Castle Rock season 2, episode 2 recap: New Jerusalem

CASTLE ROCK -- "New Jerusalem" - Episode 202 -- The Merrills search for answers. Annie (Lizzy Caplan), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)
CASTLE ROCK -- "New Jerusalem" - Episode 202 -- The Merrills search for answers. Annie (Lizzy Caplan), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu) /

In episode 202 of Hulu’s Castle Rock, Abdi is under suspicion of killing Ace and Annie’s lies risk catching up with her.

Previously on Castle Rock, we first saw Lizzy Caplan as Annie Wilkes, the disturbed nurse of Stephen King’s Misery. She had killed Ace Merrill (Paul Sparks), who seemed to be a threat to her daughter, Joy (Elsie Fisher). Annie fell in a hole while disposing of Ace’s body in the foundation of a mall owned by Abdi Howlwadaag (Barkhad Abdi). Now Annie wakes up underground and, before long, finds other corpses there.

There are also insects chirping. While trying to climb out, her flashlight falls. She eventually descends a metal ladder under a drain cover. From there she finds stairs to a decrepit building with graffiti on its walls. After accidentally encountering people having sex in the creepy building, she runs away. When she gets outside she sees the house has “MARSTEN” written on it. Before long, Annie gets back home to Joy but learns she has lost her necklace. She also gets mad at Joy for wanting to stay in Jerusalem’s Lot.

Meanwhile, Reginald ‘Pop’ Merrill (Tim Robbins) has a military flashback. He also meets with Nadia (Yusra Warsama), who tells him that Ace threw a molotov cocktail into her house. While Ace doesn’t like Somali refugees, Pop Merrill seems to be quite the opposite. He actually helped them. In fact, Abdi and Nadia were his adopted children.

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With that development fresh in mind, Abdi gets a gun. Chris Merrill (Matthew Alan) also goes looking for Ace, only to not find him. As Annie watches from her own window, we learn that Ace had left his dog behind (it’s implied that, although Ace wasn’t a great guy, he did take care of his dog). Later, Annie and Joy get in another argument and Joy accidentally injures her hand on a bicycle.

The missing and the dead

Because no one has seen Ace, there’s a potential standoff between Ace’s crew and the Somali tenants. As stated before, it’s a complicated matter. Not only had Ace adopted Nadia and Abdi, but it seems as though Chris may be Nadia’s boyfriend (which may be weird, even if they’re not blood-related).

Also, at the construction site, Annie’s prized necklace is found, which is believed to have been stolen from somewhere. Hassan (Faysal Ahmed) goes to the MARSDEN house, after being told that heroin junkie squatters left the necklace. There Hassan finds some people’s charred remains, and is himself murdered with an axe!

Annie’s little lies

Also concerned about Ace’s disappearance, Pop warns Ace’s crew about heavily armed Somali tenants. Curiously, he notices Ace’s dog, Bobby, barking at Annie’s door. Meanwhile, as Joy gets her hand-stitched up in private (after requesting that Annie not be present), Joy learns something about Annie. She remarks to Nadia that nurses have to move around a lot or else they lose their license. This sends up a big red flag for Nadia. Sensing something odd about the reaction, Joy herself looks up info on her mom and finds nothing.

Pops soon meets Annie, asking her why Ace’s dog went to her door. It inspired Annie to improvise a story. She says Ace threatened to kill her and Joy, but he fled off into the woods when a car showed up. She also says, in so many words, that it was a black man who showed up looking for him (with the implication that it’s Abdi). Annie, of course, knows about the tension between Ace and Abdi, especially after being present when Ace firebombed the place Abdi frequently resides.

Acting on this info, Abdi is kidnapped by Pop’s men in a police van. Between the interrogation and flashbacks, we see that Pops and Abdi were supposed to be business partners and Ace felt left out/was jealous. In other words, there is a racial component to the story, but Ace had additional layers of resentment against both Abdi and his father.

Abdi threatens to tell Nadia truth about Pops, but Pops feels he has the upper hand. He wants to know where Abdi put the body, with the murder (and Abdi’s responsibility for it) being a foregone conclusion in his mind. Abdi denies murdering him but also says it’ll never be “just business,” and it will “never be family” between them. On that note, Pops intimidates Abdi with Bobby, who barks and snarls at him on a chain leash. Interestingly, Pops faints, leaving Abdi alone with the angry dog.

Annie’s insanity or something else?

Elsewhere, Joy directly asks Annie if she’s running from something, which Annie unconvincingly denies. Later we see that beetles are attracted to Annie’s car. Also, she sees Ace standing outside. The question is: Is he a hallucination or something else? In the first season of Castle Rock, magic was certainly in the air, but it was of the sinister variety.

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At one point in this episode, Castle Rock provides historical insight into the area. It’s made clear that they had their own witch trials, much like Salem, Massachusetts. While every place has its sordid bits of history, Castle Rock and Jerusalem’s Lot seem to have them in thick layers.

What are your thoughts on this Castle Rock episode? Let us know in the comments!