Season 1 Episode 1
Henry Deavers has returned to the town of Castle Rock. The first episode of the Hulu series Castle Rock opens with the warden of Shawshank Prison (Terry O’Quinn) taking his own life and his death opens up the floodgates for the weirdness to come. When a Shawshank guard finds a young man living in a cage in a burned out section of the prison, the first of many mysteries begins. There’s no record of who this young man (Bill Skarsgard) is and he will not speak except to utter a single name, Henry Deavers.
Deavers (Andre Holland) is a lawyer taking on death penalty cases in Texas, but grew up in Castle Rock. He hasn’t been back to the town since a personal tragedy. A personal tragedy that serves as another mystery in the series and seems to be connected to the warden’s suicide. After getting a call about the young man at the prison, Henry returns home and discovers that things have changed, including his mother (Sissy Spacek) living with former Castle Rock sheriff Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn). Alan is also connected to the events that Henry can’t seem to remember.
There are a lot of these kinds of connections being made in the first episode and thankfully, they don’t distract from the overall narrative. The episode is compelling in how it is taking its time to build tension and suspense. The visuals are dark and creepy and they add some great elements to the story. You will find yourself looking for connections to the works of Stephen King throughout the first episode. Thankfully, they aren’t blatant.
What really impressed me about the first episode is how subtle the narrative is. There are no jump scares and no monsters lurking in the shadows (at least not yet). There is a definite calm before the storm feeling with the players gathering in one place and that overall mystery is intriguing. There’s a great moment at the end of this episode that showcases the supernatural elements of who this mystery man is as well as a tie back to the warden.
I found myself drawn into this episode and I can’t wait to see what happens next.