Castle Rock Season Finale recap: Season 1, Episode 10, “Romans,” Aired Sept. 12, 2018
“Maybe something turned you into a monster. Or maybe you were one all along.”
“Romans” is a very satisfying finale, but because of how unsatisfying it is. You don’t see all the mysteries wrapped up in a pretty bow. In episode 10, the question it’s asking is “What do you believe?” Do you think the Kid is from an alternate universe? Or is he something evil that’s trying to manipulate everyone? In Castle Rock, the decision belongs to Henry Deaver.
At the beginning of this episode, Henry’s racing to find Ruth, Wendell’s back to town, and the Kid just finished telling Molly his story. He asks her to get Henry to meet him at the cemetery. After hearing that Ruth’s missing, she searches for both her and Henry, finding Ruth first. She’s standing on the bridge again, looking down as if she’s going to jump. As Molly tries to talk her down, Ruth seems to know about alternate timelines, as she says that she’s lived this moment many times before, and knows what Molly’s going to say. But when Molly mentions the Kid’s alternate universe where Ruth left Matthew, she gets off the bridge, feeling understood.
Henry makes it home in the morning to Ruth and Molly. When Molly tries to convince him of the Kid’s story, he doesn’t believe her and wants to turn him into the police. Henry tries to get her to tell him where the Kid is, and then they get a call saying that Wendell is at the police station. He was walking into the woods, following the sound, and came upon the police dealing with a murdered Odin Branch.
When Henry goes to pick him up, he is accused of being involved with the death, and is held for questioning. Molly, back at her office, is surprised to see Warden Porter at her door. She has a soap figurine of herself that she says is from the Kid, calling him the devil. Afterwards, she turns around and walks in front of a bus. Henry calls Molly to come to the police station and she tells him what happened. Her belief in the Kid’s innocence is wavering. She tells Henry where the Kid is, and the police bring him in.
Henry and the Kid are placed in a cell together as the prisoners from Shawshank are put in the other. In the chaos that follows, from Henry’s point of view, the Kid is the cause. The prisoners start taunting and yelling at him as he stares back, and soon they start attacking one another, until most of the prisoners and guards are dead, and the Kid has the keys. The horror continues upstairs where everyone in the station is dead, and the Kid leads Henry to the woods at gunpoint.
At one point, the Kid tells Henry that he doesn’t want to hurt him, something his father said to him the day he disappeared. You can see how that twists Henry’s perspective of the Kid to be even more negative. Now, in his eyes, the similarities to his father are too strong. Young Henry, as he remembers in this episode, made a decision to push his father over the cliff. He thought he was doing what was right and saving his mom. Now, in the woods with the Kid, Henry decides to become the hero again.
Henry gets the gun from the Kid. There’s a moment after, when the Kid looks up, where his face changes. To Henry, it looks old and unnatural. The creators hinted that this might have to do with the Kid’s travels through universes, as the image you see is Skarsgård’s face aged up a few hundred years. But after seeing that, Henry’s convinced. The Kid must be the Devil.
Henry spent his whole career trying to convince juries of the innocence of someone on death row. He tries to get them to listen to their story and understand the truth. But when he’s the one listening, deciding whether or not to believe the Kid’s story, he chooses to condemn him to a life in the cage again, despite reasonable doubt.
A year later, Henry makes a visit to the Kid back under Shawshank. During their conversation, the Kid tells Henry, “After a while, you forget what side of the bars you’re on.” It’s something Lacy said to him, before his doubt and guilt led him to suicide. Is Henry destined for the same fate? Well that’s for you to speculate.
I think yes. I don’t think the Kid was the villain, because that’s too easy. Castle Rock is the story of Henry Deaver, a humble lawyer, strong held in the belief of his own innocence. But while trying to help everyone he loves, he doesn’t see when he might’ve crossed the line himself, morphing into the same kind of monster his father was: self-righteous, and very human. Because the scariest monsters are the ones we become ourselves, without even noticing.
But there are still so many questions. Did the Kid cause all those deaths? Was it on purpose? His connection to all the bad things happening seems too clear to ignore. Is he just a tragic victim of circumstance? But what about Reverend Deaver’s death? Did he deserve to die? Henry chose to push him off the cliff, trying to kill him, but was it the right thing to do? It’s still murder.
There’s too many questions, and no more answers. And that’s why this show is so great. Yes, right now you feel unsatisfied. But the creators of Castle Rock successfully assembled a mystery to be debated for years to come. Did Henry Deaver do the right thing, or not? You tell me.
Mid Credits Scene:
Jackie Torrance is sitting in the town bar reading an excerpt from a novel. It seems her experience killing Gordon with the axe in episode 8 has brought her inspiration to write a book. Then she says, “The best place to finish a book is where it started,” and hints at a visit to the Overlook Hotel for research. Maybe Season 2?
(Featured image: Dana Starbard/Hulu)