Yesterday Hulu finally released the much anticipated psychological horror series, Castle Rock. If you are a Stephen King fan, it was the moment you've all been waiting for, myself included, and I was not disappointed. Even if you are not a fan of the infamous Stephen King, the show's show runners Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason created an incredible place for their characters to thrive. Stephen King fan or not, you will fall in love with this standalone drama. It is a chilling and sometimes even funny, small town in Maine.
If you are a huge Stephen King fan like myself, then you will not be disappointed by the easter eggs laid around the show. Even the opening credits show tons of torn pages that come right from some of his classic novels such as The Shining and Misery. Castle Rock itself was used as the place for the movie Cujo, Doctor Sleep and The Dead Zone. But what does this have to do with the story of Castle Rock?
The heart of the story centers around a character by the name of Henry Deaver who is played very greatly by Andre Holland. Henry is a defense attorney who works solely with those on death row. He left Castle Rock as a boy after his adopted father was killed and it was rumored that he killed him. Even without any proof of his guilt, most of the town regard him as guilty. He plays the part of a man with a ton on his plate to handle extremely well. A great performance.
The Shawshank Prison is the reason behind Henry's return to Castle Rock. A man with no name is found in a cage in the abandoned part of the prison. Henry is asked to be this mans attorney. The nameless man is played by none other than Bill Skarsgard who you may know as playing Pennywise in the new adaption of It. He does an exceptionally well job portraying the sinister looking prisoner. He doesn't yet do much other than repeat Henry Deavers name and stare at cameras and guards, but he does that very well. There seems to be a supernatural element to his character but we still don't know for sure yet what it is. His cell mate did die a very strange and questionable death though. It brought up a lot of questions.
Just as in any Stephen King book, this small Maine town works at unraveling the dark side in these first three episodes. Henry's character makes for a great protagonist to follow as he is also an outsider to this story. Castle Rock is his hometown but he is thrown back into it in a very creative and mysterious way. Through his character we get to see all the tension beneath the surface of this place and all the supporting characters that live in that town played by very talented people such as Scott Glenn, Sissy Spacek, and Terry O'Quinn.
Melanie Lynskey's character is Molly strand and she steals the spotlight for awhile. Molly is a real estate agent who also has a drug addiction because she claims to hear voices in her head. Her childhood crush on Henry makes all their meetings awkward, not to mention she probably feels uncomfortable and guilty around him as well. I won't say why here, but if you watch the show you will see. Molly's character in the show can easily end up as either a friend or a foe. She makes for a compelling storyline nonetheless.
This series is meant to expand the Stephen King universe and capture the hearts of all the die hard fans but it is also an intriguing story line about Henry Deaver who ends up called back to a town he never wanted to see again in his life. We get to explore redemption, loss and demons of the past. Castle Rock in a sense is about as classic a story as you can get that is placed in the same world as Shawshank and Cujo. All the Stephen King things are just the beginning of a brilliant story.
In my opinion, these first three episodes built a fascinating world set in the Stephen King universe that I cannot wait to explore further. I am hoping the rest of the series keeps it going. What did you think of the premier?