CBS All Access's adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand aired its fourth episode this week with "The House of the Dead" seeing the Boulder Free Zone start to more firmly establish their leadership while, unbeknownst to them, Randall Flagg makes further inroads in his own efforts to take them down. With the episode serving as something of a midpoint for the nine-episode limited series, more characters were introduced as things move ever closer to an ultimate showdown, but for eagle-eyed fans, there was another development in the episode. As had been previously teased by series executive producer Benjamin Cavell, King himself appeared -- but not in a way you might expect.
Warning: spoilers for The Stand episode "The House of the Dead" below.
The episode had a lot of moving parts. Larry (Jovan Adepo) made a big stride forward moving away from his past and his addiction while Harold (Owen Teague) stepped even further on the path to becoming a pawn of Flagg's by teaming up with Nadine Cross (Amber Heard). The episode also saw the committee choose their spies for Las Vegas while flashbacks introduced a host of new characters, including Dayna Jurgens (Natalie Martinez) and Julie Lawry (Katherine McNamara).
It's the introduction of Julie that is particularly of interest in terms of that King cameo. In a flashback two months prior, Nick (Henry Zaga) and Tom (Brad William Henke) encounter the colorful character when the stop in a furniture store in Colorado. Julie quickly attempts to seduce Nick, but when Tom interrupts -- and Julie reveals her true colors -- they leave her behind. Julie shoots at them as they go, prompting them to hide in a bus shelter. It's there in the bus shelter that King's cameo happens. The shelter contains an advertisement for Hemingford Home, a retirement community/long term care facility nearby. There, sitting at a table in the advertisement is King.
King's cameo appearance in this version of The Stand is much different than his cameo in ABC's 1994 miniseries. In that adaptation, King played Teddy Weizak -- a character played by Eion Bailey this time around. Despite the smaller cameo, however, King still has a substantial role in things, according to Cavell.
"He wrote a coda that is our ninth episode. It will be completely new to the entire audience," Cavell said. "I can, and will say, the big reason he wanted to do the coda was, he was thinking about for [the past] 30 years that Frannie doesn't go on 'the stand' in the book. She's seven or eight months pregnant, and can't walk across the mountains to face the Dark Man. It always ate at him that she was one of the heroes of the book, and she was never given her 'stand.' The coda is his planned attempt for the last 30-years to give her her 'stand.'"
The first four episodes of The Stand are now streaming on CBS All Access. New episodes arrive every Thursday.