11th Jan2021

‘The Stand 1×03: Blank Pages’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: James Marsden, Odessa Young, Owen Teague, Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgard | Created by Josh Boone, Benjamin Cavell

Now onto the third episode of The Stand, it is obvious that things have to start happening. With so many characters still to be discovered though, it’s almost expected we’ll be seeing plenty of flashbacks. Now that we are used to mixing the past with current events, is The Stand keeping things interesting?

This episode of The Stand introduces new characters while fleshing out a few that we’ve only seen glimpses of. Nick Andros (Henry Zaga) is a main focus, so that we can be introduced to a character I was looking forward to seeing, Tom Cullen (Brad William Henke). We are also introduct to Glen Bateman (Greg Kinnear). On the darker side of things, Flagg (Alexander Skarsgard) has a message for Mother Abagail (Whoopi Goldberg) and we see look into the past of Nadine Cross (Amber Heard).

One of the best friendships of The Stand for me has always been Nick Andros and Tom Cullen. Today we got to see the very start of this but it wasn’t really much. Hopefully in future episodes we’ll see more of this, because it is important to the story. For us to feel for Tom and what he is pushed to do, we have to feel empathy for the character.

What I noticed with Nick’s flashback though is the cutting of many aspects of it. His waking up in hospital cuts a lot of his story out which is a shame. His meeting with Tom is also somewhat strange and feels also a little rushed. It feels a shame that what should be one of the most endearing of friendships in the show so far seems to have the least impact.

In many ways too the subtleness of Nadine Cross’ story seems to be lost in the rush to push the story forward. There are no little hints here that there is more to her than meets the eye, we are simply provided with a flashback showing that the Dark Man has always been around her and she is waiting for him. There seems to be a lack of inner turmoil to the character at this point, she feels a little too two dimensional. She has a task to do, that is it.

One thing that I did like about this episode is we get to see more of Mother Abigail, and see more of Whoopi Goldberg’s performance. While the brief experiences we’ve had in the past didn’t really give a feeling of how well she was to play the role, here Goldberg shines. She is a different Mother Abigail, a more grumpy one who is forceful in her ways, but Goldberg is making the role her own which is good to see.

Where Randall Flagg has been somewhat charming in previous episodes, we finally get to see him at his truly menacing. The message he sends also pushes the tone of “The Stand” too. We’re finally seeing that he means business and it’s nice to see the real menace slowly make it’s way into the show.

So far I’ve been enjoying The Stand but there are some issues starting to show. The amount of story being removed is becoming apparent, but it can be argued that these story elements weren’t important to where the show is heading to. The most important thing of course is things are staying interesting, and that is the most important thing. Now to hopefully see more from Flagg’s side of things.

***½ 3.5/5

This episode of The Stand will be show in the UK on StarzPlay on January 17th.
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Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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