With much anticipation, the mini-series The Stand, based on a Stephen King book, has debuted on Amazon Prime. As a life-long Stephen King fan, I was very excited to see that this novel was going to be explored. With the success of “It”, it was only a matter of time before more Stephen King adaptations would get the revamping treatment. The Stand is one of his more famous stories and longest, so it makes sense that it would get turned into a miniseries at some point.
Each week I will be reviewing a new episode of the show. I have also refrained from reading the book yet, which I will get to. It would be good to go into the series with fresh eyes and no bias from King’s perspective. With that being said let’s get to Episode One.
The first episode was a great way to start the series off. There was not a huge amount of story development involved with the episode but that makes sense. The first episode is an introductory tale for the rest of the series.
We are introduced to some of the main characters going forward. First is Stu Redman, played by James Marsden. Stu is being held at a government medical facility because it appears that he is immune to the Captain Trips virus that had already killed off 7 billion people. Stu’s story follows him moving from facility to facility until the virus infects the government officials holding him. This allows him to escape from where he was being held captive.
Another introduction is that of Frannie Goldsmith and Harold Lauder. After their town is wiped out by the virus the two band together to leave their town behind and head for greener pastures.
Two other characters, of note, we are introduced to during this episode are Mother Abagail Freemantle, played by Whoopi Goldberg, and Randall Flagg, played by Alexander Skarsgard. These two appear briefly throughout the episode but it looks like they will be the representations of good and evil for the rest of the series.
Outside the introduction of these four characters, there is not much else in the episode. We get a preface to the story that will be driving these characters for the remainder of the series. There is not much to expect from the first episode other than to get people excited about what is to come and they did a great job of this. We got a brief glimpse of what the world has become and how people are adjusting but there is a sense of dread laced into every scene. It was a great way to pull us in and leave us wanting more.
A few other takeaways from this first instalment is firstly the timing of the show being released. Centring around a virus that is wiping out a large portion of the world’s population is eerily similar to what we are going through as a population today.
Another is, and this is more a personal one, that it is great to see Whoopi Goldberg back in a major role. Outside of her talk show appearances, she has not been around much in the media and this looks like a great role for her.
This was a great first episode for The Stand series. It moved along at a brisk pace and while the story did jump around a lot it was not hard to follow. With only 9 episodes in the series, it is necessary to get through the introductions quickly and this installment accomplished exactly that.
The End did a lot but still left us with more questions than answers and whet the appetite for what is to come.