Hello friends, welcome back to TV Tuesday! Today I’m going to be talking all about the newest adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand.
As I embark my Stephen King journey it only seemed right to watch the latest adaptation of The Stand. You can read all my thoughts on The Stand here. When it came to Prime I figured it was the perfect time to do it.
After the mini-series that was released in the 90s and uh, well wasn’t very good, I had higher hopes for this mini-series.
My first thoughts are about the storytelling; I wasn’t prepared for this to jump around so much. At first I thought I was missing something. When we went from Harold and Frannie deciding to take off after the flu started to take over to Harold starting to plan to take out Stu I was like, wait how did we get there?
I feel like if you didn’t read the book and have no knowledge of the story, this can be really hard to follow; heck I’ve read the book and seen the original mini-series and I was confused.
After a while it gets easier to understand, but there are still moments where it seems weird how they jump from meeting all the characters to everyone in Boulder, Colorado.
The actors are really good, the choices they made to cast each of the roles was good. I thought it was interesting they chose to make Larry Black and Nick Latino in this adaptation, I guess that was the creators trying to be diverse? It wasn’t a bad choice, just an interesting choice.
Lastly, I want to say that this no longer feels weird to watch during COVID, after basically every TV show incorporating COVID into their plots, this just felt like that, another show with COVID.
In the first episode we meet Harold, the creepy geek who likes to spy on his neighbour Frannie. But slowly everyone in their town starts to die from this superflu. Harold thinks they should get out of town, leave in order to save themselves. Frannie agrees and so they take off on their bikes, leaving their names and where they’re headed at every stop.
We also meet Stu. We meet him in a research facility where he’s held captive because while everyone has gotten the flu… but him and scientists want to know why… but of course they won’t be able to find out because they all die from it. Welp.
Then flash forward and we see them in Boulder, Colorado with people who have all gathered there thanks to Mother Abigail.
Mother Abigail… the old lady that everyone keeps dreaming about. She’s the one who tells them all they need to come to Boulder… she’s creating her army.
The next episode is where we meet Larry, he’s a singer, and everyone around him starts to get sick… only he doesn’t. He takes it upon himself to start on his quest to see Mother Abigail. He sees Harold and Frannie’s notes and begins to follow those.
On his travels he meets Nadine and a little boy name Joe where they all start to travel together.
We also meet Lloyd; he’s imprisoned for helping shoot up a convenient store. As time goes on, everyone starts to die in the prison. He gets so delirious that he almost thinks he’s imagining a man come to see him… enter Randall Flagg.
I had NO idea that Alexander Skarsgard was playing him, he does a really great job of playing an evil character (although I’ll always see him as Eric Northman…).
He lets Lloyd out and gives him this magic bean. He’s not the only one who has a magic bean… Nadine has one too and Flagg gave it to her.
In the book Nadine totally sexes him up, I’m kinda glad that Harold says no in show.
The next episode we meet Nick. Our introduction to him is he gets beat up in a bar by an angry drunk. Then not too long later we meet Tom Cullen. They aged him up in this adaptation but it works. Nick and Tom become fast friends in no time; I still love their friendship, they are such an unlikely pair and I think that’s why it works so much.
Not too long later we meet Glen. Stu is on route when he runs into Glen. The two get along and Glen offers shelter to Stu. It isn’t long until Stu finds Glen’s paintings of Mother Abigail and he wants to know if he dreams her too. Glen also has a painting of a girl, Frannie, who’s pregnant, so now Stu knows they have to go after her and go to Boulder like Mother Abigail is telling them too.
Soon all our characters end up in Boulder, Colorado.
Dayna, who came to Boulder when she meets Frannie and Harold on the road. She’s held hostage by a trucker and with the combined efforts of all three of them they take down the guy.
Now the next time we see Dayna it’s to be recruited to go to Vegas to see what Flagg is up to and to go back to Boulder a month later. They also recruit Tom Cullen and (an old lady).
But it’s Dayna we focus on because she’s the one who gets close to Flagg, she’s the one that gets to meet him.
I forgot that Flagg let Lloyd out of jail so that he could become his first hand man. Lloyd is a weirdo but he’s kinda perfect to be Flagg’s go to because Flagg is a weirdo.
I just have to say, his obsession with milk is so weird, like why.
But he agrees to see Dayna because he wants to know who the other spies are that Mother Abigail sent. This is where we find out that Flagg can see things and that’s how he knew about her.
Some of these effects are a little cheesy. When Flagg gets these demon eyes, it looks so fake.
Frannie and Stu have Harold over for dinner because they really think something is seriously up with him… which yeah they should have their doubts, the man is out to kill the town. I truly don’t think Nadine wants to be bad but I feel like it’s all she’s ever known as we find out that Flagg saved her as a young girl. Now she’s partnering with Harold to blow up the town.
So Harold goes over for dinner and he’s his creepy self. Holy crap, talk about creepy, like we’ve known from the beginning that Harold is a creep, but when he places a camera in Frannie’s room to spy on her and oh his smile.
Meanwhile, Larry goes over to his house to check it out…. but before he can do that Nadine shows up begging for sex, which Larry finds really weird and out of character. In the end he doesn’t get to go, so Frannie has to find an excuse to go to his house and search it. Well, she finds out the creepy camera that Harold has of her room… and Harold finds her.
He completely dumps on her because he’s mad that she doesn’t care about him and puts all the blame for everything bad happening in his life on her and it’s complete garbage. Then he locks her in a room. What a psycho.
Next thing we know, Mother Abigail has left.
Speaking of Mother Abigail, why haven’t we gotten any backstory to her? She has some in the book and it feels like it would give some great characterization and insight to the story.
Now the town is off in search of her. When Harold gets Stu all to himself, he comes very close to killing him.
We’re starting to see the good vs. Evil as Mother Abigail and Flagg meet in some random dreamscape.
I forgot about Trashcan Man, they bring him only to show off his fire skills and to foreshadow a big fire/explosion that could be to come.
Now Flagg is on the hunt for “Mr. Moon” … Tom Cullen. Flagg is still trying to figure out who the other spies are, but all he can see is Moon. Now Tom is on the run to try and escape.
The kid, Joe finally talks when he tells Larry that Nadine and mama Nadine are two different people.
They’re about to hold a vigil for Mother Abigail when she’s been found. It’s Frannie who gets there just a little too late to tell them there’s a bomb in the house… the one thing Harold told her that was useful.
This leaves Nick dead, Frannie and Stu a little banged up but everyone else is fine. Mother Abigail summons them and tells, Glenn, Stu, Larry and (woman) that they must go to Vegas to stop Flagg. But they can’t just you know, drive there or anything, no they have to walk there… from Boulder.
She foreshadows that some won’t make it. So now we’re off to watch them walk the long road – where we never see them tired.
Meanwhile, Nadine and Harold head off… only Harold falls off a cliff and is badly hurt.
I remember Harold’s death being so shocking in the book because it felt so out of character for him to go that way. In the show when he kills himself, it just feels cheap. After everything he did, it’s such a cheap way to go.
The whole, you stayed pure for me, you get to be my wife plot is awful. I’ve never liked it, in the mini-series from the 90s it was pretty much a rape scene, Nadine says no but he keeps going; in this version she doesn’t say no, but she looks like she’s in so much pain. And Flagg turns into this weird demon looking thing. What is the fascination with the blood of a virgin plot? It’s so dumb!
Stu is the first to fall and he breaks his leg, which means he can’t go on. As much as the group don’t want to go on without him… they must.
So the three “prisoners” are now on trial… and this whole trial looks like a fever dream… if I’m being honest, all of Vegas feels like a fever dream. They want the remaining three to pledge themselves to Flagg and not to Mother Abigail… as they call her “the witch”.
Glen gets really cocky and starts talking back to Lloyd, this makes him angry and he’s ordered to shoot him… oh well, Lloyd shoots him alright, he freakin’ murders the guy by spraying him with bullets.
Nadine wants to talk to Larry one last time, but she goes into this weird form of labour. The baby looks like is going to burst right through her skin, it’s so gross and creepy.
We never know because she realizes that her baby isn’t going to be normal, it’s going to be some monster and she doesn’t want that so she jumps out of the hotel room, one of the highest floors, all the way into any empty pool. That’s the end of Nadine.
They get put into a pool filled with ok not sure, but it’s definitely not water because they want to light it on fire. Gasoline maybe? Lloyd is asked to kill him but Larry gets some last words, and he shouts that he’ll fear no evil…. which gets others to shout it. Flagg wants them dead, but Lloyd says no.
Oh? When Lloyd says no to Flagg, what a moment! His own people start to turn on Flagg and because of this Flagg deems them not worthy of living in his “new world”.
Oh gosh, then trashcan man shows up with a giant bomb and blows up the hotel, bit by bit. And as it kills people, his people, he commands them not to run. Well, okay then. Let his people die. Although they don’t listen and they do as humans do, they run for their lives.
I like how Flagg just assumes he’s immune to these rays of light that keep biting everyone.
Holy, the combustion! Is it really that big that Stu who is miles away from Vegas feels it? Like wow. Exaggeration? Or really cool? I’m not sure.
Frannie then goes into labour just as Vegas is exploding. Tell me how she can see the explosion from Boulder.
Okay, what was that ending? It was interesting and probably the scariest episode.
So Frannie has her baby, but the baby has contracted the flu. It’s scary for a while because they’ve never seen anyone get better from it… but the baby does! Then Stu finds his way back to Boulder.
Now that everyone is safe and okay, I guess Larry and Ray ended up dying in the explosion, which is sad, Frannie wants to go back to Maine; that’s so King of them.
So they decide to drive across country. And it goes well, until they reach Nebraska and they stay at this house where Frannie falls down a well and meets Flagg in her dreams. She knows she won’t do anything for him… he keeps asking for a kiss and I’m like seriously? Meh. But then she runs into another Abigail and that’s when Frannie learns she has to pick a side to make her stand.
When she chooses Mother Abigail, Stu finds her and this little girl who was living in the corn field… what is with King and the corn fields? … she brings Frannie to safety and heals her, and then she disappears. A form of another Abigail?
They make it to Maine where it’s just assumed they’ve live there happily ever after.
On the one hand it does feel final because he’s just going to start his new army and continue living life on this island, but on the other it could come back where we explore his new world.
Some last thoughts on this mini-series, some episodes felt longer than they needed to be and it was a slow moving plot so it felt like it took forever to get anywhere. That makes it kinda sleepy for when something does happen, the viewer then has to rewind and be sure they caught it.