Castle Rock: “Caveat Emptor” Review (Spoilers)

Eight episodes of buildup, and the penultimate episode of the season didn’t disappoint with its delivery!  In what is definitely the most action-packed episode of the series thus far, it also surprisingly bridged the gap between seasons 1 and 2, whose sole connections before were left very much up for interpretation.  So let’s take an explosive (no pun intended) look at “Caveat Emptor”!

Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned!!!

Picking up from the daring escapes by Pop, Annie, and Nadia, they converge with Abdi, Chance, and a few other townspeople for a final stand against Augustin’s cult, which has now taken over the entire town.  Barricading themselves in Pop’s office, they gather their bearings and try to figure out how to defeat this seemingly insurmountable force.

The tense action begins pretty much immediately, and does a great job of blending practical with digital effects, so that the CGI is less noticeable.

Meanwhile, we revisit Warden Lacy’s widow Martha over in Castle Rock. Unfortunately for her, she’s immediately attacked, and “taken over” by one of Augustin’s people.  It seems that he’s very interested in “the Kid” that Warden Lacy was keeping in Shawshank.

Whether or not this alternate “Henry Deaver” is a truly an angel (as Augustin believes), is still up for debate.  But it’s interesting to see this connection with season 1.  Up until now, Castle Rock has operated more as an anthology, but perhaps that won’t be the case moving forward.

Her return expands this whole story into a larger universe! Which is also sorta the entire point of the series itself.

As the survivors make their stand in Pop’s office, Augustin and his followers surround them, only being held off by the many explosives rigged around the first floor.  What follows is a genuinely tense and compelling series of exchanges between Pop and Augustin, as well as the complete unhinging of Annie Wilkes.

We’ve seen her character commit to complete insanity in Misery, but here it’s really inspiring to see her use that psychotic energy for something good.  Because of her tendencies to be obsessive and completely unyielding, there’s no doubt that she will go to any length and kill anyone (which she’s done already) in order to save Joy.

Annie is truly in her element when wielding her signature hammer weapon!

But the shining star of the episode is definitely Tim Robbins, as his brilliant performance conveys a lifetime of sins committed by Pop and his final comeuppance as all of this unfolds.  It’s quite clear in his mind that he’s not walking out of this alive, and in his moments of final desperation, he seeks absolution from Nadia who promptly refuses it, and rightfully so.

Pop’s ultimate tragedy was that despite going to extreme lengths to atone for his misdeeds and mistakes, he’s never truly able to.  That said, we’ll most likely see the grief from Nadia and Abdi in the next episode.

His second tragedy of course, was failing to detonate the C-4 strapped to himself before Augustin was able to kill him.  But he still died saving the others and it made for a worthy sacrifice.

The bold train escape was visually cool to watch and helped add to the overall tension of the episode.  It was also a nice detail when Nadia pointed out that she and Abdi used to do the same thing when they were younger to get away from Ace.

Despite pretty much knowing that the main characters would survive this, the moment will still heart-pounding and tense. Their luck may not hold out next episode though.

It’s unclear how this clearly outnumbered ragtag group will defeat Augustin, while also preventing them from using Joy as Amity’s host, but it’s certainly going to make for a far more eventful and exciting season finale that Castle Rock gave us last year!

What did you think of this week’s episode?  What are your predictions for the season finale?!  Let us know in the comments below!  And for more reviews, rankings, and other fun horror content, follow Halloween Year-Round in Facebook and Twitter!

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