Castle Rock season 2, episode 6 recap: The Mother

In season 2, episode 6 of Hulu’s Castle Rock, Rita returns to find Joy and exact personal justice on Annie. Also, Ace expands his strange little cult.

The prior episode of Castle Rock explored the twisted past of Annie Wilkes (Lizzy Caplan/Ruby Cruz), and we learned the origins of “The Laughing Place.” The past comes back to life! Annie killed her dad, Carl (John Hoogenakker,) and stabbed his new woman, Rita K. Green (Sarah Gadon). Then Annie took baby Evangeline and started a new life, seemingly under many different identities.

As this episode begins we catch up with Rita, learning that she’s a former alcoholic, still traumatized by the experience with Annie. When Evangeline (Elsie Fisher) — now known as “Joy” — calls Rita asking about a book called “The Ravening Angel,” Rita instantly knows the significance. Specifically, it’s the name of the book Annie’s dad wrote. It became a big part of their lives, and also Carl’s death (he was basically killed for dedicating the book to Rita). Now, Rita traces Joy’s call to the Stargazer in Jerusalem’s Lot/Castle Rock.

Ace haunts Annie

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Annie had also killed John ‘Ace’ Merrill (Paul Sparks), who now sits by her in a bar. She seems surprisingly not freaked out by him, saying she’s not sorry for killing him with an ice cream scoop down his gullet. He tells her it was all a dream and even walks her home because she’s so drunk. Elsewhere, Dr. Nadia Howlwadaag (Yusra Warsama) tells Joy to wait while authorities decide if Annie is fit as a mother.

On that note, Reginald ‘Pop’ Merrill (Tim Robbins) apologizes to Nadia in a phone message. She learned that he adopted her and brother Abdi (Barkhad Abdi) after wrongfully shooting their mother in Somalia. He says he was trying to make it right by taking custody. Not only is she still mad at Pop but she kicks Abdi out for keeping it a secret.

Back to Annie: Steve Bannerman (Dennis Staroselsky) from Child and Family Services tells “Ms. Ingalls” (another of Annie’s names) says that they have Joy and wish to see their place. Annie says she’s sick but promises to bring Joy’s Social Security card and birth certificate the next day. As this is going on, Ace is still claiming more victims, changing them into something new.

Lance (Owen Burke) and Heather (Georgia Lyman) are swiftly attacked, killed and placed in coffins to later be used as vessels. Later, Ace proclaims to his group that he’s considering a woman with a “highly particular spirit” as a vessel for someone named Amity. Also, Lance is successfully resurrected as a new entity, but not Heather. Heather actually gets away from her coffin and gets hospitalized. Ace’s unearthly entourage agree that the medicine heather took slows “the weaving.”

Rita rolls into Castle Rock

Rita arrives in the Castle Rock/Jerusalem’s Lot region by bus, on a mission to find her daughter (Joy) and confront Annie. She meets Chance (Abby Corrigan) but Chance doesn’t give her a chance at getting info, even after being shown a photo of Annie.  However, when she gets to Annie’s cabin, Annie sees Rita and hides.

She soon discovers her lockbox is missing and knows Joy likely took it. Rita has more luck talking with Vera (Tenea Intriago), who wants the 400 bucks offered for information on Annie. Soon, Joy meets Rita and learns that her name’s Evangeline. Joy asks if her mom’s going to prison but is freaked out by being told that Annie’s her sister. Joy leaving inspires Rita to booze it up.

As Rita heads out to seek Joy, Joy meets Annie in the woods. Annie admits she killed her dad and stabbed Rita. When Joy asks if she had planned to commit murder/homicide between the two of them, Annie says Joy’s laugh prevented it. Joy tells Annie she needs to go far away where no one can find her, then she leaves. Later, Joy meets Chance again and they discuss leaving Castle Rock for the Haw River in North Carolina.

The big showdown

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Soon after this, Rita is found waiting for Annie. Her first words to the murderer: “Did you know I was alive?” Rita makes clear that she has a gun and laments Annie’s murderous sensitivity over the book’s dedication. Rita walks Annie into the woods at gunpoint. However, Annie throws sand in Rita’s eyes and flees momentarily, returning to tackle Rita. Surprisingly, Rita has the upper hand for a moment. However, Joy actually injects Rita’s arm with a needle, causing her to drop her gun. This accidentally triggers the gun and the bullet hits her stomach. When a cop car shows up, Annie raises her hands and says “I did it.” However, given the strange happenings in town with Ace, it’s unclear if everything’s as it seems.

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