The Mist: “Show and Tell” Review

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By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

Though the latest episode of The Mist took a closer look at the characters trapped in the fog-ridden town, should it have brought something else to the table for “Show and Tell”? Is the show on the right track or compounding problems that already exist?

The people trapped within the mysterious mist have proven themselves in previous episodes to be painted with broad strokes, lacking much of the complexity that is truly representative of humanity in crisis. This week, “Show and Tell” attempted to focus on the characters to add depth. Small interactions between characters throughout the episode added some layers to the players on screen, but it felt more like a paint-by-numbers effort than anything substantial. Even characters who are obviously supposed to be leads of the show seem unable to stand out from the crowd.

That being said, it wouldn’t be fair to begrudge “Show and Tell” of two redeeming moments. After a disappointing special effects wing-sprouting transformation of a church group member caught in the mist, naturalist Ms. Raven (Frances Conroy) changed from sweet to creepy in a flash. The evolution of her character might prove to be one of the most interesting of the show if handled correctly. Meanwhile, in the mall, football star Jay (Luke Cosgrove) and Alex (Gus Birney) have a tension filled scene that actually sold the potential sexual assault plot put into play in the pilot episode. Uncertainty can be a useful tool in a thriller show like The Mist, and the interaction between the alleged perpetrator and victim was palpably strained and full of unknowns.

Unfortunately, the remaining characters of “Show and Tell” seemed determined to make snap judgments and take action with little or no evidence to support their decisions. Once again reflective of the lack of depth developed for the characters and the stories, it feels like the writers may have just been checking the boxes of moments, without adequately providing motivation and appropriate material to transition between those moments. Fear-filled people may make some questionable decisions, but most characters of The Mist have actually had too little experience with the mist to be suffering the burden of extreme fear just yet. And most of them have had too little experience with one another to be reacting to each other as they have been.

The previous episodes of The Mist have set up a lot of situations and thrown in some action to make it work. They lacked character development to make the plot compelling, however. Commendably, “Show and Tell” was obviously written to expand the characters and endear them to the viewer – but the action and plot advancement were lost in the process. This is reflective of a pacing issue with The Mist thus far and a problem with writing that seems unable to blend the characters and story into a seamless experience.

“Show and Tell” had a few interesting moments, but it still felt like a first draft of a script that lacked the necessary edits to make it flow and maintain interest. This week was just another foundation builder that seems to tease that more is coming, but providing little pay-off in the present to make the efforts worth it. As with previous episodes, this week’s “Show and Tell” had the potential to be more, but fell short of the mark. But maybe in the future Ms. Raven will rise to meet the challenge. (We can hope!) The frightening mist needs material to work with, so it’s time to cross our fingers that the characters will find a way to provide that in the future. I’m not-so-secretly hoping that someone goes crazy on screen before I go crazy waiting for it!


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