You know things are hopeless when the only other living thing in the middle of New York City is a crow pulling an eyeball out of a dead horse’s socket.
In this gruesome episode of the Stand, we meet Larry Underwood (Jovan Adepo), Rita Blakemore (Heather Graham) and Lloyd Henreid (Nat Wolff).
Love and Death in NYC
Larry Underwood is already at the end of his rope after watching his mother die from Captain Trips, and now he’s left wandering the Big Apple without any idea of what to do next. But then he meets Rita Blakemore, an insane woman who nearly gets Larry killed. The best thing would be for Larry to ditch Rita, but he’s finally listening to his conscious and it’s telling him to stick with her. Together they leave New York in search of something better. During this time, it is revealed that Larry is having dreams of both Mother Abigail and Randall Flagg, a detail the book and miniseries both revealed much later on in the story.
We can expect the episodes to be fragmented, at least until we meet all the characters and learn their backstories. In the beginning of “Pocket Savior,” Larry is driving to NYC with Nadine Cross (Amber Heard) and a little boy named Joe (Gordon Cormier). The narrative goes back and forth, illustrating Larry’s present and past. While we don’t get much of Nadine and Joe’s history in this episode, there is already strong character development for both. Nadine’s reluctance to trust the neighborhood paints her as a troubled character, and Joe’s nonverbal wariness of Harold is telling of both him and Harold.
“Oh, I’m real, baby. I’m real real.”
We first meet Lloyd strolling into his prison cell after committing murder in a convenience store. He’s filled with cockiness and pride, until everyone in the prison dies, leaving Lloyd hungry and isolated. He is left to his own devices, drinking toilet water and eating nothing but rats and the leg of his diseased cell mate.
Suddenly Randall Flagg appears in the prison, whistling an eerie tune as he walks by each cell. He puts on his sweetest demeanor when he approaches Lloyd, trying to recruit him to his team with the temptations of delicious food and freedom. At first, the young prisoner is reluctant, but he is in such a desperate state that it doesn’t take long for him to accept the Dark Man’s offer.
While this episode is more of a slow burn than the pilot, it’s still plenty exciting and filled with lots of wonderfully horrific gore. There are various small details taken from the book, including the estranged screams from the Monster Shouter. Nat Wolff and Jovan Adepo are both excellent as Lloyd and Larry. I also love Alex Skarsgard as Flagg, even when things get a little cheesy (in one dream sequence, he pops up in the middle of the desert with a giant green flashing dollar sign). But hey, at least it’s better than this monstrosity from the miniseries:
So far this adaptation is a lot of fun. In episode three, we will most likely learn about Nadine and meet some more characters, including Nick Andros and (possibly) Trashcan Man. But we won’t know for sure until it airs December 31. Until then, make sure to check out what else we’re watching here at Haunted MTL.(4 / 5)