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A wealthy Castle Rock resident named Dale Lacy (Terry O'Quinn - Lost (2005) ) commits suicide. It turns out that he is the warden of Shawshank Prison. His replacement, Warden Porter ( Ann Cusack ) orders a search of the disused wing of the prison. The guards discover the mysterious Shawshank Prisoner (Bill Skarsgård - IT (2017) ).
The stranger asks for a lawyer, Henry Deaver (André Holland - ), who is the show's protagonist. It turns out Henry grew up in the town but managed to get out. Now he has a much cheerier life, defending Death Row inmates in Texas.
Henry Deaver (André Holland - ) settles into his home town again, and starts his investigation. He visits the local church, where the volunteers include Jackie Torrance ( Jane Levy ).
Henry's childhood friend, Molly Strand ( Melanie Lynskey ), has emotional problems. It turns out she has a form of telepathic hyper-empathy, and the flashbacks of Cassidy McGlinchy reveal she has a deeper involvement in the storyline. The stress means she needs pharmaceuticals to help her cope, and she has to get them from a teenage dealer.
Henry Deaver (André Holland - ) does some detective work, and discovers that there was a suspect in his disappearance in 1991.
Henry decides to reinterr his father's body in the local churchyard. His next step is to take his mother ( Sissy Spacek ) to Texas with him once the case is resolved. Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn - Silence of the Lambs (1991) ) is less than happy at this idea, as is Momma herself. The stress of the family problems means Henry wants to leave town ASAP. This leads on to a terrible event.
Henry Deaver (André Holland - ) has a few problems to deal with. His mother ( Sissy Spacek ) is going senile and has a phobia of dogs, possibly after an encounter with Cujo (1983) . Worse, his client (Bill Skarsgård - IT (2017) ) is released as part of the Shawshank coverup.
Jackie Torrance ( Jane Levy ) reveals she is named after her Uncle - a writer who went crazy with an axe in a ski resort. She unwisely wishes she could live in interesting times, unaware that the cause of the famous events has been unleashed.
The client seems to be what the people of Haven would call Troubled. Molly Strand ( Melanie Lynskey ) has a similar Trouble, although in her case it seems to be a superpower rather than a curse. Strangely, Haven is shown on the map in the opening credits. Yes, the two shows are seemingly set in the same universe. If only the Sheriff and Audrey Parker could turn up, they could have the mystery solved within forty minutes plus advert breaks.
Henry Deaver (André Holland - ) buries his disinterred father. This leads on to him investigating the missing time he spent with his father. Meanwhile, his own son comes to stay with him.
This episode ends on a couple of great cliffhangers.
Ruth Deaver ( Sissy Spacek ) does not really have alzheimers. Her curse/trouble is revealed - she is unstuck in time, like the husband of The Time-Traveller's Wife . Now that Henry's client (Bill Skarsgård - IT (2017) ) pays a visit to her home, she panics and looks for her husband's gun. Yes, she could use any weapon - a kitchen knife, for example - but she goes through multiple time periods looking for the ammunition.
The couple who bought the empty house from Molly Strand ( Melanie Lynskey ) have converted it into a murder museum. Jackie Torrance ( Jane Levy ) drops by - after all, she appreciates a good axe-murder story.
Henry Deaver (André Holland - ) and his client (Bill Skarsgård - IT (2017) ) end up in jail together. The client only wants to go home, although he should have done it in a previous episode. Instead he wandered around, and chaos followed in his wake.
Annie Wilkes ( Lizzy Caplan ) takes her daughter Joy Wilkes ( Elsie Fisher ) from town to town across the USA. They end up in a motel in a small town. Yes, this is a lot like Bates Motel. The difference is that, rather than go for the slow burn, this show has to squeeze four years of horror into a single Season.
Annie and her daughter are in Castle Rock, although all the characters from Season One have moved on. Luckily some new ones have emerged. Reginald "Pop" Merrill (Tim Robbins - City of Ember ) has retired from running the local underworld. His nephew John "Ace" Merrill (Paul Sparks - ) has taken things over, although he has a rival from the local Somali community - Abdi Omar (Barkhad Abdi - Captain Philips (2013) ).
John "Ace" Merrill (Paul Sparks - ) is missing, and Abdi Omar (Barkhad Abdi - Captain Philips (2013) ) gets the blame. Reginald "Pop" Merrill (Tim Robbins - City of Ember ) suspects that Annie Wilkes ( Lizzy Caplan ) might know something.
John "Ace" Merrill (Paul Sparks - ) has begun to recruit new members to his group. This includes a local cop (Greg Grunberg - Heroes ).
This episode is an extended flashback to Annie's childhood. It is carried by some great casting, with a couple of great actresses who match the stellar performance of Lizzy Caplan .
It all started when Annie was about ten years old. Since Caplan was born in the early Eighties, this would place the era in the mid-Nineties at the latest. It turns out that Annie is a sympathetic character, because she was bullied at school due to undiagnosed dyslexia. Since the school's plan is to dope her with ritalin, her parents decide to home-school her.
Annie's father was an aspiring writer of wild west stories. We are meant to believe that he is a bad guy, some kind of incel or white supremacist, because he complains about a gentrified version of Brer Rabbit. Her mother is a religious fundamentalist, like in Carrie , which is the root of Annie's obsessive over-moralizing. Ironically a very morally grey character is someone who sees the world itself only in black and white. That said, her problem seems to be her upbringing - so the massive cocktail of drugs that the grown-up Annie downs on a regular basis must be a placebo.
Rita comes to Castle Rock in search of her daughter. Annie Wilkes ( Lizzy Caplan ) has not changed her own name, never mind her haircut, so it should not be difficult to find her.
John "Ace" Merrill (Paul Sparks - ) has his own plans for Annie. He wants her as host for someone special. It turns out that the monsters are French, and have been in suspended animation for four hundred years. Also, there may be a secret unguarded back door into the crypt.
We get a flashback to 1619, when some French settlers founded the town of New Jerusalem.
The main characters meet up at Pop's warehouse, where he keeps all his second-hand merchandise. But has one of them been possessed?
The main characters try to liberate the town.