Episodes 6 of “Castle Rock” shows us the return of a familiar face, Annie Wilke’s step-mom Rita Green. In this episode, we see how Rita interacts with her daughter for the first time as a teenager and the anger and resentment Annie and Rita feel towards one another.
The last moments of episode 5 showed a present-day Rita (oddly having not aged a day) speaking with Joy briefly on the phone. The episode ended after she heard about the book “The Ravening Angel” and her expression notably changed.
Episode 6 picks up with filling in the blanks as to why the previous installment ended in such a way. We find Rita in alcoholics anonymous, talking to her fellow recoverees about moving on from your problems. Paradoxically, the next thing we see is Rita once again speaking with Joy on the phone, but this time we see more background detail, including a marked-up map. The purpose of this map, it is revealed, is to track Annie. She finds the address that the call was coming from and sets off to Castle Rock.
For the next few minutes of episode 6, we see the following moments from the last episode where Annie met a supposed-to-be-dead Ace Merrill in the bar. The scene plays out from there as Annie gets more and more inebriated. She laughingly tells Ace how she killed him and he jokes back, saying that it’s a perfectly normal dream people have about him.
After taking her home safely, tucking her in, and awkwardly stroking her face while she slept, Ace left to his next destination. A random couple then enters, discussing their future together, before being mauled by the mysterious group of vampire-like beings, including Ace, who submerge them in goo-filled coffins.
Rita then arrives in Castle Rock and mistakes one of Joy’s friends for Joy. This is when Annie spots Rita and makes a run for it. Assuming she’s delusional, Annie medicates herself with more lithium.
Annie arrives where Joy is staying and asks to see her. Joy is then seen as she is informed that her mother wants to speak with her, gets up, and follows the nurse out. The scene then cuts back to Annie, who is informed that Joy is currently speaking with her mother. Joy then becomes the focus again, as she enters a room to see Rita sitting and waiting for her.
Rita tells her that her real name is Evangeline. Joy, understandably, refuses to acknowledge her as a mother or Annie as her sister. This results in Rita entering the bar Annie was previously at, where she relapses.
At the hospital, Nadia discovers the woman from earlier, who was mauled and kidnapped with her boyfriend, hysterical and covered in slime. Even after this, a closer look at the coffins and what happens to those who are kidnapped, we are not given so much as a single clue as to what’s happening to them.
Meanwhile, Annie tells Joy the whole story about how she planned to kill herself. Continuing the “Laughing Place” theme, Annie tells Joy it was her laugh that saved her. Joy doesn’t buy it because she had just realized that Annie was planning on killing her in her crib.
A drunk Rita then confronts Annie in her home, holding a gun. She tearfully tells her she hoped she was a good mom and then pulls a gun on her. Rita asks her: “It was the dedication, wasn’t it?” Rita acknowledges that after all she and her father did to her, it was the dedication at the end of the book that made her feels “small.”
“I was small,” Annie tearfully replies.
Joy reads the letter Annie wrote for her and decides to go home instead of run away with one of her friends. She finds the house empty.
Somewhere in the dark woods, Rita holds a gun to Annie’s back and escorts her to her demise, as flashes of the two of them together, happy, fill our view. As Rita gets Annie on the ground and is about to kill her, Annie throws dirt in her eyes and escapes. She nearly gets away, before Rita catches up and corners her.
Rita pulls the hammer back, about to shoot, when Joy makes an appearance, stabbing Rita in the arm with a syringe. Rita loses control and drops the gun, which fires upon hitting the ground. As we see a close up of all three characters’ shocked expressions, we’re left wondering who, if anyone, was shot.
It’s revealed that Rita has blood pooling around her stomach. She drops to the ground and Annie, against the odds, rolls up her sleeves and uses her knowledge as a nurse to try and save Rita’s life.
As she struggles to contain the bleeding, police lights appear behind them. Joy gets into hysterics and puts her arms up, to which Annie responds “I did it! It was me,” while throwing her own arms up.
As Annie and Joy’s very fascinating story continues, we are still left with questions pertaining to “Castle Rock’s” several other seemingly uncontained sub-plots. We are only fed bits and pieces of the Somali refugee antiquity shop and the vampire-like presence in Salem’s lot that appears to involve a resurrected Ace Merrill.
Despite the fact that Annie and Joy have both witnessed these supernatural occurrences, they are put on the back-burner in favor of Annie and Joy’s more grounded, mother-daughter drama. Hopefully, future episodes will provide more answers about these other plots.
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