Episode 3 of The Stand begins with four girls together using a planchette in the past. Despite initially shrugging it off as a joke, Nadine’s name is spelled out on the ground along with the words “will be my Queen”. This is all a flashback disguised as a dream though, as Nadine wakes up in Boulder breathing heavily.
Via flashbacks we see more of Larry and Nadine’s first encounter, specifically how he’s being led around by Harold’s messages left behind. Nadine and Joe decided to tag along and join him as he eventually settles on Boulder with the rest of the survivors.
That’s not the only set of flashbacks we receive though and in true The Stand fashion, this jumbled up story skips all over the place. Anyway, 4 months before the survivors gather, Harold meets Stu Redman while out on the road with Frannie. Harold’s less than enthused about seeing another survivor though and eventually they part ways.
Stu’s flashbacks continue though, as we see him happen upon Glen Bateman and his dog Kojak. He heads back to Glen’s house where he sees paintings he’s drawn of Frannie. Only, he’s never actually seen her before.
Back in the present, Larry and Stu receive a message from Las Vegas. A man sporting crucifixion marks across his wrists arrives in Boulder via a flashy sports car. He’s there to give them a message: “He’s coming”.
Larry and Stu bring Heck to the infirmary as Nick looks on from afar. He tells the others where he’s come from and through yet more flashbacks we see him involved in his own run-in with Flagg, just before the virus hit and wiped out 99% of the world. He doesn’t just see Flagg though but also Mother Abagail, who tasks him with being her eyes and ears in the real world.
When Nick awakened after this dream (in the past, during the exciting first act of the book we’ve been seeing fragments of) he finds himself in front of Tom Cullen who’s mentally disabled. It’s a great rendition of this memorable character, who eventually confirms that Mother Abagail sent him.
Back in Boulder, Flagg’s message is read loud and clear through Heck. His dying breath confirms “He’s” coming for them all, determined to tear their house down. Well, as the episode closes out, Harold helps throw the dead body of Heck into the pit as we leave things on a somewhat sombre note.
The Episode Review
The Stand returns this week with a slower episode as we see all of our characters receiving ominous warnings from Randall Flagg surrounding the upcoming battle between the two sides. The only trouble is, the pacing has slowed to a crawl with sporadic flashbacks interspersed throughout to fill in on backstory.
I do wonder whether this haphazard editing is a result of the current pandemic and whether studio heads may have seen it as a tad too much to show this virus ripping through and killing 99% of the world.
Whether that’s the case or not, the jumbled up timeline in The Stand does this show absolutely no favours. Here, with more characters and their subsequent flashbacks, the pacing and tension is completely dissipated and results in a story lacking cohesion. As an avid lover of the book, it’s hard not to feel disappointed with this effort.