‘The Stand’ Ending Explained: How A New Stephen King Coda Finally Gives Frannie The Showdown She Deserves

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the season finale of The Stand, “The Circle Closes.”]

Since its initial launch in 1978, Stephen King‘s The support has had a handful of incarnations. The story, set around a destructive pandemic wiping out much of humanity and the subsequent reformation of two morally divergent societies in its aftermath, always had a beginning, a middle, and an end. But, in 1990, the novel was republished with a substantial update: hundreds of pages that King was forced to cut from the original print (due to what the author pointed out in the preface to his updated book was the “department of accounting “and $ 12.95 price tag) were finally shared in the” full, uncut edition. ”

As King pointed out in the preface to the ’90s version, the additional material provided the opportunity for a richer story, such as adding a confrontation Frannie has with her mother before the world falls apart, when the college student reveals she’s pregnant and about to enter. motherhood on your own. (His own mother doesn’t take it well.)

While that particularly heated scene did not make it to the CBS All Access (soon to be Paramount +) version of the 2020-2021 television show, King himself was able to update his story once again by writing the final episode of this television series. . According to the co-creator of the series Benjamin CavellKing, for many years, wanted to give the heroine Frannie her own “position.”

“He wrote a coda,” Cavell told reporters during an online press conference for the show late last year, and “the big reason he wanted to do the coda, which he had been thinking about for 30 years, it’s just, look, Frannie isn’t going to the ‘stand’ in the book. ”

Here, Cavell references the journey that various members of the Boulder Free Zone committee (including Larry Underwood) make to Flagg-controlled New Vegas at the urging of Mother Abigail, where they undermine the fear that Randall and his henchmen have spread in this “bad place”. “Society and help cause its destruction with your stand. (They have a little help from Trashcan Man who returns with a nuke, as well as an avenging light force forever attacking and killing a variety of characters before the bomb finally explodes, destroying everything on that side.)


Image via CBS All Access

“[Frannie]She is seven or eight months pregnant at the time. He cannot cross the mountains to face the Dark Man, “Cavell pointed out.” So what I’ll say about the coda is that it is [King’s] Planned attempt of the last 30 years to give him his position. ”

And that’s what happens in the final episode of the drama, but it also finds King making alterations to his own material. And it’s worth breaking down the changes to try and unravel their significance. So the new version of King finds Frannie (Odessa young) giving birth not to baby Peter, but to a daughter whom she names Abigail (after Whoopi goldbergthe character of Mother Abigail). TV Stu (James marsden) does not return in time to be there for Frannie, as her now daughter receives, and recovers, from Captain Tripps, but still returns with the help of the great Tom (after Episode 8’s New Vegas nuclear explosion / destruction by Randall Flagg).

When things settle into the Boulder Free Zone, Frannie suggests to Stu that his little family go off on their own, back to their home state of Maine. During her journey, as they stop at a unique farm (Mother Abigail’s OG house in the book) with cornfields and an old water well, TV Fran makes her “stand up”.

Stu keeps busy heading back to a town they saw on their way, scavenging for supplies and baby meds in this off-the-books twist, and while he’s gone, Frannie stands on top of a rickety water well cover while trying to pump H2O. for herself, baby Abby, and Glen Bateman’s late dog Kojak. Although Randall exploded with the rest of his crew in the last episode, he manifests as a murky presence, whispering behind Frannie (he says hello and calls her “bitch”) and she falls to the bottom of the waterhole.

Just like the dream brought everyone visions of Mother Abigail and the Dark Man at the beginning of the book and show, being knocked out in the background of television wide awake Frannie in a dream / nightmare vision of Randall (Alexander Skarsgard), who kicks him next to a tree, leaning against him, with his denim shirt unbuttoned (I suppose it’s pretty damp in dream sequence land?).


Image via CBS All Access

He haunts Frannie, letting her see her broken body from this dreamy other side, and goes over a list of her life-altering injuries from the fall. But, he tells her, she can go back to her body, be fine and go back to her daughter (who is now crying). Oh, and Stu won’t get crushed changing a tire on the way back if Randall can get a kiss from her.

Just a kiss with True BloodThe vampire Eric Randall Flagg? There’s surely more to this deal, Frannie suggests. She is correct. Flagg, the daughter of the devil, also wants to be able to see through her eyes, also known as possessing her, “from time to time.”

So Frannie bites the deal, meaning she leans in to kiss Flagg, but instead of a tender kiss, she bites his bottom lip before rejecting his offer, scolding him, and fleeing into the cornfields. There she meets Mother Abigail, who praises her for taking a stand against evil. She will be rewarded, the late prophet tells Frannie, who also points out that she will live a life long enough to have 70 grandchildren.

It is around this time that Stu returns and discovers that Frannie is at the bottom of a well, something he learns from a young African American we saw earlier in the episode, who lives in a tent in the corn fields of the house of the couple. she paused in, singing a song (coincidentally, the same song Mother Abigail was singing when Fran found her in the dream state). Stu and the ghost, pre-teen mother Abigail (who else could it be?) Drive the truck pulley, while Stu goes down the well to search for Fran who is still unconscious. Once the couple are back on solid ground, the young woman magically heals Frannie (a reward from God for taking a stand?) And then disappears. Stu looks up at the sky, Marsden’s gaze filled with gratitude and understanding.

When things start to wind down, Frannie and Stu actually make it to Maine and we leave them kissing on the rocks overlooking the Atlantic after she hints to him that they are going to have a great brood (Mother Abigail said five more children and 70 grandchildren). It’s a peaceful way to wrap up your story, while the book left us with some troubling questions about the future.


Image via CBS All Access

After spending so much time at Harold’s (Owen teague) deterioration, driven by the version of the program Nadine (Amber heard), The King episode finally gave book readers something the drama had missed: a deep dive into Frannie’s mettle. The book spends a lot of time in her head (much longer than Harold’s), revealing that she is a smart, determined, courageous, and vulnerable young woman, and this new coda gave Frannie depth that the show hadn’t had time to. give. explore previously (remember when Captain Tripps’ handling of the pandemic in the early days was seen primarily through Harold’s eyes in the pilot?).

While Frannie’s story has an entirely new ending, TV Randall Flagg’s conclusion runs parallel to Book Randall’s. Rather than casting another actor to play Randall 2.0, Skarsgård plays the world’s reborn / risen Randall (now with Russell Faraday, no relation to Lost’s Daniel Faraday, we assume). Naked aside from a pair of boots (Book Randall had jeans and boots), he walks toward an indigenous tribe that has not been touched by Captain Tripps. In a small touch up reminiscent of True Blood, Skarsgård’s character makes one of the indigenous men who points a spear at him explode (smearing blood all over his naked body in the style of Eric Vampiro – True Blood revival team, are you watching this?). Scared, they bow down and begin to worship him like in the book, and he regains his powers of television levitation.

More than 1,100 pages of prose is certainly difficult to condense (once again) into a television series. King wrote a behemoth of history, with far more layers to many of the characters and deeper relationships than the show was able to depict. For example, the journey that brought Nadine and Larry together and really explained why she threw herself at him before heading to Flagg. Or Nadine’s strange relationship with mother Abigail. Or the journey that Larry (Caucasian character in the book and African American in the show) went through to become a leader, focused on the good of others rather than his musical and party success, before dying in the nuclear explosion. from New Vegas, how Fran and Stu’s love story unfolded, and much more from Nick and Tom’s perspective).

When season 1 of game of Thrones aired, it was helpful to have read the book (or a friend who read the book), to make sense of it all. Definitely The support It would have benefited from a similar support network with water cooler talks at work or post-party small talk to fill in the current backstories and relationships (and not air during an actual pandemic). The support It had a strong cast and source material, but overall, there was an uneven tone that lingers, despite giving a character a kind of happy ending.

The support is now broadcasting on CBS All Access. For more information, check out our interview with showrunner Ben Cavell and the 21 Best Apocalyptic TV Shows.

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