After last week’s strong pilot episode of The Mist we had all manner of questions about the creeping condensation that’s taken over the town of Bridgeville. This week, there are fewer lower jaws being entirely removed - oh, yeah, there’re spoilers here so escape now while you still can - and more of a focus on the residents under foggy siege. Episode 2 is honestly quite an odd episode after the first’s bold and bloody start but of course asks more questions than it answers. There are also a couple of nods to the original book just to reassure that it’s not deviating too far from Stephen King’s course.
In terms of storytelling though, it feels like there are some rather odd beats and we could write endless questions about why the police chief has decided to play the stereotypical villain, or why on earth no one thought to lock the church doors after all hell breaking loose outside. Before we sound too salty though, here are the biggest head scratchers we had after viewing.
1. What do the Arrowhead staff know about what’s in the Mist that’s driven them to suicide?
And related to this, why did the Arrowhead agent who tried to use the emergency radio feel the need to pull a gun on Eve instead of letting her go back into the mall? In the novella we know that the mist is a shroud for all the nasties that emerge from a different dimension when a science experiment goes hideously wrong. Seems sensible to assume it’s the same in the TV show, which is probably enough to make anyone fearful enough to take their own life.
However, given that Arrowhead has planted people in the town itself, presumably to keep an eye on things, you’d think they’d have some kind of plan. Or at least be trained well enough to react to something like the mist instead of just taking their own lives when something goes wrong. It’s a very, very strange turn for the story to take. And as for the guy with the radio… that situation between him and Eve escalates way too quickly, and overplays the idea that Arrowhead agents are jumpy and keen to cover things up. Eve herself seems way too comfortable with the fact she’s just murdered another human being too, so we’re chalking this one up to some seriously misguided storytelling.
2. Who was the man that started writing 'Arrowhead' on the floor in blood?
To be clear, it’s definitely the start of the word Arrowhead, even if the clueless inhabitants of the mall can’t work that out. It’s likely the unfortunate guy is another Arrowhead sleeper (how many of them are in that town?), because he clearly knows who is responsible for the mist, and/or who is able to clean it up. He could be scrawling a warning to other people, but it seems hugely unlikely he’d have just overheard something about Arrowhead and decided that’s the last thing he’d write - as he bled out - unless he knew for certain that Arrowhead is thoroughly mixed up in all this. Given the clumsiness of the storytelling in episode 2, however, it may not even matter who this guy is beyond the fact he’s a narrative device to point less observant viewers towards the obvious.
3. Where have all the monsters in the mist gone?
It’s fine. Just say it. The mist seems quieter this episode, instead filled more with more potential threat and carjacking humans than anything significantly nasty. It’s obviously necessary for drama so that we actually have some cast members left but the mist from the movie and novella was innately terrifying in that even spending seconds standing there was too much. Compare that with the moving around everyone is doing in this episode and surviving (urgh!) and it’s clearly necessary from a narrative perspective but does make things feel significantly less threatening. Maybe they’re just waiting for an especially gory episode 3. We can but hope.
4. Who did Mia see in the Mist?
It’s probably her mother, right? An elderly woman with a pet name for her? If that’s pretty much a given, then the question becomes ‘Why did Mia see her mother in the mist’, which opens up a Pandora’s box of possibilities. Does Mia’s social anxiety and criminal background stem from the fact she killed or hurt her mother in some way? She’s already stabbed a guy with a pitchfork, so we know she’s capable. Expect the mist to draw answers out of her as the season goes on.
5. If it can make the dead reappear, what else can the mist do?
So Mia seeing her mother amidst a drug-craving hallucination is one thing but the fact that Bryan saw and heard the figure too means that the mist isn’t just full of literal monsters. This is no ordinary fog, crafting up individual demons to lurk in the white. This is a new step for the villainous vapour and hopefully one that is expanded upon for future episodes. Bugs and creatures are one thing but taking monsters from its victim's imaginations will be an exceptionally interesting premise. Think the horror of the shape-shifting IT from another of King’s books and everything could get significantly nastier.
6. What got in the window of the mall?
While the window was only open a smidge, clearly enough monster came into the mall’s security room and connecting corridor to end two men’s lives. It was clear too by the sound effects that something was lurking while Eve and the Arrowhead employee had their murderous battle in the corridor. We can’t be sure but it definitely didn’t sound small and that shot of Eve standing was just waiting for something enormous to loom out of the mist behind. Whatever it is, the good news is that it’s inside the mall now so hopefully someone can forget to lock that particular door and let us get a good look at the horror at work.
7. Why the hell is the mall supervisor so calm and rational?
Gus Redman, the manager of the mall that people are trapped in, is super chilled about the fact he’s surrounded by a thick mist filled with horrors, and the bodies seem to be piling up both outside and INSIDE his place of employment. There are three possible reasons for this. 1) He’s a super-chill guy, who works well under pressure. 2) He’s an Arrowhead sleeper agent, and doesn’t want to blow his cover by panicking. 3) His character really isn’t acted very well. Right now, we’re leaning towards 3.