Castle Rock season 1, episode 4 recap: ‘The Box’


In episode 4 of Hulu’s Castle Rock, Henry’s past begins to look creepier, and a certain Prison Guard seems to not be himself.

Near the beginning of “The Box,” a prison official (Josh Cooke) bullies The Kid (Bill Skarsgård) — no doubt expecting to intimidate him in some fashion. However, the exact opposite happens.

The Kid creeps him out, then locks his own cell behind him. While one wonders why they’re hassling him so much, it seems like everyone at Shawshank knows he’s evil — that he was locked away there for a reason, even if they don’t know what it is.

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Henry Deaver’s Twisted History

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Henry Deaver (André Holland) is a generally sensible man, so he is eager to leave the madness of Castle Rock behind.

He is considering taking his mother Ruth (Sissy Spacek) with him to Houston, but there’s a little snag: From all appearances, his mom’s been involved with Sheriff Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn). The question is, for how long?

While he wants to go, he is drawn to his past. He talks again with Molly Strand (Melanie Lynskey), who is obviously linked to him, psychological and psychically.

They speak about The Kid, and how the Shawshank Prison offered $300,000 to keep the case relatively quiet. Still, something’s been bothering Molly. Right when she’s on the verge of discussing it, Henry is contacted by Prison Guard Dennis Zalewski (Noel Fisher).

Of course, what Molly was about to say — or confess — may involve the tiny detail about her killing Henry’s father (Adam Rothenberg) by detaching a breathing tube while he was hospitalized (Again, just a minor thing, really — a casual aside).

Zalewski Slips Into Madness?

Shawshank Prison is often described in less than glowing terms. In this very episode, it’s mentioned that a prisoner was blinded with delousing powder by a guard on purpose. Zalewski even says he’s a prisoner there, too.

All other plot points aside, it’s a somewhat eerie moment of its own.

It is visually confirmed when Zalewsky walks by a guard beating a prisoner — something that’s apparently commonplace, even if unprovoked. This is certainly why, by this point, Zalewski wants to establish a connection with Skarsgård’s character.

Not only is it an attempt at solidarity, but Zalewski increasingly shares The Kid’s aura of detachment. Zalewski “fist bumps” him and talks earnestly about them both getting out of there. Later on, Zalewski draws smiley faces on the security cameras, suggesting he’s jaded with his job, or worse.

Henry Investigates, Wants to Leave

André Holland in Castle Rock (2018) / Image by Hulu

Quite understandably, Henry Deaver wants to know his past. He even looks up his story on microfiche in the Castle Rock library. He learns that a man named Vince Desjardins was released from jail less than a month before Henry disappeared. Could his release explain Henry’s disappearance?

To find out, Henry checks the Desjardins place, out on old Remo Road. There he chances upon Josef Desjardins (David Selby), Vince’s brother, who happens to be a creepy barber (not a barber for creeps, but a barber who is one).

Strangely, Josef has Deaver’s police file. Also, for whatever reason, Josef keep his brother’s thumb and forefinger in a jar. He also tells Deaver, “You know I never touched you.” That would sound honest and reassuring if it didn’t come from someone who keeps his brother’s fingers in a jar.

By now it’s clear why Deaver wants to be a leaver. Still, his mother doesn’t want to go to Texas, and even waves a fish gutting knife at him to emphasize the point. In other words, if he’s going, he’s going alone. While many would be fine with that by now, Henry seems to want a connection with someone, even if it means facing craziness.

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More Revelations and a Total Freak Out

This episode of Castle Rock makes another thing quite clear: Henry’s dad, Reverend Matthew Deaver, wrote the words, “HENRY DID IT,” in capital letters to Alan Pangborn.

In addition, it’s established that Molly picks up signals from Pangborn, too. Molly firmly believes it wasn’t Henry’s fault, and that he was just a kid. At the same time, she’s grown accustomed to Castle Rock’s dark history in general.

When showing a house to possible real estate customers, she addresses the place’s dark history thusly: “A serial strangler died in my house and I sleep like a baby.”

Finally, Castle Rock has a whole new historic event to catalog! There’s no subtle way to put this: While “Crying” by Roy Orbison plays in the background, Zalewski goes on a shooting rampage. The big question is: Was it really him or was it some psychological infection after his fist bump with The Kid?

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In reality, it could very well be both, as Shawshank seems to be a sinister place. Maybe The Kid belongs there after all.

That wraps up this Castle Rock recap.  What are your thoughts on the episode?  Let us know in the comments and make sure to catch each new episode of Castle Rock on Hulu every Wednesday!