We are now at the halfway point of The Stand story. The introductions are out of the way now that we have been told everyone’s backstory and we can fully get into the battle of good and evil.
The first story follows Dayna Jurgens, one of the Boulder spies, and her infiltration into New Vegas. Dayna begins as a welder in New Vegas but she continuously asks questions about Randall Flagg which draws the attention of Llyod Henreid, Flagg’s right-hand man. Dayna gets taken on a tour of New Vegas and it is there we get to see the depravity that New Vegas has become.
Under Flagg’s guidance violence, drugs and sex have become the norm in New Vegas which frankly is not too far away from where it is now. With the way Vegas is treated in today’s society, it was an interesting parallel to draw between fiction and reality. During her tour of the new society, Dayna also sees a drained pool where a sort of gladiator deathmatch takes place. It is not referenced very much in this episode but one can assume that this arena will play a bigger part as the story unfolds.
When Dayna pushes enough Lloyd finally brings her to the penthouse suite where she gets to meet Flagg. During their back and forth we learn that Flagg knew about the spies all along, two of the spies anyway. For some reason, Flagg is not able to see Tom Cullen and he demands Dayna reveal who the third spy is. Dayna attempts to stab Flagg with a pair of scissors and when she realizes that this is a fruitless effort she smashes a beer bottle and jams it into her throat, killing herself.
While Flagg has been present during the series so far this was the first time that we got an extended scene with him in and wow was it great. We get to see just how powerful the man is as he knew about the spies being sent all along. This shows how out of the lake the spies are and that the survivors in Boulder may not be able to repel the evil in New Vegas.
The scene in the penthouse is also the first time in The Stand we get to see Alexander Skarsgard in an extended scene. He is incredibly charismatic in the role but there is a hidden sense of malice behind everything he says. We are both at ease and on edge when he speaks and this goes to show the handle Skarsgard has on the character.
The second story follows Nadine and Harold and their scheming in Boulder to overthrow Stu and the rest of the people in charge.
Upon finding the body of Teddy, the 5 in charge begin to suspect that there may be something more to one, or more, of the people living with them in Boulder. After getting slightly grilled by the leaders Harold thinks that they might be on to him and Nadine and he appears to get cold feet. It is here we can see some cracks beginning to form in the partnership between the two and they are pretty much apart for the rest of the episode.
After the suspicion around Harold grows Frannie invites him over for dinner with her and Stu. What Harold does not know is that this is a ruse so Larry can break into Harold’s house and snoop around. During the evening Harold grows increasingly suspicious and we later discover that he has placed cameras around several houses in Boulder. It is then we see that Harold knows that they are on to him and the episode fades to black with a very creepy Harold watching Frannie and Stu with one of the most unsettling smiles that anyone can imagine.
This is the best episode of The Stand series so far as we get into the story. The New Vegas part was great and shows how the other half of society has devolved under the guidance of Flagg. He is a charismatic cult leader doing his work under the guise of giving the people what they want, but we all know there will be more to his persona.
The suspicion around Harold, in Boulder, was a great bit on its own as well. The Harold character has become very creepy and Owen Teague does a fantastic job of showing this. His awkwardness adds to how unnerving the character is and he is becoming a very hated man.
With everything seeming to fall apart for the survivors in Boulder and New Vegas it will be interesting to see how they rebound next week. Stay tuned for Episode 6 of The Stand!
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