Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Mist, Season One, Episode Six: The Devil You Know

Because of The Mist is not a reasonable answer to all of the events that took place in this episode.  From the very beginning, The Mist has had its characters jump to feelings of immediate peril and act in ways that seem far out of proportion from what they've personally witnessed.  Unlike the 2007 movie of the same name, a television show has time to expand upon a plot and slowly move towards a crescendo.  The pacing at this point is absolutely horrid and has destroyed any kind of enjoyment in this show.

The cast continues to be large, unwieldy and divided. In a show of this nature, a large cast is necessary because it will require a large rate of attrition. The entire point is to have The Mist ever so slowly cause death and unbalance among the cast members but it seems as though the writers just want to do 0 to 60, bribing the audience each week with a few good shots.  This week for instance, we got the Mist coming out of Mia's mother's smashed in head and the Mist coming through the key hole of a door.  Yes, those scenes were awesome and added to the whole creep out factor but it's not enough to making for the continual problem of bad pacing. 

At the church, Link takes his concerns about Nathalie's idea about the mist to Father Romanov, who has seperated himself from his parishioners.  It's clear that Link feels that Romanov is shirking his duties by hiding in his office and that the only way they're going to get through this is by prostrating themselves before God. Before this episode, Link showed absolutely no signs of being some kind of freaked out religious fundamentalist but the writers escalated this minor character in order to increase the already overly tense situation between Romanov and Nathalie.  Unsurprisingly, it turned out that Nathalie can handle herself just fine and though she had to endure a slap across the face, she had no problems sacrificing Link to the Mist and then playing feeble old woman in need of protection, thus triggering Police chief Connor Heisel's protective instincts. Connor may no longer see himself as a cop but that doesn't mean he doesn't feel a drive to protect others.  

Speaking of Connor, it's clear that he saw something in the Mist and he is slowly bonding with Nathalie, even as Romanov tries to remind him of civilisation by talking about being by his wife's beside when she was dying.  Romanov is trying to play on Connor's sense of loyalty by pointing out that he didn't let the Heisel family down and that Connor's wife was faithful to God, even in the face of an early death from cancer.  It's clearly manipulative and Connor sees right through it.  At this time however, it's worth pointing out that Connor made such a big deal about Mia and Bryan being criminals in episode four and yet by episode six, with no explanation, he's ready to take off the badge that clearly means so much to him without us seeing any further escalation which would engender such feelings.

At the mall, Alex and Eve decide to work out their angst riddled relationship with a little shopping and why not, they're in a mall. Alex wants to know why the smoke monster bypassed her and is certain that this means that there's something wrong with her. Look, I get Alex is a teen but really? Couldn't the reason be that there's something special about her rather than something wrong? Who whines about not being eaten by a mist monster? 

Eve decides that since the shopping trip distracted Alex that the residents of the mall need some distraction as well. She prints off some pamphlets encouraging citizens to stay indoors, making it look as though the pamphlets came from the government or the military. Gus catches Eve at this task and Eve of course responds with snark, causing Gus to wonder how they got there. Yeah, I wanna know how you got there as well Gus. When the residents of the mall find the pamphlets, conveniently just next to the doors, they experience a sense of relief as a cautious Gus looks on.  This of course is going to come back to haunt both Gus and Eve.

So, Alex goes off by herself, clearly planning to walk through the mist to find her father because the Mist monster didn't want her. Alex begins her search for supplies and ends up being locked in a room. Someone pours gas underneath the door before setting it on fire. And who should come to Alex's rescue? Why Jay of course.  Alex accuses him of setting the fire in order to save her and play hero but when Jay is steadfast in his denials, claiming that he was looking for her and that's how he found her, Alex let's down her guard.  Has Alex never heard of stalking?  Jay decides that his so-called hero moment means that he can now bunk with Eve and Alex.  Eve is not down with this at all but is forced to back down when it seems that Alex is okay with this. Alex defends Jay by saying that he's scared because the residents of the mall just exiled Vic.  I don't see stalker Jay as sympathetic but he's right about people going too far by exiling Vic with three days of food. 

Look, I'm not impressed with how The Mist is treating the relationship between Alex and Jay.  Jay is an out and out stalker, as well as potential rapist and Alex seems to have no problem with this. In fact, Alex acts like she still has a crush on Jay a good percentage of the time.  We know that Alex was raped but we only have Adrian's word as to who actually did it, still, Alex is not acting like any rape survivor I've ever seen. It seems as though The Mist has no intention of treating Alex's rape seriously.

In the last episode, Mia stole the keys for the vehicle.  Mia heads back to her mother's place to search for something.  In her little foray, Mia actually runs in and out of the mist several times.  The writers really need to work on some rules because it seems that the mist is only occasionally a problem for their characters. Either the mist is a danger or it isn't.  Mia has a run in with her mother who tries to convince Mia that she wants to die and apologises for the ways in which she was a horrible mother.  Mia is almost drawn in but ends up smashing her mother's head in.  Clearly the mist is able to manifest as people that its intended victim are familiar with and use that against them.  This means that the mist is actually an intelligent force and not simply a hungry eating machine. It will be interesting to see if The Mist actually develops this since they seem to want to have their character running into the mist every damn week. 

Things are equally wonky at the hospital. Bryan runs into another military dude and rather than finding out more about who he is and what he was doing in the forest at the start of this season, Bryan ends up fighting for his life.  

Patients are disappearing from the hospital without explanation.  Kevin heads to find doctor Bailey, only to find that the Bailey has strapped a patient to gurney in order to experiment on them. Yes, The Mist has now escalated to the point of having characters experiment on each other.  
Kevin confronts Bailey, only to quickly be sedated. When Kevin wakes, he is strapped to a gurney. Bailey explains that he's only experimented on people who were near death anyway and that he thinks it's imperative to get a handle on the mist itself because it seems to be getting smarter. Bailey injects Kevin with something and then subjects him to the mist as he watches from a safe distance. Kevin sees an owl in the mist but nothing attacks him as an amazed Bailey looks on. It's worth pointing out that it hasn't even been five days and Bailey is fine with human experimentation already. 

A worried Adrian decides that Kevin has been gone to long and so he enlists Brian to go and look for him.  When Adrian and Brian find Kevin, they attack Bailey and wheel Kevin to safety.  With Bailey out of the way, they decide that they need to find a car and get out of the hospital.  In their search for an exit, Kevin, Brian and Adrian run into Mia, who has returned with the car. Because nothing can ever go as planned, this is when the generator runs out of gas and automatically opens all of the doors in the hospital, letting in the mist.  The foursome rush towards where Mia parked the car but quickly realise that they will never make it in time. It's Mia who suggests that they hide out in the psych ward because those are the only doors which won't open automatically. The fact that Mia knows this means she must have spent some time there. 

There are four more episodes left to this first season and I think that someone needs to euthanise The Mist.  I appreciate the horror injected in this episode and see it as sort of an homage to Stephen King, but it's not enough to make up for the shows shortcomings.  The leap to everyone panicing happened to quickly and there seems to be no rules for what the mist can and cannot do.  The small moments of horror that are interjected into the story, do not make up for characters running through the mist or ultimately not being chosen by mist monsters.