The eighth and penultimate episode of The Stand dropped on CBS All Access on Thursday with "The Stand" bringing viewers to the big climax of the story when Larry Underwood (Jovan Adepo), Ray Brentner (Irene Bedard), and Glen Bateman (Greg Kinnear) finally standoff against Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgard) in New Vegas. This episode largely sums the conclusion of the original version of Stephen King's novel, and while the whole series thus far has made some changes to the events of the book, there are some major changes this week -- and we're breaking them down.
Warning: spoilers ahead for the eighth episode of The Stand appropriately titled "The Stand". If you haven't seen the episode or are unfamiliar with King's novel, now would be a good time to turn back.
This week's episode was almost entirely focused on Vegas with Ray, Larry, and Glen facing off with Flagg and while the general mechanics of how that showdown changed (we'll explain that as you keep reading) the end result of the experience is the same: the Hand of God sets off Trashcan Man's nuke, thus ending this battle of good versus evil with good winning when everyone in Vegas is vaporized in the blast.
The episode sets us up for next week's finale and the "coda" that will offer King fans a whole new ending for The Stand, but there's a lot this week that was new as well. So, how did the series change things up as compared to the book in "The Stand"? Read on for the biggest changes we spotted, but keep in mind that this adaptation of The Stand is based upon The Complete and Uncut Edition of the book so that's the baseline we're using for our comparison.
The trial of Larry, Ray, and Glen
In this week's episode, Larry, Ray, and Glen are put on "trial" complete with Lloyd serving as prosecutor and Rat Woman serving as judge. It's a whole show put on for the benefit of Flagg as well as the people of New Vegas, but it's also something put on for the audiences of this adaptation as well. In the book, Larry, Ray, and Glen pretty much go from captives to their executions.
This invented-for-television trial also alters a bit how Glen in particular dies. The episode starts goading Lloyd by pointing out something that is ostensibly true, that Lloyd and others in Vegas are afraid of Flagg. Rat Woman demands that Lloyd shoot Glen and while Lloyd is reluctant, he does so. In the book, Glen goads Flagg from his jail cell, and Flagg orders Lloyd to kill him. As for the deaths of Ray and Larry, we'll get to those soon.prevnext
Nadine and Larry
Another invention for the adaptation is a moment between Larry and Nadine. After Glen's murder, Larry and Ray are held in the casino's kitchen when Nadine comes to have a moment to speak with Larry alone. During the brief conversation, Larry manages to get Nadine to truly look at herself in a reflective pan, prompting Nadine to appear to realize something isn't quite right. It's a case of too little, too late though as she suddenly goes into labor.
None of this happens in King's novel.prevnext
Nadine's labor - and delivery from evil
Nadine's labor is another invention for the series and it's a horrifying one. Nadine is shown laboring in a makeshift hospital situation in Flagg's penthouse, but it's very clear to all involved that something is very not right, though none of them seem to care. In agony and already starting to become aware that all is not what it seems, Nadine realizes that she's not meant to survive the birth of the "thing" she's carrying. She also realizes that Flagg's been using her her whole life and in a moment of clarity frees herself from him by ripping off the necklace bearing his stone, using it to break a window and throw herself to her death, killing Flagg's unborn child in the process. Her mangled head is later brought to Larry to taunt him, though he simply says it's proof that Flagg's control is unraveling.
Nadine's labor and Larry being presented her head are complete inventions and while Nadine does die by going out of a window in the book, the context is different. In the novel, Nadine has a moment of clarity -- having been largely catatonic since her first sexual experience with Flagg -- and taunts him about the Boulder trio being on their way to Vegas. An enraged Flagg hurls her out the window, not realizing until it's too late that that is exactly what she wanted him to do.prevnext
Larry and Ray's deaths
This is another big change from the book. In the book, Larry and Ray are set to be publicly executed by dismemberment when Whitney Horgan stands up to Flagg, prompting Flagg to display his dark supernatural powers by essentially flicking a ball of light energy at him, presumably killing him. Trashcan Man shows up with the nuke around that time and the whole thing goes sideways on Flagg when the ball of light energy is transformed to the "Hand of God" which in turn detonates the bomb, ending everyone in Vegas.
In the episode, all of the elements of this scene are there, but they play out very differently. Instead of a public dismemberment, Flagg sentences Larry and Ray to a public drowning, but defiant to the end Larry maintains that he will fear no evil. A man in the crowd also chooses to stand against Flagg, prompting Flagg to order the crowd to deal with the dissenters. Trashy still shows up with the nuke, but instead of Flagg summoning energy, a strange storm descends upon Vegas. A strange lightning -- essentially functioning as the Hand of God -- then descends on the casino and starts taking out individual people one by one, including Lloyd, Rat Woman, and Julie Lawry, before activating the nuke.prevnext
Some other odds and ends1comments
There are a variety of little things in this episode that are different from the book, something that ultimately makes "The Stand" feel in a sense like a very different take on the story. Instead of climbing out of the canyon to witness the mushroom cloud, Stu remains in the canyon and sees the light in the sky. Also, Kojack finds Tom rather than Tom finding Stu and Kojack a few days later after Stu and Kojack had already begun to head back to Boulder. We also do not see any of Tom's journey out of Vegas and there's no appearance of Nick's ghost to Tom, either.
Additionally, as has been the case through the series, Julie Lawry's role is a bit amplified. Mostly just a character that offers a tie between the Boulder and Vegas stories in the book -- she recognizes Tom in Vegas -- Julie is seen serving as an announcer for Lloyd when he starts the execution of Larry and Ray. Beyond that, there is also the implication that Flagg derives his powers entirely from the fear of those he surrounds himself with, though it's not something that is ever fully explained.prev