He doesn’t know it yet, but Chapelwaite was always in the future for Charles Boone.
Charles has always believed he’d go crazy like his father, but he had no basis for his belief other than the genetic predilection for it.
On Chapelwaite Season 1 Episode 1, Charles believes that moving to the family estate left to him after his cousin’s death will be a fresh start after his wife’s death. He’s wrong.
Until his wife passed, Charles was fine raising his three children on his whaler. When she died, and Chapelwaite fell into his lap, Charles decided to abide by her wishes for her children to have a house and a home.
From the moment the Boones set foot in Preacher’s Corners, everything is against them.
Their excitement to put down roots is soured as they receive a chilly reception in town, and even the house’s caretaker hopes to cut and run, leaving Charles and the kids to figure out how everything goes on their own.
Still grieving, the Boones must live in the filthy house on a property far away from other Preacher’s Corners residents. The latter is probably for the best given the townsfolk’s thoughts on the Boones in general.
From the moment they step into Chapelwaite, things are off. There are portraits ripped out of frames in the portrait gallery, birds kicking up a fuss, troubling scratches on the floor, noises in the walls, and worms in the basement.
Despite that, Charles’ eldest daughter, Honor, thinks they’ll be happy there. His young son, Tane, is inclined to agree.
Middle child, Toa, though, has a different opinion on the matter. She senses the same things that Charles does. While he’s trying to wade through them without scaring the kids, Toa is just plain scared.
Toa is the most interesting of the children. Initially refusing to communicate, it gets worse when she does. She’s going to keep the family on its toes, and she will not just go along to get along.
Offering a glimmer of hope to the Boones is Rebecca Morgan, an aspiring fiction writer in need of inspiration. With all that she knows of the Boones and all that Charles and his immediate family do not know, she sees an opportunity for inspiration and leaps on it.
It’s no surprise that Charles skipped the due diligence in hiring someone to look after things after learning in Preacher’s Corners that they’d find no friends because the family reputation wouldn’t allow it.
If the townspeople thought that the Boones were the cause of an affliction slowly taking the lives of their friends and family, accepting Rebecca’s inquiry might be the best they can do.
And Rebecca is charming, sweet, educated, and she bonds with the family quickly.
Unlike others in Preacher’s Corners, she doesn’t appear to be spooked by the house or the Boones; otherwise, she wouldn’t have been telling the kids ghost stories just after they moved into a dark and moody mansion on the heels of their mother’s death.
She might be in over her head, though. Rebecca didn’t realize the extent of the animosity for the family she connected with. With a pure heart, she hoped others might accept the family if they attended church and showed themselves to be people of faith.
But when you’re turned away at church, what is there that you can count on?
If anything, Samuel and his daughter, Minister Burrow’s wife, are nastier than the others because of their strong faith. It’s easier to take that kind of attitude from people prone to superstitions and other lore. People of faith are expected to have more love in their hearts.
So far, the Boones have been rejected by the housekeeper, the mill employees, the constable, and the minister’s family. That doesn’t even count sick little Susan’s father. Still, the illness isn’t a figment of their imagination. They’re battling something over which they have no control.
If Charles arrived with the belief that he might wind up like his father, their reception couldn’t have helped how he feels.
But Chapelwaite isn’t going to unveil what’s happening in Preacher’s Corners right out of the gate. The approach is for everything to simmer, with each episode adding a little more fuel to the fire.
We’ll watch as Charles hopes to make a go of it. He fully intends to work the mill and find success in Preacher’s Corners. Sadly, it might be a pipe dream. There are a few unenthusiastic employees still on the payroll, but they aren’t trustworthy or motivated.
Thankfully, Charles does have one man worth his weight in Abel, and he intends to pay him accordingly. Charles seems like a very fair manager, hoping to reward men for production.
What could have happened upon their arrival would have been enough. But what did happen means Charles and his family will be fighting every step of the way to make the most of their new situation.
Something is out there. Their worst fears will come to light. Just ask Susan’s father.
Stephen King adaptations aren’t easy to pull off. Taking a short story and extending it as they do here makes the producers’ job even harder.
Having binge-watched the season, I can see a satisfactory conclusion. Whether you’ll feel the same watching it weekly remains to be seen. Whether you’re familiar with the source material could also make a difference.
As much as I love this cast, the incessant whispering does begin to grate after a while. I can’t tell if it was a conscious decision for everyone to speak in a harsh whisper, or it just felt right to those playing the characters.
It is my single biggest complaint about the production, though. Allowing the story to simmer before revealing what the Boones are up against is a slow burn that works for me. I’m eager to hear your thoughts after the first hour.
What did you think of the premiere? Will you be watching along?
Share your thoughts in the comments!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.