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The Stand: The Circle Closes

Hi! My name is Kojak! I’m a character in the CBS All-Access limited series adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. I’m a dog!

I’m really excited to review the last episode and finally get my say, because I didn’t get a flashback episode in this series, and neither did Frannie.

If I had gotten a flashback, it would have been sad. In the book, Glen leaves me behind on the East Coast because he can’t figure out how to give me a ride on his motorcycle. I have to make my way to Boulder all alone, and in Nebraska I fight off the evil weasel minions of Randall Flagg. I am very brave in the book, but I’m glad that I didn’t have to go through that again!

(If you’re wondering how I know about other iterations of my character, or even how I’m aware of the existence of the great Sai King, don’t overthink it! Dogs don’t! We’re not cats.)

Frannie didn’t get a flashback in this limited series because it’s inherently sexist, but she did feature in the first episode (in which she had to be rescued from a suicide attempt by Harold) and in this last episode, in which she had to be rescued from a well accident by Stu. I wish the creators had given us a chance to know the Frannie that I know! She’s a great human with many fine qualities, and she doesn’t need to be rescued that often. I’m not sure why they chose to focus on that. Humans are weird!

The original title for this episode was listed on IMDb as “Frannie In the Well,” and that’s a reference to a great show called Lassie! I used to watch Lassie in the Before Times with my first family, who all died of the superflu, which was sad and lonely-making. That show helped me understand my purpose in life: rescuing humans from their own idiocy.

You may have missed it, since the creators cut a lot of my scenes, but I put some of my Lassie-inspired knowledge to work in last week’s episode. Remember when Stu broke his leg? I kept him alive! I hunted for food so he didn’t starve. I cuddled with him at night so he didn’t die. I’m not saying I’m the hero of the show. (I’m not a cat!) I’m just pointing out that I had some good moments, and that a cat probably wouldn’t have done the same things.

That was a sad episode, last week, because I lost my second family, Glen. But then I got to join Stu and Frannie and Abby, and they’re my third family. I like them most of the time, even though Stu is one of those older men who likes to quiz younger women on outdated popular culture. But he’s also a car singer, and car singers are fun! Maybe three times is the charm, and they won’t all die like the other humans I’ve cared for!

They don’t die in this episode, despite doing stupid things. Who decides to move to rural Maine just as summer is ending? Did they decide that because all the humans left in Boulder were such terrible dancers? Who decides to climb onto an abandoned rickety well with no one around for thousands of miles? Why didn’t they stop at the store before staying at the farmhouse? Why are humans so silly? Is that why they die all the time and leave me alone?

Luckily, I was there. I took care of baby Abby, who is very charming and only sometimes pulls my tail. And I got to watch the Mystical Black Girl save Frannie from the well. I It was a silly racist trope, but at least Frannie is okay!

(There was a turtle sculpture in the farmhouse. I wonder if the girl is linked to the turtle Maturin, who is the Guardian of one of the Beams of the Dark Tower? We learn about him in Stephen King’s seven-book series of the same name. It’s a great series!)

When Frannie was down the well, she had a vision of Randall Flagg. I call him the Bad Man. He tempted her but she resisted by biting his lip. Randall Flagg is now Russell Faraday, and he’s going to try Big Evil again. But Frannie is okay!

Frannie also had a vision of Mother Abigail, who told her she that her descendants would repopulate the earth. That’s exciting! I wish I could meet a nice dog so we could repopulate the earth, too. But sometimes it’s better not to think about sad things.

This episode was written by Stephen King himself! It was…fine! I’m a dog and I’m easy to please as long as no more of my humans die. I think I liked this episode more than Josie, who doesn’t have much to say, which is unusual for her.

Thanks for reading my review! Here's some Patsy Cline to make you sad!

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. I don’t watch The Stand but this review was brilliant! Haha :)

  2. Sigh. I'm not sure if I want to watch this finale or not. I think the worst thing about this adaptation was how it made Frannie into a damsel in distress, and clearly, that's how it ends, too. I was hoping that Stephen King writing it would make a difference.


    Kojak, you did a marvelous job reviewing this episode. I hadn't realized how much sense it makes that a dog would use so many exclamation points. :)

    Seriously, Josie, thank you for reviewing this series and I'm so sorry it was such a poor adaptation of a book we both loved so much.

  3. Thank you, Valkyrie and Billie!

  4. Kojak, you were the most charismatic member of the cast! I think the whole series would've been better had it focused on your story. Goldens rule!

  5. Thank you, my Unknown new friend!

    [wags tail]

  6. JRR Tolkien might have written the most well known fantasy trilogy ever. He wasn't a great writer though IMO. His military background is obvious as the books contains page up and down with detailed descriptions of battles. It's really not that interesting unless you are a military strategist student. When it comes to describing the characters, Tolkien didn't bother. They are mostly very one-dimensional. However, as a reader, you tend to flesh out the characters yourself. That's the power of books. So it all kind of works anyway.
    Making films out of books like these is hard. The director/writers need to flesh out the characters to make them work on the big screen. Peter Jackson tried to do that in his adaptions of the Tolkien thrilogy, but he mostly focused on describing this fantasy universe. So the films worked.

    Stephen King falls into the same category as Tolkien IMO. He masters the supernatural/horror genre brilliantly, but he is not a good writer. His characters are also very one-dimensional, everything is often very black/white, heaven or hell, good vs evil etc. For me, he also has this annoying habit of having religious themes with obnoxious crazy religious people in his work. This often feels very dated and middle-age-y to me. King's Christian upbringing is very apparent here.
    His novels work though, as again, as a reader you tend to flesh out the characters yourself. But it gets problematic when you try to turn his work into the big screen/small screen.

    This was not a good series. The directors/writers relied too much on the source material which was good horror/supernatural-wise but very poor character-wise. Books and films are two very different things and directors/screenwriter's tend to forget that.

  7. TJ, I encourage you to read more of King's other non-horror work: 11/22/63, The Dark Tower series, the Different Seasons anthology, etc. Because I assure you, he IS a good writer. He's just such an insanely prolific writer that not everything he produces is good; although, I think that tends to happen with anybody who has a steady output of work. Anyway, I don't see how a brilliant mastery of writing in the supernatural/horror genre does not, by itself, equate to being considered a "good writer."


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