To catch up on CBS All Access’s The Stand before “The House of the Dead,” you can check out the previous recaps now.
The Stand opens on Frannie (Odessa Young) narrating, recording her thoughts in a journal. Meanwhile, the rest of the Boulder Free Zone Committee prepares for a meeting. Larry (Jovan Adepo) dumps his pills down the drain, Harold (Owen Teague) leers at his Tom Cruise cut-out.
The Boulder Free Zone is having a meeting about the arrival of the individual who had been crucified. There’s a quick flashback to what seems to be the house of resident stoner Glen (Greg Kinnear), where the Committee decides that Stu (James Marsden) will be the one to speak. Then, back at the meeting, Stu takes the stage, but it doesn’t go too well (one of the audience members asserts that the interloper had “wounds like we might have learned about in Sunday school,” a line that is pure King but which I can’t imagine being utter by an actual human in 2020).
When the crowd starts to turn too far, Frannie points out that Larry has more experience working a crowd, and he takes over. Larry makes a point of highlighting the individuals who have been working on the power station, the body crew, and at the school before announcing that the power will be coming back on Friday. After warming up the crowd, Larry hands the mic back to Stu, and we get another flashback to Glen’s house.
Glen says that they should tell everyone the truth, but Frannie says that they don’t really know what they saw, which Glen concedes. Nick Andros (Henry Zaga) asks if they care more about their personal sense of honor than about protecting Boulder, and while Stu has some reservations about withholding information from the people, Glen notes that desperate times call for desperate measures.
At the meeting, Stu acknowledges the injured man and says that he must have run into the wrong man “out there” (you can say that again). He says that this highlights the value of the Boulder Free Zone, and the community that has arisen around Mother Abagail, especially “in these uncertain times” (a phrase that is really, really familiar after 2020). Stu hopes that the body crew, whose work is nearly complete, will be willing to transition to a street safety patrol.
Harold makes a point of submitting a motion stating that the ad hoc committee members should serve as the permanent committee, and while the crowd accepts this wholeheartedly, it nevertheless strikes an ominous note as we head into the title card.
The Stand – “The House of the Dead”
After the meeting, Harold arrives home, only to be surprised by Nadine Cross (Amber Heard). After a fraught few lines, Nadine tells Harold they have a lot to talk about. Nadine says that she was sent by the man who gave her the glowing rock, and he believes they can do great things together… and then she tells him that while she doesn’t want to have PIV intercourse, she’s willing to do anything else with Harold, up until they leave Boulder. Nadine says that she’s the Dark Man’s queen, but he can be the Dark Man’s prince… then he comes in his pants.
On the Road
Two months earlier, in Daleville, Virginia, Harold and Frannie are camping out under an overpass when Frannie awakes from a nightmare. Harold says that he can only think about Frannie, and tries to come on to her, but Frannie spurns his advances, telling him that she’ll never feel these things for him. Harold immediately blames Stu, who they encountered on the road in a scene we saw in the previous episode.
Meanwhile, Stu and Glen are driving in a pick-up with Kojak the golden retriever, following the signs left behind by Harold and Frannie. Stu notes that Harold would choose the most efficient route – Stu knows because Harold made a big impression, and Glen notes that Frannie must have, as well (referring to Stu’s reaction to the Glen’s painting of Frannie, also seen in the previous episode).
Frannie and Harold stop for a truck that’s parked across the street. They stop to leave a note but discover that the driver isn’t actually dead. The driver surprises them and cuffs them at gunpoint, revealing that he has two more women chained up in the truck. While calling Harold a beta snowflake, the driver beats him, and he’s about to sexually assault the women when Stu and Glen arrive.
The truck driver fires at the truck, but it gives the imprisoned women a chance to seize a metal pipe and bash the driver with it. In the ensuing chaos, one of the women the driver had imprisoned is shot in the head, but the other manages to dispatch the driver using a metal pipe.
Afterwards, Stu and Glen offer Harold and Frannie the opportunity to join up with them and head to Boulder, where their dreams are directing them. When everyone else has gone to bed, Frannie and Stu share another dream they’ve both been having, about the Dark Man, and Frannie confesses that she’s pregnant to Stu (which he notes was predicted by Glen’s painting). Meanwhile, Harold stews.
What is the Rock cooking?
In December 2020, Stu helps organize the safety patrol, noting that they aren’t cops and asking everyone to turn off any lights to spare the grid undue stress to the electric grid. Harold dons one of the orange parkas, then finds one a brochure in the pocket about the Boulder Ski Patrol… which warns about avalanches. Harold is pulled from his thoughts by his friend Teddy (Eion Bailey), who wonders if The Rock is still alive, to which Harold responds that anything is possible.
At Glen’s home, Glen suggests they send scouts/spies into Vegas to discover what the Dark Man might be doing. Stu says that he doesn’t feel right sending someone else in his stead, but Glen points out that the committee has become crucial to running the city.
Frannie suggests Dayna Jurgens (Natalie Martinez) the woman who survived the trucker, who grasps the danger of the situation and agrees to take part. Larry suggests Harris (Gabrielle Rose), an older woman who he believes will be more likely to evade detection because of her age. Glen says that they should consider Tom Cullen (Brad William Henke).
Glen assumes that Frannie is going to argue, but instead, she agrees, and Nick notes Tom will surprise you, and then we head into another flashback: this one two months earlier in Boulder.
The flashback takes place in a furniture store, where a woman in a dress (Julie Lawry, played by Katherine McNamara) who is wielding a shotgun finds him and discovers he’s deaf. She immediately uses as a pretense to bang him… but then Tom interrupts, and they make the rest of the introductions (in spite of Julie’s “sense of humor”).
Julie begins hurling slurs at Tom, and after a few moments, Tom and Nick decide to leave. Offended, Julie turns the shotgun at the receding backs – which would have been a death sentence, if not for the fact that the hearing Tom pushes Nick aside. Tom and Nick flee the store, seeking shelter in a nearby bus stand, and as they embrace in relief, Nick see a poster advertisement for Hemingford Home, a senior living home, which is where they are meant to travel to find Mother Abagail… and included among the people raising their glasses on the poster is a cameo from the man himself, Stephen King. Salut!
At Hemingford Home, Mother Abagail is the sole survivor, and she tells the corpses she doesn’t know how much longer she’ll survive without supplies. Fortunately, that’s when Tom and Nick arrive.
Current Day: Boulder
In December 2020, the committee coaches Tom about what he’s meant to say when he arrives in Vegas, instructing him to return to Boulder when the moon is fun, hiding during the day and traveling at night… and they tell him that if there’s a single individual pursuing him, he should kill them. Ultimately, the committee unanimously agrees to send Tom, although they each retain reservations about the decision.
Elsewhere in Boulder, Ray Brentner (Irene Bedard) tells the people waiting outside Mother Abagail’s home that she won’t be seeing anyone else that day. Inside, Mother A explains to Nick that because it’s impossible to know what God’s will might be, they shouldn’t’ take action because they don’t want to make the wrong decision.
Over a montage of two of the three spies being sent on their way, we return to Frannie’s narration as she writes in her journal (and in a particularly nice detail, Nick and Tom are wearing matching jackets).
But the machinations of the Dark Man are at work, as well. Elsewhere, Harold and Nadine investigate the resources available to them at a National Park Service station, discovering a shed full of explosives.
In Boulder, the people of the Boulder Free Zone gather for the lighting ceremony, which brings illumination to the city, and spotlighted on the rooftop, Larry performs an electric guitar version of “America, the Beautiful.”
However, that’s when Teddy – formerly of the body crew, now of the watch – comes upon Nadine as she wheeling out a cart full of explosives. Then Harold arrives, and while it momentarily seems as though the situation will stabilized, Nadine shoots Teddy… and just before the end of “The House of the Dead,” we hear a few bars of Larry playing “America, the Beautiful.”
New episodes of The Stand are available for streaming on CBS All Access on Thursdays.