'The Mist' recap: 'Show and Tell'
The Moth Man cometh
Things are finally moving in The Mist, and I mean that both in terms of actual plot and whatever is crawling, walking, and straight-up fluttering about in this freaky weather condition. But as with the end of last week, our survivors are still mostly split into two different camps, each with very different experiences.
Gus, Jay, and Kyle the Security Guard are busy working on cutting down the hanging bodies the young jock discovered in the bathroom. As they’re doing so, they discover that the bodies are both wearing dog tags. They’re U.S. Army, no doubt related to Arrowhead. The trio then wheel the corpses back to the food court area where everyone is staying, and Gus announces that they’ll be putting the bodies in the freezer in the supermarket. He then proposes they search everyone for dog tags. It’s a solid plan, but it’s unnecessary, because the fourth and final member of Clint’s group is a private who tries to run away, easily marking himself with a heap of suspicion.
Kyle and Jay hold him while he yells that he’s only a private and therefore isn’t privy to any useful information. Gus questions why his friends would kill themselves. Kyle knows: “Because they know what’s happening out there.” Here, we momentarily cut to Lady Who Was Concerned About Eric in the last episode. She is concerned.
At the same time, Gus is facing down a pair of Game Store Bros (whom I’ve nicknamed “1” and “2”) who don’t respect his sensible rules. They both decide they’re going to go get the bodies to use as bait for whatever’s out there in the Mist killing people. It’s actually not a bad plan. The Jesse Pinkman-Lites take the dead bodies through the bookstore and out into the parking lot. (Aren’t all the doors supposed to be locked?) They then stand there watching.
Only nothing happens, apart from their getting caught by the rest of the group. The private keeps trying to fight them for what they did to his friends, but Gus is able to calm down the situation. He tells the bros that they’re acting like kids, and that maybe this group needs rules. I agree. It’s time these people started thinking long term.
Elsewhere, Eve is trying to connect with Alex, who is clearly depressed on account of being trapped (by Mist!) in a mall with two dead corpses and her rapist, Jay. Eve’s suggestion? Move camps. Alex shouldn’t have to interact with the person responsible for sexually assaulting her. So the pair set out to scavenge more food and some blankets. (I don’t understand why they can’t just move their cushy mattress set-up, but okay.)
Not that it helps. Jay comes up to Alex while she’s looking for supplies and tells her he won’t let her go unless she listens to him. He says he liked her and stood up for Adrian, and that all he did that night was take her upstairs, take off her shoes, and put a blanket on her. Until this point, I’ve been suspicious that Adrian was lying and that Jay was innocent (mostly because of the way things have played out), but with this scene, I’m not so sure. The jock consistently refuses to heed Alex’s desire to be left alone, instead inching closer while saying, “Let me touch you,” as he attempts to gently touch her hand. He eventually does, but then leaves after telling her, “I’m not going to hurt you.” Yeah. Because all of this is normal, reassuring behavior?
Alex goes on to tell Eve what happened, and her mother promises the teen won’t have to deal with this again. They join the rest of the group as they’re coming up with, and voting for, rules by which to live by. (FINALLY.) At first, it starts out simple: ration food, don’t loot stores except for food, no stealing from each other. Then it gets cutthroat as Kyle suggests throwing anyone who endangers the security of the group out into the Mist. Raj calls it murder; Kyle claims self-defense.
Eve wants no part of any of this, which is a wee bit irrational (maybe just ask that Jay be kept away from Alex at all times), but her desire to live separately gains traction (kind of out of nowhere, I might add) as Raj, Kimmy, and another mother and daughter decide to join her. Gus tries to convince them that there’s safety in numbers, Kyle gets angry that not everyone is following the rules, and Jay attempts to convince Alex to tell the truth, but as he approaches her, Eve pulls out Clint’s gun and points it at him. And just like that, we have a subsection within this group of survivors.
After setting up shop in a warehouse area of some kind, this new group follows Alex’s plan to write notes asking for help and tie them to balloons they then release into the Mist. It’s inspired by a childhood memory: Alex’s dad, whom she admits to missing, took her to the mall and got her a red balloon. Aww. (Recap continues on page 2)
Kevin is determined to find his daughter and wife, as he’s convinced they’re still alive. For that, he needs Mia’s help because he’s convinced she can hot-wire a car. However, Connor refuses to let him take either prisoner. I hate to say this, but the police chief makes a valid point — Mia is a criminal. But Kevin says these are extreme circumstances.
This lands both Mia and Brian in the church basement, where they bond as he uses a paper clip to free her from her cuffs and gives her the drugs she stole. He reveals that he can’t remember anything other than his dog Rufus (R.I.P.) — he can’t even remember if he’s gay. Mia cries because she’d give anything to forget like he has.
Back upstairs, Adrian points out that Kevin wouldn’t feel that way about Jay, even though he’s surprisingly forgiving of Mia’s past crimes. It’s a weird moment because Adrian seems oddly comfortable throwing around his best friend’s trauma like it’s no big deal, while Kevin does not seem to really react to this comment. In fact, he doesn’t quite react to anything Adrian seems to say or do, which is weird considering that this kid can be quite rude even when he’s not talking about delicate topics.
In any case, the teen is tasked with keeping guard to make sure no one sees Kevin talk to Mia and Brian through the basement door as he plans their getaway. So Adrian tells Father Romanov that he’s scared, prompting the priest to tell him that God loves him and that his mother also sought refuge with the Church. Adrian says this is because his dad is abusive. He also says that God doesn’t love queer people (though he uses a less acceptable word), but Romanov works to convince him otherwise.
But then Connor jumps in to say that lying is a sin and that Adrian is lying about the rape — if he saw it, why didn’t he stop it? (Not going to lie, I low-key hate how much this episode makes me agree with Connor.) Adrian answers that Jay’s friends held him back. Kevin interrupts this interrogation, only for Connor to make this about them when he victim-blames Alex for drinking (as though that means she deserves to have been raped) and essentially calls Eve a slut. Kevin’s attempt to assault Connor lands him in the basement with the very people he’s trying to save.
While all this is happening, Natalie bonds with the young man who helped her get the wine she needed. He curiously has a giant tattoo of a death’s-head hawkmoth on his back (which looks like it’s right from the Stephen King playbook). She tells him about the critter plague she experienced pre-Mist, adding that she and her husband found out that this happened once before, in 1860.
Moth Man tells her that’s the story of the Black Spring, a bedtime story told to the kids of this town. (Jeez.) He says according to stories, it’s either caused by a curse placed on the town after the murder of a young woman, or it’s the result of an “Indian thing.” He also informs her that he went to prison for six years, so the Mist should have torn him apart.
A little later, Natalie ventures out into the Mist, eager to be reunited with her dead hubby. Here’s where we get my favorite moment of the series so far: Moth Man tries to stop her, but a moth flies into his ears and multiplies within him, causing him to grow moth-like wings and spew out a swarm the same fluttering insects.
Once inside the church, Natalie says she saw God. Romanov argues that that’s not what God is like. She tells him she’s not talking about his God and walks away.
This prompts Adrian to ask Romanov why God didn’t send them anything good. Romanov tells him the story of Job, a man who was tested by God for years after God bet Satan that Job’s faith in God was real. Satan lost. Adrian is left to mull over the words, so he asks for a baptism. After the brief ceremony, the priest seems to reveal his true colors as he repeatedly asks the teen to say he “repents” before hugging him weirdly. (Was anyone else worried about what could have happened?!) Luckily, the weird angle of the hug helps Adrian pilfer the keys to the basement from Romanov’s pocket.
This helps him rescue the four prisoners, who then bust a move out the doors just as Connor happens to walk by. Luckily, Kevin takes him out. Adrian exchanges one last look with Romanov before following the others into the Mist.
The title of this week’s episode (“Show and Tell”) feels a little too on the nose, especially considering The Mist doesn’t quite the do the former, and it does an odd amount of the latter. Romanov’s motivations, for instance, felt a little too sudden (kind of like Clint and Eve’s altercation in the last episode) and out of nowhere, especially for a guy who’s been quite thoughtful and sincere in the way he treats the congregation. Could this be a psychological effect of the Mist? Or is this another sign that we’ll be getting a religious leader of sorts? (I suspect there’ll be two if Natalie gains a following quickly enough.)
Meanwhile, the show goes to weird pains to stress certain details that none of us are questioning (or at least I’m not): a large mall having only one drone; Gus not-so-casually telling Jay, a high school kid who clearly doesn’t care, that the knife he’s using is from a fancy cooking store… It’s a strange choice, almost as if the show lacks confidence that we’ll believe the situation is dire.
Moving forward, I’m hoping we’ll get a few more scenes like this episode’s Moth Man scene, but I’m trying not too get my Mist-y eyed hopes too far up.