OK, so, we have everything all set up in episode one and we can move on now, right?
I am a bit baffled at how someone thought setting The Stand up the way they did was a good idea. This episode opens with three people I don’t know, a man, a woman played by Amber Heard, and a kid named Joe who doesn’t talk, arriving at Boulder. Who are they? They don’t tell us right away. I am somehow suspecting the people behind all this figured we’d just know from familiarity with the story, so why keep things linear? I will give the production some kudos for diversifying the cast, but beyond that, there’s a lot of confusion because they keep bringing in characters without telling us who they are right away.
OK, Stu asks the group, part of a caravan, which one is Larry Underwood, and that’s the man we saw earlier.
Then we have a flashback to before the plaque hit New York. Larry is a musician. His gig is being cut a bit short since his band is all out sick and most of his audience is too. Sure, his mama is there, as is a guy claiming he wrote Larry’s biggest hit song.
Oh, and then we meet a completely different character in a completely different place. That would be Lloyd Henreid, the unluckiest petty thief in the history of the world. He’s going to jail. Why? Well, for that we need yet another flashback to show Lloyd and a cartoonishly psychotic partner tried to rob a convenience store in the middle of nowhere. Said cartoonish psychotic sneezed and killed a hostage, points at gun at Lloyd with orders to kill the clerk, and ends up getting shot himself when a cop that was hiding in a back area pops Lloyd’s partner through the mouth, though the cop also takes one in the shoulder. Point is, Lloyd didn’t kill or even try to kill anyone, but that isn’t how the law works. And then he’s the only survivor when the plague swings through the prison.
It really sucks to be Lloyd.
Then again, it isn’t good to be anyone. Larry obviously lives, but his mama wasn’t so lucky. He is one of a handful of people left in the city, but he hooks up with a rich woman named Rita. Rita is described in the novel as a much older woman. Here, she’s played by Heather Graham. Heather Graham is…huh, she’s older than I thought. Still seems a bit young for the character, but hey, good genes on her I guess.
Anyway, Larry wades through a sewer with Rita to escape goons and dicks who think the end of the world means you can just take a woman for yourself. Rita goes partway, but then she leaves the sewer and manages to get to the same spot as Larry without problems.
You know, sewers are never that big in real life.
You know, I generally like Heather Graham in stuff. Can she stick around for…oh, Rita killed herself not long after leaving the city. Well, I guess not.
Anyway, Larry was guided to Boulder by dreams and signs Harold left behind and stuff like that. He’s safe with Mother Abigail, even if his travel companion Nadine is…well, not.
As for Lloyd, he throws in his lot with Randall Flagg, though to be fair, no one else was coming to get him out of that prison cell. Might as well accept gifts from that tall demon guy.
It really sucks to be Lloyd.
Now, can episode three actually advance the plot, or do we have to double back and continue to meet more people next time?
Why do I think I already know the answer to that one?