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After the world ends, the true battle for survival begins...

"There's bitter days ahead—death and terror, betrayal and tears—and not all of you will live through 'em. The Dark Man grows stronger all the time. I know you feel it, too. Soon he'll come, to destroy all who stand against him. His kingdom's in the West, and there you must go and make your stand."
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The Stand is an American epic Dark Fantasy web television miniseries, based on the 1978 novel of the same name by Stephen King as directed by Josh Boone. The first episode aired on CBS All Access, December 17, 2020, it is the second adaptation of King's novel, following an earlier four-episode miniseries from 1994.

When a dangerous superflu called "Captain Trips" decimates the world's population, what remains of humanity must come together in the wake of the apocalypse.

Soon however one of the remaining safe havens, Boulder, Colorado, becomes the battleground for a greater war between good and evil. One faction is led by the mysterious Mother Abigail who fights to save humanity from the corruptive influence of the dangerous and manipulative "Dark Man" Randall Flagg.

Previews: Trailer.


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The Stand contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Harold is this in terms of personality and demeanor, being pale and having an unsettling air around him, with an unhealthy obsession about his childhood babysitter and crush Frannie.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • In the book, Harold Lauder is (originally) overweight with a bad case of acne. In the miniseries, he's played by Owen Teague, who is slim and has clear skin.
    • The book's version of Rita is a much older woman whom Larry actually finds mildly unattractive, though she seduces him with her personality. In the series she's played by Heather Graham, who is 50 but still looks in her early 40s.
  • Adaptational Consent: Flagg's rape of Nadine is turned into a consensual encounter.
  • Adaptation Deviation:
    • Drogan dies in the novel in Las Vegas, but here he dies in Boulder after delivering Flagg's message to Abigail and the others.
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    • Several characters are gender- and/or race-swapped, including Larry Underwood, Nick Andros, Ralph/Ray Brentner, Judge Harris, and Sheriff Baker.
    • In the novel, Teddy Weizak dies in the explosion Nadine and Harold cause. In the miniseries, he's shot by Nadine when he catches her and Harold taking explosives.
    • In the miniseries, New Vegas is a chaotic, debauched place with people taking drugs, drinking and having public sex. In the novel, Vegas under Flagg was a Repressive, but Efficient society where drug use was punished with crucifixion (in fact, it was commented on that Flagg's "efficient" society would be more attractive to technically-capable people, who appreciate structured environments, leaving Boulder with fewer people able to help get the lights on or even run weapon systems).
    • In the novel, Frannie's child is a boy, whom she names Peter after her father. In this series the child is a girl, who Frannie names Abby after Mother Abigail.
    • In the novel and first adaptation, "Hemingford Home" is the name of the homestead that Mother Abigail's father established in Nebraska. Here, it's the name of the assisted living facility in Colorado where Mother Abigail is living when the plague occurs.
    • Harold's older sister Amy (who is also Frannie's best friend) was The Ghost in both the original book and the 1994 series. Here she appears briefly in the first episode and gets a few lines.
    • Garvey, who exists only in the expanded version of the novel, is originally part of a traveling gang of ex-soldiers who are keeping a "zoo" of women as rape-slaves. In the book they have their eye on Fran and ambush the group consisting of Fran, Stu, Harold and Glen, and a shootout ensues. Dayna and Sue Stern take the opportunity to attack their captors, ending with Sue being the one to beat Garvey to death with the butt of his own rifle. In the 1994 adaptation, Sue and Dayna's joining the group isn't shown. In the 2020 adaptation, Garvey is traveling with two women, though the purpose is the same. Rather than an ex-soldier, he appears to be a "Men's Rights Activist" type, and a former truck driver. Sue is killed during the fight, and Dayna's the one who kills Garvey.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • In the book, Nadine Cross has dark hair with white stripes, which eventually turns entirely white. In the miniseries, she's played by the blonde Amber Heard. Although she does get the signature white hair after she and Flagg have sex.
    • Dayna Jurgens is blonde in the novel, but played by the dark-haired Natalie Martinez in the miniseries.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: The US military is portrayed much nicer than in the book or previous miniseries, as they're legitimately just trying to contain the outbreak rather than focusing on a coverup. General Starkey, who is willing to let Stu leave the Vermont facility once there's no one left to tell him not to, even states that the soldiers all stayed focused on doing their jobs long after the predictive models said they would have in this situation. In the novel, Starkey has journalists who try to cover the superflu murdered and deliberately spreads the virus to America's enemies and rivals so the world wouldn't find out that it originated from the U.S. It is not known or shown in the miniseries whether he ever did or didn't do any of these things, only implied that he didn't.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Flagg is bisexual as he mentions being lovers with Konstantin Stanislavski. In the book there is no indication he isn’t straight.
  • Adapted Out: Some characters were left out, most notably Lucy Swan, the woman that Larry "married" after being rejected by Nadine. In the book (and first mini-series), she was the reason that Larry refused Nadine's proposal to lose her virginity before she got to Flagg. Here, Nadine's out-of-character actions turn him off.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "The End" focuses on Stu, Frannie, and Harold. "Pocket Savior" focuses on Larry and his life both pre- and post-Captain Trips.
  • Adult Fear: Having to watch people you love succumb to a terrible disease.
  • After the End: The series takes place after the world has been decimated by the superflu "Captain Trips", leaving less than one percent of the world's population immune and alive.
    • The ninth episode of the series takes place after a number of the main characters' "final stand" in Vegas.
  • Anachronic Order: Happens a lot, due to the series not progressing as linearly as the book.
    • The first episode jumps back and forth between the post-apocalyptic society of the Boulder Free Zone and the last days of modern civilization as Captain Trips ravages the world. The last scene then flashes all the way back to Campion escaping the initial outbreak with his family, becoming patient zero for the pandemic.
    • The second episode does something similar, bouncing between Larry's group arriving in Boulder in the present, Larry's experiences in New York as the plague ravages it, and Lloyd's time in prison as the place is overwhelmed by the plague and then abandoned.
    • Episode 3 and 4 do the same thing, jumping between past events of the survivors first coming together, and the "present" of the Free Zone community forming.
  • And Show It to You: Once Flagg is done brutally killing Bobby Terry, he finishes up by tearing the man's heart out.
  • Animal Motifs: Flagg uses Creepy Crows and wolves as his familiars.
  • Antagonist Abilities: Flagg has a vast array of ill-defined powers: he can read minds, he can enter dreams, he can teleport, he can manipulate the weather to some degree, can make a key appear in his hand, and shows other powers like levitation and making doors and heads explode. However, he can't "see" Tom or see that Abigail is dead. Compare this to Mother Abigail, who can also enter dreams and receives instructions from God, but with little clarity as to how these instructions will ultimately help.
  • Anyone Can Die: Glen, Larry, and Ray all die in episode 8. As in the original source material, Larry is established as a main character, but he isn't spared by God or the narrative.
  • Arrow Catch: Flagg does this when shot at by a native with a bow and arrow.
  • Ascended Extra: In the novel the Rat Man was a very minor character, an eccentric, creepy follower of Flagg who dressed like an "Ethiopian pirate." In the 1994 series he was slightly more prominent but still minor. In this series the character now remagined as the Rat Woman has much more screentime and more importance in-universe - she is the judge at Glen, Larry and Ray' s show trial, stage produces public executions and generally she seems to be third in command of New Vegas beneath only Flagg himself and Lloyd.
    • Julie Lawry is a minor character in the novel and 1994 adaptation. She mainly exists to meet Tom and Nick in Kansas, then tell Lloyd that Tom is in Vegas. In the 2020 adaptation, she is Lloyd's girlfriend and has a bigger role.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Stu and Larry all quote "I will fear no evil" from Psalm 23.
  • Ate His Gun: Harold does this after a motorcycle crash leaves him impaled on a tree and slowly dying, though he waits a day to write out a final message.
  • Attempted Rape: In episode 4, Garvey collects women and rapes them. It is only implied in the series, while in the novel it is made much clearer. He starts to unbuckle his pants, but is stopped by Glen and Stu's arrival.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Lloyd's partner Poke Freeman is a manic renegade crook who immediately shoots a young woman when they try robbing a convenience store. When Lloyd balks at killing the cashier too, Poke's response is to put a gun to his head and try to force him to do it.
    • Julie Lawry's response when Nick rejects her is to try and blow him away with a shotgun while screaming and cursing.
  • Babies Ever After: Abby, the first baby to be born after the plague, is partially immune, and survives. More children follow.
  • Badass Boast: Flagg, speaking through Drogan, has one in "Blank Pages":
    Flagg: I have your blood in my fists, Old Mother. Pray your god takes you before you hear my boots on your steps. I'm going to blow your house down!
  • Big Bad: Randall Flagg, the demonic figure trying to rule the post-apocalyptic world and who was responsible for the outbreak in the first place.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Using the ending from the unabridged novel, the good survivors are able to begin rebuilding society in peace, but Flagg survives the New Vegas blast, takes up with an island of natives, and seeks to recreate the same chaos he tried in the U.S. after Captain Trips.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The messenger Flagg sends to Boulder gains these when Flagg possesses him to deliver a warning to Mother Abigail.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In episode 5, Dayna kills herself rather than let Flagg torture her for information and/or kill her much more painfully. There's Spiteful Suicide involved as well, since Dayna does it to deliberately spite Flagg.
  • Bloodier and Gorier:
    • The mini-series is gorier than the preceding TV mini-series, in part because the latter was on network TV. "The House of the Dead" features long shots of both Garvey with his head smashed in, and the woman he shot in the head.
    • In episode 8, Rat Woman and a few others are reduced to clouds of blood by lightning strikes.
  • Body Horror:
    • People in late stage superflu infection have noticeably bloated throats, presumably from fluid buildup.
    • In episode 8, there are shots of Nadine's stomach convulsing as the baby within starts to claw its way out as well as of Trashcan Man deforming from radiation poisoning.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: In episode 8, God Himself appears in the form of a hand-shaped storm cloud that strikes down the worst of Flagg's cohorts with lightning, before doing in the man himself and detonating the nuke Flagg was planning to use on Boulder for good measure.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Poke Freeman gets a good chunk of his head blown off in the botched robbery that gets his partner in crime Lloyd sent to prison. The native leader in "The Circle Closes" gets his brain blown out of his head when Flagg finger-guns him.
  • Bread and Circuses: Flagg has this in Las Vegas, including Gladiator Games.
  • Buried in a Pile of Corpses: Tom escapes from Vegas by hiding in a corpse removal truck heading out of the city.
  • The Cameo:
    • Bryan Cranston makes a voice-only appearance as the President, making a radio announcement denying that Captain Trips is anything to worry about.
    • Stephen King is seen on a poster for Hemingford Home, in "The House of the Dead".
    • Mick Garris, who directed the earlier four-episode miniseries, appears as a guest at the memorial party in episode 9.
  • Catchphrase:
    • The Trashcan Man has "My life for you!" as his mantra.
    • Tom Cullen's speech pattern includes repeated usage of the phrases "M-O-O-N, that spells (random word)" and "Laws yes!"
  • Cop Killer: Lloyd gets blamed as a cop killer after his partner shoots a cop and is then gunned down by the officers outside. This means the prison guards are even less amenable to his suffering, leaving him to die in his cell.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Everyone who arrives in Boulder has their trips compressed or are not shown. Tom and Stu's return to Boulder, a fair-sized chunk of the book, is cut completely.
  • Creator Cameo: Mick Garris, the director of the 1994 miniseries, appears as a guest at the Boulder town barbecue in the final episode.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: The poster (see page image) plays with the cross imagery. In "The Walk" we see people crucified on the streets of New Vegas, and Glen talks in episode 8 about how the crucifixes are a good sign because they mean Flagg can't trust his own people.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Played with; the end of the first episode is the chronological beginning, showing Campion escaping the base with his wife and daughter. As he drives down a highway he sees none other than Randall Flagg himself hitchhiking, and drives right past him... only to see Flagg in the rearview mirror sitting next to the baby, smirking. However, Flagg doesn't harm them, because they'll all soon be dead from Captain Trips anyway.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Glen is often this.
    Glen: Larry, we've got over 800 miles to go. You start rolling out the big logic questions, we're never going to make it.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Flagg has Larry presented with Nadine's head in order to taunt him. Turns into a Threat Backfire when Larry takes this as proof New Vegas is on the verge of collapse if even the people close to Flagg can end up as a head on a plate.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • Bobby Terry is initially defiant of Flagg, after accidentally killing Judge Harris when Flagg wanted her alive. His defiance doesn't last when Flagg starts chasing him.
    • Glen dies taunting Lloyd, even after Lloyd shoots him in the shoulder before going for the kill.
    • Larry and Ray loudly repeat "I will fear no evil!", even after Lloyd beats Larry.
  • Depopulation Bomb: Captain Trips wipes out 99% of the human race. Then there's the Deus ex Nukina that detonates in Las Vegas and wipes out Flagg and his followers.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • Literally, Deus ex Nukina. The actual Hand of God appears from the sky and detonates Trashcan Man's nuke, destroying Las Vegas and Flagg.
    • The mysterious black girl, implied to be either a somehow young Mother Abagail or God himself, who appears in Episode 9 to help Stu save Fran and heal her, then disappears.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The Boulder council decides to send spies to Vegas to scope out the coming threat against Mother Abigail's wishes. When she finds out, she lambasts Nick for not putting a stop to it because Flagg's powers will allow him to instantly root out any spies. Sure enough, he pegs Dayna as a spy instantly and knows she has two accomplices, but by a stroke of luck can't figure out Tom is one of them because his mind is unreadable.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?:
    • Nick literally does this to Flagg in a dream after rejecting Flagg's offer to join him.
    • Bobby Terry also does this to Flagg after being chewed out by him, since he realizes that he won't be able to lie his way out.
  • Disability Immunity: Tom Cullen is immune to Flagg's sight on account of his condition. All Flagg can see whenever he tries is the moon, on account of Tom repeating that as the only word he knows how to spell. Mother Abigail, on the other hand, is able to communicate to him through dreams.
  • The Dragon: Lloyd is this to Flagg, serving as his go-between with the masses, controlling access to the penthouse, and taking care of the general management of Vegas.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The people in the series have dreams of Abigail or Flagg, leading them to go to Bolder or Las Vegas, respectively.
  • Dream Weaver: Both Abigail Freemantle and Flagg have the ability to appear in people's dreams, offering cryptic guidance.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • After Fran's father dies, she crosses the Despair Event Horizon and is almost catatonic as she listens to the President's address to the nation on the flu before the power goes out. When Harold comes to her house, he finds her in a bathtub after downing pills and is able to save her.
    • General Starkey, after giving Stu the aid needed to get out of the Vermont facility, likewise shoots himself rather than succumb to Captain Trips.
    • Before the General is Jim Ellis, the doctor most in contact with Stu and his closest ally in the facility he was being kept in; when he contracts the virus and is one of the few people still alive among the personnel, the doctor refuses to die in agony from the disease. The only thing keeping him from killing himself was his desire to help Stu try and escape from the facility, and he arrives just in time for Dr. Cobb to try and kill them both (with Cobb commenting that he thought Ellis had "opted for the early check-out" to "beat the traffic"). He gets shot for his troubles, but is at least spared a horrible and agonizing death from the virus.
    • The conspiracy theorist radio host Harold listens to shoots himself on the air after becoming infected, rather than let the disease finish him off.
    • Rita eventually gives into despair over being one of the last people alive, and intentionally overdoses on pills.
    • Harold puts himself out of his misery after being seriously injured and left to die by Nadine.
    • Nadine jumps to her death out a window after realizing that Flagg is just using her and she won't survive giving birth to his child.
  • Due to the Dead: Larry insists on covering Harold's body despite his crimes, because he did good before that and Larry feels that's worth something.
  • Emergency Presidential Address: Like in the novel, the unnamed President (voiced by an uncredited Bryan Cranston) gives one full of Implausible Deniability even as American society is falling apart due to the superflu. The speech is interrupted several times by the President's coughing fits, giving the lie to his assertion that the disease is not deadly.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Flagg realizes that Tom is one of the spies when Rat Woman mentions a guy who repeats "moon" constantly, and Flagg has only been able to see the moon when trying to "see" the third spy.. Fortunately, by this point Tom has managed to smuggle himself out in a corpse disposal truck.
  • Express Delivery: Nadine has sex with Flagg and inside a month she looks to be near full term. This is not without its side-effects, however, as she looks fairly gaunt despite presumably getting the best care Vegas has to offer.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • General Starkey reads a bit of Yeats from his Tragic Keepsake book, calmly puts his hat on, trades goodbyes with Stu, then shoots himself.
    • Glen, Larry, and Ray all face their ends with dignity in episode 8. Glen spends his last moments talking down to Lloyd, while Larry and Ray close their eyes as the Drowning Pit they're in covers them before the nuke goes off and vaporizes them.
  • Facial Horror: Lloyd's partner takes a cop's bullet to the face, which blows out a huge chunk of one cheek.
  • Familiar: Flagg's "Have a Nice Day" smiley-face button acts as his.
  • Family-Friendly Stripper: The Las Vegas strippers during the scenes of debauchery in episode 5 meet this trope.
  • Fanservice: There is lots of nudity on display in New Vegas.
    • Flagg appears to the natives, wearing nothing but his boots.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Flagg is this in his human form, putting on a charming, charismatic front.
    • The stockbroker-type "gentleman" who offers Larry money in exchange for Rita. While he seems pleasant despite his disgusting request, when Larry rejects it he immediately signals to two hidden gunmen to take her by force.
  • The Final Temptation:
    • Flagg tries to tempt Mother Abagail in Episode 6, and torments her when she refuses him.
    • After Vegas is nuked and his physical body is destroyed, Flagg tries to tempt Frannie into letting him see through her in exchange for saving her life after she falls into a well. She tells him to shove it.
  • Finger Gun:
    • In episode 9, Frannie jokingly makes a finger gun at Stu when he gives her a gun and calls her "Frannie Oakley".
    • Later in the same episode, Flagg points his finger at someone like a gun and causes their brain to explode inside their skull, which bursts out of their eyes and mouth.
  • Food Porn: Flagg's description of his lunch to a locked-up, starving Lloyd: A roast beef sandwich smothered with onions and Gulden's spicy brown mustard, a side of homefries and chocolate milk. Lloyd actually starts licking his cell's bars in response.
  • Foreshadowing: The beginning of the first episode has Harold and another worker cleaning a house where they find a room full of movies, and one of the posters is for the movie Darkman. The "Dark Man" aka Randall Flagg is revealed to have been responsible for the release of the virus and ending the world.
  • For Want of a Nail: The whole plague could have been avoided if the security bulkhead of the room Campion was in at the time of the initial outbreak hadn't jammed, allowing him to escape and inadvertently start spreading Captain Trips. It turns out that Flagg was responsible for this, forcing the door to stay open.
  • From Bad to Worse: First the plague hits, then Randall Flagg appears and starts gathering an army to slaughter the survivors that didn't join him.
  • Gender Flip:
    • In the book, Ralph Brentner is male. In the miniseries, "he" becomes Ray Brentner, a woman. Judge Harris is a man in the book, but a woman in the miniseries (she's the one seated next to Larry as he drives into Boulder).
    • In the book, Frannie's child is a boy. In the miniseries, "he" becomes Abby, a girl.
    • In the book and the 2004 the Rat Man was male. Here the character is reimagined as the Rat Woman.
  • Gentle Giant: Tom Cullen is one, a towering man built like a tank who is still childlike and kindhearted.
  • Ghost Town: Ogunquit, Maine, becomes this after all but two people are killed by Captain Trips, and with over 99% of the world's population gone this applies to the whole planet.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: It is implied that Flagg's powers grow or wane in proportion to the belief others have in him. When Glen gets the people of New Vegas to start questioning his rule, he stops levitating and from then on his ability to read minds and sight appears to have diminished. Then when he gets a tribe of natives to start worshipping him in the final scenes, he starts levitating again.
  • Groin Attack: In episode 4, Garvey knees Harold in the groin after taking him prisoner.
  • The Hand Is God: At the end of episode 8, the cloud that forms out of the sky take on the shape of a giant disembodied hand, presumably God's.
  • He Knows Too Much: Nadine kills Teddy when he catches her and Harold taking explosives from the ranger station.
  • Here We Go Again!: At the end of the series, in "The Circle Closes", Flagg shows up naked on an island after the events of the climax. He approaches the natives, kills their leader, and demands that the others worship him as he levitates.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: When Lloyd and Poke rob the convenience store, Poke holds down a woman as hostage, using one of his guns, while the clerk starts to get out the cash. When Poke sneezes, his finger convulses on the gun trigger and shoots the girl in the back of the head.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Ray is asked if she knows how to find clean water. She makes a crack about how they expect the "Injun girl" to know the ways of nature... then admits that she does.
  • I Want Them Alive: Flagg instructs his minions to take Judge Harris alive. Bobby Terry kills her in self-defense, and Flagg brutally kills him for it.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: On their trip to Vegas, Stu loses his grip climbing up a fissure that has separated the freeway, breaking his leg on the way down. Knowing he won't be mobile for quite a while, he sends Glen, Ray, and Larry ahead since they need to reach Vegas and can't afford to wait. This ultimately spares him from being captured, and saves his life when Vegas is nuked.
  • Idealized Sex:
    • Larry and Rita, shortly after they meet and go back to her apartment, complete with soft lighting. Possibly justified, since they both know the world is ending and want to experience all the pleasure they can get.
    • Unlike Flagg's rape of Nadine in the book, the sex between him and Nadine is shown in "The Walk" is softly lit and non-violent until Flagg reveals his Nightmare Face when he climaxes.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Harold gets launched off a motorbike and over a small cliff, landing on a tree and winding up with a branch impaled through his shoulder. It misses his vital organs so it isn't immediately fatal, letting him live long enough to blow his own brains out after writing a final message.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: One feature that makes the Captain Trips superflu so deadly is the initial stage presenting as common cold or flu symptoms. Basically, if any character coughs or sneezes, it's a sign they're absolutely fucked except for Abby in episode 9, who starts coughing and then stops as her immunity kicks in.
  • The Immune: Stu Redman is explicitly stated to be immune to the virus, which the U.S. military hoped to study in hopes of containing the outbreak. Unfortunately, everyone at the facility died before they could make any headway. Due to how contagious Captain Trips is and the 100% fatality rate, anyone still alive is likely to be immune. This immunity is genetic, as babies born of immune parents are also immune, while Frannie's first child nearly dies because the father wasn't immune. Thankfully, she recovers.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Harold stops Fran from killing herself out of despair after burying her father who had succumbed to the virus.
  • It Amused Me: Flagg does this with Lloyd, tormenting him with a description of a meal after Lloyd had been without food for the last ten days. Flagg gains no benefit from it except his pleasure from torturing Lloyd, and while it might drive Lloyd away from him in any other instance, Lloyd is literally a captive audience and Flagg is his only salvation.
  • Jerkass: Cobb treats Stu, the only immune person they have found so far, with contempt and makes it clear to him that the latter can either cooperate and be comfortable or refuse and have his stay with the military be an unpleasant one. When all hell breaks loose, he attempts to carry out contingencies for keeping information about the virus from leaking... despite there literally being no one left who'd care.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The two nameless bullies that chased Harold did so after catching him spying on his neighbor and warned him not to come back. As his actions prove and those familiar with one of King's recurring themes know, they are right to be concerned.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Teddy Weizak. A bit of a loudmouth and very comfortable raiding plague victims' belongings (which may be why he volunteered to help dispose of the corpses in Boulder), but he genuinely befriends Harold after he saves Teddy from a near-fatal accident, and also plans to open a drive-in theater in town for everyone to have some entertainment.
  • Judicial Wig: Lloyd wears one of these during the "trial" of the Boulder spies.
  • Just Following Orders:
    • Cobb tries to kill Stu in order to fulfill pre-planned coverup orders, despite the fact that there's no one left to actually force him to do so. As General Starkey points out, men like Cobb don't stop following orders just because there's nobody left to give them or even if following them makes no sense under the circumstances.
    • Tragically, Charles Campion is an example of what happens when this trope gets subverted, as him deserting his post when the facility went on lockdown led the virus to escape and end the world.
  • Kangaroo Court: Glen, Larry, and Ray are put through this after being detained in Vegas, though things go off script when Glen provokes Lloyd to the point of shooting him.
  • Kick the Dog: Flagg torments the starving Lloyd with a description of the meal he had recently eaten.
  • Language Barrier: After being beaten and losing an eye, Nick wakes up in the hospital post-pandemic and is met by Tom, a friendly man who is developmentally-disabled. Since Nick can't hear or talk and Tom can't read (or pick up on social cues very well), their communication is rather limited until they find other company.
  • Lifesaving Misfortune: On the journey to Vegas, Stu slips while climbing up a freeway that has been split in two by an earthquake, falling down and breaking his leg. He has the others go on ahead, since his injury is too severe for him to climb up, much less for the others to move him while doing it. Getting left there saves his life when God nukes Vegas, because the trench is both deep enough and far enough from Vegas that the shockwave doesn't kill him.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Harold is an anti-social teenager who spies on his crush, his former babysitter, treats the near extinction of humanity as the chance to finally get her, and is mistreated by a pair of bullies for said peeping and something he wrote that got him suspended.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Kojak is this to Stu, bringing him food, defending him from a wolf, and bringing Tom to Stu's aid.
  • Magical Negro:
    • Mother Abigail, who is a messenger for God.
    • In the final episode, a young black girl is implied to be a young version of Mother Abigail, or possibly, God in human form.
  • Mission from God: Mother Abigail tells Stu, Larry, Glen, and Ray that God wants them to go to New Vegas and make a stand against Flagg.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song: "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley & The Wailers plays in the first trailer.
  • Morality Pet: Joe is this to Nadine. Sadly, he isn't enough to keep her from going to Flagg.
  • Motive Rant: Harold gives one to Fran in Episode 6 when she discovers his plot to bomb the committee.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Harold seems to be thinking this when Nadine shoots Teddy, a decent guy who befriended Harold, when he accidentally stumbles onto Harold and Nadine collecting explosives to use on the Free Zone Committee.
  • Mythology Gag: Like the first adaptation, this series has Frannie's child being a daughter instead of a son like in the original novel.
  • Naked Nutter: Larry encounters a man in Central Park wearing nothing but a medical gown, who proudly states his intent to run naked around the field at Yankee Stadium.
  • Nightmare Face: When he climaxes during sex with Nadine in "The Walk", Flagg does this.
  • Nightmare Weaver: Flagg torments the people who reject him in their dreams.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Before the start of the series, Harold wrote a piece for his creative writing class and was suspended after reading it aloud in class. Whatever the subject matter was gave him a reputation amongst his classmates as being a "potential school-shooter." Given what we see of his other works, it can be inferred the content was pretty dark.
    • Something happened to Frannie's brother before the outbreak, though the only information we get is that he was deaf and whatever happened seems to be a subtle Trauma Button for her.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Lloyd is forced to partially eat his dead cellmate after being left as the only person still alive in the prison and unable to get out.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: In episode 8, Larry realizes from Flagg's big victory speech that he doesn't know Mother Abigail is already dead, and thus his sight seems to have diminished.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Flagg's wolf confronts Stu while his leg is injured and he can't flee. Kojak growls and then engages the wolf, the two disappearing behind a curve as growls, barks, and whimpers can be heard. Then Kojak emerges, not much worse for wear.
    • Stu and Tom's return to Boulder is completely glossed over, with them showing up out of nowhere at a party.
  • Off with His Head!: Lloyd gets his head reduced to salsa by a large, swinging ring that is knocked loose during the chaos of New Vegas's final moments.
  • Patient Zero: Army private Charles Campion becomes this when he escapes the bioweapons facility he was assigned to as security during a lockdown, while everyone else on the base died in containment. As he flees across the United States, unknowingly infected with the superflu, he starts a chain reaction of infections that result in the extinction of 99 percent of humanity.
  • Passing the Torch: Stu breaks his leg falling down the side of a ravine during the journey to New Vegas, leaving Larry to lead the others in their confrontation with Flagg.
  • The Plague: "Captain Trips", the virus named by the public on social media, is a superflu that is both extremely contagious and has a 100% fatality rate. According to Harold, approximately only 0.4 percent of the world's population is immune.
  • Precision F-Strike: In episode 9, Frannie tells Flagg:
    Frannie: Get thee behind me, you fucking bastard!
  • Pyromaniac: Trashcan Man loves fire. He spends his time post-pandemic blowing up buildings for fun, and Flagg tasks him with retrieving a nuke.
  • Race Lift:
    • In the book, Larry Underwood is white (though people sometimes assume he's black based on his singing). In the miniseries, he's played by Jovan Adepo who is black.
    • Ralph Brenter is white in the book; in the miniseries, his gender-flipped version Ray Brenter is played by the Native American Irene Bedard.
    • Nick Andros is white in the book; in the miniseries Nick is Hispanic (his mother is from El Salvador).
    • The Rat Man was a black man in the book. In the 2004 "he" is a white woman played by Fiona Dourif.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: General Starkey, who helps Stu escape the sealed-off Vermont facility on the grounds that there's no longer anyone left to order that he be kept locked up or killed.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Lloyd is in prison when Captain Trips hits. He would have starved to death in his cell if Flagg hadn't rescued him.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Subverted in episode 8. Lloyd turns against Flagg, but falls victim to God's wrath anyway. God doesn't choose to strike him down directly, as he does with numerous others, but he would have died to the nuke had the chandelier not got him.
  • Scenery Censor: In "the Circle Closes" Flagg appears naked to the natives. The frontal nudity is covered by scenery placement, mostly the natives themselves as Flagg levitates.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Charles Campion was on monitor duty at the bioweapons facility producing Captain Trips. When there was a containment breach, he triggered the lockdown. The door to his station jammed, so he took the opportunity to duck out before it closed and left town with his family, fleeing more than 1,000 miles across the United States. Unfortunately, he had already been infected and carried the virus the whole way, creating an uncontainable chain of infections that decimated the population.
  • Setting Update: The first edition of the novel was published in 1978 and set in 1980; the second, extended edition was published and set in 1990. The first miniseries was more or less set in the time it was made, i.e., the early 1990s, while this miniseries is set in the 21st century. This is shown by the presence of social media in the story, as well as the upgrading of some of the characters' dialogue (such as the President's emergency address to the nation, where the phrase "radical anti-establishment groups" from the novel has been replaced with "social media").
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the first trailer, the rug in the casino has the same pattern as the rug in The Shining. Similarly, a cash register has "217" written on it.
    • Episode 4 has Teddy looking at a Blue-Ray of Skyscraper.
    • Natalie Martinez, who plays Dayna, was a regular on another TV series based on a King novel, Under the Dome.
    • Stephen King had a peg on his wall as a young man, where he hung rejection letters, the same as Harold.
  • Signs of Disrepair: In episode 7, someone has vandalized a road sign reading "The lamb's reward is the laughter of his children," changing it to "slaughter" and adding a bunch of crosses to indicate graves.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Tom Cullen may not know how to read and isn't very knowledgeable, but he can be clever when he needs to be. When Dayna gives him a note reading "Run", Tom is able to figure out what it means when he finds similar writing on a control panel and asks someone to explain that, rather than showing anyone the note directly and making them suspicious. He then devises his own escape from Vegas by hiding in a truck full of corpses.
  • Spanner in the Works: Harold's plot to bomb the vigil for Mother Abigail is screwed up by Joe managing to find her in the forest. Once it's reported in, the vigil moves to the hospital and Harold's bomb fails to take out as many people as he intended.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Harold has an unhealthy interest in Frannie, stemming from a crush that developed when she used to babysit him years ago. Before the virus he would watch her through a hole in her fence, he treats the apocalypse as a chance to finally gain her affections, and when the Time Skip sees him fail as she starts dating Stu, this leads him to decide to kill them both.
  • Stripperiffic: In episode 5, Julie and Dayna both wear stripper-like outfits while having sex with Lloyd. Julie goes through most of the episode wearing stripper-like revealing outfits. Rat-Woman has a similar aesthetic going as well.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Both Abigail and Flagg talk to people through their dreams.
  • Title Drop: Abigail, during her speech to the Committee to go to Las Vegas, and later in "The Circle Closes" when both versions of her tell Frannie to "stand". Frannie repeats Abigail's instructions later, to Stu.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • General Starkey has a book of poetry his daughter once got him for his birthday. He never read it until he heard that she'd died, and hasn't been able to put it down since.
    • After her father's death, Frannie puts on his dog-tags from his time in the military and likely hasn't taken them off.
  • Trash the Set: Flagg's casino headquarters gets wrecked by the Bolt of Divine Retribution mentioned above, which then finishes the job by detonating the nuke and wiping out the whole city.
  • Vice City: Flagg has turned New Vegas into a haven of drugs, sex, and violence, the latter in the form of regular gladiator matches where unwilling participants are routinely dismembered.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In episode 8, Flagg clearly snaps when Nadine kills herself, loses his grip on his Mask of Sanity when the crowd starts turning against him, and is finally reduced to a rambling mess when the divine lightning starts destroying everything.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Mother Abigail finds out about the Boulder council's decision to send spies to Vegas against her wishes, she chews out Nick for not putting a stop to it because Flagg's powers allow him to instantly detect any spies.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: The protagonists don't really do much against The Empire created by Randall Flagg. His people are already losing faith in his infallibility by the time the protagonists show up to make their titular stand, and desertions have become common. Then one of his tragically crazy henchmen shows up with a nuke in tow, which is detonated by Deus ex Machina. The heroes don't do much besides watch. And die.
  • You Have Failed Me: After Bobby Terry kills the Judge rather than take her alive like he was ordered, Flagg chases him into an elevator and proceeds to brutally beat him and ultimately tear him apart.

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