By Lakshana Palat | 9:11 PM PST, Nov 27, 2019

After focussing on family dynamics, ‘Castle Rock’ brings Annie Wilkes and Nadia into the main horror plot.

                            'Castle Rock' Season 2:  Family dramas pushed aside as Annie Wilkes is swept back into main horror plot after losing Joy

Things are coming to a head in Hulu’s ‘Castle Rock’. The emotional family dramas that were at the fore in the past few episodes have taken a backseat, as the town is now being engulfed by satanic spirits who have taken over the populace, except for Annie Wilkes (Lizzy Caplan) and Nadia (Yusra Warsama). 

In the latest episode, we finally had a good dose of Annie Wilkes, who is staying at the Marsten House with daughter Joy (Elsie Fisher) as instructed by Ace Merrill (Paul Sparks). Ace reminds her that it is not ‘safe’ for Joy to go outside, as Joy could be connected with the murder of her biological murder Rita (Sarah Gadon). Ace has other plans for Joy and wants her to be Amity’s vessel. Annie tries to tell Joy to leave with her, but she refuses to listen. Meanwhile, the entranced townsfolk are continuing on their solemn march outside the house, carrying the statue of the hypnotic Angel towards Jerusalem Lot.

Unlike the previous episode, there is no cheer and no clowning around. Here, the people walk in a zombie-like manner towards the sound. These are people who are not ‘defiled’ by psycho-active medications. This march feels like a cascading river, which sweeps everyone in its course that flows through the town. The takeover is complete, and the townsfolk have all been inducted into this grim cause. It’s disturbing and it’s eerie.

Yet, other scenes are taking place within Marsten House. Throughout the episode, Annie is haunted by her mother’s spirit, who tells her to ‘clean’ Joy, the same way she tried to do for her, which means kill her. Yet, Annie remembers that the only happiness in the world is Joy, and doesn’t succumb to the darkness swirling inside her. Annie and Joy manage to escape the confines of the Marsten House after butchering several of their captives. 

At the end of the episode, Joy has seen the Angel and is walking with the apocalyptic townfolk, while Annie is held back. This is enough incentive for Annie to pulled back into the main plot after staying on the periphery for a while. Earlier, a good amount of time had been spent on explaining her miserable origin story, her escape from home after accidentally killing her father and then stabbing her step-mother in panic, and stressing on the relationship between Joy and her. Much time had been dedicated to Pop Merrill and Nadia-Abdi’s story as well, and why Pop Merrill chose to adopt them.

For several episodes, ‘Castle Rock’ had touched emotional chords, and explored dysfunctional relationships in torn families, including the dynamic between Nadia and Pop Merrill (Tim Robbins).  No complaints here, as the show demonstrated the horror of uneven parenting and broken childhoods. This horror was more realistic than the body-snatchers carrying out their grim jobs around time.

And now, along with Annie, Nadia has been sucked into the main plot as well.

What will happen next? Will Annie be the next casualty of the Kid? Or will it be Joy? For sure, there’s no happy ending here, as the events are set right before Stephen King’s ‘Misery’. 

‘Castle Rock’ airs on Hulu, on Wednesdays 12:00 am ET.