Castle Rock (S02E05) “The Laughing Place”

Here’s the reason why Annie is the soul of this season.

I said this last week and today we have the confirmation. There was a reason why I didn’t enjoy last episode as much – the absence of Annie. On the other hand, this week’s episode was entirely dedicated to Annie and guess what? Loved it!

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CASTLE ROCK — “The Laughing Place” – Episode 205 (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)

Halfway through the season we start getting more answers about the characters and their motivations. Last week it was mainly about Pop. Today we get to see how Annie Wilkes became Annie Wilkes.

The episode is basically all flashbacks, tied in to a few scenes of the present. We see Joy reading the book that she found on the CD last week and that’s when we get into the flashbacks.

First, we see Annie as a kid in school, clearly having some trouble reading (dyslexia, most likely). We also learn that her parents aren’t really “the usual type” and don’t agree with the school, which wants Annie to go to a psychiatrist. Instead, they decide to home-school her, but with the dad “teaching” her how to read. Personally, I don’t blame her father but more like her mother. Annie looks pretty happy around her dad and her mother is the one that has some strong beliefs. The episode also let us know that her dad has been working on a book for 10 years and hasn’t been able to finish it. That is when Annie’s mom has enough of it and hires a teacher to actually help Annie with the reading. And that’s also when the problems begin.

Right away, Annie doesn’t like the idea of not having her father help her. But after a few attempts, Rita, her new teacher, gets close to Annie and the two actually become kind of good friends, also with Annie actually getting better at reading. In the mean time, her father also gets ahead with the book and he eventually finishes it. By that time, we find out that Rita is pregnant and that’s in that moment that everything is pretty clear to the viewer.

I would say that this episode was extremely predictable. However, it was really interesting to see exactly how everything took place so, for once, the predictability wasn’t an issue.

At this point, the marriage of Annie’s parents are a mess and they basically split up. Annie does her test to then get into college and she does great. As she’s applying for colleges her mum is pretty low and she decides to kill them both, driving into a lake. Luckily (or not) Annie survives. She goes back to living with her dad and, after six months, her dad comes clean with everything that we already knew. That he’s with Rita and that Rita’s baby is also Annie’s half-sister. Obviously Annie doesn’t take this too well but she learns to live with it. It’s when her father gets a publishing deal that everything goes downhill.

Annie’s father dedicates the book to Rita and Annie just loses it. She involuntary kills her father and proceeds to kill Rita, then running away with Evangeline, the baby – the scene that we saw in the first episode. She intends on killing the baby but she smiles at Annie and the rest we already know.

As we see this, we also see Joy finishing reading the book and sees it’s dedication. She searches for Rita and she eventually finds someone on Facebook, who she calls. Turns out, Annie didn’t kill Rita and that’s how the episode ends.

Personally I think this was the best episode of this season so far. Not only the story was supper compelling, but also the performances were great and something that I haven’t noticed yet, but I did in this episode, was the sound design. Loved the score! It gave the episode an eerie feeling that I like and it was just a nice touch that made this episode even better.

I’m super excited to see where this season is going, now that we have a new player! But that’s it from me. Let us know all your thoughts on the episode and I’ll catch you up on the next one – Wednesday, November 13 on Hulu.