The Mist Episode 3 Review: Show and Tell

Close quarters is taking its toll on the social fabric, but beauty is on display in The Mist’s Show and Tell.

This The Mist review contains spoilers.

The Mist Episode 3

The Mist, episode 3, “Show and Tell,” brings separation anxiety to the scattered groups, even as the encroaching haze forces them closer together. The series continues to expand on the premise of Stephen King’s book, sometimes getting lost in new minutiae, but culminating in a transcendent visual extravaganza.  

The episode opens in the church, where Kevin Copeland (Morgan Spector) and the group he led from the local jail is enjoying the same precarious shelter as police chief Connor Heisel (Darren Pettie). But just because they call it sanctuary doesn’t mean it’s a safe space as the top cop continues his pissing contest with the father of the girl his son is accused of raping. First Heisel responds to an urge for a bit of clemency by locking up Mia (Danica Curcic) and Bryan (Okezie Morro) in the church basement, then he sets his sights on Adrian Garff (Russell Posner), who is the only witness to the assault. The line of questioning is so bad it drives the town’s most openly gay teen into the folded hands of the priest Father Romanov (Dan Butler), who decides to wash unrepentance right out of his hair.

It turns out that Bryan is a gracious, if suspicious, enabler, and Mia has a sense of humor. But Morro and Curcic are playing with double-blinds. He is trying to be himself, but doesn’t remember who that is. She knows who she is and is keeping it a secret. We know she’s more than a murder suspect because we’ve seen her kill, and she looked pretty proficient at it. We know she’s hiding some deep shit in repression and we know she’s hiding pills.

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On the other side of town, mall manager Gus Redman (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) is losing what little control he has over the shoppers. His first mistake is trying to come up with some rules. At first, it seems like a good idea, with people throwing in mostly helpful suggestions. Of course, the geeks at the game shop crack wise beyond their years and offend everyone’s sensibilities with their half-assed experiments in terror.

Kevin’s wife Eve (Alyssa Sutherland) is the first to rebel and break from the crowd. She’s dealing with her own claustrophobic scenario. She and her daughter Alex (Gus Birney) are locked inside a mall with the spooky ass jock Jay (Luke Cosgrove). Alex is more uncomfortable with her accused rapist than she is with the whole mist thing, typical self-absorbed teen. The mom offers comfort as she can. She swears she is “working on that part.” Is that false bravado or a veiled threat? Is Eve going to toss the jock outside to defend himself in the mist? The mall manager already suggested that as a possible punishment for rule-breakers.

Jay makes the situation worse by trying to prove to Alex that he’s an honorable guy by stalking her and pushing his un-molesting hands on her. A sure way to make her feel safe, he assumes, because he has a brooding presence that could never be mistaken as a threat under his letterman jacket. Jay is so trustworthy he’s become a kind of ad hoc second in command at the mall. He knows how to fly drones, that’s enough to prove he’s got no underhanded motives.

The series also continues to piece together the original source of the mist itself. Something like this happened in 1860, which the town remembers as Black Spring. A whole mythology rose out of one bad season and even infected Christmas, with kids being threatened with a local Krampus. Mythology and urban legends are big topics for Stephen King and it seems a good go-to for fans who only caught it subliminally while reading the book. The town has its dark secrets, like all small towns, though most don’t necessarily sit near an army base surrounded by conspiracy theories. The two people who hung themselves at the end of the last episode are military. This is consistent with the book, except there they weren’t hiding the fact they were military. Here everything is hidden under more layers of intrigue.

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The bugout scene in the mist outside the church is the high point of the night. It’s gross and somehow reverential. It conjures both the horrific evil that lurks beyond reason as well as a kind of twisted angelic comfort. This isn’t lost on Natalie Raven (Frances Conroy), who is susceptible to a kind of rebirth now that she’s lost her husband to the insanity that comes from the deep overcast. In the book, the corresponding character Miss Carmody comes a witchy holy roller without any apparent pagan leanings. Sure, she still winds up wanting to sacrifice someone to appease the mist, but it is the Christian thing to do. Here when Father Romano tries to dispel the post-traumatic religious spell, Natalie tells him “I’m not talking about your god.”

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Conroy makes this line creepy as hell because she infuses it with a kind of innocence mixed with some kind of hidden knowledge. This is that character’s turning point. She has no visible guilt about the collateral damage she causes on a good-hearted, if bad-living, young man. She only has a new resolve. No, she no longer wants to die, been there and done that, Natalie Raven wants to find her place in the new order.

A lot of the tension growing on The Mist seems tacked on. Does the show need the rivalry between Kevin and the cop, compounded by the rape allegations when there is already enough to deal with in that church? Does the jock have to be locked inside the mall with the same girl he is accused of terrorizing? Maybe this will come out to be one of the mist’s modus operandi: Contriving events so that the people who are most at odds with each other will be forced into close quarters with those who are exactly on opposing ends.

The book’s simple breakdown of one small society didn’t need the added weight of too many personal burdens to prove everyone could be an asshole given the chance. You don’t need a policeman’s badge. You could be kid who cleans up aisle 4.

“Show and Tell” was written by Peter Biegen and directed by Nick Murphy.


3.5 out of 5