Annie Wilkes invaded our psyche when she appeared in Stephen King’s 1987 novel Misery. It wasn’t hard to imagine what she would be like, but Kathy Bates gave us that imagery when she played her part perfectly in the 1990 film adaptation. Now, she’s back and since I just started streaming it, I felt her come to life as Lizzy Caplan channeled Annie Wilkes so perfectly, especially in one particular scene.
The premise of Castle Rock is an exploration of characters and settings that Stephen King has explored throughout his body of work. For the show, Castle Rock is a place where in Season 2, Annie Wilkes finds herself trapped. After wrecking her car, she’s forced to stay in town with her daughter while the car is being fixed.
She lands a nursing position at the local hospital for travel money while keeping her daughter locked up in a lodge to keep her safe. But by the end of the episode, she seems to have come to her senses when she talks to her daughter about possibly settling for a moment at Castle Rock and that her daughter should be able to get out of the lodge to breathe for a moment. This speech explaining her decision is the moment when I saw the Annie Wilkes I had come to know, at least that quirky part of her Stephen King originally created in his novel and Kathy Bates brought to life:
Annie Wilkes Monologue
We’re searchers, you and me. My dad, your grandpa that good old guy, they don’t make men like that, little love, not anymore. Now they just make dirty birds and paper fakes. No heroes, no real men, sorry to say. But my dad was one of them, and he would say to me, “Annie, there are two kinds of people that made America: searchers and settlers.”
He was a searcher, Dad, your grandpa. He settled for nothing, that one. And my mom, she was a settler. You set her down anywhere and she would make a home. She would make it perfect, and she would keep making it perfect until…till it said uncle, you know? And me, well I’m kind of a funny old oogy mess of both. All mixed up sometimes, but good things besides and always, always your best interests at heart, Joy.
See, I’m a searcher who just wants to settle. Wants it bad. I just can’t seem to find a place to alight. Can’t seem to find that Laughing Place that’ll live up to you, my perfection. I’m not saying this is it, but I am saying you deserve a chance to see to settle a little, make a place in the world. Maybe anywhere could be the Laughing Place if we’re there together.