The Stand: The Circle Closes
February 11, 2021 6:49 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Limited series finale written by Stephen King. After seeing both the light and the dark, Frannie makes her stand. Air Date: Feb 10, 2021

The original title for this final episode, an all-new ending written by The King of Endings himself, was supposed to be "Coda: Frannie in the Well." In fact it still appears that way in various listings across the web, and, one could assume, TV Guide. This is the second episode to have a last minute title change. The fifth episode, "Fear and Loathing in New Vegas," was originally titled "Suspicious Minds," a reference to the Elvis Presley song of the same name that was featured in that episode.
posted by guiseroom (12 comments total)
It was just.....meh.

that's pretty much what I felt about the whole thing. It was all just.....meh.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:41 PM on February 11, 2021 [3 favorites]

Going to put my detailed reaction on the books included thread. As for this ep, it could have been worse, but it could (and should) have been better.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:10 PM on February 11, 2021

The series was ok? Visually appealing at times, an interesting character in Harold, but the entire show story is structurally weak.

I would have preferred either a straight up post-99%-pandemic with drama about local warlords and idealistic groups making it (or not). Or go all in with ineffable Powers (with ambiguous "morality") manipulating groups and playing proxy war with them.

Frannie being essentially resurrected and being one of humanity's "Eves" was unsatisfying.
posted by porpoise at 7:33 PM on February 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

My general impression WRT the last ep is that King had second thoughts about
Frannie staying behind in Boulder while the rest of the good guys (or at least the ones left) got to have a confrontation with the Big Bad (well, not Stu, but he at least got to try), and wanted her to make her own stand. Which is not the worst impulse, but there weren't any lingering consequences from it, and the whole bit where the music is telling you woo, something bad's a-gonna happen gets dragged out.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:52 PM on February 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

King’s reliance on the Magical Negro trope has been cringeworthy for quite a while. I think the script for this episode is when I lost my last bit of patience with him, though.

It’s been 42 years since the book was published but this script/cornfield girl seems to demonstrate he hasn’t learned much at all.
posted by FallibleHuman at 9:19 PM on February 11, 2021 [3 favorites]

Magical Negro trope

Ah. That's what it was.

Thanks for linking concept to my uneasiness with the 'resurrection' (and Alexander Skarsgård cast as the entity that ends up choosing to corrupt uncontacted peoples in S. Am. - vs Cornfield Girl and Whoopi Goldberg as a god/ God avatar).

I'm still unclear whether Flagg and Freemantle are incarnations, or just lieutenants. But in Christian cannon, the Devil/ Lucifer is a creation of God and a lesser "being" so kind of moot (and damning of Christian cannon being good fiction). (The later 'Sandman Slim' novels by Richard Kadry has a fresh take on how to think about the Christian God, angels, devils, etc.)

The pseudo Christian thing throughout was a complete crock for me.

Book readers: is the source material palatable to modern/ contemporary-now sensibilities (minus my stated prejudices on Christianity)?
posted by porpoise at 9:36 PM on February 11, 2021

I reread this a few years ago, and I think it mostly stands up as King's best work, but there are definitely parts that just slap you in the face with THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A WHITE GUY IN THE 70'S.
posted by skewed at 6:36 AM on February 12, 2021 [5 favorites]

Yeah, in terms of Magical Negro-ness, you have to remember that he published this just a few years after The Shining. One of the positives of this adaptation is that the casting made the principal characters a bit more diverse; in the book, the four that walk to Vegas are all white dudes, with the possible exception of Ralph Brentner (Ray in the series), who may be a Native American--I vaguely recall some reference to it in the book, but I'm not sure where. (One of Flagg's henchpeople, "Rat Man", also becomes Rat Woman in the adaptation; she's the one played by Fiona Dourif, Brad Dourif's daughter, and has a bigger part than her book counterpart.) There are numerous other differences--King was very suspicious of the US government in general (he had been involved in the antiwar movement in the late sixties in college, and this book was written shortly after Watergate) and it shows in the early part of the book--but I won't spoil those. Warts and all, I still like the book very much.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:59 AM on February 12, 2021 [3 favorites]

Honestly, my favorite parts of the book all came before everyone got to Boulder and the mystical stuff started happening. Civilization was falling apart, but we were watching how ordinary yutzes dealt with that. One of the more gripping parts for me was the whole chapter where King steps away from the main characters to tell some anecdotes about some of the secondary deaths - all the people who died because they were foraging in the woods and got bit by snake and didn't know first aid, or the people who got depressed and killed themselves, or the six-year-olds whose entire families died of the flu and left them alone and they didn't know how to take care of themselves so they's tragic, but it's also realistic and vivid and it stuck with me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:27 PM on February 12, 2021 [15 favorites]

Oh, yeah, the "no big loss" chapter.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:49 PM on February 12, 2021

If I come up on my wife at the bottom of a well and my child in a stranger's arms, I am going to have many more questions than Stu did.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:10 PM on March 28, 2021 [3 favorites]

This episode truly sucked.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:14 PM on March 28, 2021

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