The Complete Second Season
review by Bobby Blakey
“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.”
For years the works of famed author Stephen King has been being developed for TV and feature films. In 2018 Hulu brought another new project to light, but this time an all-new series called Castle Rock that takes place in the world of Stephen King’s writings. The success spawned an all new season focusing on a new story starring Lizzie Caplan, Tim Robbins, Paul Sparks, Barkhad Abdi, Yusra Warsama, Elsie Fisher, and Matthew Alan. Could this latest season offer up another great chapter for the series or should it have never been published?
Castle Rock follows a place which combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of the best-selling author’s best-loved works. In season two, a feud between warring clans comes to a boil when budding psychopath Annie Wilkes, Stephen King’s nurse from hell, gets waylaid in the small town of Castle Rock. Local businessman Reginald “Pop” Merrill is dragged into the fight, when Pop’s nephew, legendary bully John “Ace” Merrill, stirs up trouble.
I admit that I have not read a lot of King’s novels, but have kept up with most of the TV and film adaptations both good and bad. Going into the first season I tried to keep my expectations low because people were raving about it and more often than not ends up being a let-down. Thankfully this series works more than it doesn’t and offers up a great new universe for fans to enjoy. I enjoyed the first season quite a bit so was looking forward to this one and let me tell you not only did it not disappoint it blew the first season away in my opinion. While I am sure that I didn’t catch them all, like the first season this season is littered with King references outside of Castle Rock with some repeats from the previous season and plenty of new ones with the Shawshank prison still a used location in the show. Even the most novice of his works will notice most of these references and they are pretty cleverly placed throughout that brilliantly creates this world like it always existed, but there are also some more obscure ones that will no doubt have the hardcore fans smiling ear to ear.
The performances are insanely good across the board showcasing yet another great entry into the world of TV and why the medium is so elevated these days. The story is engaging right out of the gate, with Lizzy Kaplan stepping into the role of Annie Wilkes, made famous by Kathy Bates in Misery. She is so good here that you cannot help but be captivated by her every moment she is on screen. The same can be said for the always great Tim Robbins who’s “Pop” is filled with so much depth you never really know where he stands until the very end.
The first season took me a few episodes to get fully invested, but here I was all in right out the gate. As the show progresses it gives you more questions than answers, but makes sure to not leave you fully hanging when it’s all said and done. On the surface this season is a standalone that I was expecting to be able to watch without seeing the first season, but there are elements that made it pretty clear that you need to be seeing them both to fully keep up with it all. As the show progresses it weaves a tale that is just like anything King would have wrote making it one that hardcore fans will no doubt love.
I loved every episode of this season and the way it takes elements from Misery, Jerusalem’s Lot and more to create two overlapping tales that play up like one story all its own. The questions you have to where the next stage is going and what came before is answered all while bringing a few more questions to the table. The ending is the perfect cap to this story that had me smiling from ear to ear giving me exactly what I had hoped for. Not sure if we are getting another season as of yet, but I am ready to return to Castle Rock sooner than later.
In addition to all 10 episodes of the second season this release includes bonus content including featurettes on bringing this new chapter of this universe to life. Return to the world that King built with Castle Rock: The Complete Second Season available now on Digital and then on Blu-ray and DVD on July 21st from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.