Spoiler warning alert! If you haven't watched the first episode of Castle Rock Season 2, now's your chance to turn back!
Season 2 of Castle Rock dropped on Hulu at midnight last night, and it gave us three whole episodes to binge. In Season 2, we're re-introduced to the same old haunted town of Castle Rock, Maine, where everything just seems to go horribly wrong. Case in point, a wanted- for-murder Annie Wilkes (the same character in Misery, just younger) ends up stuck in Castle Rock after crashing her car entering the town. It's there that she meets John "Ace" Merrill (Paul Sparks) who she ends up murdering.
He did deserve it, TBH. Ace is an unsavory, racist Castle Rock townie whose uncle, "Pop" Merrill, essentially owns the town. Ace collects rent from the Somali community members who rent out space from him at the mall. When he learns his adopted brother Abdi (Barkhad Abdi) is building his own mall, he throws several Molotov cocktails at his house, attempting to burn it down.
Most aren't exactly keen on him. When he threatens Annie's daughter Joy, Annie doesn't hesitate to lodge an ice cream scoop into his head.
Annie Wilkes (Lizzy Caplan) takes Ace's body to a construction site that is obviously very, very haunted. While trying to bury him in a spot she knows is going to get covered in cement later that day, she and his body fall into a cave underneath the structure, where she finds other skeletons. Before escaping, we see, for a split-second, that Ace is still breathing (unless that was just me!) — which would be near impossible, since Annie shoved an entire scoop into the guy's skull. He should be D-E-A-D.
Why does Paul Sparks seem so familiar? Who is he?
If you were thinking, "Where have I seen this guy before?" it's because you've definitely seen him around. Especially if you watched House of Cards, in which he plays novelist Thomas Yates (who, spoiler alert, ends up having an affair with First Lady Claire Underwood — and that doesn't end well).
The seasoned actor is also known for being in Sweetbitter as Howard,The Night Of (he plays Don Taylor), Boardwalk Empire (he was Mickey Doyle), and The Girlfriend Experience (he played David Tellis). As for his personal life: Paul was born in Lawton, Oklahoma. He got a scholarship to attend Oklahoma State University to study chemistry, where he went until he transferred to the esteemed Tisch School of the Arts. In 1995, he graduated with a degree in drama.
Paul is currently married to actress Annie Parisse, and they have two kids together. Much like his TV characters, Paul seems private in real life, too. He doesn't appear to have an Instagram or Twitter account, nor has he made headlines with any scandals.
Fun fact: Paul Sparks wasn't originally supposed to be in Castle Rock Season 2.
According to Deadline, Paul replaced Garrett Hedlund (Friday Night Lights, Troy, Inside Llewyn Davis), who was originally supposed to play Ace. It was a reported creative decision made after a few episodes were shot with Garrett. After watching several episodes of Castle Rock Season 2, it's understandable why showrunners wanted an actor who could more easily portray an emotionally calloused man. Paul just has that haunted look about him.
Watch new streaming episodes of Castle Rock Season 2 on Hulu every Wednesday.