The second episode of The Stand aired Thursday on CBS All Access. While last week The End introduced viewers to a handful of main characters in the story, as well as the terrifying supergame that brings their paths together, this week Pocket Rescue introduces viewers to even more important characters, including a fitting introduction to Randall Flagg. But while the nine-part limited series is largely a faithful adaptation of Stephen King’s eponymous epic novel, this episode also contains a number of important page-to-page differences, and we split some of the most important ones we’ve noticed as the story unfolds.
Disclaimer : Spoilers for the second episode of The Stand, Pocket Savior, below. If you haven’t seen the episode or if you don’t know King’s novel, now is the time to make it up to you.
This week’s episode introduces viewers to Larry Underwood (Jovan Adepo), Nadine Cross (Amber Heard) and Lloyd Henride (Nat Wolff), three characters who are all very involved in the overall plot of The Stand. While Larry and Nadine make their way to the Mother Abagail Free Zone, the audience gets to know Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgard) for the first time thanks to Lloyd. Lloyd, the fans learn quickly, turns out to be Flagg’s right hand, a complex character Wolfe recently said he felt lucky to have it.
I think it was the game of someone who was not only a bad accomplice, but a lost soul whose weakness was won by Randall Flagg, Wolfe said. And it reminded me of one of those people you see in a documentary about a cult leader following a cult leader, and they look like this completely normal person, or maybe a wounded person, but not bad, and then they do these terrible things and you can’t believe it. He was my favorite character in the book. I was lucky to play.
How has the series changed from the book in Pocket Savior? Read the biggest changes we’ve noticed, but don’t forget that this adaptation of The Stand is based on the full and complete edition of the book, so it’s the basis we use for our comparison.
For fans of King’s book, one of the biggest changes in Pocket Savior could be the story of Larry Underwood. Larry has a fairly long story in the book that paints a clear picture of a man who is a bit selfish, a bit reckless and a bit superficial. In the book Larry is a musician who moved to California to make a name for himself and break through with a hit single, but he soon discovers he’s living the high life and spending the money he doesn’t have on lavish parties and drugs. He returns to New York to stay with his mother, just as Captain Trips starts avoiding the population. The book is mainly about Larry, an egocentric man who paves the way for his personal growth and transformation as the story unfolds.
The series focuses more on Larry’s drug use when we see his life in front of Captain Trips. He turns out to be a moderately successful and aspiring musician who prepares for the release of his album, uses drugs, drinks and panics because his band has the flu. He is a great verbal abuser, he neglects his mother who sees him playing, and he insinuates that he is actually a plagiarist when his dealer/roommate shows up and accuses him of stealing the basic element of his hit song.
While the centering of Larry’s less positive attributes is a little different, in the end the image fits very well with the heart of the character, making it one of the most subtle improvements in the series.
Larry’s Journey Westward
Another striking difference is Larry’s trip from New York to Boulder. In the book, the journey is more detailed and we see him meet Nadine, Joe and a few others in stories that not only help to shape some of Larry’s relationships with these characters and change Larry’s personality, but also to shape Nadine. In the book, the suicide of Larry’s first travelling companion, Rita Blackmoor (played by Heather Graham in the series), is also slightly more graphic.
In this episode, the viewer spends a lot of time with Larry and Rita as they flee New York – and there’s a big change in the way they leave the city, turning the tunnel into a sewer – but not so much time with Nadine and Joe, a movement that removes some of the tension between the characters. Rita’s death is also treated a little differently, with her suicide being presented in a slightly more tragic and elegant way.
Appearance of Nadine
A very striking change in Pocket Savior is the appearance of Nadine Cross. Nadine is described in the novel as very beautiful, but also as a woman with very shiny black hair with white spots. The book describes these white stripes as the result of supernatural encounters with Randall Flagg.
In the episode with Nadine, played by Heard, she only has long blond hair.
History of Lloyd’s
Another story that is a bit condensed in the episode is that of Lloyd Henride, the right hand of Randall Flagg. In the novel, the reader not only learns details about the criminal activities that lead Lloyd to prison when Captain Trips turns up, but we also get a lot of details about the legal situation in which he finds himself, and some more information about his personality. Lloyd begins to understand his situation, how Captain Trip destroys things in prison, which leads him to try to hoard food, which shows the reader that he is in fact someone determined to survive, and also how desperate he is when Flagg finds him.
In Pocket Savior, Lloyd’s story is essentially that of a supermarket robbery in which he is arrested as a police killer before Captain Trips leaves Lloyd starving in his cell while everyone around him dies. Just when he was so desperate that he probably tried to eat his cellmate, Flagg arrived and freed him in exchange for his loyalty. Although the pace of the story is largely the same, the episode cuts a large part of the character development for Lloyd.
Stone free zone
This is another difference that seems to have been made in the name of saving time, but it is interesting to note how it subtly changes some of the plots. In the novel, the various characters dream about Abagail’s mother, but it’s not that she has a checklist of who should serve in what capacity and a fixed structure of how things should be done in Boulder. Instead, things in the Boulder Free Zone accumulate out of necessity as more and more survivors emerge, creating the need for order. When Larry and his group arrive, they know he’s only coming for the radio connection, and they don’t trust him right away.
In this episode Stu Redman (James Marsden) waits at the entrance of Boulder for Larry and his band and tells him that Abagail’s mother knew he would come and that he was the one who, for lack of a better term, would lead them. It is also interesting to note that Nadine and Joe do not meet Abagail’s mother in this episode of the series, and it also shows that Abagail’s mother lives in a much more modest house than the one the book chooses for her home. The book talks a lot about her house in Boulder, including this garbage machine she wants to try out when the power is back on.
Another remarkable change will hit Boulder viewers. In the book, Ralph Brentner is a man, while this character in the series is now Ray Brentner, a woman (with the character played by Irene Bedard).
The first two episodes of De Tribune will now be broadcasted on CBS All Access. A new episode appears every Thursday.
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