The Mist Review: Episode One

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Spike TV’s The Mist has finally premiered and the first episode slowly starts building towards what will be an intense and thrilling season. Keeping fairly faithful to the original source material, a novella of the same name by Stephen King, Spike’s adaptation is keeping the best aspects of the horror while expanding the core premise of the story. Here, we aren’t limited to only one perspective of what’s happening, the entire town has been engulfed in this mysterious mist and not only will we get to see multiple locations dealing with the aftermath, we actually have a couple of different voices showing us this breakdown of events and society. The season premiere very craftily sets that tone, Bridgeville has many stories to tell about this weird mist and this season will be far from a singular view point.

Image Credit: Spike TV

Bridgeville is a small town that holds to it’s small town ideals, unfortunately if you don’t fit into that “norm” you are likely to be ostracized from the collective whole. High school football is the crown jewel of the town, gossip spreads like wildfire, and there are no secrets that go unearthed. Sure, those small town communities can be great, if you’re one who fits into the small town standards, which is evident right away in how some of the characters are treated.

Image Credit: Spike TV

The episode kicks off with Bryan, presumably a military man based upon dress, who cannot remember a single thing about who he is or where he came from. Waking up in the forest just outside of Bridgeville, he is all alone minus his adorable K9 companion, Rufus. If you are not a fan of overly cute German Shepard’s wandering into a misty forest to find a terrible fate, maybe turn away for the next few minutes. As you can (and should) expect, poor Rufus is mauled by something in the mist, sending Bryan scrambling for the nearest town. He tries to warn the local law enforcement that there is something in the mist, but they just assume he’s had a bit too much to drink and toss him in a cell to sober up.

It’s Coming! It’s Coming! – Bryan

The first two-thirds of this episode is dedicated to introducing us to the town and our characters, though the mist does make a scary ass appearance eventually, what’s the point if we don’t have any sort of attachments to the characters who will be affected? Kevin Copeland is a retired journalist turned children’s book author, he loves Bridgeville and loves having his family there. His wife Eve, a teacher at the local high school has angered a majority of parents in town with her up-front, yet realistic approach to sex-ed. Their daughter Alex has her eyes set on the football team’s star player, Jay who just also happens to be the sheriff’s son. And that combination is like winning the power ball when it comes to Bridgeville standards, not only is he adored by the entire town for being a football star but he’s got the top law enforcement official on his side, regardless of what he’s been accused with. Alex’s best friend Adrian is openly mocked by the other kids and adults for being “a freak” when really he is just pan-sexual and probably one of the most level headed in the entire town. We can’t forget Bryan, the possible military man who knew about this terrifying mist first and the crazy next door neighbor Natalie, who is more of a new aged conspiracy junkie than religious fanatic, but the mist could very well change that.

Image Credit: Spike TV

The next portion of the story does feel slightly rushed in order to get to the mist. Basically the entire town is at the school’s football game, they win and decide to have a party later. Alex is invited by Jay but Eve will not let her attend. It’s evident that Alex feels controlled by her mother, maybe even a little embarrassed after Eve was basically fired for her sex-ed course straying from “approved” topics. Kevin agrees that Eve might be a bit too smothering and allows Alex to attend, without Eve’s knowledge or consent, if she can get Adrian to go with her, promise not to drink, and be home by midnight. Of course kids are kids and she ends up not only drinking at the party but passed out completely. Upon wakening she can feel a change in her body and there is blood on the sheet, Adrian is her witness who says that Jay took advantage of her in that state. She gets checked out by a medical examiner and they go to the police to file a report. Eve and Kevin have an argument about him going against her back and her wishes and so she decides to pack up and take Alex away for a little while. They are being targeted (broken windows, spray painted walk in front of the house) over the accusation against the town’s star football player. This is how Kevin ends up at the police station when the mist comes in and Alex is with Eve at the local mall, picking up a prescription on their way out of town.

One of the most evident visuals for the upcoming terror is the sheer amount of bugs found early on in the episode. It’s clear that animals are making their way out of the forest as the mist creeps in but only Natalie seems to really take notice. With everyone in place it’s time for the mist to do it’s thing, which we don’t quite understand yet. Yes people are being attacked and even dying, but we really don’t have any ideas about what this mist is, where it came from, or why it is here. It seems like the mist might have the ability to play off individual’s own unique fears. One officer who gets wigged out by a cockroach early on is then attacked by a heard of bugs in the mist before ultimately being put out of his misery. We see another random community member, terrified out of his mind, asking if Natalie and her husband are real before shooting her husband and then himself in the head. Though this episode isn’t overly graphic, there are definitely some gore scares and I think we can expect more of that in the coming weeks. Nothing so bad you have to look away from it, but enough to leave you with a lasting image. We know that Spike’s thrilling adaptation will show not only the monsters in the mist but also the monsters that humans can easily become when society breaks down far enough, but so far it seems like the mist has some kind of consciousness beyond the limited intelligence the creatures had in the novella.

Image Credit: Spike TV

 

This first episode is done really well and beautifully sets up not only the town but the multiple narrators that we can expect to follow this season. Instead of just jumping right in, we are given a glimpse of what is coming, wetting our appetites and setting up for what will be a tasty payoff. We get to see how the town interacts and functions, on it’s own and see what rules and standards this particular society abide by. With this bit of background and peek into Bridgeville we will better understand the cracks in their society and it’ll be even more rewarding/frightening when we start to see the town and community break down and turn against each other. This season will be just as much about the monsters within ourselves and our neighbors as it will be about the monsters found in the mist. Tonight’s intriguing episode leaves me not wanting to look away from the screen and on the edge of my seat for what will be heading our way next week!

For another look at The Mist episode 1.1 check out this Review Podcast done by fellow Three If By Space writers, Daley Review.

Want to join in on the conversation? Be sure to watch live each week and use the hashtag #TheMist on social media.

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Michelle Harvey