Good news, everyone: there are no extended flashbacks in this episode!
Bad news: I have seen the Trashcan Man.
OK, so, I have been trying very hard not to compare this mini-series to the 1994 version. I figure I not only haven’t seen the ’94 version in a number of years, and I should really judge this work on its own merits.
Yeah, I can’t do that with the Trashcan Man.
Trashcan Man in 1994 was played by Matt “Max Headroom” Frewer as being a little out there, prone to repeating things and humming to himself, but actually somewhat charming in his own way. Yeah, he liked to blow things up, but he seemed more like a victim to Flagg’s way of doing things than, well, anyone else. The other followers seemed to be there by choice. Trashcan Man didn’t seem to know any better. He seemed…almost harmless.
But this mini-series cast Ezra Miller as the Trashcan Man. And he’s…out there. Like, he’s really, really weird. He’s got some kind of leather bondage gear outfit on, he howls like a monkey, and he seems like he came out of a completely different show. And whatever that different show was, it sure as hell isn’t a good one. I think I’ve seen video game NPCs who seemed more like real human beings than this guy.
Somehow, this fits in with this whole mini-series. Alexander Skarsgard proved he could do campy well during the entire run of True Blood, so he’s doing OK. All the other villains seem like they should be battling Captain Planet or something. Someone thought just adding profanity, higher levels of violence, a little gore, and some really bad-looking sex in the streets thought that would make this story better or more mature. Like, I get that of all of King’s work that The Stand is the most allegorical, but that doesn’t mean the bad guys have to be such cartoon characters. The most nuanced is probably Harold, and he and Nadine finally blow up their bomb.
Granted, they only take out Nick because somehow even the deaf man heard the bomb ticking, but the point stands. We finally got to the fireworks factory!
Then again, if the residents of New Vegas are cartoon characters, the residents of Boulder are just…there. Like, I get that there are moments where they are trying to give these characters moments, and I don’t know if it’s the casting or something else, but it’s really hard to care about any of these people.
So, either the good guys are too bland or the bad guys are too ridiculous. All that means is, with three episodes left, I am mostly disappointed with this whole thing.