CBS All Access
Season 1 Episode 8
Glenn, Larry and Ray find themselves in the belly of the beast as their journey brings them to New Vegas and lands them in a cell at the bottom of Flagg’s base of operations. As the party continues up top, Glenn and the others take the time to opine about the cracks in the Dark Man’s armor and how scared his people must be despite their actions. You know what could have made this moment poignant and interesting? If at any point we as viewers saw any of that.
At the same time, Stu deals with being alone with a broken leg and no help coming. There is a moment of real doubt in Marsden’s performance at that moment and it should have been given time to explore. Instead, we are given one of the stupidest scenes I have ever seen. A mock trial that attempts to show all the negative aspects of a kangaroo court scenario but only succeeds in eye-rolling self parody.
I actually felt embarrassed for Nat Wolff in that scene and he was the main attraction. This was his moment to show doubt and make his final decision and it was handled so poorly that I felt bad for Greg Kinnear’s Glenn Bateman who actually gave a thoughtful performance that deserved better. Larry and Nadine have a final reckoning and Larry forces her to see what she’s really become. When she returns to Flagg, she has her final reckoning with him as well. A scene that is actually well shot and interesting, but like everything else in this miniseries, does not stick the landing (no pun intended).
After that, things continue to get more laughable as the director tries to make them intense. This is frankly the consequence of failing to develop characters. You have moments without meaning and that’s what this episode comes down to. More moments happen as Larry and Ray are brought before Flagg to be executed in front of everyone, but dissention in the ranks leads to Flagg being distracted. Dissention, mind you, that comes out of nowhere and has no context or meaning associated with any of the characters.
When the final reckoning for New Vegas comes, it is so comically absurd that I could not stop shaking my head at it. I honestly could not tell you what they were going for in this moment. What were they trying to accomplish with this scene and who was it made for? It was so deliriously stupid that I once again felt sorry for the actors, especially Jovan Adepo and Irene Bedard who would have had the chance to show some real emotion and depth if someone else was directing this episode.
The latest episode of The Stand is the culmination of everything that has been wrong with this miniseries since the first episode. It’s a series of shallow, misguided moments that couldn’t find an emotional beat if it were given a map. I feel bad for everyone that had to act in this mess and worse for everyone that had to watch it.