The Mist Ep. 7 “Over the River and Through the Woods” Review

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By Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)
 
This week marked the seventh episode of the premiere season of Spike’s series, The Mist. In “Over the River and Through the Woods” there were no grandmothers… Or rivers or woods, for that matter. What did this week’s episode have? Check out our review to find out!
 
One of the fatal flaws of The Mist is the slew of new characters that are introduced (and usually killed off) each week. This week, a man in the psych ward of the hospital who apparently saw evil was just another face in the endless parade of minor characters who come and go with little impact on the overall story. At this point, the lead characters are only lead characters because they have survived multiple episodes – not because they actually have anything to offer or engage the viewers. I was also struck with the realization with this episode that the mall has many faces, few names, and a lot of stupidity.
 
Actually, the stupidity of the mall refugees is next on the agenda of issues with this week’s episode. The two mall groups are being set up, clumsily, to go head-to-head because of food. That’s right – you read it correctly… They aren’t going to clash because of leadership style differences or because of hidden secrets or adherence to rules set in the mini-societies; one group is just getting hungry. I cannot even begin to explain how flimsy this argument is and how quickly (and ridiculously) the situation is supposed to escalate. There’s been no mention of rations in any previous episodes. There’s been zero talk about what constitutes “rations” in the group. There’s been no background foundation laid for a coming conflict based on hunger, and additionally, the conflict is premature, since the complaining group apparently still has rations remaining! While The Mist is built on the idea that humans will become dangerous in different ways because of fear, there’s plenty of other things that would logically cause conflict in the mall and plenty of other things to fear.
 
Meanwhile, the conflict between Nathalie Raven (Frances Conroy) and the priest (Dan Butler) came to its conclusion this week. One subscribing to faith in God and the other to faith in nature, the two religious “leaders” allowed the mist itself to decide who was in power in a “trial by ordeal.” While it was certainly a dramatic finish to their religious debate, it felt like a premature end. Organically building up religious fervor in a little church pressure-cooker would have been the most true to the essence of the source material. If anything, it was one of the few things I have enjoyed about The Mist. However, with a senseless entrance of the four horsemen of the apocalypse (I think), the religious feud came to a certain close all too soon. Unless Nathalie has some crazy left up her sleeves, the church group just lost the elements that made it worth investing interest and time in.
 
In general, the escalation of events in the mall, hospital, or church would perhaps be more believable if the audience was given any sense of the amount of time passing. With no environmental cues provided to the viewers to tell them how long the townspeople have been in the mist, it becomes extremely difficult to judge whether events and reactions are understandable or just plain silly. (Honestly, many of them are already silly, but become even more illogical without an understanding of the timeline in which they occur.) “Over the River and Through the Woods” only served as a reminder that seven episodes into the series has not necessarily translated to seven days, weeks, or months in the mist.
 
A few other observations about this week’s episode are worth noting. First, Adrian (Russell Posner) continued his little romance with the high school jock (who probably has a name that I don’t remember). To what end, I’m still not entirely sure. He wasn’t the only one with some romance in his life, as Not-Bryan/Jonah (Okezie Morro) and Mia (Danica Curcic) have gotten closer, in a love story I give literally zero craps about. And the mysteriously amnesiac Jonah finally had some memories of his past life come back – but lo and behold, they added absolutely nothing to the story except some random vocabulary words that could have come from a third grade spelling test. Last week we had a crazy doctor, this week we were gifted with a crazy psych ward patient. (Can we just stick with one psycho for a while, please?)
 
Last week, I didn’t entirely hate The Mist. This week, unfortunately, was back to square one. “Over the River and Through the Woods” had lots of things going on, but somehow nothing really happened. The entire episode could be taken out of the season and the series would not be any worse for wear.
 
Don’t forget that if you want to keep watching The Mist you can tune in to Spike TV on Thursday nights at 10/9c.


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