When Castle Rock was announced, it was unclear how many ties to Stephen King’s stories would play a major part and how many would just be fun nods.
Locations like Shawshank State Prison and characters like Alan Pangborn have played an integral part in the story so far, but most have been casual nods. Episode 5 — entitled “Harvest” — changes that. There’s a big nod to a character being a direct relative of one of King’s most infamous villains, and a reference to IT that raises the question of whether we may see Derry’s favorite clown pop up in town.
Here’s all the Stephen King Easter Eggs we spotted in Episode 5:
The episode opens to a radio broadcast about the spreading wildfire, and it mentions its effect on the neighboring town of Castle View. This town is referenced in many stories including The Body, Needful Things, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Gwendy’s Button Box.
The Kid is finally getting released from Shawshank after the bloody mess that ended Episode 4. Before that can happen, he’s forced to watch a video about adjusting to life outside prison and how he can begin rebuilding himself. The video is hosted by a man named Lou Hadley.
Though it could just be coincidence, the host shares a last name with Byron Hadley, the evil prison guard — played by the great Clancy Brown — in The Shawshank Redemption.
There’s an even bigger family reveal to come…
Juniper Hill Asylum
Henry works to find The Kid a new home after being released from Shawshank. More importantly, he wants to find the poor soul some help. Henry’s hope is he qualifies to be placed in Juniper Hill Asylum.
The asylum appears in a number of King’s novels, and has about as bad a reputation as Shawshank. Some of the unsavory patients include IT’s Henry Bowers, Needful Things’ Nettie Cobb, Insomnia’s Charlie Pickering, and Gerald’s Game’s Raymond Joubert.
When viewers first heard that a woman in town’s name was Jackie Torrance, it seemed like just another nod. That didn’t turn out to be the case. In one of the bigger name drops in the show, Jackie (seen at the top of the page) reveals — while sharing a smoke with The Kid — that her real name is Diane but she took her uncle’s name to piss off her family. Her uncle who tried to murder his family with an ax in a Colorado hotel.
Looks like The Shining’s Jack Torrance had more family than he led on.
Episode 5 of Castle Rock ends with the terrifying revelation that Pangborn pulled over Warden Lacy the night he kidnapped The Kid and locked him in Shawshank. He saw The Kid and chose to believe Lacy, letting him ride off rather than arresting him. Pangborn tells The Kid that night’s haunted him for the last 27 years.
If 27 years seems like a specific amount of time, that’s because it is. That’s how long Pennywise sleeps in IT before he wakes to terrorize the poor town of Derry. Bill Skarsgard — who plays The Kid — also played Pennywise in the 2017 adaptation of IT.