The 2020-2021 series adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand has come to a close. This finale was half tied-up-in-a-bow and half open-ended (the final scene matches the ending of the book). This review will contain slight spoilers; specifically, Stu Redman survives the tumultuous stand against Randall Flagg. This series began with Stu and Frannie and ends with them as the pivotal focus for the series finale. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.
“Most stories don’t end at all.”
Stu and Fran are reunited and want to get out of Boulder. It’s a risk; the last road trip they took was immediately after Captain Tripps obliterated the world. But, as Frannie says, “Everything is a risk.” So they go for it and road trip out to Maine. They make several stops along the way, completely unaware that Flagg is right on their tail.
“The Circle Closes” is the messiest episode of the series. Random events happened without rhyme or reason and the story kind of progresses but not really. The episode is filmed beautifully and there are beautiful shots of the countryside post-Tripps. But in the end, “The Circle Closes” could have been combined with episode eight as a 90 minute or two hour special.(2.5 / 5)
The Stand had some really strong, impressive moments to counteract its downfalls. The filming was beautiful throughout; filled with an abundance of gore, stunning shots and fun special effects, it was a completely immersive experience. I felt like I was part of their world, not just a spectator.
It also had an impressive cast of characters. Exceptional performances from Owen Teague as Harold, Jovan Adepo as Larry, Odessa Young as Frannie and Ezra Miller as Trashcan Man.
The biggest disappointment was Alexander Skarsgård as Flagg. Skarsgård is a talented actor and can be a terrifying bad guy (e.g. his character in Big Little Lies), and he did well enough with this series. But Flagg is a terrifying, menacing character, and that wasn’t well illustrated in this series. His most evil acts happened off camera and he never came across as a demonic entity; rather, he was a shapeshifting power hungry man who liked to yell a lot. Hell, you can watch and episode of Cops and see police officers behave just the same.
The writing had its ups and downs. It had its strong moments, especially when it came to characters like Harold and Nick and Tom’s relationship. Some of the dialogue was goofy and unnatural, and the dependance on viewers knowing the book made the plot feel rushed and discombobulated.
So, is The Stand worth a watch? If you’re looking for a fun Stephen King adaptation, it’s worth giving it a chance. While I’ve been a little harsh on the series, I do understand The Stand is an incredibly difficult story to adapt. It’s King’s longest work and there are a thousand pages to work with. This show wasn’t as great as it could have been, but it was still a fun time.
Will I watch The Stand again? Probably not. Am I glad I watched it? Absolutely.(3 / 5)