Well, That Was Disappointing
Episode 9 of The Stand finally sees this dreadful adaptation come to a close with an episode that bows out with a whimper rather than a roar. Frannie starts us off with some narration, telling us that some stories don’t end at all.
We’re back in Boulder, as Frannie gives birth to her child. What begins as a happy endeavour soon sees her child catch “Capitain Trips.” Consumed by grief, Frannie gives up hope…until her child recovers from the disease that’s ravaged 99% of the world.
Frannie awakens to a new day, with another couple in town giving birth to another child that seems to be immune to the disease. With all the residents gathered together, they wonder whether Stu Redman will return or not. Well, wonder no more. Tom Cullen and Stu rock up in the middle of Boulder, as Stu meets his daughter Abagail for the first time.
We then cut forward to New Vegas, briefly, as the wreckage paves way for that familiar smiley face badge that changes from a solemn expression to a smile again. Is Flagg still alive?
Well, there’s no time for that as everyone in Boulder dances and enjoys their time together. Frannie is not so happy though; she wants to head back to Maine. Stu agrees to join her, as they say goodbye to everyone in Boulder. And so off they go, through the endless roads of narrative padding as Stu and Frannie arrive at a house in Lorton, Nebraska.
Kojak is with them too, and although the house is clean and free from danger, the cornfields surrounding the house may not be. As Kojak eventually heads inside the house with Stu and Frannie, we pan across to the cornfields where a strange girl snatches up a doll that’s lying ominously on the ground. Even more eerily, she begins singing that night while camping.
The next day, Stu grabs some supplies from the nearby supermarket but on the way back, hits something and is forced to change the tyre. Back home though, Frannie decides to go full-on idiot as she leans across an old well intending to get some water and falls in. Well, I for one didn’t see that coming!
In her unconscious state, Frannie sees Flagg hanging out by a tree. He confirms that she’s not dead but with cracked ribs and a possible fractured skull, Flagg offers a trade. He wants a kiss in exchange for life… which Frannie refuses to indulge. Instead, she heads off into the rainforest and straight into Mother Abagail’s familiar cabin. She congratulates Frannie for avoiding temptation and confirms that God will bless her.
Well, Stu manages to make it back to the well and after ignoring the strange girl sitting on the porch, he tries to call down to Frannie who lies unconscious on the ground. This girl offers to help Stu, agreeing to drive the car in reverse while Stu lowers the winch down. How does this girl manage to reach the tyres? Does she even know how to drive? Well, there’s no time for that as the car reverses and with it, Frannie is lifted to saftey.
Sporting numerous broken bones, the mysterious child waves a hand over her body and inexplicably heals all of Frannie’s broken bones.
We then cut forward one week later to Maine, where Frannie and Stu sit by the water. They question what happened in Nebraska and chalk it up to there being two sides to the world. The command is always the same though. Be true… and stand.
Meanwhile, Flagg arrives before the indigenous tribes and claims to be called Russell Faraday. After killing one of the natives to prove a point, he tells them all to worship him, as they drop to their knees.
The Episode Review
Good grief, where do you start with this one? The Stand has been a disaster from start to finish, and whether it be the convoluted and unnecessary timeline hopping to the rushed characterization and hilariously poor vision of New Vegas, The Stand is one of those “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” jobs.
The novel is solid, for the most part, and could have been adapted into a pretty decent and dark miniseries. Of course, given the situation we’re all dealing with, I can empathize a little with CBS being reluctant to release this virus-ravaging series at this time in history. Perhaps they should have just saved themselves some hassle and spent that time rewriting the script.
The ambiguous parts of the original novel are amplified here, in the form of a strange young girl. While this is supposed to embody the new form of Mother Abagail, there’s absolutely no explanation for what’s happening.
How does she just suddenly heal Frannie’s bones? How did Flagg survive? What happened to everyone else in Boulder? What’s Tom Cullen up to now? What about the other residents? Well, there’s no time for that because we’ve got a well rescue instead!
The entire episode is dedicated to Stu and Frannie off on the road with the most exciting part coming from a stupid TV moment of Frannie falling down the well. In a way, this episode is quite reminiscent of that riveting plot in Walking Dead season 2 where our group had to gather around a well and try to lift a zombie out.
If there’s one thing The Stand has managed to do this year though, its solidify itself as one of the worst TV shows of 2021. This is going to be a tough one to beat for that accolade come December, with a poor adaptation and a waste of resources. Save yourselves some time and either watch the 90’s miniseries or read the book, both are infinitely better than this.