We pick up this week’s episode with the Boulder community reeling from the attack by Harold. After Frannie outed Harold for the attack it soon became clear that he was not acting alone and that leads the survivors to figure out that Nadine had been working with Harold. The realization does not do much for the group as Harold and Nadine left Boulder immediately after setting off the bomb. Before they do though we get a great scene between Harold and Nadine in the amphitheatre. Nadine’s motives have been clear for the past few episodes but it in this scene where we see the true Harold. Not being able to have Frannie he decides to do things only for himself from now on. His explanation during this scene is terrifying and it’s perfectly delivered by actor Owen Teague.
Before anything can be done about Harold and Nadine’s abrupt departure Mother Abagail, who had been resting in the hospital, summons the remaining committee members and presents them with a task. Being that religious themes are all over this show the task involves the four members walking to New Vegas to confront Flagg. They are to take only what they are wearing and nothing else. This naturally comes with resistance from the committee members as they question the wisdom of this task but are expected to go on the faith of Mother Abagail’s words. This, again, highlights the religious tones of the show. After her request of the committee members, Mother Abagail passes away, marking the second major death of the series.
It was sad to see Mother Abagail die but we are deep into the third act territory now so there are going to be some big characters biting the bullet. It should be noted that Whoopi Goldberg was fantastic in her role as the spiritual leader. She hadn’t been around in movies/television much in the past few years and it was great to see her knock this role out of the park.
While Stu and company are preparing to embark on their journey we catch up with Harold and Nadine. The duo is speeding along the highway in their motorcycles when Nadine tricks Harold into going too fast around a bend, causing the bomber to fly over the guard rail. Harold tumbles down a hill and gets impaled on some fallen logs. Instead of helping her partner out Nadine leaves the man there and suggests he kill himself before the vultures can get to him. After writing his last words on a notepad Harold does just this by putting a gun in his mouth and ending his life. Again, another main character is killed off and this one was disappointing, to say the least. Harold was a terrible human being and it would have been satisfying to see him have a more drawn-out death.
We move back to Boulder where, Stu, Larry, Glenn, and Ray have begun their journey that will bring them to their last stand against Flagg. Along the way, they come across the skinless corpse of Harold as the buzzards have picked away at the bomber. It is here that we get a glimpse of what Harold wrote in his notebook and it was quite a heartfelt story. This is disappointing, to say the least, Harold was such a despicable character and no one want him to gain any redemption, but yet here we are.
After their encounter with Harold, the four continue on their journey until they come to a valley cut in the highway that they must cross. During this crossing, Stu falls backward into the valley breaking his leg and bringing his journey to a close. The group decides it best to leave Stu and continue on their journey. Throughout the show, Stu has been the default leader in Boulder, so it was always assumed that he would be confronting the Dark Man. It was a shock to learn that Stu would not continue to New Vegas. How the remaining three will handle the pressure without the assumed leader will be interesting.
Soon after leaving Stu in the valley, the remaining 3 people are picked up by Lloyd Henreid acting on behalf of Randall Flagg. Throughout their journey, they had been followed by the Dark Man’s crows so Llyod knew when and where to grab the Boulder representatives.
Once the three are brought to New Vegas we get to see what kind of town Flaggs followers have turned the city into. Statues are being erected in Flagg’s image and his face is on every video screen around the city. This type of propaganda shows the influence Flagg has over people and what type of world he would like to create.
The episode ends with Nadine coming down from the penthouse to greet the prisoners. We are shown this from her point of view up until a certain point when the camera pans up and we see what she has become. Through her eyes, she is a beautiful temptress but we get to see reality when we see her pregnant and looking less like her usual self. It was a great jump scare ending to the episode and left us wondering what will happen next.
The latest episode of the Stand was the quickest one yet. With 2 major deaths and one left in the air, Stu Redman’s situation, the story flew along. The survivors are getting ready to face their final challenge against Randall Flagg and this is driving the excitement through the roof for the next installment.
The acting in this episode may be the best yet of the series. The opening scene with Harold/Nadine and the valley scene between Stu/Glenn were especially fantastic. The actors in this mini-series have done a great job of creating believable characters that we can connect with.
Tune in next week as the survivors finally make their last stand against the Dark Man.