Castle Rock: Season 2 finale, ‘Clean,’ recapped and explained

A look at the season 2 finale of Hulu’s Castle Rock compared with season 1.

Previously on Castle Rock, Reginald “Pop” Merrill (Tim Robbins) and the others began a last stand against Augustin (Paul Sparks). Although most of them successfully escaped, Annie Wilkes (Lizzy Caplan) was left without her daughter, Joy (Elsie Fisher).

Also, Pop didn’t make it, being shot in the head by Augustin. The season 2 finale starts with Annie hallucinating without her pills, all while entranced townsfolk from Castle Rock and Jerusalem’s Lot gather around the statue of “The Angel.”

We also see Augustin transforming Pop into a vessel for someone named Etienne. His plan is to see Amity reborn in the body of Joy, pronouncing her grand return after 400 years of absence (the group had committed a mass suicide). His hope is to unify everyone around The Angel, proclaiming that “the end of them is the beginning of us” — with “them” meaning anyone who hasn’t been transformed.

Castle Rock — The Kid and The Angel

Upon apparently being transformed, Pop reminds us of the bizarre situation we’ve seen in Castle Rock, including the schisma and “other heres, other nows, other dimensions.” If this is confusing, don’t worry: That’s what a multiverse is like.

Still, let’s try to explain things (to the extent possible). In season 1 we were introduced to “The Kid” (Bill Skarsgård), who ended up being a weird variation on someone named Henry Matthew Deaver. He was from an alternate universe, and his existence in the regular Castle Rock made some bizarre things happen.

There is, of course, another Henry Matthew Deaver (André Holland), who ended up putting The Kid back in Shawshank Penitentiary out of hope to restore normalcy.

However, this clashing of universes implies that additional versions of characters are possible, too. That’s most likely how “The Kid” can also exist as “The Angel.”

Dismantling The Angel

Next in the season 2 finale, Nadia (Yusra Warsama) and Abdi (Barkhad Abdi) rig the tunnels around the Marsten House with explosives. As they work, Chance (Abby Corrigan) and Annie Wilkes enact their own haphazard plan to rescue Joy. As people mindlessly stare at the statue of The Angel, Chance attempts to breach the crowd to locate Joy.

However, a spellbound Vera (Tenea Intriago) points and Chance and identifies her as not belonging by chanting “No.” Others join in. Chance is arrested. Ironically, we see that everyone (including Annie) gets caught except for Pop, who had injected himself with Haldol before being shot.

Meanwhile, Abdi and Nadia make their getaway as the underground explosives detonate, apparently ruining Augustin’s plans to bring Amity back. Those plans are ruined even more after Joy stabs Augustin in the back. Annie then shows up to save her. Nadia cries over Pop’s death in the explosion, illustrating that, for all he did wrong, she still cared about him.

Then, as if to symbolize the end of the season, The Angel disappears from the cliff of Castle Lake. Then again, as discussed, this may just be the end of one version of the entity. It wouldn’t be crazy to assume he/she/it will return if there is a season 3.

“Misery” and Joy

After leaving Castle Rock and Jerusalem’s Lot, Annie gets a new job and most certainly changes aspects of her identity. She also discovers the author Paul Sheldon, apparently on a lark. She starts reading “Misery” to Joy. After a while, though, Joy grows distant, not unlike how she was earlier in the season. It’s also apparent that she’s been speaking to someone on the phone, which makes Annie paranoid.

Annie is also sometimes not taking her medication and still hears voices (whether it’s actual psychosis or something supernatural, or both, is semi-debatable). The voice speaks poorly of Joy, saying she is filthy and must be made clean — which sounds like something Annie’s own mother (Robin Weigert) would have told the teenage Annie (Ruby Cruz).

To increase Annie’s paranoia, she goes through Joy’s belongings and finds drawings of The Angel. She also finds it odd that Joy watched a French-language TV program. Annie offers Joy some ice cream. She accepts it but has a strange reaction, thanks to the Haldol Annie put in it. Without much debate, a crazed Annie physically attacks Joy, ultimately drowning her in the water near the house.

However, it turns out Joy is probably not possessed by anyone from Augustin’s cult. Annie seems to successfully resuscitate Joy, telling her that she merely drowned. However, when they attend a “Misery” book reading by Paul Sheldon, it seems obvious that Joy’s presence with her is another hallucination, after another attendee asks her if the seat next to her is taken.

Wrapping it up

This was obviously a very busy season of Castle Rock, filled with so interesting developments. If there is a season 3, it could go in many directions. After all, Castle Rock is apparently the hub of a freakish multiverse, which allows for many different things to happen.

Although it’s still a bit confusing, season 1 is a bit more straightforward than the first one was. Also, by tying characters like Dale Lacy (Terry O’Quinn) back into this season, it’s apparent that there is a method to the storytelling madness. In fact, it was interesting to see his wife, Martha (Frances Conroy), even make an appearance of her own.

Of course, a bigger question is: What would happen to The Kid/The Angel in a hypothetical third season? These characters (or this character) can seem too powerful to simply forget. Other themes and characters surprisingly tie the two seasons together, such as pills and mental health, which both figure into the character of Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek).

Season 1 also strongly implied that people’s wills could be taken over, as The Kid often brought about madness and death in his wake. So, if you really dissect the series, it’s actually not as confusing as it seems in a glance.

Next: 20 best Hulu original series ranked, from worst to first

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

Load Comments