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The Mist - Show and Tell - Review: "Uneven, But We're Getting Somewhere"

The Mist 1.03 "Show and Tell" - Review:
Directed by Nick Murphy & Written by Peter Biegen

The third episode continued the drama of The Mist, which seems to continue the consistency of the television series. It isn't especially brilliant, but there's something about this show that I can't help but keep watching. I want to see where these characters end up, and so far there are plenty of questions that the series is asking to keep me hooked. Yet I'm on the fence as we go into the third episode, and as I normally give shows four episodes before deciding whether or not to drop them, this hasn't done much in the way of convincing me that this is a show I need to watch. So it's kind of 50/50, mixing with the bad with the good at least this early on.

Anyway, the two storylines this week continued to move at a fairly slow pace. Slow seems to be The Mist's main strength here, there isn't anything happening at a breakneck pace and I'm starting to wonder whether or not this show has enough content to fill out its entire first season. Show and Tell felt sluggish and uneven. In all likelihood this is one of those shows that benefits from not having a lot of competition to air against this Summer, because if this had been a fall show, I may have lost patience already. Because there's so many good shows out there already, why should I waste time with a series that may not deliver on all its potential? At least things were moving a bit in this episode, even if we're still trapped between the two very different storylines each moving at a different pace, which isn't helping with the sluggish feel of the script so far.

The Church is the first location for these two stories where Kevin is still keen to find his wife. He comes into conflict with Connor over Mia when he approaches about hotwiring a car, something that they'll need to survive out in The Mist, but Mia is still a prisoner and Connor is still determined to hold her by the law. Kevin obviously uses The Mist itself as a reason why the normal laws and regulations shouldn't be abided to anymore. Survival is paramount. Adrian realises that Kevin wouldn't be quite so keen on the idea if it was Jay not Mia, who is in fact in a dilemma of her own. She's spoken to Brian, who frees her from her cuffs. She's still haunted by her past and wishes that she could forget it all, just as Brian has. But obviously that's little comfort to Brian, who doesn't even know if he's gay. Back upstairs, Kevin quickly decides that ignoring Adrian is the best thing about it, because so far, Adrian has quickly made a claim for one of the more unlikeable characters on this show, although that's not that much of an accomplishment, as so far, there are plenty of them. For his troubles, he gets assigned guard duty. Father Romanov works to convince Adrian that he will be accepted in the Church much like Adrian's mother was, but before things can go any further, unlikeable The Mist character #2, Connor, steps in.

Connor calls Adrian a liar, and reinforces the point that lying is a sin. Connor asks why Adrian didn't intervene to help his friend if the events were true but Adrian explains that he was apparently held back. Connor doesn't help his own case by trying to turn the blame on Alex, implying that it's her fault she was raped because she was drunk. Naturally, Kevin doesn't take this well, and he ends up in the basement with Brian and Mia.

I mentioned earlier that there are parts of The Mist that I like and there are parts that I don't, but what happens with Natalie was very much something that I did like. She almost seems to be coming of as a Mrs. Carmody character from the movie, and as a result, I'm treating her with caution, too. She does manage to befriend a man with a moth tattoo (The writers missed an opportunity to call this episode The Man With the Moth Tattoo, but then that would just have been an about as a subtle episode title as something like Show and Tell), and Natalie reveals to him that this happened before in the 1980s. This is something that she shares in common with the man, sharing stories, and he quickly reveals that the plague is the result of a curse placed on the town following the murder of a woman. And this is where we get to see properly what The Mist is capable of in the horror factor, one of the most Stephen King-influenced scenes of the series so far, where Natalie heads out into the mist only to be stopped by the man. But the man doesn't just attempt to stop her, he turns into a fully blown moth-esque monster, and this is where things get really interesting.

This convinces Natalie to put her death wish on hold, and wants to return to the Church, believing she's found God (although not necessarily The Priest's God), where things are going rapidly downhill. Adrian has managed to allow himself to be baptised by the Priest, if only so he could steal the keys in a bid to escape. After freeing everyone in the basement (see, he isn't completely useless!), they decide to make a run for a car, effectively ending their Church-related adventures. For all the weaker, slower paced elements at the beginning of this storyline, it definitely picks up a bit at the end. But those slower paced scenes did have some strength to them admittedly, as it helped serve to flesh out some of the characters some more in the form of Brian and Mia especially. Now, if Connor and Adrian could become more well-rounded people, that would be helpful, too, because at the moment, things haven't quite been great for everyone else.

The rest of the action took place at the Mall in what was the least interesting of the two storylines of this week's episode. Gus Redman's authority slips completely and he loses what little control he had over the group, with his attempt to install rules into this newfound community quickly put down by snarky commenters. Eve and Alex are in trouble of their own too, trapped with Jay, who is on the receiving end of Alex's hatred towards him. Eve isn't afraid to cross the lines in terms of punishment against Jay, with Gus having brought up the idea of exile into the Mist if anyone misbehaves. This is something that will almost certainly come up later as social structures continue to deteriorate. Jay himself isn't helping his case by stalking Alex but has essentially become The Mall's second in command in the process after helping out in the previous episode. So now Alex doesn't have authority on her side, and the two are going to need allies fast. The extra element of tension in this doesn't really come naturally to The Mist, and it all feels forced so far, much like Connor and Kevin's differences. it's like the show decided that being a horror series wasn't just enough, it had to throw in a plot straight out of a teen drama as well. I get that this is a small town, but Jay and Alex being together this early on feels way too contrived.

Gus's main problems came from a bunch of arrogant gamers who thought they could break the rules and test the boundaries of The Mist and they decide to push out the dead soldiers who committed suicide because of whatever was coming next into the parking lot. They are caught in the act and despite the remaining soldier, a private, keeping trying to fight them for their lack of awareness, nothing initially comes of this approach. After the discussion of rules turns even further south Eve decides that it would be a good time to live in a different group, separate from the main one. This gets support despite Gus's objections of safety in numbers, and the already small community fractures further. Alex's solution for help is to write notes on balloons and send them into the air in search for help, and they hope that her dad, who is somewhere out there in The Mist, will be able to find them again.

And thus the episode comes to a close, with there now essentially being four factions in play. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the fourth episode and how things progress from here as there has been plenty of potential for these storylines to develop even further even if things have felt a bit contrived at times. Hopefully now that things have progressed a little further, The Mist will build on what small steps it has taken this week in the future. The signs that this show isn't afraid to go into full Stephen King mode is extremely welcomed for all its inconsistencies, but only time will tell whether or not it will be rewarding in the long run.

What did you think of Show and Tell? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to check out the next episode of The Mist at 10pm on SpikeTV this Thursday.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, Black Sails, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Preacher, The Mist, Star Wars Rebels, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV and will be covering Castle Rock, Counterpart, Krypton, Marvel's New Warriors, Rise, Marvel's Runaways, Snowfall, Succession, Star Trek Discovery, and Trust. He also contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of 300 favourite movies here.
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