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Series / The Mist

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The Mist is an American science fiction-horror thriller television series developed by Christian Torpe for Spike, released in 2017. It is based on the horror novella of the same name by author Stephen King.

An unexplained mist slowly envelops the city of Bridgeville, Maine, creating an almost impenetrable barrier to visibility. The residents of the town soon learn the situation is even more precarious as hidden within the mist are numerous monsters of various sizes that attack and kill anything that moves.

Unlike other versions where the mist is as indifferent as a natural distaster, this one shows signs of being a Genius Loci.

The series was canceled after the completion of its first and only season.


The work contains examples of the following tropes.

  • Acquitted Too Late: Jay is killed by the mist after he rescues Alex from being devoured, and is left to die by everyone else, including Eve, which is before Kevin shares the news that Jay was innocent the whole time.
  • Adaptation Expansion
    • The original novella and 2007 movie confine the story to the perspective of one group trapped inside a super market, whereas in the series the main characters are spread across multiple locations in the town. Basically there are four groups:
    • The Mall survivors - the largest group, loosely taking the place of the supermarket from the novella: Eve Copeland, her daughter Alex, star high school quarterback Jay Heisel, Gus Bradley the mall manager, and several dozen others.
    • The Church survivors - Father Romanov, Nathalie Raven, police chief Connor Heisel (Jay's father), and a few others.
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    • The Police Station survivors - they leave the police station in the first episode, and travel to different locations. They briefly join the Church survivors but leave again at the end of the third episode. Kevin Copeland (Eve's husband), Adrian Garf (Alex's goth queer friend), Mia Lambert (a criminal with a shady past), and Bryan Hunt (a soldier who woke up with amnesia in the mist right before it spread into the town).
    • The Hospital survivors, a group of patients and doctors who were trapped when the mist hit.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The creatures in the novella were merely animals acting on instinct; here they appear to be sentient, and actively toying with their victims.
  • Anyone Can Die: Given the story's plot, anyone can die at any time. This adaptation really tries to drive this home, killing the older man who made it to the end of the film and the film/novella's main Big Bad in the first episode.
  • Apocalypse How: The town, at least, is pretty much wiped clean of human life by the end of the season. How far the mist spreads beyond that is unknown.
  • Arc Words: Arrowhead. It is constantly brought up, and is heavily suggested to be the name of the military group that caused the mist.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: The jock that is most opposed to Adrian's bisexuality is revealed in episode 5 to be gay himself.
  • Asshole Victim: Mrs. Carmody, who is always destined to be this no matter how the story is told. In the TV version, Mrs. Carmody is portrayed as a mean-spirited individual who accuses Alex of lying over the rape accusation, while costing Eve her job over a sex education lesson. She meets her end when she refuses to stay in the mall when the mist arrives, and soon finds herself with her jaw ripped off before being snatched and never to be seen again.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: By the end of the season Natalie and Adrian have become as imminent a threat to the main characters as the omnipresent Mist itself.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Surprisingly averted (so far), unlike in the novella; as yet, the unnatural creepy-crawlies associated with the Mist have been normal-sized. Not that that's stopped them from killing people, mind you....
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
    • That helpful doctor at the hospital who was nice and talked Kevin through performing major surgery? He's actually abducting patients and conducting inevitably fatal experiments with them in order to understand how the Mist works.
    • That firm-but-fair, calm and level-headed shopping mall manager? He's been hoarding food for himself. When a woman confronts him and threatens to expose him to the other survivors, he murders her and then blames it on an innocent party.
    • The kid you've known all his life who treats you like you're his family and just wants you to treat him the same? Said kid, Adrian, is a psychopath who was the one that had raped your daughter.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Due to the series' cancellation after its only season, it ends on this note. Kevin, Eve, Alex, Bryan, Mia, and a few other "good" characters are at least alive by the end, albeit now in vehicles in the mist. Adrian is alive and hiding in the same car as the others. Kevin takes his revenge on all the survivors in the mall and, with the exception of Connor, kills everyone within when he drives the car through the doors and lets the mist get in the hospital. Jay is also killed when he saves Alex from the mist.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: When tensions come to a head between Eve and the mall group, they assert to her that things are being run democratically. She responds by drawing a gun.
    Eve: "I've always been an anarchist!"
  • Body Horror: One particular character grows moth-like wings out of his back after an insect-like creature enters his ear.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Many—Benedict, his killer, and cockroach infested police officer are all killed this way.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Kevin pulls the corpse of an armoured soldier on top of him to protect himself from a grenade in a nearby room. He survives, but the body does not shield the large windows...
  • The Bus Came Back: A few episodes after being exiled and walking away into the Mist, Vic is revealed to be alive and comes to the aid of Kevin.
  • Butt-Monkey: Adrian. His parents despise the way that he dresses, the jocks taunt him for being gay, and he can't even walk down a set of stairs without tripping and tumbling down them.
  • Bystander Syndrome: When the young girl is getting her soul/life/whatever sucked out by the mist, over a dozen adults stand and watch it happen through a glass storefront. Nobody attempts to break the glass or open the unlocked door that is right there, visible in the scene. Then again considering if they interfered at all they would've let in the mist into the Mall. Not to mention the mother was attempting to rescue her daughter but was held back instead.
  • Cain and Abel: Kevin's macho older brother resents him as weak and effeminate, and the resentment only deepens when Eve marries Kevin instead of him.
  • Car Fu: In the season finale, a vengeful Kevin rams his family's getaway car into the mall's front doors, letting the mist into the building and wiping out the group who just exiled them.
  • Cliffhanger: The season finale ends with the Copelands seeing prisoners being thrown out of trains into the mist, with Kevin realizing that they're being fed to it. Unfortunately, as the series was cancelled after this, there is no resolution.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: Bryan Hunt ends up in the same hospital as the actual Bryan Hunt, learning that he isn't who he thinks he is.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Mrs. Carmody is killed after receiving a brutal Jawbreaker from a creature hiding in the mist from out the mall, before being dragged away and presumably being killed afterwards.
    • Trevor and Ursula are left behind by Nathalie in Connor, bleeding out, in pain, and slowly being eaten by rats.
    • Jay is a victim of one in the final episode, as after he saves Alex from the mist's hold, it takes him instead, entering his mouth until he convulses and dies.
    • Nathalie, although in her deprived mental state, she seems to actually enjoy it. After the mist enters the hospital, it takes the form of her deceased husband, carrying what is probably her miscarried child. She breastfeeds it, and it seems to suck the life from her, aging her into a dusty corpse while she smiles all the while.
  • Daylight Horror: The mist's monsters attack and kill whether it is day or night.
  • Decomposite Character: The novella's Mrs. Carmody is split between a namesake (a Hate Sink and Asshole Victim) and Mrs. Raven (a middle aged woman compelled by the Mist to create a Religion of Evil).
  • Depraved Bisexual: Adrian. He's gay according to himself and others, but he also raped Alex. Ambiguously Bi might also be at play here, since it's unclear if he did so out of genuine hidden attraction, or because he wanted to manipulate her into staying with him.
  • Dirty Cop: Connor abuses his power as captain. Not only does he attempt to get the rape charge against his son dropped, he openly taunts people he dislikes into attacking him so that he can arrest them for assaulting an officer.
  • Dirty Coward: Connor throws his own son out into the Mist on Nathalie's orders, thus causing his Heroic Sacrifice to save Alex later on, purely to save his own skin.
  • Driven to Suicide: Just like the other versions, two of the soldiers implied to have been involved in releasing the mist commit suicide rather than face what they've done.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Previous versions of the story have skirted this trope with the Mist being home to alien animals which, despite their gruesome biology, behave largely as any other animals would. This version, however, is much more sinister and appears to be able to think, openly tormenting humans through use of apparitions and shared hallucinations.
  • EMP: In this version, the mist also disables all of the power grid and almost every vehicle. It's mentioned that older vehicles that don't rely on electronics to run still function.
  • Evil All Along: Adrian is revealed to be a psychopath in Episode 8 who had raped Alex. Following this, he murders his father in cold blood, attacks Alex's father when he confronts him, and lies to the others that he's dead. One scene has him crying as he explains what had happened, but he's not talking to anyone, just practicing.
  • Face Death with Dignity: If anything, Nathalie seems pleased when the mist finally takes her. She doesn't scream or cry, just smiles and goes in peace.
  • Fog of Doom: The entire plot of the series is that something (possibly a military experiment) has caused a thick fog to roll over the town, and it contains flesh-eating monsters that kill anyone who is in it for too long in a gruesome fashion.
  • Force Feeding: One of the ways the mist can apparently kill someone is by force feeding a large, misty tendril to a victim, which causes them to collapse to the ground, dead.
  • Gender Flip: The main character's young son is now replaced by a 17 year old daughter in this adaptation. Additionally, the white woman who refuses to bunker down and risks the mist to find her children is flipped into a black man, too.
  • Government Conspiracy: As with every other adaptation, it's heavily implied that the mist is due to a military experiment gone wrong. The final scene of the season finale actually shows a group of soldiers tossing convicts to the mist, "feeding" it.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: During the gun fight with the homeowner in episode 9, he fires a shot from his double-barrel over/under shotgun. Off-camera, the sound of a shotgun racking is heard. This would be quite difficult to do, considering it's not a pump action...
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: They literally manifest and drag Father Romanov to his doom. In this case, it's because the mist is taking the form of that which he fears the most.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The apparitions of the Four Horsemen that drag Romanov to his death, and the undulating, humanoid black mass that sucks the soul out of someone’s daughter are extensions of the Mist.
  • Human Sacrifice: The season 1 finale reveals that the military is rounding up people from outside the mist, transporting them to the town by train, and throwing them into the mist. Kevin believes that they are attempting to ''feed'' the mist.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • The large majority of on-screen deaths are at the hands of other people, either by attacking them or intentionally letting the mist get them. There's only a handful of truly accidental deaths. Gus kills Shelley when she threatens to tell the others he's hiding rations, Connor and Nathalie leave Ursula and Trevor to die in the sewers, Kyle kills Kimi when she gets involved in an argument, etc.
    • It's not "merely" limited to deaths, either. In general, the behavior of the townspeople, the amount of often quite dirty secrets in a lot of the characters' closets, the slowly unraveling webs of intrigue (wholly unrelated to the Mist) and the way the survivors treat each other are...really quite taxing emotionally. The only "good" characters out of the cast are Alex, who never actually does anything wrong and is merely in many wrong places at just as many wrong times, Jay, who is innocent (but the audience does not learn this until the last few episodes) and, as a distant third, Eve and Kevin, with her having good intentions, but taking extreme measures, and possessing some genuinely unsympathetic character traits, and with him being the closest thing to a "good guy" for a large part of the first season, but revealing some serious inner darkness at the end. Mia and Jonah are on a net positive side, too, but have several very questionable moments. As for everybody else, they are either apathetic bystanders or actively malevolent.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The ultimate fate of Father Romanov - at the hands of War, no less. Once it spears him, it drags him into the mist, sparing Nathalie.
  • Insane Equals Violent: The hospital's psych ward is inhabited by a murderous insane person who's managed to kill a few people by the time Kevin's group finds him.
  • Jerkass
    • This version of Mrs. Carmody appears less of an insane religious advocate, and more of a spiteful woman who has no qualms with getting a woman fired for teaching sex education, and accusing her daughter of making up the story about being raped during a party.
  • Adrian's Father is also another asshole, too. He's a homophobic abuser to his son, and following the death of his wife, he only becomes more aggressive. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as it turns out, as Adrian himself is a rapist who manipulates those around him.
  • Jerk Jock: Almost every jock we see on screen fits this. The school's football team is as generic as it gets. Rude, crude, in a position of power, always ready to party and the whole town supports any of the terrible stuff they do because "yeah, football!" All but one member of the team openly bullies Adrian for his sexuality, and one member of the team is also Alex's alleged rapist. Subverted by Jay, who, apart from leading Alex to drink, is the character with the least amount of flaws in the entire season.
  • Karmic Death: Everyone in the mall, come the season finale. Once the "main" cast gets back together, Kyle, Gus, and the other survivors have become so paranoid and panicked that they demand they leave, else they be killed. They comply, but not without Kevin slamming the car through the mall doors, allowing the mist to enter and killing everyone within.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Bryan Hunt. The series opens on him, clearly a military soldier involved with the Mist, waking up in the wilderness with no memories. Later flashbacks show that his memories were wiped on purpose by unknown military personnel.
  • Loving Bully: One of the homophobic jocks bullying Adrian is doing so out of fear of his own homosexual attraction toward him. Adrian figures it out and seduces him in episode 5, but other than a very awkward talk later, they don't end up together.
  • The Mall: Eve and her daughter Alex are trapped in one, along with about two dozen others. It serves as one of the main locations of the story, and the one wherein all the separated (and still living) characters meet up in the finale.
  • Mama Bear: Eve. She's pretty hostile towards anyone she thinks could possibly be a threat to Alex. Including killing someone.
  • Mad Doctor: One of the hospital's doctors is kidnapping patients and using them for experiments in the mist.
  • Mercy Kill: Kevin's mortally-wounded brother begs him to shoot him at the hospital in episode 5. Kevin tries to save him by removing the rebar with which his bro was Impaled with Extreme Prejudice under a doctor's guidance, but is forced to shoot him anyway when Mist-spawned leeches start eating his patient/sibling alive.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Connor's realization after throwing his son to the Mist, especially when it is revealed to be all for nothing as he's rescued by Kevin and his family later on when they are initially kicked out.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Kevin delivers one to Adrian in the season finale after discovering that Adrian was the one who raped Alex, followed by Adrian leaving him for dead in the mist.
  • Not His Sled: Mrs. Carmody, the Big Bad of previous tellings, does not survive the first episode.
  • Nude Nature Dance: Not a dance, but Mrs. Raven strips naked before walking outside for Father Romanov's trial-by-ordeal, to demonstrate her trust in and oneness with the Nature she believes unleashed and controls the Mist. It works, and the mist leaves her completely alone while it murders Father Romanov gruesomely. Whether this was her faith at work or simply that she kept her eyes shut the whole time is anyone's guess.
  • Oh, Crap!: The entire group of mall survivors gives one when they see the people they exiled about to ram their vehicle through the mall's glass front.
  • Ontological Mystery: One storyline is from the perspective of Bryan Hunt, who awakens alone in the wilderness with no memories of any kind and only a military uniform and a credit card as clues to his own identity.
  • Papa Wolf: Kevin makes it clear that he wants to hunt down and hurt the person who raped his daughter. Which he does when he learns it was Adrian. And when the mall survivors throw his family out into the mist, he takes revenge by breaking down the entrance, letting it into the mall, killing them all.
  • Patricide: Adrian kills his father with a shotgun when he returns home. Considering how abusive and homophobic he was, Adrian doesn't regret it at all.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The series does not follow the novella or movie closely, with large changes such as the mist being explicitly supernatural and malicious more similar to the Smoke Monster, than just being filled with dangerous alien creatures, the main human antagonist Mrs. Carmody being killed off in the first episode, and focusing on multiple locations instead of just a supermarket, and as a result, having far more characters and multiple conflicts.
  • Pet the Dog: A rather twisted one, but when it’s Nathalie’s turn to be claimed by the mist, it sends an apparition of her dead husband to do so, and when she’s being drained into a husk by nursing the warped infant he gives her, her fake husband comforts her in her dying moments. Considering that the mist seems to take a large degree of sadistic satisfaction in terrifying it’s victims before they die, the fact that it essentially holds her hand as she succumbs to it is telling.
  • Rape as Drama: Alex Copeland is drugged and raped at a party. Then the Mist rolls in and she finds herself trapped in close proximity to the boy she believes raped her. A chunk of the show's plot revolves around her relationship with her alleged rapist, and whether or not he was actually the rapist. It turns out that it was her best friend, Adrian, who had done the deed. Much worse, it's strongly hinted at that Adrian apparently raped Alex not for sexual gratification or enjoyment of the other's degradation (the most common motives for rape), but utterly cold manipulation, in order to frame Jay...because he was jealous of the attraction forming between Alex and Jay and was afraid the latter would "take her away".
  • Red Shirt: When Eve is about to enter a Mist-shrouded area to reach an emergency radio and a background extra volunteers to accompany her, you can imagine how it's going to end. And you would be wrong because the man is actually a soldier with knowledge of what is happening. When he evades Eve's questions while trying to communicate with his base she instigates a fight, finishing with her killing him.
  • Religion Is Wrong: Father Romanov thinks that his Christian faith will protect him from the mist. It doesn't.
  • Religion of Evil: Several people accuse Mrs. Raven of this when she tries to preach her mist-positive ideas to others. By the end, it has led her to burn the church with those who wouldn't follow her still inside, leave behind two of her three followers to death-by-rats and have Jay thrown out into the mists by his father.
  • Safe, Sane, and Consensual: When a bloodied Adrian describes his Slap-Slap-Kiss as "I had sex", Mia tells him that he should remember his Safe Word next time and notes that hers is "Dolphin", fitting the bracelet she wears.
  • Sex Is Evil: Eva lost her job as a teacher for daring to teach sex ed beyond "sex is wrong", because some parents are very, very upset about their kids learning about sex.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Vic and Kevin use this method to break into a service door in the mall.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Kevin spends an entire episode trying to figure out how to save the life of his critically-injured older brother, finally braving a Mist-filled wing of the hospital to reach an operating room where he is talked through surgery by a doctor on a radio, only to have a swarm of leeches overwhelm them as they are returning to the safe area, forcing Kevin to finally Mercy Kill his brother.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: A particularly violent and frightening one occurs between Adrian and a homophobic jock. After Adrian kisses him, the jock pummels him down. Adrian just kisses him again.
  • Spotting the Thread: After murdering his father Adrian tries to make it look like self-defense by injuring himself and breaking down into tears. Kevin buys it until he searches for bandages in the medicine cabinet and comes across a prescription medication bottle: the same prescription medication found in the bodily fluid's of Alex's attacker.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Adrian. It turns out that he is obsessed with Alex to the point that he raped her, then set up Jay to be blamed, for fear of Jay "taking her away" from him. Despite the rape, it seems he mostly wants a platonical relationship with her to make up for his lack of family.
  • Surprise Incest: Alex and Jay finally overcome their issues with each other and begin a romantic relationship, only to immediately learn that they are half-siblings.
  • Those Two Guys: The two video game store employees who thrive on being jerkasses to the mall owner, but seem not to be malicious otherwise. However, their irresponsible antics eventually leave one of them plus a little girl dead, with the sole survivor of the duo exiled into the Mist as punishment for his crime.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Not actually a trailer, but the blurbs describing the contents of episodes on Spike's website called the amnesiac soldier character "Jonah" all along, anticipating episode 4's revelation that he's not Bryan.
  • Vampiric Draining
    • The mist also contains a soul-sucking cloud of black smoke that drains some form of life from people in this adaptation, not just horrible physical monsters.
    • Happens again in a different form with the death of Nathalie. Her dead husband appears and offers her a corrupted infant which drains her to a shriveled husk as she willingly nurses it.
  • Villain Has a Point: At the end of the stay in the hospital, the insane patient wants to kill Adrian since he sees "evil" inside him and allows him to switch places with Kevin after the latter convinces him he is evil as well. By the end of the season, Adrian has raped Alex, pinned this on Jay, killed his father, left Kevin for dead after nearly killing him, tried to kill Jay and tried to torch the mall. Kevin has stayed relatively heroic, but his dark side shone through a couple of times while going full-on Papa Wolf, starting with killing the insane patient after overcoming him in combat and ending with ramming the car into the glass mall entrance in the season finale, dooming the mall surivors purely as revenge for their misdeeds.
  • Villainous BSoD: Connor spends most of the finale in one, following his "sacrifice" of his son and leaving so many others to die. This is until his Heel–Face Turn Heel Face Turn.
  • Voted Off the Island:
    • Vic is voted out of the mall by the rest of the survivors due to breaking the "don't harm other people" rule. He points out that they are essentially condemning him to a gruesome death, but only a tiny minority of people care.
    • In the season finale, the now deranged group throw out the Copelands and their friends, and even rationalize the security guard's shooting of a bystander who'd objected because she'd "sided with the enemy".
  • What a Drag: Father Romanov is killed this way, after being speared by the manifestation of War (of the Four Horsemen). It quickly drags him into the mist and out of sight after.
  • Wham Line: Mrs. Raven delivers one at the end of episode 3.
    Mrs. Raven: "I've seen God."
    Fr. Romanov "Mrs. Raven, you're in shock. Please. That wasn't God!"
    Mrs. Raven "I'm not talking about your God."
    • At the end of episode 10:
    Kevin: "They're feeding it."
    • Possibly the one that is the greatest kick to the gut, and the one that horrifyingly and irrevocably changes how the audience views one (and, by extension, due to exoneration, another) character, in episode 8:
    Adrian: Alex loves me!
    Adrian's father: Yeah, until she finds someone who'll fuck her!
    Adrian: But I did!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Occurs due to the cancellation of the series. While the individual character arcs and subplots are neatly resolved by the time of the first season finale (through character interaction and gradual explanation for the Copelands, Mia, Adrian and Chief Heisel on the one hand, and through the convenient fact of Kevin killing the entirety of the rest, i.e. the mall survivors, on the other hand), Jonah's backstory and precise nature of his connection to Arrowhead remain unsolved. All we get are a few cryptic snippets from the soldier who takes Jonah away. This was most likely to be a central point in the second season - alas...
  • Worst Aid: The doctor at the hospital correctly notes that removing the piece of rebar from Kevin's brother without a well-stocked and sterile operating room will most likely kill him even faster than leaving the rebar in. Kevin decides that since the guy would die anyway, he'd try to get through the mist-filled part of the hospital into the OR and do the removal himself while being directed by the actual doctor via radio. While the removal and closing of the wound work, it is highly doubtful that Kevin managed to avoid contaminating the wound considering his lack of training and supporting staff. We never find out either way since the patient gets assaulted by the mist on their way back, forcing Kevin to Mercy Kill him - which is exactly what his brother asked for in the beginning and Kevin couldn't do before.


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