Episode 8 of The Stand begins with our trio of Boulder defectors stuck in a jail cell. At least temporarily anyway. They’re soon released to sit in a crooked court room to await their fate.
Flamboyant Lloyd plays up the role of prosecutor as he tells the trio that in order to be set free, they’ll need to swear fealty to the Devil. Well, Glenn suddenly opens up and demands Randall Flagg show himself and present these demands himself. Glenn continues on, telling the hushed crowd that fear is the only thing Flagg has over them. He doesn’t beg for his own life though, instead doing his best to get through to Lloyd.
Unfortunately this ends with Lloyd emptying his entire magazine into Glenn Bateman’s chest. And just like that, the mood in the court room changes, prompting Flagg to stagger slightly in his penthouse.
Larry and Ray are taken into the kitchen and chained to the counter. At least temporarily anyway. A ghostly, skeletal shadow of Nadine’s true self appears and speaks to Larry privately. He refuses to listen to her venomous words though, grabbing a tray and pleading with Nadine to look at her own reflection. This small act sets off a chain reaction as Nadine goes into labour.
Lloyd grabs a wheelchair, taking her up to Flagg’s penthouse where Nadine’s initial devotion to Flagg sways. Although Randall does his best to convince her, she eventually throws herself out the window and straight down to her doom.
This final act of defiance pushes Flagg over the edge, as Lloyd begins to question everything he’s been doing. Eventually Lloyd breaks down and starts crying… until Flagg shows his face.
After antagonizing Larry with the decapitated head of Nadine, Larry and Ray are taken into the main atrium and chained to the ground. Facing one another, Lloyd introduces Randall Flagg himself, who feeds off the anger and hostility in the crowd as they chant his name.
Randall informs them that he’s going to drop a bomb on “the witch and her minions” as everyone begins cheering. Water fills the swimming pool and as Larry and Ray face their fate, Lloyd heads down to confront him. As he does, striking Larry repeatedly in the head, Larry repeats his mantra of “I will fear no evil” as this spreads like a plague across the crowd.
Lloyd changes his mind, deciding to free Larry and Ray from their predicament, while the Trashcan Man heads in with his nuclear warhead. Suddenly, a strange crackling storm cloud appears. Lightning strikes absolutely everything (except the water Larry and Ray are in) as New Vegas is consumed by chaos.
This swirling lightning orb eventually hits Flagg, repeatedly striking him before hitting Trashcan Man and the nuclear warhead. Rhe nuke explodes, sending a mushroom cloud through the air as Stu Redman, who’s spent most of this episode lying down, is caught in the ensuing blast.
Tom Cullen survives too, finding Kojak barking and following his cries across to where Stu Redman lies. As the scene cuts across to the residents in Boulder, Frannie looks out at the horizon as she tries to bring Joe inside. He utters that the Dark Man has gone but before Frannie can press him on this, she feels kicking. The baby is coming.
The Episode Review
The penultimate episode to The Stand sees the climax to Randall Flagg and his minions in New Vegas, who are all unceremoniously killed in the explosion from the warhead. With the act of God from the books making its way back into the narrative, it’s perhaps a miracle unto itself that Larry and Ray didn’t die from the lightning striking the water. However, the nuclear blast sure did.
The biggest problem with this series though, aside from the early butchering of the first and second acts, is just how basic the characterization has been. The New Vegas residents are all reduced to caricature super villains rather than fleshed out characters, and stylistically, some of the choices haven’t always worked, like some of the musical montages for example.
Still, despite all that the story has followed the same plot beats of the book and the second half has arguably been stronger than the first. We’ll have to wait and see quite what the new ending for this story is going to be.
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