Connect with us

Published

on

Earlier this year I wrote about the 1994 miniseries the Stand, a four episode adaptation of Stephen King’s 1978 novel. Now it’s seven months later and for the next nine weeks, we’ll see how relevant this story continues to feel as I cover the episodes of the new limited series, the Stand, airing weekly on CBS All Access.

The Beginning of the End

Plague patrol

We begin with a display of bloated and maggot-covered corpses filling the pews of an abandoned church. Harold Lauder (Owen Teague), a creepy young man with a tendency to display disturbing behavior, is among the crew of volunteers responsible for transferring these bodies into plague pits. Despite his troubles in the beginning (throwing up almost immediately after entering the church), his tenacity earns him the respect of his team members.

Cut to five months earlier in Maine. The plague is gaining ground and infecting almost everyone. We meet Frannie Goldsmith, a young woman who used to babysit Harold (and whom Harold has disturbing and unrequited obsessions with). She is left with the task of burying her dead father in the family garden after he succumbs to Captain Trips. And to make matters worse, she now has no other choice but to travel with Harold across the country in search of refuge.

A Little Too Close to Home

Rather than meeting all our characters in the first episode, “The End” focuses primarily on Harold, Frannie and Stu Redman (James Marsden). Much like Frannie and Harold, Stu is immune to the disease. But because he was in contact with Charles Campion – a security guard at a U.S. Department of Defense laboratory and Captain Trips’ patient zero – Stu is locked in a military hospital that runs a myriad of tests on him. Eventually he is transferred to a secret facility in Vermont, in which he dreams of Mother Abigail (Whoopi Goldberg), witnesses death up close and plans his escape.

The Verdict

I try to keep my expectations of Stephen King adaptations low because they are frequently a hit or miss, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this episode. While it doesn’t veer too far from the novel, the writing is fragmented in a way that modernizes the story and keeps viewers on their toes. My favorite part was the ending: the origin of Captain Trips. Campion is exposed and escapes the government facility, unaware that he is spreading a virus that will ultimately obliterate humanity.

While it’s only the first episode, this is a show worth watching. It is filmed beautifully and the acting is superb, especially with Teague stealing the show as one of King’s creepiest characters (at least in my book). I’m excited to meet the rest of the cast and witness Alexander Skarsgard as Randall Flagg. Until then, make sure to get into the holiday spirit by checking out our flash fiction series 13 Days of Krampus here at Haunted MTL.

Advertisement
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

CourtCourt is a writer, horror enthusiast, and may or may not be your favorite human-eating houseplant.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Movies n TV

House of he Dragon: S2E4 – The Return of Trogdor!

Published

on

Instead of recapping this episode, I will link you to Strongbad, so you can see something with a dragon that doesn’t suck.

See you for Episode 5!

Continue Reading

Movies n TV

The Boys, Beware the Jabberwock, My Son

Published

on

We’ve reached episode five of The Boys. And after the last episode’s emotional bombshells, this one had some much-needed levity.

And then a whole bunch more emotional trauma.

The story

We begin this episode with Homelander and Ryan in a meeting regarding a new teenage show. But Ryan doesn’t want to be on a show. He wants to be an actual hero. He wants to do real good and help people. And Homelander, fresh from his therapeutic killing spree, is in a mood to support his son.

Advertisement
Antony Starr and Cameron Crovetti in The Boys.

For now.

Meanwhile, The Boys are searching for a virus that can kill sups. The last time we saw this virus, it was in the hands of Neuman. They borrow Stan Edgar from jail and go to the lovely family farm upstate.

There, they discover that Neuman’s been testing temp V on farm animals. And it works as well on them as it does on hamsters. Soon the boys find themselves batting killer sheep, chickens and bulls. Hilarity and blood ensues.

What worked

The first thing we have to talk about is the superpowered animals. This was such a fantastic, hilarious situation. I especially loved the flying homicidal sheep. They were hilarious, unexpected, and incredibly gory. One just doesn’t expect to see a sheep covered in blood and guts. But it was delightful.

Karl Urban in The Boys.

The main pull of this episode, though, is the evolving relationship between Homelander and Ryan.

Homelander realizes that he doesn’t want Ryan to be brought up the same way he was. He wants his son to be happy.

Advertisement

He isn’t trying to be a better person though, and I think that’s important to remember. He loves his son, and he wants his son to be happy. And if being an actual hero and actually helping people will make Ryan happy right now, then that’s what Homelander is going to do.

Except that, since he doesn’t care about people, he is really bad at being a good person. Which is what led to a director getting beaten to death by his assistant.

I’m not saying this beatdown wasn’t cathartic. I’m just saying that it was maybe not something a good person would endorse.

I honestly think this new desire to be an actual hero is going to make Homelander more dangerous. If such a thing is possible.

What didn’t work

Advertisement

Of course, this episode wasn’t perfect. It brought to light a weakness that’s been irritating me this whole season. And that is the storyline with Hugh Senior.

What are we doing here?

While Hughie’s dad’s health issues are sad, and the sudden reintroduction of his mother is interesting, it has nothing to do with the rest of the season. Every other storyline blends and ties together. You can’t pull one string without all of them coming unraveled.

But not this story. So far, this storyline could be removed entirely and the whole rest of the season would remain pristine. All this storyline seems to have done is to have popped our main character out of the main storyline altogether.

Hughie’s absence is a deficit. I would have loved to see him freak out over the killer chickens. But I also would have liked to see him work with Neuman. I would have liked him to be there to defend Butcher. I would have liked to see him interacting with any other characters at all.

Advertisement

At this point, no character is purely good or purely bad. And I think that’s important. I’m invested in the story of every single character. And with three episodes left in the season, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

By the way, if you like my writing you can get my short story, Man In The Woods, on Smashwords and Amazon.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Movies n TV

The Boys, Wisdom of the Ages

Published

on

Episode four of The Boys was possibly the darkest episode of the series so far. And I am aware that this alone is an intimidating prospect.

It should be.

The story

Our story in this episode mainly consists of the single most dickish action I have ever seen anyone perform. Sage and Firecracker set up a four-hour show outside Starlight House, to talk about how horrible of a person Annie is.

Advertisement

Four hours.

Valorie Curry and Susan Heyward in The Boys.

Annie gets everyone out of the building safely but then decides to watch the entire Anti-Annie show. And it is horrific.

The real horror show of this episode, though, is Homelander’s little adventure. After a fight with Ryan, he’s decided to visit his childhood home. Or, at least the place in which he grew up. Because he was raised more like a science experiment than a child.

I don’t think we’ve seen so far exactly what Homelander went through. The horrors he faced as a small child. Things no one should ever have to experience.

Things that the rest of his world will now have to pay for.

What worked

Advertisement

If you’re paying attention to politics, this episode got way too real. The absolute hypocrisy of our current political situation was on display with superpowers. I especially liked (and by that I mean was enraged by) Firecracker saying that accidentally blinding someone at age thirteen was worse than being an adult and assaulting a minor. Those two things are not the same, and one of them is obviously worse.

Another thing that I appreciated in this episode was the new, and horrific, information we got about Homelander’s childhood.

Do I maybe feel bad for Homelander now? After seeing the dismal and dark little world he was raised in, yeah, I do. That is a monstrous way to treat a child. It’s no wonder he ended up how he is. Even the milk fetish makes more sense. And I am not any more cajoled by the fact that these people were just doing their jobs than Homelander was. That has never been an honest or adequate justification.

This, of course, doesn’t justify the horrors he’s inflicted. It just makes it easier to see how he got to where he is.

Antony Starr in The Boys.

The best fiction inspires strong emotions. It makes us feel things for people who are not real and feel passionate about events that did not happen. It does this by showing us glimmers of real people and real events within these bags of bones and false narratives. And it is because of this that The Boys is succeeding. It’s taking very real moments we are all living through, and embedding them into a fictional narrative. And that’s always going to be more impactful than just burning someone alive.

What didn’t work

Advertisement

I only had one complaint about this episode. But it did bother me.

When Firecracker’s show starts, Annie makes a point of getting all the kids out of Starlight House to safety. That’s good. But then she sits down with her friends to watch the show.

Why would you watch a four-hour-long live show about why you are a terrible person?

I get asking someone else to watch it and take notes, because in a position like that you need to know what the opposition is saying about you. But for Annie to just watch that unfiltered was asking for trouble. And it’s exactly the sort of trouble that Annie ended up in.

In conclusion, this episode was almost too real. It had my blood boiling. It had me yelling at the TV. And that’s exactly what I want a good story to do.

Advertisement

We’re halfway through the season now, and I think we’d all better buckle up for what’s coming.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

By the way, if you like my writing you can get my short story, Man In The Woods, on Smashwords and Amazon.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending