You can rule by fear momentarily, but that’s not going to last.
On The Stand Season 1 Episode 8, when Glen, Ray, and Larry finally got closer to all of the festivities in New Vegas, Glen realized that the house of cards was strained at the foundation.
Using his common sense, Glen stood tall to the end, never placing blame where it wasn’t warranted.
The Kangaroo Court dramatics of the trial presided over by Lloyd and Rat Woman were cringe-worthy at best. That said, it was reminiscent of Idiocracy, and anything that brings that to light is always welcome.
A lot of this production plays out in an embarrassing light. I’ve wondered if it’s because the material didn’t hold up well, or maybe because it just isn’t getting a fair shot by the producers.
But it finally hit me that, politically, both ruling parties of the supposed democracy rule by fear, and the more we see of it in real life, the less entertaining it is elsewhere.
No, I’m not willing to delineate Boulder and New Vegas with either of our political parties, but I am willing to admit that both sides veer too far into Flagg’s territory. Hopefully, you see that, too.
Where are our Glens in this real world? Glen is a terrific character because he’s pragmatic and without a specific faith. He sees both sides of every situation clearly, for better or worse.
You’d think seeing that clearly would be black or white, but he even had trouble convincing his compatriots to see things as he did because they lacked his pragmatism.
While locked in the cage, Glen was talking out loud, not necessarily trying to make a point. He was putting together all of the evidence to support his theory that they had landed in a place that was close to collapse.
While Larry and Ray recalled the atrocities they ran across in the desert as proof of Flagg’s power, Glen saw the opposite. If you have a strong following, you don’t have to put on displays because the faith is strong enough without it.
New Vegas thrives on a pyramid scheme of fear. Flagg reigns, supreme, then his minions, who waver between whether or not they are working with or for Flagg and what that means, lord over the next group and so on to the very bottom.
It’s those at the very bottom of the fear totem pole who probably never leave the poolside because, in order to imagine the many levels of terror above them, they’d have to be wasted 24/7.
Just look at their chosen hotspot. Flagg is at the very top of the hotel, and fear rolls down by the level until you hit the latest dead body in the drained pool or those, like Tom Cullen, responsible for cleaning up that mess.
It was his pragmatism that allowed Glen to stand up to Lloyd, to see Lloyd for the fearful man he was, and to forgive him, even as he was being shot to death before a cheering crowd.
Lloyd was never Flagg’s first choice as his right-hand man. Lloyd was soft and easily manipulated, and Flagg had to hope that was enough.
It wasn’t the first time that we saw Lloyd struggling with good and evil. Much like Harold, he made a poor choice, and every other poor choice after that allowed him to overlook that first terrible decision, justifying his actions going forward.
But then he runs into someone like Glen, who isn’t trying to sway him one way or another. He’s just saying it as he sees it without malice or any particular agenda. Even someone as far gone as Lloyd couldn’t miss the sincerity in Glen’s claims.
And once Lloyd’s resolve started to crumble, everyone’s resolve started to follow, even if not as clearly.
To be sure, the Boulder visitors turned the tide for Randall Flagg.
Larry’s presence shook Nadine out of her Flagg-induced reverie. Everyone who had some contact with kindness without judgment could shake themselves out of their trance, even if just long enough to do one thing right.
Lloyd was prepared to free Larry and Ray, even if he didn’t get the chance. Nadine killed herself and her devil spawn. It’s not just good versus evil that prevailed, but common sense over fanaticism.
And rest assured, not everyone nodding their heads along with that thought is practicing the common sense that I’m talking about.
We’ve lost our way, and pointing fingers does nothing for anybody, but almost everyone does it instead of reading the room and accounting for why something is happening as well as that it is like Glen did.
That’s what makes Glen do heroic. He wasn’t the most beloved of the Boulderites, but he was exactly what was needed for the stand to be successful. Not The Stand, the series, but the stand against Flagg.
He was on the side of common sense, and although he lost his life, Glen was the victor in this battle.
So is it any surprise that Kojak followed suit? He kept Stu from killing himself and directed Tom to Stu’s side. That leaves the new denouement from Stephen King to wrap up the story.
Will it have a parallel as essential to our actual lives as Glen’s riveting crescendo? I guess we’ll find out when we watch The Stand Season 1 Episode 9. Be here to wrap it all up!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.