Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Mist, Season One, Episode Ten: The Law of Nature

I think that this episode should have been called everyone on this show is horrible to some degree and deserving to meet individual mist monsters, including the writers themselves.  Almost from the beginning, the writers have been determined to escalate the fear of this show, often sacrificing plot to do so and this episode fits in with that objective. 

The Mall

The mall is the first location in which we saw people lose their ever loving minds when they decided to exile Vic.  With supplies running short and only one day of food left, the tension has increased. Gus is desperate to try and maintain control but Shelly is attempting to wrest it from him. Gus tries to sympathise by saying he cannot imagine Shelly's pain at losing a child but makes it clear that he thinks that she has become unstable.  For her part, Shelly is attempting to weaponise the people against Alex while playing up on her grieving. 

The only authority that Gus really has is that he is the manger. Given the shortness of supplies, Gus tries to rally the people into going on a supply run but there are few options near by and Kyle rightfully points out that even if they leave the mall, there's no guarantee that anyplace they go hasn't already been looted. 

Things come to a head for Gus when his secret stash of food is discovered by none other than Shelly.  This is the break that Shelly has been looking for to finally be able to usurp Gus's authority and to get the residents of the mall to go after Alex, who she blames for surviving the mist monster while her child died. 

As for Alex, she is busy getting her flirt on with Jay, who it seems has managed to convince her by virtue of his cuteness and his heroically burned hands that he isn't responsible for raping her.  Alex and Jay even share a kiss which Shelly witnesses. Shelly of course reports on the kiss and talks about how Alex through a wedge in the town by accusing Jay of rape yet now is kissing him. Do I really need to say that judging how a rape survivor responds to her assault is problematic? Shelly has spent quite a good deal of time slut shaming both Alex and Eve.

 Eve becomes increasingly upset watching as Alex and Jay get closer and so she devises a plan to separate them in order to protect her daughter. Jay is sent into a secluded room to gather some water, only to find himself locked inside by Eve.  Eve must have had a moment of generosity because not only did she leave Jay with enough water but he has magazines, toilet paper and a bed. 

Knowing that hiding food is going to get him exiled just like Vic, Gus bashes Shelly over the head killing her.  As blood pours out of Shelly's wound, Gus calls out for help.  When people arrive to find Shelly dead, they are quick to blame Gus, despite his claims of innocence. After being punched several times and witnessing the mob mentality which is developing, Gus blames Alex for Shelly's death claiming that he saw her running away from the scene of the crime. 

The Church

Nathalie is playing all mysterious religious figure.  Nathalie explains that she is waiting for a sign before returning to the mist.  It's Nathalie's belief that the Mist wants something to right the violence because the last time that the mist appeared it was after a young girl was assaulted.  

Connor is actually relieved that it was Nathalie and not Father Romanov who returned. Connor explains that Romanov presided over his marriage, as well as ran the funeral service for his departed wife.  Connor developed a strong dislike for Romanov when he implied that Connor's wife died because Connor wasn't faithful in his prayers to God.  I'd say that's a pretty damn good reason to have resentment. Connor's next confession is his belief that Jay is actually guilty of raping Alex. Connor feels that because he wasn't the type of father that Jay needed and didn't teach him a proper moral code that Jay is guilty. That's a big huge leap to make on Connor's part but Nathalie is more than willing to go with it because she is looking to make a sacrifice to nature and Jay fits the bill. Nathalie decides that they need to leave the church and head to the mall so that they can sacrifice Jay to appease nature and quite surprisingly Connor doesn't object to his son being the sacrifice.

Connor finds an exit into the sewers and Nathlie announces her plans to those gathered in the church. At least some of the residents aren't ready to follow Nathalie into uncertainty when they have a safe sanctuary.  Because of their refusal to follow Nathalie, she orders them burned alive, locking them in the church to ensure that they cannot escape. How exactly did these people get to the point where they now believe it's fine to burn others alive?

The Car

The former hospital gang are now in the car travelling towards the mall. Adrian orders Kevin to stop when he realises that they are near his home. Kevin doesn't want to stop but Adrian pleads that he just wants to say goodbye. Bryan and Mia decide to use this as an opportunity to siphon some gas from the Garfs car. Kevin stays behind with the car and Adrian runs in to check on his parents. 

Bryan gets to work siphoning gas while they talk about whether they would like to live the white picket fence life.  This leads to Brian and Mia having some pretty awkward sex in the Garf car.  When you have to try that hard, there's no real chemistry, no matter how much urgency you have to fake. 

Adrian enters the house to find his father seated at the table eating.  Duncan offers Adrian some food, which Adrian quickly starts to scarf down before realising that he hasn't seen his mother. Duncan tells Adrian that his mother is on the couch. Adrian finds his mother dead on the couch with her eyes pecked out and immediately vomits the little bit of food that he's eaten.  Duncan explains that Sandy exposed herself to the Mist because of Adrian.

Because the characters are now in a near apocalyptic state, Adrian challenges his father about not loving him and Duncan suggests that Adrian is not a real man because he's not into women and wear makeup. Duncan's homophobic tirade goes on for a bit and then morphs, without warning, to suggest that Adrian is mentally ill and has been so deeply troubled that his mother has had to turn to medication to deal with the stress that he causes.  First off, until this moment there's been no hint that Adrian is mentally ill and given Duncan's link between Adrian's homosexuality and his so-called mental illness, this twist in plot is more than problematic.  Duncan keeps pushing Adrian about Sandy not loving him and how much better their lives would have been if he were not born.  When Duncan brings up Alex, and how she'll only love Adrian for a little while because she's going to want a man to fuck her, Adrain loses it.

Alex's rape has been treated as a mystery as big as the appearance of the mist itself and that is a problem. At any rate, Adrian reveals that it wasn't Jay who raped Alex, it was him because he couldn't allow Alex to choose Jay as the first person she slept with. WTF? So yeah, Jay is innocent even though there are people travelling to the mall to kill him and Nash was right when he saw evil in Adrian.  Adrian grabs his father's gun and shoots him once.  When Duncan falls to the ground, Adrian moves closer to his father and says repeatedly, "you love me, you love me".

Outside, a terrified Vic runs up to the car and bangs on the window.  I'm actually not surprised that Vic survived given that he's being played by Erik Knudsen. It's a case of telegraphed casting.  At any rate, Kevin is resistant about letting Vic into the SUV until Vic reveals that he came from the mall and has survived by running from house to house.  Anxious for more information, Kevin finally allows Vic into the safety of the car.  Vic reveals that things have gone all Lord of the Flies at the mall, which spurs his desire to get there.  Done shagging, Bryan and Mia return to the car.  At this point, Kevin just wants to leave but Mia reminds him that they cannot just leave Adrian behind.  Kevin honks the horn and when Adrian doesn't come running, Kevin decides to enter the house to see what is going on.

With his father going cold on the kitchen floor, Adrian is aware that he has to find a way to explain away killing his dad.  Adrian grabs a big butcher knife and slices his arm open.  When Kevin finds Adrian, Adrian claims that he had to shoot his father because his father attacked him.  Given that Duncan is probably well known for his homophobia, Kevin doesn't question the lie. Kevin's response is to comfort Adrian and to absolve him of blame, promising Adrian that he will always be a member of his family.

Kevin leads a clearly shaken Adrian to the bathroom to clean is wound and that's when he discovers that the same medication that Sandy took to deal with the stress of Adrian's mental illness, is the same medication that Alex was roofied with.  Kevin immediately grabs Adrian and demands to know why he has this drug and instead of responding, Adrian starts to stammer about Kevin's promise of always belonging with the family.  Adrian grabs the gun and points it at Kevin. Kevin tries to talk Adrian down but Adrian is having none of it and he shoots. Kevin goes down and Adrian rushes outside to the car to tell them that Kevin is dead, blaming his father.  There's some brief conversation about where to head next and Adrian is insistent that they have to go to the mall because he promised Kevin that he would look after his family.

The Mist hasn't exactly been subtle with its homophobia and ableism but this episode takes the cake.  I don't even have the words to articulate the level of wrong in The Law of Nature. Sure, Adrian could be socially awkward given that he's growing up in a toxic culture and subject to repeated abuse at home but to make him violently mentally ill? Homophobia and ableism are character development now?  The writers clearly just pulled it out of their ass.  Look, it was clear from beginning that Jay wasn't actually the rapist even though his stalking of Alex is creepy as fuck, proving he does have a problem with boundaries; however, making Adrian the rapist so that he could control who Alex loves is just misogynistic.

The Mist just portrayed homophobia turning an LGBT teen into a rapist (and in early episodes it was clear Adrian is bisexual, but even he seems to be going with the idea he doesn't love women though because in demonising him the show doesn't even care enough to keep that correct). This show turns the assault on LGBT kids into another way to demonise them, directly linking being LGBT and suffering homophobic abuse into a cause of rape. The show runner even refers to "evil coming out of him" after being repressed. In fact, that interview confirms that Adrian is a rapist because he wanted a family, wanted to be love. An LGBT teen's attempt to find love and family caused him to become a rapist. I literally cannot think of a more toxic message, but it is one that is repeated in the interviews around this. An LGBT teen's desire to be loved turned him into a rapist. There are so many LGBT teens denied love and family; who painfully hunger for both and to turn that desperate vulnerability into something so dark, so terrible; to demonise this pain so completely is unforgivable

His dad says "no-one can love you, the real you" and this show, this vile show, made that homophobic attack CANON. His mother having to take drugs to stand Adrian's presence? Adrian being a monster? And all of that linked to his sexuality? It is confirmed and supported by this show and the only bright spot is others see it and recognise how inexcusable this monstrosity is.

The writers took the experiences of LGBT youth and twisted the horror too often inflicted upon them, to justify the toxic homophobic trope that there's some link between sexuality and mental illness and a link between either/both and violence.  If that were not enough, the writers have now made two characters with mental illness homicidal. There's nothing redeeming about this story line whatsoever and it makes me want to wash my eyeballs out.

This week, we had Gus kill Shelly because she discovered his food stash. Is anyone paying attention to just how often women are victims on The Mist? Just because The Mist has Eve and Nathalie as strong female characters doesn't erase the high rate of attrition when it comes to women or the numerous times that women have been attacked.

There are only two more episodes left and I'm ready to see the back of The Mist. There's nothing redeemable about this show. It's filled with ableism, and homophobia. The writing itself makes absolutely no sense and the characters don't seem able to think logically or reason whatsoever. They rushed into full blown panic mode and this week, we had Connor agreeing that his son should die.