14th Jan2021

‘The Stand 1×04: The House of the Dead’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

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

Now that we are reaching the mid-point of The Stand with it’s fourth episode, the focus should be moving onto how people fight against the Flagg. This is exactly what we get, but the problems with the show are starting to become obvious.

With questions beginning to be asked in the Boulder Free Zone, leadership is called for. Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgard) uses Nadine (Amber Heard) to influence Harold (Owen Teague), and spies are sent out into the west to find out more about what the Dark Man has planned.

What is starting to trouble me about The Stand in this new format is that the show is meant to be about an America where 99.9% have succumbed to Captain Trips and the world should feel empty. There is a distinct lack of loneliness in this version of the story, which to me feels like a mistake.

With the relationship of Nick (Henry Zaga) and Tom Cullen (Brad William Henke) a lot of the things they go through show just how lonely the world is, and how they move from town to town looking for life and a way to survive. This is shown in flashbacks but they feel way too short. With this being part of what I enjoyed from the original mini-series, it just feels a shame that this time that relationship is moved over so fast. This could be redeemed quickly of course.

Another issue I’m starting to see if the relationship of Nadine and Harold. Harold was a character that was set up well and is being acted well by Owen Teague. The real issue is Nadine (Amber Heard). This is meant to be a conflicted character who is caught between her feelings for Larry (Jovan Adepo) and the Dark Man. All we see in this version is her devotion to Flagg and nothing else. She will do his bidding without question.

What the Stand is doing well is setting up the main plot points that are important, but it does so in a rushed fashion. There is a lot to the story, and it is understandable that things have to be cut out, and things have to be updated.

What is so good about The Stand though in both book form and on screen (in the original mini-series) is that the characters were well written and you cared a lot about them. Which this is true about some of the characters in this version, some seem to not be hitting that right note that makes you care. The examples of this are Nadine, and unfortunately Nick and Tom. In the case of Nick and Tom though it just feels like their story just isn’t given enough time.

The fact that the spies have been sent off into the West so early is an issue for me, but one that is easy to get over. There has to be a trust in the writing for the show that it is done for the right reasons. This will of course be seen in the future episodes where we get to see the payoffs of these characters heading off on their dangerous missions.

While cracks are starting to show in The Stand, I do still have hope that it is heading in the right direction. It is a more modern telling of the story and is being made with a more up to date style and is influenced by a lot of big shows that do well in this format. It will be interesting to see where the second half of the story goes from here.

*** 3/5

This episode of The Stand will be show on StarzPlay in the UK on January 24th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

Comments are closed.