WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Castle Rock Season 1, Episode 7 "The Queen," now streaming on Hulu.
"No good deed goes unpunished" should really be the slogan on the welcoming sign at the city limits of Castle Rock, Maine. In fact, this mantra could be applied to a lot of Stephen King's fictional towns. However, there is a certain quaint sense of Americana within Castle Rock that is quietly creepy and melancholy. The people who call the small New England town are blue-collar folks who just want to better themselves, enjoy the summer months, and survive the harsh winter. But throughout Stephen King's prolific bibliography, Castle Rock is constantly barraged with tragedy and terror, and it has weighed heavy on the collective mental health of the town.
While the show isn't adapted from one particular Stephen King property, it shares so much DNA with his work, beautifully distilling the sadness of the titular town King has been writing about for decades. In "The Queen," viewers finally get a feel for the weight of the town in the form of seeing a long time King character meet their end in a heart wrenching blink of the eye. This episode follows Ruth Deaver as she employs her method of coming back to the present when she seemingly loses her sense of time and place due to her dementia by using her chess pieces.
The structure of the episode is brilliant, covering the last few chapters and showing us what exactly Ruth was experiences when it seemed she was simply "spacing out" to the people around her. It's a beautiful way to show the internal working of such a horrific degenerative disease. But despite Ruth's tenacity and strength, the constant shifts in her reality take a heavy toll and leave her frightened and ready to defend herself against "The Kid," who has taken refuge in the Deaver house.
Here come those aforementioned MASSIVE SPOILERS. If you have not watched episode 7 of Castle Rock, turn back now...
Seriously. If you love the characters in this show, this is pretty upsetting.