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Series / Castle Rock

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Welcome to Castle Rock.

Has it begun?

A Hulu original series from producers J. J. Abrams and Stephen King, Castle Rock is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of King's 40-plus year career as one of the world's most popular authors, combining many characters (and actors) from his books into a brand new story set in his recurring Maine town of the title.note 

Andre Holland stars as Henry Deaver, who returns to the town for the first time (since being run out as a child) due to the mysterious appearance of a man known only as "The Kid" (Bill Skarsgård) in the middle of Shawshank State Penitentiary. Assisting him is Scott Glenn as former sheriff Alan Pangborn, who knows a thing or two about just how weird things can get in this town.


The series has been renewed for a second season, which will star Lizzy Caplan as Annie Wilkes and Tim Robbins as Reginald "Pop" Merrill.

Has a character sheet that Needs Wiki Magic Love.

Tropes include:

  • A Date with Rosie Palms: A teenaged Molly tells Henry she can feel him masturbating in his house across the street.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Annie Wilkes in Season 2. Lizzy Caplan is much younger and thinner than Big Beautiful Woman Kathy Bates, and definitely more attractive than how Annie is described in the book.
  • Adult Fear: In the flashback to 1991, Henry Deaver has been missing for eleven days, so Sheriff Pangborn isn't looking for a living boy, but rather a body in the snow.
    • Zalweski has to deal with the fact helping Henry with the Kid could very well endanger his job at Shawshank, when his child is due to be born in a month.
  • As the Good Book Says...: While praying to God for guidance, Warden Lacy seems to have become obsessed with the Bible verse Acts 16:33, which describes a virtuous jailer who washes Paul and Silas in prison and thus baptizes himself and his entire family; it's implied to be one of the reasons he constructed the cage in the water tank, and Henry finds over a dozen verse-a-day calendars that Lacy stopped using when he reached the quote.
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  • Blessed with Suck: A common theme. Molly has extreme Psychic Powers, which leaves her an unstable drug addict; Matthew believed Henry could hear the schism (which he probably could), and so forced him to try to open it and led to him being kidnapped by Matthew's alternate universe counterpart for twenty years, Lacy hears the 'voice of God' telling him to imprison the Kid, a decision he comes to regret. It's also left ambiguous how much the Kid wants to hurt the people he infects with the Hate Plague.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The Kid has extremely dangerous, volatile powers. in addition to being locked up by Warden Lacy, he's teased, threatened, and mistreated by just about everyone in Shawshank bar Zaleski.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Young Molly is a fan of The Ramones, presumably including their theme song to Pet Sematary (1989).
  • Children Forced to Kill: Young Henry, who pushes his father, Matthew, off a cliff after Matthew reveals he's going to kill Henry's mother, Ruth. Young Molly too, who disconnects Matthew's life support and kills him, apparently under Henry's influence.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Molly and Ruth play this trope straight, but for totally different reasons: Molly experiences Sanity Slippage through her extreme empathy, while Ruth is unavoidably trapped in it because of what might be her Alzheimer's, or her ability to walk between worlds and time periods. The Kid is a very dark example, as a result of being locked underground for twenty years (and possibly because of being from another world). Jackie also seems extremely disaffected by any of the bad stuff that happens around her, and wishes for more of it.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: A common theme in Castle Rock, as in the King books that feature it. Mentioned numerous times, lampshaded by Pangborn and Lacey, and present in every character to some degree:
    • Notably subverted by Dennis Zalewski, the kind prison guard who tries to help the Kid and is unable to cope with the horrific conditions at Shawshank, and by The Empath, Molly, for obvious reasons.
    • Played straightest by The Kid, who despite being abducted and imprisoned by Lacey, seems to experience severe Emotion Suppression, because in addition to barely speaking, he never shows strong fear or anger even in the worst situations, and hardly responds to the horrors caused around him.
  • Cutting the Knot: Out of universe. Molly is the person (after Zalewski dies who is most concerned with the Kid's welfare. So, when Henry declines to take the Kid back to what he claimed was his Castle Rock, what happens to Molly? She moves to Florida, apparently without another question about the Kid.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Nearly everyone on the show, including Henry Deaver, who disappeared during a cold snap when he was eleven. His father Matthew was found nearly dead and died at home, while Henry was found eleven days later, perfectly fine. The town ended up blaming Henry for his father's death. It turns out that Molly Strand killed his father. She says it was as if Henry was "guiding her hand" and we later learn that Matthew was planning to kill Henry's mother Ruth, thus providing a motive for Henry wanting him dead.
  • Dead Star Walking: Terry O'Quinn's character dies in the opening minutes of the first episode.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Kid is extremely powerful and resists any attempt to do this to him once he's been freed, as shown by the death of the Nazi. However, the totally normal Warden Lacy was somehow able to kidnap him in the past.
  • Doomed Fellow Prisoner: Justified. The Kid appears to have somehow spread cancer around a Nazi's body, after the new warden locked them up together.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title of the first episode, "Severance" alludes to Warden Lacy's retirement and the fact his method of suicide was severing his own head. The fourth episode, "The Box", refers literally to Matthew's coffin, but also to the Kid's continued imprisonment in the prison even after he is freed from the water tank, and then to the box that Dennis ends up in after the police shoot him.
  • Driven to Madness: Molly's empathic powers seem to make her do this; a possible interpretation of the Ki ands silence; also starts to happen to the guard, Dennis, who found the Kid.
  • Driven to Suicide: Warden Lacy. In fact, his suicide is the inciting incident of the show.
  • Ear Ache: Henry's right ear has had issues since his disappearance, and then he has the bad luck of a shotgun being fired right next to it.
  • The Empath: Molly Strand. In fact, with Henry Deaver, she feels his feelings so much that she becomes overwhelmed with them.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Molly Strand's sister views them as this (with Molly as foolish and her sister as responsible).
  • For Your Own Good: Another recurring theme. Lacy thinks he imprisoned The Kid for this reason and ultimately Henry agrees. Alan disguised the truth about Matthew's death for Henry and Ruth (mainly Henry).
  • Happily Adopted: Henry Deaver was a black kid adopted by two white people (one of whom was a pastor). Although it seems at first as if they were happy, Henry apparently had issues with his father (and vice versa). However, Henry sincerely loves his mother and she him.
  • Hate Plague: The Kid's powers grow until his simply being nearby will cause people to give in to their darkest impulses.
  • Hellhole Prison: Shawshank seems to be this. The employees are miserable, most of the townsmen are in prison for something, and that's not even mentioning the starved prisoner held hostage, maybe for years, in the water tank.
  • Here We Go Again!: The clear implication of the ending. Henry refused to be taken in by the Kid's story, just as Warden Lacy was, so locked him back up and acted as his jailer, like Warden Lacy did. He's probably not getting out unless (or when) Henry dies.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Henry spends most of the season just trying to figure what's going on and not hurt anybody. By the end of the series, he willingly, if reluctantly, takes up the mantle left by Alan and Lacy, and chooses to imprison the Kid rather than take the risk that he'll hurt someone else.
  • The Jailer: Warden Lacy chose to be one to the Kid. Henry takes over this role at the end of the season.
  • Locked in the Dungeon: Warden Lacy locked the Kid in a disused wing of the prison.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • The Nameless: The Kid, who refuses to give his name to anyone. Ironically, when Henry Deaver first talks to the Kid, he tells him not to tell anyone his name, since if they don't know his name, they don't know if he's guilty of anything. It is later revealed that he is Henry Deaver from an alternate timeline. When the warden asked him who he was, he would only repeat Henry's name as Warden Lacy's last words to the Kid were to ask for Henry as his lawyer. Considering the state of the Kid's mind, it's unclear if anyone in the room, including him, knew he was also answering her question truthfully.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Jackie Torrance openly wishes she could go back to the '80s when so much scary stuff was happening in the town, and took the name of her ax murderer uncle to spite her parents not wanting to talk about him.
  • Only Sane Man: A possible interpretation of the guard Dennis Zaleski. He's the only member of the prison staff who appears genuinely concerned for The Kid, calls Henry, and refuse to abuse his position. Fast getting subverted though, as Dennis appears to be losing his mind
    • Also deconstructed by Henry. He fulfils most of the role of Supernatural-Proof Father throughout the season, suspicious of Molly's powers and, believing it to be only a symptom of her Alzheimer's, is keen to get Ruth out of Castle Rock. However, he is finally won over by Castle Rock's insanity and decides that he has to stay behind and continue Lacy's legacy for everyone's own good.
  • Power Incontinence: Far from the evil he first appeared to be, The Kid is revealed halfway through the season to want nothing to do with his powers, and is so horrified when his mere presence brings out a family's biggest demons that he tries to kill himself.
    • Also Molly, who struggles to control her very powerful empathy and so it leaves her broken.
  • Precision F-Strike: Molly tells people to "wake the fuck up" while appearing live on a local talk show.
  • Psychic Powers: Molly Strand, who has an extreme version of empathy.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After years of witnessing the abuses of power at Shawshank, Zaleski snaps when Henry decides to abandon The Kid's case (and possibly under the control of The Kid after a fist bump) and slaughters most of the guards before being gunned down.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Henry's mother, who has some form of Alzheimer's. She is looked after by the former sheriff, Allan Pangborn.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Or, well, locked the Kid in the disused wing of the prison in Lacy's and Henry's case.
  • Secret Keeper: A common role passed around Castle Rock. Alan plays this role to both Lacy (he let Lacy kidnap the Kid because he trusted Lacy), and Henry (he found out from Matthew that Henry probably killed him and buried this information). Molly also has reason to believe Henry killed his father, but keeps it a secret.
  • Sex Slave: The guards speculate that the Kid was this to Warden Lacy. Probably not true.
  • Thrown Down a Well: Warden Lacy locked a boy at the bottom of a water shaft in a disused portion of the prison that nobody ever visited. He was the only person who knew the boy was even there, until the prison was sold to a private company and Warden Lacy killed himself.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Guess.
  • Trash of the Titans: Joseph Desjardins' house is in a real state, with decades-old garbage and a piano that seems to have fallen through a rotten floor.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Played with: Warden Lacy definitely believed himself to be a good man and only locked up the Kid because "God" told him to, with the assumption that the Kid was responsible for all the bad things that happened in Castle Rock. Meanwhile, Lacy's successor keeps the Kid locked up for monetary reasons — she knows things will be bad for her company if anyone found out Lacy had kidnapped a boy and kept him locked up for years, so wants to keep it all a secret.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: What Warden Lacy thought he was. Whether he is or not remains to be determined, as he kidnapped and imprisoned a boy for years, but is also known to have done good work. Also Alan Pangborn appears to have inherited this role, as shown when Lacy tells him that he is Castle Rock's only protection now.
  • Wham Episode:
    • 1x04: Zalewski's massacre at the prison.
    • 1x07: Ruth's killing of Alan Pangborn.
    • 1×09: The Kid is revealed as Henry Deaver from an alternate universe. Our Henry Deaver was held prisoner by the Kid's equally insane father for years, and the Kid only became stranded in our universe while trying to help our Henry escape and return home.
    • 1x10: Henry (perhaps in denial about the existence of the alternate timeline and his own imprisonment) refuses to help the other Henry return home and puts him back in his cell underneath Shawshank.
  • Wham Line:
    That's where you died. Said by The Kid/Henry to Molly.
  • Wham Shot: In a quite clever piece of direction, Zaleski goes on a shooting rampage throughout the prison, all seen with no sound through the security monitors.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Lacy is unable to kill the Kid because he has doubts about his evil. Even after Henry sees the Kid's monstrous face, he still can't kill him despite all the evidence suggesting that the Kid is an evil entity with his eye on Castle Rock.

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