Castle Rock is a town with enough secrets to stun us all season, but the biggest curveball this season is in Salem’s Lot.
Stephen King fans were super psyched over the reveal that Salem’s Lot would be a location on Castle Rock Season 2. Anyone whose ever seen Salem’s Lot knows that the main plot of the movie (and the novel) is that it is the neighborhood of many vampires. Given that Castle Rock‘s stories take place so many years before what happens in Salem’s Lot, the logical conclusion would be that we would find out the origin story of the town, and with that, a vampire connection.
What the Castle Rock audience got with Episode 4, “Restore Hope,” was the revelation that something even scarier then vampires has been residing in Salem’s Lot. After Annie Wilkes killed Ace Merill with an ice cream scooper, she tries to dump his body in Salem’s Lot. Sadly, they both fall into the depths of the cavernous underbelly of the town. Desperately looking for a way out, Annie leaves Ace’s body behind in the watery sewers. Sometime later, Annie sees Ace back at Castle Rock as if nothing ever happened.
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Annie has a history of mental health issues that she’s been treating with the help of Dr. Nadia Omar. So, Annie’s first thought was that she saw hallucinations because Nadia had messed up the formula to her medication. But that’s not what happened at all; Ace really is alive. However, his behavior is noticeably different. When Ace visits Pop Merrill at the hospital, Pop asks where he’s been, and Ace claims that he’s been to Derry.
If you haven’t figured out already, Derry is the part of Maine where It originates. Now before you get excited at a possible Pennywise sighting on Castle Rock, consider first that Pennywise only comes around every 27 years. While it is true that Pennywise exists in this period of the Stephen King Universe because the alien life force has been around since before civilization existed, that doesn’t mean that the clown’s presence is currently in residence. Truthfully, Ace was probably lying about being in Derry and “coincidently” picked the King related town as a delightful Easter egg.
What we do know is that Ace died and somehow has made it back alive. Whatever the mysterious circumstances of his resurrection are, they are related to Salem’s Lot. There’s still time for us to find out if it’s vampire-related though it seems like an overall different situation. It seems that Ace is experiencing some type of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers takeover of his body. Something alien in nature or spiritual has taken over after Ave died.
Although Ace knows the basics about his life, Chris finds him watching old home videos of when they were kids with Abdi and Nadia. Ace was either trying to understand the people in his life as a foreign being, or he was researching for some other use. What Ace tells Chris is that he was “reflecting.” It isn’t until he gets Chris alone and tries to kill him, that we have confirmation that Ace is not himself. He would have never tried to kill his little brother. But whatever brainwashed body-snatching process Ace went through, requires the victim to die first.
As Ace lures Chris to a church to die, we also see other prominent members of the community killed for the same purpose. Everyone who experiences this lobotomy of sorts will be part of Ace’s army for some unknown mission, which explains why Ace was eager to give Joy a ride and why he had his goons attack Nadia. They were hoping to add members to their cult. It’s been a short time since Ace has returned from the dead, and it’s already looking like most of the town is under his influence, which means those numbers will double in no time.
As for Chris, he makes it out alive to the church altar looking for help. Unfortunately, the priest that claims to call for help returns with an elaborate cross and stabs Chris in the neck. Next episode, Chris will also be a lobotomized version of who he used to be. The question that remains is the identity of the source that is killing and then taking over the people of Castle Rock.
What do you think has taken over Ace and the town? Let us know in the comments.
Castle Rock episodes are released every Wednesday on Hulu