The Mist: “The Devil You Know” Review


By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

The Mist is moving into the second half of its premiere season, hitting episode six last night with “The Devil You Know.” Was it more of the same or a new page in the saga of the treacherous fog?

Let’s just kick things off with the tough stuff – the blatantly useless or mishandled parts of this week’s episode of The Mist – and work up to the things “The Devil You Know” actually had going for it.

Adrian (Russell Posner) made a love connection with one of his high school jock classmates last week in the hospital, and this week touched on it once again. The real question here is – why? Sure, a little romance can be nice, and if the teens were camping out in a cabin in the woods where a hockey-masked murderer was rumored to roam, the connection would be hitting the bullseye. However, The Mist is simply not the right outlet for that kind of story right now.

Not-Bryan (Okezie Morro) met someone in the hospital who knows him, and what a beautiful opportunity it might have been, learning about the character, his story, and the amnesia that ended with his awakening in the mist with a dog that met a premature end. However, a scuffle between Not-Bryan and the alleged real Bryan left us with no more information than we had before. The natural flow of storytelling was once again disrupted, as Not-Bryan ended up playing a role in someone else’s game, instead of being embraced as a character with a unique background of his own to offer.

Things began to get interesting this week as Mia (Danica Curcic) took off on her own, returning to her childhood home…I think. (I’m still a little unclear about the significance of the house, honestly.) Once there, she had her own encounter with the mist, and we got a good look at the psychological twisting and bending the mist is apparently capable of…if, indeed, that’s what was actually happening. “The Devil You Know” gave us a taste of the creepy fog and its unique attacks on Mia with some serious mind-games going on. Here’s the rub – I would have been affected much more deeply by the mist’s tactics with Mia if I knew something else about her. Appealing to the character’s fears without letting the audience in on the secret reduces some of the sting the sequence might have had. In other words, there was some good material there, but it lacked a foundation previous episodes should have established.

The group at the hospital found itself with another surprise this week with a doctor gone crazy in his desperate search for answers. Of course, a mad scientist makes perfect sense…if you’re in a 1950s horror flick. The doctor reaching far outside the bounds of his Hippocratic Oath and using human subjects to test the mist engulfing the town felt sudden and unplanned. Just a hint of lunacy last week would have made his wild experimenting this week look a little less ridiculous. That being said, it wasn’t an entirely terrible storyline to pursue. Truth be told, I was kind of digging a mad man getting to the bottom of what was happening as hospital resources dwindled. The source material for The Mist certainly emphasized the dangers associated with humans in crisis, and a crazy doctor finally helped the show fit that mold! The ordeal also offered some information to the characters about the mist reacting accordingly to humans. That particular avenue of information could yield some interesting tidbits along the way if the writers stick with it.

Meanwhile, the group at the mall has some embers beginning to burn. (If you’ve seen the episode, that sentence should give you a chuckle.) The false tensions formed between groups earlier in the season have apparently been dropped for the more promising issues surrounding Alex (Gus Birney) and Jay (Luke Cosgrove), and a poor mother who lost her daughter to the deadly mist. I’m a little disappointed that none of the characters have given much more thought to the military members who committed suicide in the shopping center, but at least this week brought some real and understandable drama into the mix.

The group at the church this week may be the most consistently handled and the most true to the spirit of the source material of The Mist. The character pairing of the sheriff (Darren Pettie) and Nathalie (Frances Conroy) is still a bit hard to swallow, but the natural friction occurring between Nathalie’s naturalistic views and those of the priest (Dan Butler) feels more authentic than anything else the show has offered up thus far. Exploiting religious fervor as a way to create tensions is an age-old trope, but it’s a trope because it works. That fervor came to a head in a conflict between the radical young man and Nathalie, and it would seem that someone got their dues when faced with the mist. I’m certainly intrigued with the church group and wonder how the tides will turn as the remaining episodes play out.

“The Devil You Know” was not without its flaws, but it may have been the first episode of The Mist that I didn’t totally hate. If this episode had fallen earlier in the season, perhaps the show would have engaged viewers before they became tired of the perpetual missteps, and they would have been more forgiving of many of the other senseless and lackluster episodes that have already passed.

Did this week’s episode renew your interest? Is there still some life in The Mist? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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