“Are you the devil?”
FULL SPOILERS ahead for Castle Rock Episode 5, “Harvest.”
“He feels wrong,” may be the understatement of the year, even from a person as psychologically intuitive as Molly Strand (Melanie Lynskey). Episode 5 of Castle Rock, titled “Harvest,” is the series’ most intriguing and plot-heavy outing yet – featuring some exciting tie-ins to the Stephen King universe, while also continuing to build its own compelling narrative.
Let’s start with Jackie Torrance (Jane Levy), who we now know to be the niece of Jack Torrance from King’s popular novel, The Shining. While Levy delivers another spirited performance this week, her character, apart from her name, has little to do with the overall plot. Perhaps she and The Kid (Bill Skarsgard) will form an unlikely bond down the road, but for now, Jackie’s only redeeming quality is her connection to a legendary King character and Jack Nicholson’s memorable performance in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 cinematic adaption. Thankfully, there is more keeping Castle Rock afloat than the occasional Kingverse Easter egg.
Going back to Molly, the writers have done a solid job of slowly building her character’s relationship with Henry Denver (Andre Holland). It’s been fun to watch their bond deepen to the point where Molly feels comfortable sharing her secret abilities with Henry. It feels appropriate for Henry to trust what Molly is saying, but still being unable to fully grasp the implications. Sure, the world of Castle Rock is a fantastical place, but that doesn’t mean the characters that inhabit this universe should feel any less real. Well, maybe The Kid is the one exception.
The theory we discussed in last week’s review, about The Kid’s powers and how his touch can kill, appears to be confirmed here. It’s an interesting revelation because it might signify how the mysterious young man feels about certain people. He’s definitely aware of the power he possesses. Take Henry, for example. When The Kid is released from Shawshank Prison, Henry reaches out to shake his hand, but the youngster refuses to touch him. Does he view Henry as an ally, or does he have something more sinister planned for him in the future?
The flashback scene with Warden Dale Lacey is also revealing, since you clearly see him wearing gloves before he takes them off to touch the boy’s face. Like the rest of the unfortunate souls who have come into contact with him, touching The Kid proves deadly for Lacey too, though we’re still not sure why. Lacey believes The Kid is some kind of devil and that his holy quest is sanctioned by God, but Pangborn’s interaction with the troublesome youth debunks Lacey’s theory, for now – at least if we take The Kid at his word.
The final moments of “Harvest” are skillfully shot, creating a tense atmosphere as Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn) confronts The Kid in the woods. Even though we’re not given specifics, The Kid does deny being the devil, asking the former sheriff if he has any idea of what’s really going on in Castle Rock. While the secrecy behind Skarsgard’s character is frustrating, the writers are throwing in just the right amount of new information each week to keep things interesting. Hopefully, they won’t keep us waiting too long.
There are other WTF moments from “Harvest” that left us scratching our heads, like Henry’s mom suddenly attempting suicide at the ceremony, and what Molly heard while reading The Kid’s mind on the rooftop. Did anyone else notice that line from Stand By Me?