CBS All Access
Season 1 Episode 2
The second episode continues the trope of telling the story from the present back. This time the story focuses on Larry Underwood played by Jovan Adepo. The episode finds Larry leading a group of survivors including a mute boy named Joe and a woman named Nadine Cross who found the boy. As the survivors make their way to Boulder, Larry thinks back to his life during the epidemic.
Adepo does a great job as Larry. He exudes the narcissism and excess of a budding star on the rise who finds his dreams cut short by the reality of a global pandemic. His mother is the only person in his life and when she gets sick, he is forced to deal with the truth of the new world he finds himself in. Unfortunately, Larry’s dynamic with his mother is so truncated, you never get a sense of what the nature of it really is. Does she support him? Does she not? Her presence is so short that you never get a sense of conflict or relationship between the two of them.
As the virus rages, Larry finds himself one of the only survivors in New York and comes upon Rita Blakemoor after a night of doing drugs. The two bond instantly and end up back at Rita’s apartment. Graham does a great job playing a character the is outwardly vivacious, but hiding a darkness within her. Their relationship culminates in a harrowing trek out of the city through the sewers that showcases Larry’s internal struggle as well as Rita’s inner demons. Unfortunately, not enough screen time is given to the journey to either illicit fear or make the resolution compelling in any way.
The other story featured is Lloyd Henried played by Nat Wolff. Lloyd finds himself in prison awaiting trial after he and his partner get into a shootout while trying to rob a convenience store. As the pandemic unfolds, prisoners and guards alike die and Lloyd finds himself trapped in his cell starving and going insane until he is rescued by Randall Flagg. Wolff’s performance is fine as Lloyd, but it’s too short to get a sense of him being anything other than a caricature.
The second episode of The Stand suffers from all the problems plaguing the first episode in its jumbled pacing, unusual edits and almost sloppy narrative choices. It continues to nibble at the edges of a good story without actually having the guts to take a bite and because of that, the viewer never gets a sense of story and is left with snippets of drama with no engagement. There are some fine performances here and a great story to work with, but the structure of the episode and the lack of tension make the episode fall short of its intentions.