A Major ‘Castle Rock’ Death & More Moments Explained From ‘The Queen’ Episode

Castle Rock --
Spoiler Alert
Dana Starbard/Hulu

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Castle Rock episode, “The Queen.”]

By now, fans of Hulu’s new series Castle Rock are prepared for some shocks out of the Stephen King-inspired show. But nothing could prepare them for this week’s episode, “The Queen.”

After leaving off on a serious cliffhanger at the end of last week’s “Filter,” “The Queen” worked to fill in the gaps with Sissy Spacek‘s character Ruth. Troubled from the outside, to onlookers Ruth seems to suffer from Alzheimer’s, but new developments may suggest otherwise.

From a major death to Ruth’s haunting journey through time, we’re breaking down some of the episode’s biggest moments and shockers, as well as some sneaky references made to non-King works. But be warned, there are some big spoilers ahead.

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Alan Pangborn’s Death

Fans of the Stephen King universe are familiar with the name Alan Pangborn, and Castle Rock‘s interpretation is essentially plucked from his pages. Portrayed by The Walking Dead‘s Michael Rooker in the 1993 film The Dark Half, and Westworld‘s Ed Harris in the 1993 movie Needful Things, Alan Pangborn is a key character throughout King’s stories in the town of Castle Rock.

Scott Glenn‘s much-older version is dedicated to Spacek’s Ruth. Tragically, during this episode, she mistakes him for “The Kid” (Bill Skarsgård) when she fires her gun in defense out in the shed behind her home. Heartbreaking in every way, the show’s first main character casualty packs more meaning than you even realize.

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Alan’s death not only marks the end of the road for one of King’s familiar characters, it also offered viewers a glimpse into the confusing state of Ruth’s mind. The loss of this character is sure to set something major into motion for this mystifying series.

Ruth’s Dark Dance Through Time

Viewers were introduced to the inner workings of Ruth’s mind as she stepped from one haunting memory to the next. We learned a lot about her past with deceased husband Matthew Deaver (Adam Rothenberg), including a disturbing family moment in which he dragged his wife and son out to the woods, only to seemingly threaten suicide and then claim he could hear God.

As alluded to in the previous episode, Ruth could pull herself out of her memories when she’d find her chess pieces gifted to her by Alan. Ultimately, her reality was no better, as “The Kid” lurked at every corner of her home, and fans went along with Ruth on her quest to recover the long-forgotten bullets belonging to her husband’s gun — her last defense.

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Is ‘The Kid’ Ruth’s Dead Husband?

Undoubtedly the most chatty since his introduction in the first episode, “The Kid” was a lingering source of discomfort throughout the episode. As news of the mental hospital fire he presumably started scrolled across the television, Ruth was grappling with the fact that “The Kid” was wearing her husband’s clothes and speaking like him.

From playing Ruth and Matthew’s wedding song to making her favorite type of eggs and knowing her after-dinner routine — not to mention knowing Matthew’s safe combination — it seems well within reason that “The Kid” could be Matthew Deaver incarnate. He even spoke in terms concurrent with Matthew’s, such as, “God helps those who help themselves.” But there’s one catch: “The Kid” hasn’t aged in years, according to past statements made by Alan. So this seems more like a case of an immortal-like being playing tricks on Ruth. Hopefully more answers will arise in the final three episodes.

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Shutter Island and Inception References

So this may just be a case of coincidence or the people behind Castle Rock just really love Leonardo DiCaprio movies. Throughout the episode, Ruth’s travels through time and memories would make anyone think of Christopher Nolan’s 2010 film Inception, in which DiCaprio and a cast of characters travel through dreams.

But in “The Queen,” moments after the death of Alan, Ruth exits the shed and heads inside the house to take a shower, then runs downstairs and Alan is at the door. How could this be? Fans are possibly witnessing another memory, as when the camera pans out, it reveals the chess pieces Ruth keeps, the Queen upright next to her fallen King. The imagery calls to mind the spinning top that closes out Inception, which determined if DiCaprio was stuck inside a dream or back in reality. Could it mean the same thing for Ruth?

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Those familliar with Scorsese’s 2010 film Shutter Island will also recognize the music from this scene as the same song that played over dream sequences between DiCaprio and Michelle Williams’ characters. Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight,” is a melody worthy of the moment.

What will happen next? It’s clear things are just getting started in Castle Rock. Only three episodes remain in Season 1, so answers will hopefully be on the horizon.

Castle Rock, Streaming Now, Hulu