Well that was seriously dull.
I really enjoyed Castle Rock‘s three-hour premiere last week, but this was far too slow for my taste. I appreciate atmospheric buildup as much as the next guy, but The Box doesn’t feature enough thrills or answer enough mysteries to counteract its tiresome pace.
The Mystery of Henry
I know the show doesn’t want to fully reveal Henry’s story quite just yet, but it might do the series a world of good instead of feeding us unsatisfying nuggets. He may or may not have been held captive in a cage by Vincent Desjardins (a predictably spooky suspect), and Alan believes (thanks to Henry’s dad) that our hero killed his own father. It’s all pretty messy and not as interesting as the show would have you believe. Groan.
I would much prefer to spend more time with Molly who was severely underused in this installment.
There is one bright spot though: the episode’s final sequence. It’s completely nerve-wracking to watch Zalewski go completely berserk and slaughter Shawshank’s guards being finally getting shotgunned (just as he reaches Henry). Even better is the choice to showcase the entire massacre through CCTV. It’s a brilliant idea that forces viewers to look through the various cameras and try to pinpoint Zalewski’s exact location. It makes for an immersive and haunting experience that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go.
Finally, there’s a welcome ambiguous element to the attack. Did Zalewski finally snap? You could certainly make the case for that after everything he had witnessed in Shawshank, but my money’s on The Devil manipulating him after that fist-bump (remember how he gave his roommate cancer last week?).
Bits & Bars
– Super creepy moment with The Devil standing up to the deputy warden and creeping him out by quoting the book of Revelation.
– So Alan and Henry’s mom have been an affair for a long, long time. No surprise there.
– Why was Zalewski drawing smiley faces on all the cameras?
– Henry has his father’s coffin brought back home. Mom is appropriately traumatized.
– Where was Jane Levy this week? Not cool writers.
– Roy Orbison’s cheery soundtrack is a crazy contrast to the darkness of the final sequence.
Aside from a stellar final sequence, this was a chore to watch. Here’s hoping the show bounces back next week.