The Mist: “Pequod” Review


By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Unfortunately, there was much more wrong than there was right in the fourth episode of The Mist. A tangled web of mistakes built on to one another and the audience has found itself to be the unlucky bug trapped in the sticky mess. Read on for a review of this week’s episode of The Mist and see if you agree!

As per usual, “Pequod” suffered from major character development issues. The episode once again felt it necessary to introduce more minor characters into the mix in what appears to be an effort to serve the story. Meanwhile, the main characters that were introduced during the premiere episode as the central focus have become lost in the muck. The significant event laid as a foundation in the pilot episode, promising to be the source of significant conflict between characters as the season progresses, has become little more than town gossip. A major reason the movie adaptation of the Stephen King novella was so successful was the interactions between the characters and the danger posed by people. The mist itself had its share of creepy crawlies, but the beautiful tension and conflict built into the story came from the characters themselves. The story and the characters were integrated together seamlessly. However, “Pequod” showed us that the television adaptation has not figured out the winning combination. In fact, the only character I find myself wanting to know anything about is soft-spoken and increasingly strange Nathalie Raven (Frances Conroy). Her mysterious and confident faith in the many-legged creatures coming across her path and her research into similar events in the town’s past have made her story the only bearable one of the bunch!

While the show in general seems to introduce and use up story lines like dirty underwear (like military members who hung themselves without inspiring further discussion beyond last week’s episode), this week’s episode of The Mist picked up and dropped characters without a second thought! There’s some random character who has never been properly introduced (that I can recall) who has perched himself, figuratively, on the shoulder of the priest in the church, egging on the priest’s efforts to save the souls of those trapped under his church roof by the mist. A new woman at the mall, who was apparently dating one of the adolescent video game shop operators, seems to have materialized in “Pequod” after being absent in the previous three episodes. Their characters, thus far, appear to serve no real purpose. Other minor characters in “Pequod” seem to have been introduced solely to provide warm bodies for the killer mist to knock off. For example, a mother and her daughter were introduced this week via Alex (Gus Birney) and her mother. By the end of the episode, it was apparent that the only reason a young girl was introduced was to kill her and perhaps (unsuccessfully) elicit an emotional response from the audience. Meanwhile, one of the video game store operators, Ted (Jonathan Malen), had been brutally murdered by the mist, serving only as a means for the dangerous fog to break into the mall and subsequently terrify the mall residents and take the life of a child. In fact, his death was essentially nullified by the death of the little girl. Ted was never mentioned again and his partner in crime, Vic (Erik Knudsen) was exiled to the mist by the mall residents with very little debate (which might have been a natural tension-building opportunity that was missed). At the gas station with the escaped prisoners, a new character named Clay (Teagle F. Bougere) made his way into the story, tragically looking for his son, who is apparently dead. (We are told that some of the main characters had visual confirmation of this death, but it made such a small impact that I can’t for the life of me remember where or when it might have occurred in the previous episodes.) Clay made his way into their lives temporarily, providing the group with a vehicle when all the others were supposedly disabled, and ultimately shooting the amnesiac soldier (talk about a forgotten story line). Then he was gone, into the mist. The entirety of “Pequod” felt like a fashion show of characters coming to showcase a moment or provide something, only to head quickly the other direction and back out of the story.

“Pequod,” like the previous episodes of The Mist felt extremely formulaic and forced. Characters are not given the freedom and depth to lend a natural feeling to the show. I imagine writers with a list of events they want to happen within the story moving around names of characters and locations on a magnetic board to establish the most logical way for those listed events to occur. “Pequod” especially seemed to lack organic development. For example, a debate about exiling a mall group resident could have been a natural way to create tensions and conflict within the mall – much like the movie used a fanatical woman demanding human sacrifice inspired conflict. Instead, the story demanded that the character be sent away, and onward he went into the mist with no muss and no fuss.

The latest episode of The Mist presented plenty of problems, but the mist itself is fairly interesting. This week brought a dark figure in the fog that may or may not have passed some kind of judgment on those trapped in the mist. It was a frightening visage and left us with questions. The human characters may lack depth, but the mist itself seems to be constantly revealing new aspects of itself worth questioning.

Overall, “Pequod” suffered majorly from using its characters as tools, rather than integrating them into the story. They don’t come across as important and valuable individuals with stories of their own, but instead are used only to further the story with little regard to their actual development. While the characters come and go, the story lines that were once thought to be important have fallen by the wayside. Unfortunately, Nathalie Raven and the mist itself were really the only interesting aspects of the episode!

If you want to keep giving the show a chance, you can watch The Mist yourself on Spike TV on Thursday nights at 10/9c.

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