Home Entertainment Television Recap: THE STAND S1E3 – “Blank Page”

Recap: THE STAND S1E3 – “Blank Page”

I guess “Tabula Rasa” was already taken?

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If you need a refresher before “Blank Page,” you can catch up with The Beat’s recap of last week’s episode, “Pocket Savior,” right here. 

The episode opens with a group of four girls playing with a planchette, including a young Nadine Cross. The other three flee after the planchette writes “Nadine will be my queen.” Then, we flash forward to the Boulder Free Zone in December 2020, where Nadine (Amber Heard) wakes up from a nightmare.

Meanwhile, Larry Underwood (Jovan Adepo) and Stu Redman (James Marsden) are walking along a road when a blood-spattered yellow sports call pull up and a half-dressed man falls out of it. Larry checks the keys and finds a Las Vegas keychain. Stu checks the man’s wounds and determines that the man had been crucified.

The man wakes up and says that he “couldn’t be forgiven” until he had delivered a message: “he’s coming.” Then, the title card!

The Stand, Season 1 Episode 3, “Blank Page”

The Stand – “Blank Page”

Back in Nadine’s house, she finds Joe (Gordon Cormier) hiding under his bed. She has a brief flashback to meeting Underwood on the road, and having to stop Joe from stabbing him.

At the school, workers are clearing out the debris, and Joe finds what appears to be a blood stain. Back in the flashback, Nadine tells Larry that she and Joe want to go with him, but Larry tells Nadine that the woman he left New York with killed herself, so maybe he’s meant to be alone. But after an initial outburst, Larry explains to Cross that he’s following the signs that have been left behind on the road by a man he’s never met, Harold (Owen Teague).

At the BFZ Hospital, the pregnant Fran Goldsmith (Odessa Young) is getting an ultrasound. She holds up a photograph and says, “Hey Jess, meet our kid” before we go into a four-months-earlier flashback of Harold and Fran on the road. They stop to refuel and Stu appears and introduces himself.

While Stu is friendly, Harold isn’t interested in joining up with him, and he gives Fran an ultimatum: stay with “the guy whose kept you safe the past few weeks” or go with Stu.

Back at the Boulder Hospital, Fran wonders whether or not Captain Trips immunity is hereditary as Stu arrives at the hospital. He’s approached by Nick Andros (Henry Zaga, a hearing actor playing a deaf character), who flashes a note that reveals that the arrival from Las Vegas is not unexpected.

Stu asks Nick who would have the knowledge to successfully execute such a punishment, Nick has a flashback to a bar in Shoyo, Arkansas five months earlier. After a misunderstanding leads to a bar fight, Nick finds himself knocked unconscious.

Elsewhere in Arkansas

Back in the same desert dreamscape we’ve seen in the past few episodes, Nick is confronted by the Walkin’ Dude (Alexander Skarsgård). Flagg implies that although Nick has been dealt a bad hand, Flagg can connect him with better opportunities – it’s a deal with the devil, which Nick rejects.

Nick wakes up amid the corpses that fill the Shoyo Urgent Care to discover that the bar fight has left him without the use of his right eye. The only living person present appears to be the man who instigated the bar fight, who is handcuffed to his hospital bed. But in spite of the harm the man had visited upon him, Nick retrieves a cloth and begins to clear the Captain Trips mucus from the man’s face.

Elsewhere, Stu is walking when he meets a golden retriever – Kojak, apparently. Stu soon meets another man, Glen Bateman (Greg Kinnear). They share a meal and Stu has caviar for the first time, then bond over their late wives. After dinner, they’re vaping and discussing the other animals that can be infected by Captain Trips (like dogs and horses), in a conversation that calls to mind the discussion of what animals can become undead in The Living Dead by George A. Romeo and Daniel Kraus. As “Do It Again” by Steely Dan plays, Glen argues that maybe society shouldn’t be rebuilt.

Back in the dreamscape, Nick is making his way through corn stalks, eventually arriving in room with Mother Abagail Freemantle (Whoopi Goldberg). Mother Abagail tells Nick that he can speak here, and says that she is an old woman who god speaks to, and god has said that Nick has been chosen to be her voice.

Abagail tells Nick that the world is now a blank page, and that the only way to rewrite it is if everyone works together. Then she tells him to come find her at Hemmingford Home… spelled M-O-O-N. An open books blows to a blank page before Nick wakes up at the urgent care, where’s he’s greeted by Tom Cullen (Brad William Henke), who is wearing a Dolly Parton t-shirt that is totally dope… M-O-O-N, that spells dope!

Tom launches into a recitation that explains that he is developmentally disabled and has a hard time with social cues. Furthermore, he can’t read, which creates a problem so far as communication with Nick goes, as Nick can only communicate through his notepad. Nevertheless, they work out that both of them have heard from Mother Abagail.

Elsewhere, in an empty baseball stadium, Larry is singing “Baby, Can You Dig Your Man?” Joe is interested in the performance, and Larry gives him the guitar, only to have the kid immediately begin playing.

Visions of Boulder

Stu is looking through Glen’s paintings when he finds one of Mother Abagail in the cornfields. Glen tells Stu that it’s a depiction of the most vivid dream he ever had, but when Stu tells him he’s having the same dream, Glen says that they most both be remember the same dream… however, when they both recall the name “Hemmingford Home,” it becomes more difficult to deny their shared vision. Then, Stu discovers a portrait of a pregnant Fran, which Glen says he painted three days earlier.

In the Boulder Free Zone, a pregnant Fran looks over the collapsed man from Vegan. Glen, who is still wearing the same reindeer sweater, is advocating for keeping people informed. Glen expresses skepticism about the fact that Mother Abagail conveys god’s will, and about the fact that god wants Glen, Larry, Stu, and Fran to govern the Boulder Free Zone, with Nick acting as a go-between for them and Mother Abagail.

Mother Abagail arrives with Ray Brentner (Irene Bedard) accompanying her, silencing Glen’s arguments with a meaningful look. The group gathers around the Las Vegas refugee and he awakes at Mother Abagail’s touch. The man explains that Flagg arrived at a vulnerable time and offered to put them on top “for once.” But when they began bringing in slaves, he fled. He reiterates that he’s meant to deliver a message, and then seems to become possessed, becoming a conduit for Flagg’s menacing message to those in the Boulder Free Zone.

Elsewhere in the BFZ, Nadine pulls out a planchette and pulls on the glowing rock she wears around her neck. As she begins using the planchette, she is transported to Flagg’s desert dreamscape. Nadine says that she doesn’t care for Boulder because she can’t feel Flagg there, and Flagg tells her that that’s why she must spy for him there.

Flagg instructs Nadine to kill those who Mother Abagail have put in charge, but her séance is soon interrupted by Joe. Nevertheless, the planchette has written “Harold Lauder”…

Elsewhere, Harold and another worker are dumping the escaped Flagg follower’s corpse, commenting on how different it feels than their usual deliveries of weeks-dead bodies… and Harold comments that it’s the first of many.

New episodes of The Stand are available for streaming Thursday on CBS All Access.

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