Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Mist, Season One, Episode Three: Show and Tell

At this point, I've pretty much decided that I really need to read Stephen King's short story because there's no way it's close to the hot mess this show is turning out to be. It's all so heavy handed and desperate to mix the mundane with the macabre that even Frances Conroy, whose given the best performance thus far and is by far the most interesting character, cannot save The Mist.  

The very large cast is still divided into the mall and the church.  With all the extras floating around we are certain to see a lot more deaths which will hopefully justify the insta panic that the characters entered into the moment the mist appeared.  It seems as though Natalie has figured out what is going on but it was again another huge leap of logic that as much as I love Conroy, I was hard pressed not to roll my eyes.  

The Church

Kevin and Adrian are sharing a pew and Adrian reveals his fear that his BFF Alex, (the same BFF who dumped him at the party) is dead. Kevin somehow believes that he magically knows that his family is safe and promises Adrian that he would know if his daughter were dead.  Kevin is determined to get to his family and this means hot wiring a car and heading to the mall.  The problem is that neither Kevin or Adrian has the first idea of how to hot wire a car and so they're going to need Mia's help.

After gathering supplies, Kevin approaches Connor, who gives a rambling speech (the way all characters talk on this show) about law and order.  Sure, he abandoned them at the police station out of fear but now he's ready to go on about law and order and maintaining civilisation. To some degree, Connor has a point given that it really hasn't been that long since the mist rolled in and Mia was arrested for murder.  At this point, Kevin really doesn't give a shit and points out that Mia saved his life.  Perhaps in a bid to assert his authority, Connor decides to lock up Mia and Brian in the church basement. 

In the basement, Brian picks the locks on Mia's handcuffs and even hands over the drugs that she needs to keep from going into withdrawal.  For Brian, it's all about establishing a relationship because he feels that he needs at least one person that he can trust. Mia is the person whom he confides in about his amnesia. 

Having messed up their first attempt to flea, Kevin decides that he needs to speak with Mia and Brian.  I did find it interesting Adrian was quick to point out that Kevin wouldn't feel that letting bygones be bygones would be good in the case of Jay. Jay may be at the mall but he's clearly the elephant in the room in any interactions between Connor, Kevin and Adrian. Adrian's commentary could have been an excellent chance to explore Kevin's character but he's absolutely mum in response. 
 Instead, Adrian is placed on guard duty while Kevin talks to Brian and Mia through the door.  Naturally, given that Kevin is the one who got them tossed in the basement, neither Brian or Mia are exactly enthused about more help from Kevin. Mia is fully of snarky goodness when Kevin asks if she can hotwire a car based on her criminality. Mia questions if Kevin is going to ask the black guy (read:Brian) as well. This could have been awesome had Mia in fact not been actually able to hotwire a care, thus proving Kevin's suspicions correct. 

Adrian decides to have a conversation with Father Romanov about his fear, prompting Father Romanov to proselytize about God's love and how Adrian's mother sought comfort in the church. Adrian however believes in the church of the real and points out that his mother was seeking refuge from his abusive father and his belief that "God doesn't love f#ggots". Romanov sticks to the party line and denies Adrian's assertions.  Connor has his own bit of truth to add to the conversation and he brings up that lying is a sin.  Connor asserts that Adrian must be lying about the rape because he didn't do anything to stop it. Okay, Connor is an asshole but he's got a point. Adrian claims that Jay's friends held him down. Kevin tries to escort Adrian out of the tense situation but when he calls Jay a rapist, Connor decides that the appropriate response is to slut shame Alex, pointing out that she was drunk when this all happened. To ensure that Connor appropriately drives home the point that he is not content with just being a douche and that he wants to be an epic douche, Connor then decides to slut shame Eve. Predictably, (in the worst choreography ever) Kevin attacks only to be easily hip checked out of the way.  This gives Connor the opportunity to continue his law and order routine and lock up Kevin in the basement for assaulting a police officer. Cue a snarking Mia thanking Kevin for all of his help.

We will now pause discussing the ongoing hostility between Connor, Adrian and Kevin to engage in some info dumping courtesy of Natalie and the young guy who helped her free the holy wine. 
Natalie points to a grey lump outside which is her husband before explaining about the plague of creepy crawly things she saw earlier.  Natalie even reveals that she read about the same thing happening in 1860.  Young dude however has an explanation for it all. It seems that there's a local story about these events having to do with the murder of a young Indigenous woman. The mist and plague are a punishment for the town's bad acts which makes young dude nervous because he has a mysterious criminal history. Consider the info dumped. 

Having developed a possible hypothesis for what is going on, Natalie decides to commit suicide by walking into the mist. Young dude decides to follow Natalie outside to try and convince her to return to the church. A anxious Father Romanov and Connor stand in the doorway trying to convince both of them to return.  A moth flies into young dude's ear and procreates faster than a rabbit, causing the butterfly tattoo on his back to split open, allowing room for a pair of honest to goodness wings to form. The wings are enough to encourage Natalie to return to the church where she announces that she doesn't want to kill herself anymore because she's seen God. Father Romanov objects to Young dude being turned into mothman being called an act of God but Natalie retorts that she wasn't talking about his God, before walking away. 

It's time for another Father Romanov and Adrian tête-à-tête, in which Adrian questions why God didn't send them anything good.  Can you guess the Father's explanation? Why, it's the story of Job of course. After some thought, Adrian decides to request to be baptized.  The Father and Adrian do a little ceremony but to make sure that the baptism sticks, Father Romanov wants Adrian to repent. Adrian obliges by falling to his knees screaming that he's a sinner and that he's repented. Fortunately, (and fortunately because I was going to throw something at my tv), this is all a ruse, so that Adrian can get his hands on Romanov's keys. 

With keys in hand it's prison break time.  Adrian manages to free everyone but of course this leads to another run in with Connor.  This time, Kevin is actually able to take down the cop and the foursome make their way outside to a car. Kevin pauses on the stairs to make eye contact with Father Romanov. 

The Mall

It's now time to engage in a little conspiracy theory.  Gus, Kyle and Jay cut down the bodies of the two soldiers who decided to kill themselves last week which is how they learn that the pair are wearing dog tags. After wheeling the bodies to the food court, which has become the hangout, Gus decides that since bodies cannot be buried due to the mist that the best place for them is in the refrigerator, which will be cold for a little while longer. With a body disposal plan cemented Gus decides that each person needs to be searched for dog tags.  Rather than hanging back and surreptitiously removing his dog tags, a private freaks out and starts to run, only to be quickly captured.  The private denies knowing anything and claims that his rank means that all he does is follow orders and go where he's told. 

You know what this episode needs? It needs stoner dudes and The Mist is all to happy to comply. Okay, stoner dudes are sitting in front of a television, holding controllers, pretending to play video games. This should give you the level of sensibility we're engaging with now. Stoner dudes get the bright idea to take the bodies outside as bait to get a look at the monster in the mist.  The bodies are wheeled in shopping carts through the bookstore and out the door. Yeah I know, Gus was supposed to have locked all doors, making this move impossible. The stoner dudes wait but nothing happens.  Predictably, they get caught by the private and Gus. The private is pissed about the disrespect shown to members of the military, particularly when Gus declares that the bodies cannot be retrieved. 

Eve tries some mother daughter bonding with Alex but it's not going well because Alex is trapped in a mall with her rapist and the Mist means they cannot leave. Eve's bright idea is to grab some supplies and move to an area where Alex won't constantly have to see Jay. This involves looking for pillows and blankets because moving the shit they've already acquired for some reason just won't work (and yes, that's two plot holes in this section alone) 

The entire scenario of looking for supplies was clearly created to produce a reason for Alex and Jay to be alone together.  Jay corners Alex and promises not to hurt her if she listens to him and allows him to touch her. It's the perfect way to prove that you're not a predator and not a threat.  Jay declares his innocence and says that Adrian didn't actually see anything because all he did was to put Alex to bed so that she could sleep off the booze. Having terrified Alex and succeeding in touching her against her will, it's mission accomplished for Jay who then promptly leaves. 

Alex rushes to tell Eve what happened and Eve declares that it will never happen again.  Alex and Eve return to the group which are busy establishing rules of conduct thanks to the actions of the stoner dudes. The rules are standard at first: no stealing, no looting etc., until Kyle suggests that anyone who endangers the security of the group should be tossed into the mist. Raj is not down with this and declares it murder. Also, isn't it a little early to start talking about throwing people outside to die? 

This debate further freaks Eve the hell out and she decides that she wants to live separately from the main group. Given Kyle's suggestion about tossing people into the mist, Raj, Kim and mother daughter pair decide to join Eve and Alex. Unsurprisingly, chaos ensues when Gus suggests that there's safety in numbers, Kyle gets pissy about rule breaking and Jay decides to approach Alex to prove that he's not a threat. Eve isn't about to let Jay close to Alex again and so she pulls out Clint's gun and points it straight at Alex. The gun is enough to cause everyone to back off. 

This effectively creates a splinter group at the mall because what we need is more division amongst the characters.  The splinter group sets up in some sort of warehouse.  Their big plan is to release red balloons with notes tied to the strings to call for help. It turns out that the idea was inspired by Kevin, who Eve misses. 

The Mist is just filled with plot hole after plot hole. At the mall we had the stoner dudes taking the dead bodies out of supposedly locked doors, Eve and Alex's search for  supplies they already had and a private too stupid to just stand still to hide his dog tags. Le Sigh.  At the church, the writers did their best to make it all seem like Adrian's interactions with Father Romanov were cunning and calculating, but this only works if you ignore the fact that Adrian was already reaching out to Father Romanov BEFORE shit got hairy.  Dear writers please do better. 

This episode is called Show and Tell but if felt more like info dump and lets jump to conclusions. Are we really supposed to buy that Young Dude and Natalie just naturally came across the reason for the mist in an organic conversation? Subtlety is really not a thing in this writers room folks. Look, I get that the writers want to establish a reason for what is going on but is there any reason to rush it in this fashion?  Given that Natalie ended up declaring that she didn't see Romanov's God and he's proven to be a bit of a zealot in the baptism of Adrian, could we be on the verge of a holy war in the church?

We have the Kevin, Jay and Alex situation which feels bloated in this plot though I understand the drive to include a real world sub plot.  My biggest issue with all of this is that Alex has been given no voice whatsoever. Alex exists as the victim who needs protection.  I have no judgement about how Alex reacted to being confronted by her rapist, I just find it telling that she seems to have no character development beyond being a rape survivor. Can we please have her say a few words?