Castle Rock season 1, episode 7 recap: ‘The Queen’


Episode 7 of Hulu’s Castle Rock gets crazier! Ruth’s dementia seems like a time loop, and history seems to repeat through The Kid.

Castle Rock has offered us bizarre, tragic deaths and this episode is no different. As a preface to the horror befalling humans, “The Queen” begins with a dog getting creamed by a truck. The incident reminds Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek) of her dog, Puck, who was just gone one day. However, she never thought it simply disappeared. No, she suspected her husband, Matthew (Adam Rothenberg) apparently poisoned it. In fact, she wakes up with a bloody Puck in her bed (and not because she crashed after a rough game of night hockey).

Was this real or imagined? Is Ruth losing it, or is something supernatural playing games with her? Years after Matthew Deaver’s death, her new man, ex-Sheriff Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn), dismisses Ruth’s brain doctor. He wants to believe her mind is sturdy.

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Devears in the Dark/The Awkward Family Picnic

When he was alive, Matthew Deaver was a Reverend. Castle Rock pays special attention to one of this character’s sermons, deriving from 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

One needn’t be a Bible scholar to appreciate it here, as it adds an ominous, “almighty” tone to the strange occurrence at Castle Rock. In the present, Ruth makes creepy eye contact with The Kid (Bill Skarsgård), after imagining him in Matthew Deaver’s funeral suit. So, the question is, does The Kid somehow contain elements of Matthew, or is he somehow playing a trick on her? Or is her own mind playing tricks on her?

Ruth soon has a very vivid flashback, as she sees her house filled with leaves, which bring her to an old family picnic. As one might guess, it’s not the happiest outing, as Matthew manages to freak out Ruth and a young Henry Deaver ( Caleel Harris). At one point, Matthew brandished a gun, discussing how he considered committing suicide until he “heard God,” which prevented it. Matthew sort of preemptively “echoes” the future words of The Kid: “I can hear it now.” While it adds perspective to the episode, it’s still a perplexing perspective, like a fresh new coat of mystery on an unusual, moving picture.

Ruth Deaver, a Time Walker?

Wendell Deaver (Chosen Jacobs), Ruth’s grandson, discusses her mental state. Rather than saying she has dementia, Wendell says she’s a “time walker.” To clear up the confusion, he shows her a video game where the player kills monsters who don’t stay dead. He notes that sometimes they “look like your allies.” That’s when The Kid creeps back into the picture, ominously commanding her, “Go to bed, Ruth.”

Sensing some danger, Ruth sends Wendell away, telling him to buy a present for himself.  This is, of course, so she can face her mysterious and unsettling house guest without jeopardizing her grandson. Before he leaves, Wendell says, “I don’t think I should leave you alone with that dude,” but she insists. After Wendell leaves, additional memories flood into focus. In another flashback, Ruth discusses Matthew with the young Henry, saying the man had glioma or a tumor in the brain.

It’s also revealed that, after Matthew acquired a gun, he had its bullets locked away in a safe. Strangely, The Kid tells Ruth that safe combination, which is her birthday date. Then, for some weird reason, The Kid starts playing caretaker for her. He makes Ruth some eggs and hands her a sedative (that she had previously thrown out.  He vacantly instructs her to take it, then heads upstairs and prepares a bath for her. Well, apparently she hates rubber ducky time because she stabs him and flees as quickly as she can. Complicating her escape is a strange crowd of people.

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She also sees Matthew downstairs, who is also sort of The Kid, and she realizes that the bullets were actually kept in her suitcase. Unfortunately, that same suitcase was used to bury a newer dead dog (a non-Puck dog). After retrieving the bullets and loading the gun, she heads to a shed to hide from The Kid. Then, when someone enters said shed, she shoots him. Boom! Unfortunately for her, it is neither The Kid nor Matthew Deaver. It’s Alan Pangborn! The episode ends with her hugging him.

Does this episode of Castle Rock make sense? Well, one could always say, “It’s a time walker thing, you wouldn’t understand! What are your thoughts?