André Holland as Henry Deaver André Holland as Henry Deaver in the Hulu series "Castle Rock." (Image credit: Hulu)

Ed. Note: Shannon Nickinson is a writer, editor, longtime Stephen King fan, and in full disclosure has to put up with our own Phil Nickinson on a daily basis.

Poor Henry Deaver.

There is but one episode left to find out what will become of the prodigal son returned to Maine's creepiest hometown of "Castle Rock." And well, when you're from this neighborhood, the odds aren't in favor of a happy ending.

As a longtime fan of the Stephen King-verse, I have enjoyed the Hulu series, (with new episodes dropping on Wednesdays, instead of the all-at-once method of other services). Translating King's works to the screen is a mixed bag, as we all know.

For every "Shawshank Redemption," and "The Dead Zone," there is a "Maximum Overdrive" and "Firestarter."

Bill Skarsgard Bill Skarsgård is "The Kid" in Hulu's "Castle Rock."

You get "Stand By Me," "Misery," "Carrie," and "Salem's Lot," but you have to take "The Dark Half," "Cujo" and "Silver Bullet."

The kids tell me the new "It" is worth the effort, but Tim Curry will always be my Pennywise. I can't cheat on him, even for a Skarsgård.

So it's been good to see that the Castle Rock and her sister cities still have some storytelling juice to give for the good of the cause. Small towns have never been safe from moral decay, psychological tension, mad dogs or antique salesmen. The King stories with the most staying power have always explored "the banality of evil." Sure there's a big bad, usually with otherwordly powers, but the real threat is usually from the people who seem normal, just like us.

Here the psychological tension outweighs the ick-factor.

André Holland has done a yeoman's job as our hero, slowly unfolding the mystery of his town, his client (Bill Skarsgård), and of his own life. The theme that you can't outsmart, outrun or bury your past is common King territory. Selling it takes a hero who you can watch remember, recoil and resolve to fight sometimes in the space of the same scene. Absent that, and you get a one-note Johnny just swinging his axe into the bathroom door.

Holland has been up to the task, with great support from pros like Sissy Spacek, Scott Glenn, Terry O'Quinn and Melanie Lynskey. We've been in capable hands the whole ride.

The Easter eggs have been well-placed, without becoming a burden on the story. How many of those callbacks are happy accidents and which ones will actually influence poor Henry's fate remains to be seen.

Doesn't Molly just prove that you still have to watch the quiet ones? Is The Kid really more Leland Gaunt than John Coffey? Did Henry's son really decide to get off the bus and walk from Jerusalem's Lot back to Castle Rock in the middle of the damn night?

Hulu & Hulu Live

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