11th Mar2021

‘The Stand 1×08: The Stand’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

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

The group from Boulder have finally arrived to make a stand against Randall Flagg and Nadine Cross discovers just what she has been chosen for. Will the Dark Man win out or is there one last surprise waiting for him?

If the 1994 mini-series of The Stand had one thing that really stood out it was the handling of the ending. This comes as no surprise as it isn’t the easiest thing to put to screen. With the new version of The Stand, things haven’t gone too good, especially with the quality of the characters, so could the ending of the story be it’s saving grace? If you’ve read the book or seen the 1994 mini-series you’ll know that the ending of The Stand isn’t exactly something that translates well to screen. This time though, I do admit that I did like the way it was handled. While some may call it an act of “God” those more versed in Stephen King lore will see more to it. Yes, there are things happening that are obviously being done by higher beings that we can’t understand, but we don’t have to literally call it God.

What was handled well in this episode was the way that Flagg’s weaknesses were presented on screen. So far he’s been the unbeatable enemy that the forces of good must overcome. What we now see is where he gets his strength from, and what happens when his powers are weakened. What this goes back to is the fact that Alexander Skarsgard has been the highlight of the show, and his charismatic character has been, quite rightly, the focus.

In many ways this episode of The Stand redeems the show for some of it’s shortcomings, but with this being the penultimate episode it comes far too late. Also in knowing just how the story ends, I knew what was coming. It would be interesting to see the reaction of somebody who hasn’t seen the 1994 version of the show, or has not read the book. The big question of course is did this episode beat the original ending of the 1994 mini-series, and the answer for me is that it did. Yes, there are many similarities as there should be, but I much prefer the way things concluded. To go into more detail of how it was better would be spoilers, so I won’t go much further, to say it was handled better is the best thing to say at this point.

There is another episode after this one, so this is not the final review. Based on if the show ended here though I would say that it was deeply flawed but still entertaining. In many ways I do prefer the 1994 version of the show, and feel the characters were much more likeable in that version. With this one, the ending (so far) was handled better, which is something I’m sure a lot of people hoped for.

***½  3.5/5

The Stand is available on StarzPlay in the UK now.

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