The Queen is an emotional, beautiful, tragic and unique look through the eyes of someone dealing with dementia. Castle Rock entered legendary territory with this episode. It is shot with love and care, taking us on a journey that will leave us all affected forever. Castle Rock heavily focuses on Stephen King’s world with easter eggs all over the place, but this episode just focused on Ruth and it was amazing.
We must not let those suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s suffer alone. They need our help. We must talk about mental illness and we must show them they are loved. There must be a bigger fight for a cure even if it seems like we may never find one.
Sissy Spacek delivers the best performance on TV this year and it feels safe to say nobody is topping it. She is, in fact, a queen. Bill Skarsgård also continues his incredible work, taking it up to an even better notch in this episode. Chosen Jacobs and Caleel Harris delivers great performances as well. The whole cast continues to constantly deliver. Sam Shaw’s writing for this episode is perfection and beautiful.
SPOILERS AHEAD! READ WITH CAUTION!
Throughout the first 6 episodes, we’ve seen how hard life is for Ruth Deaver dealing with this disease. Some days she’s okay and some she isn’t. The Queen, shows us life through her eyes and just how hard it is for someone who is living their life in the past and present.
During this episode, we get long-form answers to questions and concerns we may have had. A look at how abusive and messed up her husband was, her love for Alan Pangborn, the connection she had with Henry and their dog among other things. There is a lot of weaving in and out from the past and present. She never takes on her old form when in the past. It’s always her as she is now.
Something that is quite striking is the more in-depth look at Matthew Deaver. He had an incredibly religious look at life and seemed to get angry at Ruth and Henry whenever they didn’t ‘hear’ God’s voice. There is one scene when Ruth finds herself in the past. She was packing her things to leave with Alan, and she heartbreakingly tells her past self to continue packing. One thing to note, she puts bullets in that suitcase, which she intended to use with a gun that belonged to Matthew.
There’s also a scene where we are taken back to when she, Henry, and Matthew are walking in the woods. Matthew is asking them if they hear God. He then shocks them by taking a gun out and looking like he was about to commit suicide in front of them, only to tell them he had heard the voice of God as he wanted to do it.
There is also the case of the dog. In previous episodes, we’ve seen their old dog in the suitcase that he was buried in and we find out that he was struck by a car. Alan was the one who puts the dog out of its painful misery. We have seen Ruth struggling with the thought that the dog had died and constantly thinking it was alive and digging through their trash. Throughout this episode the dog appears a lot, sometimes looking mean and angry.
We go back to when Wendell and Ruth are talking. He shows her an AR game and calls her a time walker. This serves as the jump point in which Ruth begins to think The Kid is her husband resurrected and wants to kill him to be set free. The Kid plays with Ruth’s mind throughout all of the episode, making her go through the past and present with the chess pieces marking her way back to the present time. The Kid also knows far too much that a random kid she never met before should know, henceforth she thinks that’s her husband for sure.
At one point, on TV, the news says that there was a fire at Juniper Hill, killing 14 and The Kid’s picture shows up as the suspect. It also further proves that this kid is the devil. He’s just going around killing anyone and shows up at the Deaver residence like nothing is wrong.
As Ruth realizes she’s in a fight with The Kid, she tells Wendell to leave. Wendell wants to stay because he knows this kid is bad news and fears for his grandmother’s life, but she still tells him to go and he does. One thing to note is that at this point, she doesn’t remember the bullets are in the suitcase.
Once The Kid draws a bath for Ruth, after a failed attempt at giving her a sedative, we are taken on an emotional journey through Ruth’s past. She tries to find the bullets that go with Matthew Deaver’s gun. We find out that when she packed her suitcase to leave with Alan, she had actually put the bullets in that suitcase, going back to the moment when she is crying and watching her past self not continue packing.
After stabbing The Kid, she runs out of the bathroom and is greeted by people who were at the lunch reception after her husband’s funeral. She gets to the suitcase that has their dog in it, opens it up and finds the bullets. She puts the bullets in her gun and races to the shed outside and when someone appears at the door she shoots that person assuming it’s The Kid, but immediately we find out it was actually Alan. That moment brings the heartache and emotional journey of this episode to a traumatic end. She rests her head on Alan and then it’s suddenly morning.
She goes back into her house, takes a shower and puts on some nice clothes. Ruth opens the door because someone is there and it turns out to be Alan. He said someone had heard gunshots, they share a conversation and you see just how much Alan really loved Ruth and had her best interests at heart.
This whole scene is basically a dream. Ruth’s last words to Alan are, “don’t leave.”