Episode Review: The Mist, Pilot

I loved The Mist as a movie and as a novella. I didn’t have high hopes for The Mist as a series, judging by the trailers, but the first three episodes have gotten me interested.

Beware, there shall be spoilers in these reviews.

The Mist set the mood up early in the pilot, showing viewers exactly what sort of show this was going to be when something horribly killed a dog. For many viewers, that’s much more horrific than killing a person. 

You find out pretty quick who the main characters are going to be. You’ve got this homeless soldier named Brian Hunt, who’s hopefully going to avenge the death of the dog. You’ve got a former teacher named Eve Copeland, a progressive teacher surrounded by backwards folk, and Kevin Copeland, who’s scared of his wife. You also have their daughter, Alex, and her (apparently?) pansexual bestie, Adrian.

Very early on, The Mist has people saying “Geeze, I can’t wait to see the monsters rip that town apart.” Bad cops, homophobia, rape culture – I was rooting for the tearing tentacles within the first 15 minutes.  

The cops accused Hunt of drinking when he said something in the Mist killed his dog. This seemed like an idiot ball moment to me. He didn’t say a giant lobster alien killed his dog, he just said something. Do they not have bears or wildcats in those woods? But then Hunt tried to grab their gun, scared to death of whatever was in that Mist. No fault on them for locking him up, but after they questioned him and found out he had no address, they shoved him against the bars for no reason whatsoever other than to be dicks. 

Next you’ve got the teacher, Eve Copeland. She’s been called into the principal’s office because – oh, my god. It’s so hard to even say it. This monster taught sex education that wasn’t abstinence only. There are so many sick people in this world! (Hopefully, you’re reading that with a sarcastic tone of voice). 

So she’s suspended. 

Adrian has to deal with his asshole dad, glaring at him from across the kitchen table after probably forcing the kid to eat with them. Hopefully the homophobe dad gets ate soon. 

We also see a character named Mia, apparently a drug addict. She kills two people when we see her, both of them assholes (which seems to be a pattern in this episode), and shows she’s badass by escaping the first asshole and kicking his ass. 

The central plot seems to revolve around Alex, who was drugged and raped at a party. Adrian saw her carried upstairs by a generic football player with a more generic name, Jay. Because Jay was apparently the town football icon, and because the town is very rural and very conservative, the town started blaming Alex and accusing her of lying. 

After we get through the Eve and Kevin Copeland “Just shut up and get divorced” plot, we see a nameless evil mother hen character chewing out Eve for daring to teach about sex. And damn this lady was a good actor. Just the way she said “sex”, like she was spitting out shit that accidentally got in her mouth somehow. She then passes by Alex, calling her an attention seeking liar, and walks out the door to a well-deserved death. 

 With the Mist covering the town, Jay’s dad, Chief Heisel, let Mia and Hunt out of their cells and ran to save his own candy ass. 

You are going to hate this character as the show goes on.

We also get a brief introduction to Natalie Raven, who was having a sweet walk through the Mist with her husband when some guy, freaking out, points a gun at them and asks the husband if he’s real. Not willing to take the husband at his word that he’s a real person, he decides that shooting him will prove if he’s real or not. Apparently, he was and the guy shot himself in shame, leaving traumatized Natalie to find her way to safety.

Impression

I initially feared The Mist would rely on the gore to keep audiences interested while ignoring the need for good characters and story. I was completely, 100 percent wrong. The Mist series does what the movie did: it uses the violence to express the horrifying reality of the world they live in, but the power in this show rests in the characters and story. Which are the most important things. 

Another thing I noted that this show has several over-the-top, unbelievably asshole characters. This was something I also noted in the movie, which had me saying “Oh my god, you can’t be this stupid!” 

This is an important clue that the writers studied the film extensively for what made it work. And this is exactly what I was hoping for.

I am hella excited about this series. I loved the novella, I loved the movie. But both created entire worlds of possibilities that were never really explored. Finally, we get a chance to see how human beings survive in this new world.

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