After episode one of THE STAND got the journey going, metaphorically and literally, as the last human survivors of a worldwide virus set out to find one another, Episode 2 brought in more characters and storylines. Unfortunately, this proved detrimental to a cohesive chapter.
We’ve still got Stu, Frannie, and Harold in the picture, but this week shifted focus to the stories of Larry and Rita, Lloyd, and Nadine. Larry, a young musician on the run from his past, played by Jovan Adepo (THE WATCHMEN), deserves every bit of screen time he receives and more, but THE STAND moves at such a fast past, it doesn’t take the time to focus exclusively on him and a woman named Rita (Heather Graham) he meets on his travels. Besides, there’s Lloyd, (Nat Wolff) a conman left to die in his prison cell, whose story brings us back to the mysterious blonde man briefly introduced in week 1. Fans of the book and the 90’s mini-series most likely perceived him as Randall Flagg, a devilishly charming Alexander Skarsgård (BIG LITTLE LIES, TRUE BLOOD), but this week we’ll get a confirmation as to what his name is.
Week 2 of THE STAND brought back the fears I had last week about this series making sense and being accessible even to those who aren’t familiar with the source material. There just might be too many characters, timelines, and realities to hold this plot together as we move into the thick of Stephen King’s longest stand-alone story. Obviously, we’re still early into the show, but if we’re still playing set-up by Episodes 3 or 4, the story may never recover before its culmination.
THE STAND limited series Episodes 1 & 2 are streaming on CBS All Access with new episodes every Wednesday.