Castle Rock finally reveals what Annie Wilkes has been running from

CASTLE ROCK -- "The Laughing Place" - Episode 205 -- In the beginning.... Annie (Lizzy Caplan), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)
CASTLE ROCK -- "The Laughing Place" - Episode 205 -- In the beginning.... Annie (Lizzy Caplan), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu) /

Castle Rock finally revealed why Annie Wilkes has been running for so long with her daughter, and it all makes so much sense now.

Annie Wilkes on Castle Rock hasn’t traveled halfway across the map with her daughter in tow just because she wanted a fresh start. We know this because she’s changed her name several times, and there have been fragments of a flashback that show her covered in blood while carrying a box. It’s also apparent that Annie must have committed a crime of some sort because there’s a warrant out for her arrest. Undoubtedly, Annie has been running from the consequences of something that she did in her past.

Castle Rock finally unveiled the mystery behind Annie’s past in episode 5, “The Laughing Place.” As most of Stephen King’s stories often go, Annie’s problems started with her parents. But not necessarily in the way that one would think. She wasn’t a physically abused or a tortured child of any kind, even still, there was some psychological trauma caused by her mother.

Her mother was almost a replica of who Annie would grow up to be. However, Annie’s father, Carl Wilkes, was supportive and loving to a fault, but still failed to address any of Annie’s problems and chose to overlook them.

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From what it seems, Annie had a learning disability and possibly some mental health issues that would lead her to view the world only in terms of right and wrong. Carl chose to focus on her ability to read his own manuscript and gloss over the rest.

Based on an argument he would later have, it seemed that Carl was resentful of the stigmas attached to mental health issues, as he had at one point been prescribed lithium for his own disorder. Annie may have inherited her condition from her father but never properly received treatment because of Carl’s fears. Carl preferred to pretend that nothing was wrong with his daughter than to have her take medication.

CASTLE ROCK — “The Laughing Place” – Episode 205 — In the beginning…. Teen Annie (Ruby Cruz) and Crysilda (Robin Weigert), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu)
CASTLE ROCK — “The Laughing Place” – Episode 205 — In the beginning…. Teen Annie (Ruby Cruz) and Crysilda (Robin Weigert), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu) /

Annie’s struggle with reading would lead to bullying and her parents would pull her from school. It was effective at protecting Annie, but the isolation led her to not properly learn how to deal with others. She smacked a kid for making fun of her and her parents never addressed it.

To make matters worse, Annie’s view of the world was backed by her mother’s critical beliefs that almost mirror those of Stephen King’s Margaret White. While there is no sign of religious observation on Annie’s mother’s part, she was still obsessed with righteousness and the sin of the world. This is where Annie got her devotion to severe punishment for what she deemed as bad. Additionally, her mother would be the one to introduce her to the term “dirty bird.”

These factors combined would make Annie into a very rigid teenager that felt that justice was equivalent to death. There was no grey area for it either. You were either inherently good or you were bad and deserving of the cruelest of punishments. So when Annie realized that her tutor, Rita, and her father had hooked up leading to her father leaving her mother, there was no justification that could have made this change of events right.

Annie’s mother took the split badly and drove off a cliff to selfishly kill herself and her daughter. By chance, Annie would survive the plunge into a lake and go on to live with her father and Rita when her mother died. But things were destined to go sour when Annie realized that Rita had become pregnant when her parents were still together.

Castle Rock
CASTLE ROCK — “The Laughing Place” – Episode 205 — In the beginning…. Teen Annie (Ruby Cruz) and Tall Man (John Hoogenakker), shown. (Photo by: Dana Starbard/Hulu) /

As a strict disciplinarian, Annie could not see her father and Rita as anything but bad. In her mind, she lost her mother because of their sin. Add on the jealousy that would grow in Annie because her father dedicated his published book to his girlfriend who he named his “laughing place,” and Annie was ready to nuke the whole household.

During an argument with her dad, Annie accidentally pushed Carl down the stairs, impaling him on a broken piece of wood. This was an accident and Annie would regret it with all of her soul. I mean, she was the reason the only person she had left in the world died. Rita, who had already been questioning Annie’s intentions with her baby sister, tried to run but would end up stabbed by a pair of scissors.

Annie was going to kill her baby sister, too, but the laughing baby changed something within her and she spared her life. And that is how Annie became a mother. Joy Wilkes is actually Annie’s biological sister. So Annie has been running all along for a double homicide. Annie may have had nothing to do with Carl’s death but no one is going to believe that after what Annie did to Rita.

Forget the supernatural threat that Ace and his gang of lobotomized people pose if Annie survives this, she’s going to be in a lot of trouble because Joy discovered Carl’s manuscript in Annie’s box. Though it doesn’t shed any light on the murders, the dedication at the end to Rita pushes Joy to find her online.

And while we were all expecting the Wilkes’ murders to show up in Joy’s search, what we discovered was that Rita had actually survived a scissor to the gut. Joy’s real mother is alive! Joy finds Rita’s number and asks her if she’s familiar with the manuscript that she found. All Joy has to do is mention the name Wilkes to Rita and it’s all over for Annie.

What do you think about Annie Wilke’s past? Tell us in the comments below.

Next. Castle Rock Season 2, Episode 5: Top 4 shocking moments. dark

You can find new episodes of Castle Rock every Wednesday on Hulu.