The past few episodes of The Stand have been stagnant with either nothing going on or too much that the plot felt as convoluted as a season of American Horror Story. But “The Vigil” has broken the show’s bad streak; suspense is high, we learn A LOT more about the characters and the plot actually moves where it needs to go.
“My life for you.”
Trashcan Man (Ezra Miller) has entered the building. This arsonist is one of the most memorable characters in both the book and miniseries, and Miller’s performance does not disappoint. Wearing nothing but underwear, monocles and a backpack filled with explosives, Trashcan Man starts the episode with a bang. After blowing up a water plant he makes his way to New Vegas, where Flagg sends him on a mission to find a piece of a nuclear bomb. Meanwhile, Harold and Nadine follow through with their plans to completely destroy everyone in Colorado.
We also see more of Flagg in this episode than ever before. He and Abagail meet for the first time, we get to see a little bit more of his world (though it’s still mainly just scenes of people partying and having sex) and he’s getting closer and closer to finding the third spy from Boulder (Tom Cullen).
The Stand continues to lack character development and narrative direction. While I won’t give away specific details of the ending, there is a character the show could have spent more time developing before making them meet their demise.
Those who have read the book know each character well, as Stephen King is nothing if not an excruciatingly detailed writer. This show relies heavily on the characters’ backstories and the audience’s knowledge of the book. But honestly, we can’t always expect audiences to know the original story being adapted because a.) not everyone is going to have read the book and b.) that’s an excuse for lazy writing. And while I do enjoy this version of The Stand, there has been some seriously lazy writing.
The Stand is in a sort of limbo between sticking to King’s original work and making a brand new modernized story. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn’t.
However, “The Vigil” was a massive improvement from previous episodes and had all the right antidotes that make the story exciting. The narrative moved along and didn’t spend more time on a scene than it needed to; the shots and visual effects were stunning, particularly in the scenes with Trashcan Man; and the score was spectacular. Some of the effects with Randall Flagg are cheesy, but that makes it even more fun.
Will The Stand maintain its momentum? We’ll just have to wait and see the next episode. Until then, check out what we’re reading here at Haunted MTL.(4 / 5)