‘Castle Rock’ Spoilers: What Molly’s “Shine” Reveals About “The Kid”

"It's just like I was listening to the pain of everyone in this town all at once."

by Catie Keck

It seemed clear early on that Castle Rock’s Molly Strand (Melanie Lynskey), the series’ introverted empath, possessed some kind of “shine” (Stephen King’s version of telepathy as seen in The Shining). With a psychic sensitivity to those around her, and particularly because of her proximity to the Hulu series’ protagonist Henry Deaver (Andre Holland), Molly may be the most reliable meter by which to gauge whether Bill Skarsgård’s “The Kid” is really as evil viewers have been led to believe.

Mild spoilers for Episode 5 of Castle Rock follow below.

Castle Rock’s fifth episode “Harvest” sees the release of Shawshank’s nameless prisoner after 27 years spent locked in a cage, as former Sheriff Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn) confirms during a heated exchange at gunpoint with The Kid at the episode’s end. But The Kid’s apparent inability to age is far from the episode’s most compelling reveal. Instead, it’s the trail of violence he may or may not wittingly leave in his wake that presents the series’ most perplexing storyline.

Bill Skarsgård as The Kid in 'Castle Rock.'


Molly Describes “The Kid” as Feeling “Wrong”

It’s an incident during which Molly picks up on The Kid’s psychic broadcast that reveals something is very amiss with the young man Warden Dale Lacy kept locked in a tank at Shawshank prison. Molly describes what she heard to Henry as follows:

He feels wrong […] Everyone broadcasts at their own frequency. Sometimes it’s deafening, you know, like with you. Sometimes it’s so faint, I can barely hear it. But after years of this, I’ve heard it all. With him, it’s just like I was listening to the pain of everyone in this town all at once.

The incident in question involved Molly finding The Kid standing on the edge of the roof of an old shirt factory. He appeared to be picking up broadcasts of wide-ranging mayhem simultaneously: a baby crying, people screaming, a dog barking viciously, the voice of the corrections officer who murdered his colleagues shortly before The Kid’s release, and something about a “dead body.” It wasn’t clear when or where some of the events were occurring.

Dennis Zalewski discovers The Kid in a tank in Shawshank State Prison.


Is Molly Right About “The Kid”?

What’s immediately clear is that Molly’s intuition appears to be, at least at present, pretty solid. The Kid’s post-release moonlight adventure into the home of a local family appeared to result in that same couple’s gruesome homicide on the night of their son’s birthday.

“Harvest” also revealed that the warden touched The Kid, presumably for the first time, in a flashback sometime before his death. One has to wonder whether Lacy suffered a similar fate as that of The Kid’s neo-Nazi cellmate and prison guard Dennis Zalewski (Noel Fisher), both of whom also touched the kid before their own bizarre deaths. Zalewski, an otherwise docile human being, tried to offer a reassuring fist bump to The Kid and soon after wound up murdering a significant number of Shawshank’s officials in a mass shooting (he was shot by prison officials). The neo-Nazi wound up riddled undetected metastatic cancer overnight.

Whatever is going on with The Kid remains at present the show’s greatest mystery, and Castle Rock’s showrunners are unlikely to serve up hasty reveals about the man’s origin. A flashback of a monologue from Lacy in the tank at Shawshank offered little more than breadcrumbs about a “crazy story” that The Kid told the warden on his first night in the cage, though the scene cuts before anything more is said. For now, it appears, we’ll just have to wait.

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