Things are just moving right along on the rather listless adaptation of Stephen King’s epic novel, The Stand.
It’s moving so quickly that connecting with any of the characters by the time we watched The Stand Season 1 Episode 6 is almost impossible.
If you disagree, I’m excited to hear from you. Because I’m seeing it much differently.
From my angle, the most fully developed character on The Stand is Harold Lauder. He was also fully developed in the book, of course, but his allies and adversaries were, too. Here, they’re tragically underdeveloped.
Stu, Frannie, Larry, and Greg are going through the motions of the characters I remember, but they offer no depth or understanding.
Nick’s story from meeting him as he was about to lose his sight in one eye with a worthless fight wasn’t too bad, but even Mother Abigail’s motivations for putting her faith in him wasn’t entirely clear.
Other than the word of God, of course, and frankly, that becomes tired pretty quick, especially since Mother Abigail has been struggling to hear the divine one.
So when Harold and Nadine planned on blowing up not only the council but as many others as possible, I didn’t much care. Just move it along.
When Nick died, likely the only casualty from the explosion of the filming of people flying through the air offered any insight, I was most upset that we didn’t get to know him better. He’s just another superficial loss along the way.
For giving up her life, the old woman who spied in New Vegas was a real anomaly, too. So her death was a nonevent. At the very least, Dayna managed to infiltrate Flagg’s inner sanctum. She didn’t do much else, but she gave us a view from the good guys.
Not that we needed to know that anyone from Boulder would find everything in New Vegas vile and loathsome. They’re not even offering a chance for any of those folks to be anything other than charicatures.
Why does Flagg think Julie is worthy of any special treatment? She does nothing but stand around on someone’s arm — pretty much anyone who is available. We know Flagg chose Lloyd because he’d run out of other marks and grasped the lowest hanging fruit.
Lloyd, who dances his way through the masses, thrusting like a 13-year-old who just saw his first soft porn. It’s mildly amusing, but what does it add to the narrative?
Even when Flagg and Mother Abigail met in the woods, their argument was hollow. Alexander Skarsgard is adequately chewing up the scenery, as expected. But without motivation, it’s just a useless dance.
Mother Abigail: Get thee behind me, Satan
Flagg: That’s not my name, you know.
Mother Abigail: I know. You got many names.
Flagg: I do, indeed. My name is Legion, for we are many.
Is there any motivation for the forces of good and evil here? Shouldn’t we understand the bigger picture by now? Is it really as black and white as God and “Legion” as Flagg designated himself during their discussion?
And good God. What the hell is Ezra Miller doing as Trashcan Man??
He’s playing a screaming, whining mental case with a love of fire. Whoop de do. At least we got to know him in the books, how he came to be who he is.
Here, he’s even worse than a caricature. He’s utterly useless, already saying his signature line, “My life for you,” without any background.
Part of what made The Stand so epic was learning about these characters on their journeys west. It was edge-of-your-seat stuff wondering who would make it and if anybody would wind up on the wrong side of the battle lines.
But since we pretty much saw everyone in the “present” before many of them even started the journey west, and those journies were dumbed down for the television audience, all of it amounted to a whole lot of nothing.
It’s pretty easy to determine who’s going to make it through when we’ve already seen them banding together. It’s such a mess.
Even fully-developed Harold comes off as a loser’s loser when his bomb only detonates a house, and they were hoping for something earth-shattering.
And that view from the amphitheater showed an explosion far superior to what was filmed closer to the detonation. Frannie and Stu were right in front of the house, but they seemed fine and dandy after soaring through the air.
M O O N spells Flagg finally figured out why he was seeing the moon when he was trying to hone in on Mother Abigail, but Tom Cullen must have been receiving messages from God since he got on the truck and hid away before anyone found him.
But really, what did Tom find that could be helpful to The Free Zone? He spent all of his time in the pits, taking care of the recently mutilated. So what? Hey, Stu, they screw a lot, do drugs, and kill people. How on earth is that going to help them understand why Flagg might be heading their way?
With four more episodes left of what amounts to exposition without meaning, I don’t expect much.
If I don’t care about the future of humanity yet, then I don’t see it changing in due course. I’ll stick it out just to see Stephen King’s new ending, but I don’t have any faith that it will be worth the wait.
Your turn! Is any of this remotely appealing to you?
SOMEONE is giving each episode on IMDB an average of 7+ stars, but I know it’s not the people taking time to jot down their reviews there. So, if you love it, care to share why? Sell me!!
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, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.