The Stand “The Stand”

Wait a minute.  Hold the phone…did this ungainly mess of a mini-series just become…self-aware?

I have not made it much of a secret that I have not really enjoyed this mini-series all that much.  It’s been oddly structured, the villains are a little too cartoonish and the heroes too bland.  It’s just a mediocre mess trying to recreate something that may not be as good as I remembered it but I suspect was better than whatever this thing is.

But then I got to this episode.  No, this is not some game-changer where suddenly I think this thing turned out good.  It’s still often bland and forgettable when it deals with the heroes or over-the-top with the villains.  There’s nothing remotely subtle going on, and no one I like enough to root for.

Something changed in this episode, however.  Namely, Glen went and called all the Vegas people out for being, quite frankly, more silly than anything else.  Again, when did this thing become self-aware?

But this is the point when the Hand of God comes down to smite all of Vegas.  It’s also the point where this adaptation finally decided to call out how ridiculous the people of New Vegas are.  That’s done with some rather on-the-nose observations by Glen, enough to get Lloyd to kill him, and then by Larry reciting a very basic Bible verse as he and Ray are bound in a pool that is slowly filling up to drown the too of them.  By then, Larry convinced Nadine she wasn’t hot anymore, prompting her suicide, and generally, all the two guys do is prompt people to, like, question some folks about why they’re following Flagg in the first place.

After all, Glen does realize that Lloyd never actually killed anyone before, and afterwards, Lloyd doesn’t seem much interested in it.  So, when a handful of people in the crowd start shouting that they, like Larry, will fear no evil, that does set Flagg off, but Lloyd is among the ones who have a change of heart.

And then the Trashcan Man comes back, chanting “My life for you!” in a way that made me think the guy was a divine agent this time around, even if it was an unlikely one, and lightning starts coming down and vaporizing obvious bad guys while Ray and Larry drown and then the nuke goes off.

As always, I have some questions.

What, exactly, did Ray bring to the table because she didn’t do a dang thing?

Then again, I wasn’t sure what the group in the original version did besides watch themselves get blown up.  I may be misremembering, but this time around, two of the three that got to Vegas actually did something.

Then I gotta wonder since Flagg had people rejecting him, why did they have to die too?  Were there kids in New Vegas?  What about the people in the slave pits who weren’t there by choice?

Heck, Lloyd’s turn away from Flagg earned him a decapitation.

And finally, sure, I’ll buy that Stu and Kojak were safe from the bomb blast in that ravine.  That can be God’s work or whatever this show is saying.  But how come Tom Cullen just happened to be down there too?  I mean, I know Tom needs to survive to take Stu back to Boulder, but…well, just as this show starts to recognize its own worst impulses, it also has its most ridiculous moment with that thunderhead as people somehow run out of a casino to run away from an indoor storm.

Yeah, something tells me the next and final episode is not going to change my view on this whole thing.

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