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The Mist - Withdrawal - Review: "The Mist Descends"

The Mist 1.02 "Withdrawal" - Review:
Directed by David Boyd, Story by Christian Torpe & Teleplay by Peter Macmanus

So the second episode picked things up where the first one had ended. The Mist has descended on the small town of Bridgeton, and the people are trapped in three separate locations. There's a group at the Church, at the Police Station and at the Mall, something that differed from the film where it largely all takes place in one location. And all three groups are facing their own dilemma as things continue at a slow but steady pace that continues to hint at more intriguing things to come, keeping the monsters very much in the background which continues to be a wise decision. It's also worth noting that sometimes second episodes can feel a lot like a pilot episode, introducing the characters again and the world even further, as they establish the rules of how the series operates. But it's good to see that isn't the case with Withdrawal, which plunges us straight into the action at the police station, opting for an instantly more serialized approach as you might expect.

The claustrophobic background of the police station has echoes of John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13. A bunch of survivors who don't really trust each other are trapped in the police station with nothing but guns, and it's up to Kevin Copeland, Bryan Hunt, Mia Lambert and Adrian Garf to figure out their next plan of action. Mia herself has some hidden drug-related secrets that she doesn't really want Kevin to find out about as evidenced by her journey into the evidence room and you've got to wonder at this point - does anyone in this town not have secrets outside of the Copeland family? Either way, Mia is the one that they apparently seem to trust the most given that she technically has the most experience with this whole killing Mist-infected thing, and she is quickly put in charge of the situation, driving the car when they decide that it would probably be best not to stay at the police station. I wonder how the show is going to keep stretching its concept out over the coming weeks because the film at least didn't make use of a lot of locations and it'll be interesting to see what happens whether we'll see any new ones beyond what has already been quickly established in these two episodes.

How far will The Mist venture out into unexplored territory that the film didn't cover? It's been hinted at in these early stages, to say the least. So far it doesn't look like an exact repeat of the movie, which is good, but I'm hoping things will continue to diverge on its own. And yes, I know its original source material is from a Stephen King novella - like I mentioned in my review of episode one, but just in case you missed that I still haven't gotten around to reading that yet, so like before the movie will be my main point of call for comparisons.

Meanwhile, Connor has taken a car and did his best to avoid hitting everything in the Mist until he finds himself hitting a moose out of the shadows. Stumbling away he makes his way towards the Church, where inside, Father Romanov learns what has happened from Nathalie, who reveals that her husband was killed, shot by a mysterious man in the Mist. Connor, who knows what The Mist is capable of having been out in it himself, is there to comfort Nathalie.

At the Mall, Eve is asked by Kyle and Mall Manager Gus Bradley about what happened outside and they quickly determine that it is dangerous. Eventually Gus manages to convince everyone at the Mall that it would be safer to stay inside and they need to shut down the Mall to prevent whatever is out there from getting in, and all the doors need to be locked with the power off. Alex volunteers to help, if only because Jay is there and given that she believes Jay raped her, she doesn't want to be anywhere near him. Is her blame directed at the right person? We don't know yet, and it'll be interesting to see what happens and if Adrian has more secrets to hide. But for now Jay might as well be guilty in Alex's eyes, and you can't really blame her given what she knows.

This is where a Drone with a camera attached comes into play as The Mist television show brings to the table what the movie didn't have, more advanced technology to play with. Of course now that all hell has broken lose they don't care about mall security anymore and borrow the drone and get it to investigate in what would otherwise be a dangerous situation. It'll be interesting to see what use of modern technology the show can bring to the table to help it differentiate from the movie going forward, kind of like how last year's Blair Witch remake/reboot/sequel brought drones into play to help the characters and in theory make them safer. It didn't work there but it does seem to be working here though as the drone's investigation reveals a hallway filled with Mist and a mauled body with an open window. There is a radio that can be used to help them but that is in the security wing, in the same hallway, leaving the group faced with a dilemma. How badly do they want the radio? And who will go and get it?

There's also three mysterious letters written on the wall in blood but the group can't determine whether or not it is ARR or ANN. Eve manages to connect the dots to Arrowhead but the drone dies before they can investigate further, because of course it does. It was also rather hypocritical of Gus was rather reluctant to go and get the radio when you consider that this is essentially his job, but then again, he probably didn't expect to have to deal with a situation like The Mist - which is something that he shares with Connor in not being very good at is job. His solution is to draw a lottery and the winner (or in this case, the loser) goes, and eventually Eve (because of course it's Eve) gets the short stick but Alex volunteers when she realises that her mom may have to go alone. Clint volunteers to go too given his knowledge of the radio, and ends up contacting Arrowhead, using his call sign Shadow 4-1. He also quickly shoots down the idea of taking the radio back to the rest of the group, suggesting that there's more to Clint than meets the eye.

Eve notices this too and when Clint reaches for something in his pocket Eve grabs the radio and runs, prompting a frantic chase in which Clint tackles Eve. Eve eventually shoots Clint before heading back and confirms that they lost each other in the hallway, not telling the truth (something which in no way will come back to haunt her later!). Gus decides to try and find another way when Eve mentions that the radio doesn't work, but there are bigger questions at play concerning Clint's friends, nobody's seen them before. Jay later finds out that two of them have hung themselves rather than confront what is coming next, hinting that darker things lie in store for the characters. It's a Stephen King adaption, of course things are going to get worse. At least for the moment though, sleeping arrangements are put in place allowing the survivors to sleep in relative comfort.

Back with the car and its passengers, Mia is eventually startled by a man with a gun who demands they hand over the car. Bryan manages to get the gun but he gets run over in the process, meaning that Mia has further blood on her hands. After flipping the car, the group decide to run for the church after hearing the bells upon realising they're too exposed, and as a result, the three separate groups become two separate groups, split between The Mall and The Church. But Mia isn't out of the woods yet, because she's seen an elderly woman who may or may not be real, and tells her that she's suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Things could be about to get a lot worse for her on the road ahead. Adrian himself naturally, being Adrian, is more concerned with the state of his hair. Because of course.

When Mia confronts Connor inside the Church she's understandably angry about being left to die. Connor however uses his authority as a police officer to arrest her (again), and Kevin is also angered with Connor for abandoning his duties and leaving behind a seventeen year old. Connor tries to convince Kevin that he stayed behind and waited after possibly hearing something in The Mist, but Father Romanov wises up to this quickly when Connor didn't tell him that. So Connor isn't especially in the team from the police station's good books at the moment. And Mia confesses to Bryan about what she believes is hallucinations haunting her. Bryan later reveals that he too, is experiencing the same hallucinations that Mia is, prompting a further mystery there. What connection do these two characters share?

It seems like the writers meanwhile aren't doing especially well with Adrian's character who remains possibly the weakest on the show so far. I'm not quite sure what their goal is here with him because so far he's quickly becoming more and more annoying by the second. Is this a sign that he's going to end up being more evil than he appears further down the line? Because if so, it's too obvious at the moment if they decide to go down the whole bait and switch thing and reveal Adrian was lying about Jay. There needs to be an added element of surprise. Either way, he refuses to say grace in the Church before eating. Something else that's also interesting to note especially given how big of a role in the film they played is the devout in this post-apocalyptic scenario. We've seen it crop up time and time again in Stephen King's works and especially with the Church playing such a predominant setting in this series I honestly would not be surprised to see them emerge in a big way. Eventually though, Nathalie decides to over bottles of wine, tell the story about how her and her dead husband had a tradition of buying cheap wine. Whilst Mia is offered wine, Connor forbids Adrian from having any due to the fact that he's underage. He also offers Kevin a warning about underage drinking, knowing where it can lead.

What did you think of Withdrawal? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to check out the third episode of The Mist on Thursday at 10pm on SpikeTV. Remember, use spoiler tags when discussing future events from the novella and the movie respectively.

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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