Thursday, July 6, 2017

REVIE: 'The Mist' - Fractions Break Off in the Mall While Nathalie Sees the Beauty in the Mist in 'Show and Tell'

Spike's The Mist - Episode 1.03 "Show and Tell"

Kevin and the group find their way to a local church where several others have found sanctuary. Upon their arrival, police chief Connor Heisel locks up Mia, Bryan and Kevin in the basement to prevent them from stirring up the people seeking refuge there. Back at the mall, high school football superstar Jay Heisel confronts Alex about her allegations against him.

Kevin and Eve Copeland stand out in the context of the show because they are the lead characters. Morgan Spector and Alyssa Sutherland receive top billing at the start of each episode. But in the context of the story, they also stand out as the people in this community who aren't just going to stick to the status quo. They are the outliers who want to do things differently. That may be why they will ultimately survive this ideal. It could also be why they doom the people who choose to follow them. They are motivated by the selfish reason of trying to reunite as a family. Alex wants to be with her father again instead of having to deal with her mother's awkward chats. Kevin and Adrian want to reunite with their family in order to prove that there is still hope and humanity despite these ever-changing circumstances. They are all willing to do whatever it takes in order to make that happen. That is incredibly selfish and destructive. Both sides of this family have recruited others to their side. Mia and Bryan are with Kevin and Adrian. They are series regulars as well so that means they'll likely survive as well - at least for awhile. But Eve and Alex are surrounded by recurring guest stars who could be killed off at any point in time. That balance is interesting because it suggests that Eve and Alex may only be able to count on each other while Kevin has to put his trust in an alleged murderer. That creates some truly fascinating drama in "Show and Tell."

It's a bit surprising to see just how briskly the show is moving through its plot. It doesn't want to stick in one place or one moment for too long. So, characters are already breaking out of the sanctuary at the church while the group at the mall is dividing into two. It's good that the mall is so big and capable of housing two different fractions of survivors. But this hour also reveals that Eve has a gun and that the military is somehow connected to what's going on outside. The audience already suspected the latter because of the ongoing mystery revolving around Bryan. He woke up in the woods in his military uniform but has no memory of anything that has previously happened in his life. And now, the two other military soldiers at the mall have killed themselves. So, it's enough to fuel suspicion of what's going on. The folks at the mall believe that the military has answers and didn't really alert the public to the dangers of the mist. But the one surviving military person at the mall is just a private who was the driver and nothing more. He knows nothing. He has just lost his two allies because of something bigger going on in this world that no one quite understands just yet.

All of that is very practical and rational thinking. That's the kind of mentality that Gus wants to have while he's managing this ongoing crisis. He continues to be stern but fair in his leadership role at the mall. He doesn't know what's going on. He just believes that people will come for them eventually and they need to stay together as a group. A group that needs to abide by the same rules. He needs to establish some kind of order. That's the thing that ultimately pushes Eve away. She wants to get as far away from Jay as possible because of the lingering scandal of him raping her daughter. That's fueling her actions right now. It does seem like she overreacts a little bit to the group establishing rules. She doesn't want to listen simply because Jay is the one writing the list down. She wants no association with him whatsoever. She has no problem pointing the gun at him and revealing to the crowd that she has it. That's how she gets control during this situation. A weapon is very powerful in that way. People rally behind her because she seems like an incredibly capable leader. But her rationalization for all of this could be corrupted. Jay continues to claim that he did not rape Alex. He took her upstairs and put her in a bed. That's it. He didn't have sex with her. And now, he wants to get close to her to prove that he could never hurt her. The power of the accusation still makes this scene intense and unsettling. It gets to the point where Alex doesn't know what truly happened. She knows she was violated but the truth is becoming more complicated and mysterious. She's choosing not to open up to her mother either even though Eve really wishes she would.

At the church, Father Romanov wants to believe there is a spiritual explanation behind all of this. He believes that it is God testing this community of people to prove whether they actually have faith in him. He likens it to the story of Job. Not everyone actually listens to this though. In fact, most of the stories at the church are in defiance to that belief. Kevin is solely motivated to reunite with his family. He needs to prove to Adrian that they are okay. He's willing to work with Mia because she saved his life. He trusts her despite the new accusation of her killing someone. That continues to prop up the tension between Kevin and Connor. They are clashing now completely because of the rape accusation against Jay. It's defining their actions as well. They are saying hurtful things to each other. Connor is coming across as a major asshole because he abuses his position of power in order to win an argument or prove a point. It doesn't make him right. It just means he has power to actually do something. That makes it impossible for Kevin to stage a jailbreak. But that leads to one of the more surprising moments and stories of the season so far. It's odd that the show seems to be suggesting that Adrian goes from being an atheist to wanting to be baptized within one episode. It does play it seriously as Adrian wanting to believe in something greater happening in this world. But it's not particularly surprising that he's doing it just to get the keys from the priest to free his friends. It's pretty inspired that Adrian is the one who gets them out of their confinements. That's unexpected and proves that he is just as smart and capable as the adults in this world. That makes it easy to root for him and want him to survive all of this.

And finally, Nathalie is actually going through a genuine evolution. Her view of this world radically changes in an instant. She has been defined so far by the death of her husband in the mist. That was a brutal moment that showed just how dangerous the mist could be. It was a man who killed him. She couldn't rationalize that. And now, she's ready to die. She wants to go home and be with her husband again. She sees no point trying to live without him in her life. When she tries to leave the church though, something extraordinary happens. The ex-con tries to convince her to return inside where it's safe. In the process though, a bug flies into his ear and starts destroying his body. It's an absolutely brutal sight. It's bulging in and out under the skin of his back until it breaks open creating two wings. Then, he vomits up hundreds of bugs that will continue to plague this world. It's horrific. The men who retrieve Nathalie see it as such. But she sees it completely differently. She sees the beauty that comes from it. That's surprising and reveals new importance to her moving forward. She won't see the mist as this monstrous entity that is trying to destroy this town. She'll see it as a beautiful transformation that will reveal itself in some truly surprising and unexpected ways. That's an interesting plot twist that should be quite compelling to watch moving forward.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Show and Tell" was written by Peter Biegen and directed by Nick Murphy.
  • Connor locks his prisoners up in the basement of the church so that they would be out of sight, out of mind a little bit. And yet, Mia is the only one he puts in handcuffs. To him, she is the real criminal who'll need to face justice after all of this. The other two are just annoyances whom he doesn't want to deal with right now.
  • Adrian definitely questions Kevin's action as well. He wants to know why it's okay to work with Mia knowing more about her background while it still being easy to vilify Jay for what he did to Alex. Kevin doesn't have a good explanation. But right now, Mia can help them survive and that has to be good enough.
  • Things continue to get intimate between Mia and Bryan. He is trying to comfort her during this incredibly trying time. He gives her drugs so the withdrawal will stop. But he also shares the truth with her about how he can't remember anything about his past life. That establishes a closeness with them that should be very important in the future.
  • There are two gamers at the mall whom Gus has very little patience for because he only sees them as immature slackers. They have the idea to steal the bodies of the people who killed themselves and roll them outside to see what's out there. Nothing happens which may suggest that the horrors of the mist may only affect those who are still alive.
  • Alex has the smart idea to attach messages to balloons in the hopes that someone in the outside world will see them and come save them. It's a beacon of hope. It's the survivors at the mall being proactive about their situation. They aren't just sitting idly by. Will it actually do any good though? That's hard to say right now.
  • If Jay's story about not raping Alex is true, then the mystery must pivot to who actually committed the crime. At the moment, there are no viable alternate suspects. So, that makes it seem likely that Jay abuses his position of power and tries to justify it just like his father does.