Recap: THE STAND S1E5 – “Fear and Loathing in New Vegas”

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Read the recap from last week’s episode here before watching “Fear and Loathing in New Vegas.” 

The episode opens at a power substation, where a glammed up Julie Lawry (Katherine McNamara) is fetching “Flashdance” (Dayna Jurgens, Natalie Martinez). Lawry says she’s there at the request of Lloyd Henreid (Nat Wolff). Apparently Dayna has been asking questions, which Lawry says is okay – depending on the question. Lawry wants to know why Dayna wants to know more about Flagg.

We can’t stop here, it’s Flagg country!

Lawry introduces Dayna to Henreid, who seems to have been living high on the hog (especially compared to when we last saw him). After flaunting his connection to Flagg, Henried asks Dayna where she’s been for “months and months” before arriving in Vegas. Then, to the sound of Henry Belafonte and Peggy Lee singing Black Magic, the camera pulls back and reveals they’ve been in the Hoover Dam before an aerial shot that soars over the empty highways that lead to Las Vegas.

Elsewhere, Tom Cullen (M-O-O-N that spells Brad William Henke) is undertaking the initial intake procedures, and struggling with the questions. While the woman asking him the questions is ready to just “throw him in the slave cages,” the men who brought Cullen in say that according to Flagg’s rules, anyone who arrives voluntarily qualifies for citizenship. She sends him to “Gladiator Hall.”

In the next scene, Henreid leads Dayna and Lawry down a hallway filled with debauchery in a hotel filled with debauchery, and declares “Welcome to Heaven” before we cut to the title card.

New Vegas
The hallway at The Inferno in New Vegas.

The Stand: “Fear and Loathing in New Vegas” 

Back in Boulder, Stu Redman (James Marsden) calling for the late Teddy over the radio, as Harold Lauder (Owen Teague) and Nadine Cross (Amber Heard) move to cover the evidence that they murdered their fellow Boulder resident. Lauder has a helpful expositional flashback to Teddy’s death as Cross shoves their bloodied clothes in a garbage bag, and while Lauder says they could abandon Boulder, Cross says that they can’t – because of him (meaning, of course, Flagg).

Shortly later and elsewhere, Redman and Larry Underwood (Jovan Adepo) stand over Teddy’s corpse and wonder whether or not he might have shot himself. While Underwood is skeptical, Redman says that he’s surprised that after all they’ve been through, he’s more surprised more people haven’t killed themselves (which is grim, but hard to argue). Redman says that while it’s tempting to believe it’s all connected, he doesn’t necessarily think that’s the case. Shortly after, Redman tells Lauder, who gives a reasonably convincing performance in reaction to the news of Teddy’s death, but from which he recovers a little quickly…

New Vegas

Elsewhere in Boulder, Nick Andros (Henry Zaga) is chewed out by Mother Abagail (Whoopi Goldberg), who notes that she had told them not to take action until they “received word from above,” suggesting that sending the spies might be the catalyst for a conflict.

It’s “Main Event Time”!

In Vegas, Henreid and Lawry are in bed, while Dayna contemplates a pair of scissors before joining them (although after Lawry mentions “Mr. Flagg,” Henreid can’t maintain an erection). Instead of sex, they head downstairs for some “shopping.” The center of the resort hotel has been converted into a gladiator pit, and an announcer gives a play-by-play while soliciting bets.

As they circle the hedonistic revelry, Lawry points out Cullen in the gladiator ring. Mercifully, he seems to be on cleanup duty rather than the battle roster, but Lawry tells Dayna that she recalls meeting him and Nick on the road.

In advance of the main event, the announcer spotlights Henreid (and Lawry reaches over the clean some coke off his nose as they do so) before shouting out their benefactor, Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgård), in the penthouse. Flagg makes his first appearance on-screen in the episode, hovering above the ground. Then, a video image of Flagg addresses the crowd… but as it does so, the image seems to simultaneously focus his gaze upon Dayna.

Boulder Nights

Cross has dreams that mix visions of sleeping with Underwood with Flagg in the desert, the later of which tells her that he gave her purpose. Flagg tells Cross that when she was living alone in the state home, he was her only friend, suggesting that she should continue to remain indentured to him before he kisses her.

Lauder and Cross meet at the school and Lauder says that it wasn’t necessary to murder him, that he could have been talked him out of turning them in. Cross sees the vulnerability in Lauder and exploits it by going down on him again.

Shortly after, Frannie Goldsmith (Odessa Young) arrives at the school and offers Lauder her condolences over Teddy’s death. Caught off guard, Lauder is somewhat less convincing in his mourning this time, but he accepts an invitation to dine with Goldsmith and Redman the next day as Cross eavesdrops from the next hallway.

Goldsmith then visits Underwood, and tells him that while Lauder is at dinner with them, she wants Underwood to search his residence. Underwood agrees: something’s off about him, and such a search seems reasonable.

Cross made lunch for Joe, but cant find him. Fortunately a neighbor points her toward Mother Abagail’s house, where Joe is playing a piano and Mother Abagail tells him that they’ve been “talking” (making a distinctions between “talking” and “talking”). Mother Abagail tells Cross that it’s good that she made the choice to help Joe, and Cross says that she didn’t really have a choice. Mother Abagail disagrees, and says that we always have choice – until we don’t.

Mile High Dinner Party

Lauder arrives for the dinner party with flowers and wine. Redman has Lauder help him find a corkscrew and Goldsmith calls Underwood over the radio. However, it’s at that moment that Cross arrives at Underwood’s house, insisting she talk to him now. She begins kissing him and he asks her why, but she won’t explain.

Cross says she wants Underwood to fuck her, but Underwood says that that’s not how she talks, and worries how their relationship might be affected if they end up deciding they don’t have feelings for one another after sleeping together. Dejected, Cross leaves Underwood’s house.

Soon, Underwood arrives at Lauder’s home, but he’s stymied by a locked door. Meanwhile, Lauder tells a (kind of uncomfortable) story about him, Goldsmith, and his sister Amy in childhood. But after insisting he was there, he then changes the story to “I wasn’t there because I was never allowed.” Things get more uncomfortable as Lauder starts recounting some of the bitterness he maintains toward his late family.

Lauder excuses himself to go splash some water on his face, but instead, he ends up snooping around Goldsmith’s house while Underwood snoops around Lauder’s, finding the creepy Tom Cruise cutout. Then, Lauder leaves early. Goldsmith radios Underwood, but as he knocks over a chess set as he’s leaving. While he manages to more or less put it back together and flee the room, it seems as though Lauder notices one of the rearranged pieces…

Elsewhere, Mother Abagail prays for guidance, but she’s greeted only by the vision of a wolf.

At The Inferno in New Vegas

Back in Vegas, Dayna has one of the guards single out Cullen. Dayna hands Cullen something before Henreid and Lawry find her and tell her that Flagg wants to see her. As she leaves, Cullen look at the note, which reads “RUN”… but Cullen can’t read.

New Vegas
Flagg drinks dairy in New Vegas.

While Henreid and Lawry accompany Dayna up the elevator, she is the only one who gets off when it arrives at the penthouse on the forty-fourth floor. Flagg is watching over the Vegas skyline as he enjoys a glass of milk, the second time in the series we’ve seen him drinking dairy (although Dayna asks for a beer).

Flagg tells Dayna that he’s been watching her almost since she left Boulder. Dayna confronts Flagg about the crucifixions and in return, Flagg asks her about Garvey, the rapist that she killed in last week’s episode. Flagg claims that the people who come to him are looking from protection from the Garveys of the world, and says that Mother Abagail’s “Kum-Bah-Yah” approach is insufficient, calling her a charlatan.

Flagg tells Dayna that he’s going to send her home, but she notes that it sounds like there’s a catch: he asks her who the third spy might be. He says that he knows who both the other spies are, and that one is “an old hag” who has been hiding to stagger their arrival. Dayna points out that it must be driving him insane not to be able to see the third spy… right before she stabs him in the neck with the scissors she stashed earlier in the episode.

Flagg collapses to the floor, seemingly dead, but as Dayna crouches over him he speaks to her, saying he learned the trick from his “old lover,” Konstantin Stanislavski (1863 – 1938). Then, Flagg does a neat trick with his eyes and menaces Dayna some more, who breaks her beer bottle… and then stabs herself with it. Flagg sinks into the couch as “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis plays…

The Lauder Problem

Back in Boulder, Goldsmith and Redman are discussing Lauder, with Goldsmith insisting she has a bad feeling about him and Redman wondering if they are being too hard on him, offering a sympathetic read on Lauder’s unrequited crush.

However, in truly creepy fashion, Lauder is actually watching the whole conversation – and the subsequent lovemaking – on a closed circuit video feed, presumably what’s hidden behind the locked door Underwood couldn’t enter. Lauder watches a recording of Underwood investigating Lauder’s house earlier that night.

Elsewhere, Ray Brentner (Irene Bedard) arrives at Mother Abagail’s house to find a note on the door saying that people should not come looking for her but that she will return if it is His will. Brentner’s radio call searching for Abagail interrupts Goldsmith and Redman’s lovemaking. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult begins to play as Lauder watches Redman and Goldsmith on the video screen grins a grin that is significantly less rehearsed (and more sinister) than his Cruise approximation.

New episodes of The Stand are available on CBS All Access on Thursdays.

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