The Stand “The Circle Closes”

You know, I was all set to complain a bit that the people behind this wrote a whole new epilogue to Stephen King’s original novel for this, the final part in this underwhelming mini-series…only to learn King himself wrote this episode and only this episode.

Must be why this episode seemed to be a bit better written than the rest.

Essentially, this last episode focused mostly on Frannie.  We see her fret when her newborn daughter Abigail develops the Superflu, but the baby recovers and all is well.  We don’t see much of Stu and Tom’s return until they arrive.  We do see Frannie get tempted one last time by Randall Flagg as he sets up shop in a remote part of the world where a small, isolationist tribe managed to avoid, well, everything (that and the baby getting sick at least are from King’s work).  There’s even some hints from a spectral Mother Abigail (and a younger version of her) that show why anyone would have followed that old woman in the first place.  All that wasn’t necessarily great or anything, but it was a step up from the previous eight episodes.

Bottom line is I didn’t like this one much.  It wasn’t a dull slog or anything.  It was just ineffective at, oh, everything it tried to do.  There are some talented actors in this, and some of them even managed to make their characters almost memorable.  The real problem was all in the pacing and the set-up.  Alexander Skarsgard has been doing this sort of thing for years.  He knows what he’s doing.  A bit of a better script, tighter direction, or maybe just no constant flashbacks through the first few episodes would have made him better.  Heck, he might have been the one area that was definitely improved upon from the 1994 version.

But then there’s the rest.  This is a mini-series that basically ruined cameos by J.K. Simmons and Bryan Cranston, two actors who would have been a lot more interesting if they had extended roles throughout the mini-series instead of a scene apiece, and Cranston is just the voice of the president on the radio.  Greg Kinnear’s character started showing some real personality just before he was killed off.  Heck, there might have been potential to keep Heather Graham around a bit more.  She has a lot more personality than Amber Heard and Odessa Young combined.  And even that isn’t necessarily a problem if the story had been more competently told.  But, it isn’t, and a lot of talented people were wasted.

Like, this is allegory.  I get that.  But that does make things tougher, and I am sure the 1994 version is probably not as good as I remembered it, almost certainly hokey in places, but this one was just…bland.  Really, really bland.

5.5 out of 10 visions in the corn.

Well, let’s see.  I need something new for Fridays.  I usually plop superhero shows here when I can, so how about the one-season wonder (maybe) that is Netflix’s adaptation of Jupiter’s Legacy?

Like The Stand, I am familiar with the source material here, so I am curious how the adaptation turned out.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: