‘The Stand’ Episode 2 ‘Pocket Savior’: Will Larry Underwood and Rita Blakemoor's love story meet a tragic end?
After ‘The End’ ended on a mysterious cliffhanger about the visions, ‘Pocket Savior’ leans into Larry's love story with Rita Blakemoor
Spoilers for ‘The Stand’ on CBS All Access and Stephen King's 1978 book
Mystery and tragedy fill the second episode of ‘The Stand’. Based on Stephen King's 1978 novel, the tale shifts from introducing Frannie Goldsmith (Odessa Young), Harold Lauder (Owen Teague), and Stu Redman (James Marsden) to showing a glimpse of the lives of Larry Underwood (Jovan Adepo) and Lloyd Henreid (Nat Wolff). Instead of following the linear narrative of the book, the series uses the flashback formula to peep into the characters' lives.
After ‘The End’ ended on a mysterious cliffhanger about the visions, ‘Pocket Savior’ leans into Larry's love story with Rita Blakemoor (Heather Graham) and Lloyd's life behind the bars after a robbery-gone-wrong. Over an hour long, the drama begins with Larry's playing his breakout hit ‘Baby Can You Dig Your Man’ at concerts as the entire band calls in sick after the virus Captain Trips spreads around the world. In the book, his character is quite reckless, immature and self-centered.
A bio describes the character's journey in the book: “He shuts down a wild, drug-fuelled party raging at his rented Malibu beach-house and flees from his debt to a drug-dealer, all the way to his mother's house in Manhattan, in hopes of laying low for a while. His mother, Alice Underwood, has not seen her son in years but grudgingly agrees to shelter him until his next advance check comes in.”
In the show, Larry meets his mother suffering from the after-effects of contracting the virus and dies. Reeling from the shock, he crosses paths with a middle-aged Manhattan socialite and strikes a friendship. Lonely and miserable, the two strike a conversation that soon blossoms into romance. Once they fall madly in love with each other, they plan an escape route.
As they try to flee, Larry discovers that Rita is quite a high-maintenance and crazy partner to travel with. To his utter shock, she is addicted to pills and has several bursts of mood swings. She is needy and even though Larry tries to live up to her demands, their tryst meets a tragic end. In the book, when the couple reach Bennington, Vermont, Rita overdoses and dies at night. Ruled as “seventy percent accident and thirty percent suicide,” the mishap leaves Larry tangled in a web of guilt and he blames himself for her death.
Meanwhile, in the series, we see Rita taking way too many pills that may soon pave the path to an overdose. Nonetheless, in the second episode, Larry doesn't wake up next to her to realize she is dead. Could that be a part of the upcoming episodes? Only time will tell how the makers shed light on that depressing episode from the book. Directed by Tucker Gates and written by Josh Boone & Benjamin Cavell, the episode is a huge improvement after the premiere and the plot tugged at many heartstrings.
Fans are particularly in awe of the tale. “Heather Graham as Rita in #TheStand was absolutely perfect. She was one of my favorite parts of the book, and she absolutely knocked it out of the park,” one fan said and another posted, “Rita was my favorite character this episode. She was the only character I actually felt for, especially when she said it was stupid to survive an apocalypse.”
Some book lovers are conflicted whether what he did right or wrong. “I don't think Larry could have saved her, but he could have treated her better which of course leads to Larry wondering what he could have done differently. I really like the chapter where they first meet. They recollect some of the things they've witnessed in the plague-ridden NYC. It feels like a believable conversation that could happen when two "normal" people find each other in a city that's gone to ruin,” one said and another posted, “Larry treated her really badly, and he knows it. She was definitely one reason he started to become a better person. She wasn’t quite written into the “no great loss” group, but she wasn’t equipped for a the post-Trips world. If she hadn’t met Larry, she probably would’ve been someone who fell down a manhole or accidentally (?) shot herself on the face, or overdosed in the comfort of her own penthouse. Maybe King did an excellent job of writing her as unsympathetic, or maybe I’m just a bad person, but I didn’t feel sorry for her.”
‘The Stand’ premiered on December 17, 2020, with the first episode titled ‘The End’ and subsequent episodes in the nine-episode limited-event series will follow every Thursday on CBS All Access. The second episode ‘Pocket Savior’ premiered December 24 on CBS All Access and the drop time is billed as midnight PT / 1 am MT / 2 am CT / 3 am ET.