephen King references as the King-verse, we now appear to beginning to delve into more of his multi-verse. One key piece of evidence towards this is the lecture by Odin (who’s name calls up more Norse mythology) about parallel universes. Prior to this week’s episode, I would have speculated that The Kid was possibly a version of evil’s manifestation on Earth, much like Randall Flagg. Now, that we have expanded the world of the show, it is possible that he is more like the Crimson King.
Hopefully, we’ll find out soon. Castle Rock streams Wednesday’s on Hulu.
It just got picked up for another season so we will probably have to wait a while before we get any real resolution.
Main photo from Hulu Twitter. Gifs from Tumblr.