The End is the first episode of the CBS All Access adaptation of The Stand. It aired on December 17, 2020.
When the "Captain Trips" flu epidemic wipes out more than 99% of the population, the remaining few immune to the disease, including Stu Redman, Frannie Goldsmith, and Harold Lauder, set out in search of other survivors, all the while, experiencing visions of the nurturing Mother Abigail and the menacing figure of The Dark Man.
In Boulder, Colorado, the episode opens in the aftermath of the Captain Trips pandemic that wiped out 99% of the world’s population. A cleanup crew is collecting bodies for mass burials, and one member of the crew, Harold Lauder, is having trouble taking in all the death and bloated, decaying, maggot-covered remains of the victims of the worst flu virus ever created.
Five months earlier, in Ogunquit, Maine, Harold is seen spying on Frannie Goldsmith through a hole in her backyard fence. Frannie is tending to her ill father who was gardening, and this allows for some exposition of the state of the world. Two bullies attack Harold, who attempts to flee on his bike but crashes it.
He walks home along the boardwalk and sees that everyone is sniffling or coughing or showing some signs of sickness — and not a mask is in sight. he goes home to find another rejection letter for his short story that he submitted and we learn his entire family is also sick and in bed. Harold is troubled, which is made very clear as more exposition is dumped in conversations, podcasts, and more.
In a U.S. research facility in Killeen, Texas, Stuart Redman is being held under tight security. Dr. Jim Ellis tells him that he has shown no signs of the flu, so they want to tap him for antibodies. There are flashbacks to the night Stu came in contact with Charlie Campion, a soldier who escaped a lockdown on his military base and is the cause of the virus getting out. Stu learns that all his friends are dead, and he agrees to help the government.
Back in Maine, Harold connects with Fran, and we learn she used to babysit him and he has a huge crush on her. Never mind that Odessa Young looks much younger than Owen Teague. She rebuffs his attempts to help bury her father and he leaves in a huff.
Harold bikes into town and scavenges a firearm from a dead cop and a classic ribbon typewriter, while Fran says goodbye to her father’s corpse. There’s also a fun voice-over cameo by Bryan Cranston as the U.S. president. As day turns to night, Fran has a dream where she’s walking in a cornfield and Abigail Freemantle tells her to come to Colorado. Across town, Harold is awake writing and making plans for his next step.
Back in Texas, Stu and Dr. Ellis are quickly moved to a new secure CDC location in Vermont in the dead of night, and Stu learns just how deeply ineffective the government response has been. Cobb insists that Stu wear a hood to keep the location secret.
In Maine, Harold finalizes his plans to convince Fran to go on his mission, and when he goes to pitch to her, he finds her unconscious in her bathtub with empty bottles of prescription pills scattered around the sink. He pulls her out and induces vomiting to save her and once she is recovered, he tells her his plan. She agrees it’s smart and decides to go with him.
In Vermont, Stu also has a dream on being in a cornfield, but instead of Mother Abigail, he comes face to face with a wolf with red eyes. He wakes up to find that Ellis is now sick, and he tells Stu that many on the base are also infected. He gives Stu a scalpel and tells him to get away from there. Cobb then shows up and tries to kill them both, shooting Ellis before Stu slices his swollen throat with the scalpel. General Starkey then comes over the PA system to direct Stu to his location.
Stu makes it to the command center and Gen. Starkey fills him in on just how bad everything is. He tells Stu how to leave before reading a poem by Yeats and them shooting himself. Stu sees just how bad the circumstances are as he makes his way through the facility. He is finally free as the sunlight blinds him. In Maine, Fran and Harold set off on their trip to the CDC in Atlanta.
Back in present day, in Colorado, Harold and the cleanup crew bury bodies in massive graves.
Harold has his own dream, but instead of a cornfield, he finds himself in the desert, sees the glow of two neon signs of girls, and a wolf appears before him. A spotlight shines upon him from above and follows him as he walks forward. The shadow of a dark man in a denim jacket with a smiley face button pinned to the chest appears and opens his hand, offering him something. Harold realizes that in Boulder, he is a worker, but if he went out west, he could be so much more.
The next day, Harold is walking around the settlement when he comes across a now-showing Fran and Stu, who are obviously together. This is not settling well with Harold, who wants nothing more than to kill Stu and possibly Fran.
In another flashback in Campion, the virus begins to to spread. He follows protocol to lock down the base, but the door mysteriously sticks. He sees his chance to collect his wife and child and escape, so he runs through the door. On the other side, the door is being held by the dark man in the denim jacket. Campion and his family speed away in their car and pass a hitchhiker, who them mysteriously shows up in the backseat of the car.
- James Marsden as Stu Redman
- Odessa Young as Fran Goldsmith
- Owen Teague as Harold Lauder
- Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg
- Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abagail Freemantle
- Hamish Linklater as Dr. Ellis
- Eion Bailey as Teddy Weizak
- Daniel Sunjata as Cobb
- Nicholas Lea as Norris Ridgewick
- Cameron McDonald as Frannie's Dad
- J.K. Simmons as General William Starkey
- Jennifer-Juniper Angeli as Harold's Mom
- Curtiss Cook Jr as Charles Campion
- Spencer Drever as Younger Brother
- MJ Kokolis as Billy
- Harrison MacDonald as Corporal
- Rob McEachern as Vic
- Troy Mundle as Ralph Hodges
- Tebo Nzeku as Sally Campion
- David Parent as Tommy
- Mariessa Portelance as Blood Tech
- Donald Sales as Sergeant
- Veena Sood as Dr. Biswas
- Jesse Stanley as Amy Lauder
- J. Douglas Stewart as Hap
- Bryan Cranston as the President of the United States
- "Changes" by Black Sabbath (when Harold explains his plan to Fran).
- "The Stranger" by Billy Joel (over the closing credits).
|Novel • 2020 Miniseries • 1994 Miniseries|
|Stu Redman • Nadine Cross • Glen Bateman • Fran Goldsmith • Abagail Freemantle • Larry Underwood • Tom Cullen|
|Randall Flagg • Trashcan Man • Julie Lawry • Lloyd Henreid|
|Harold Lauder • Rita Blakemoor • Leo Rockway|
2020 Miniseries Episodes
|"The End" • "Pocket Savior" • "Blank Pages" • "The House of the Dead" • "Suspicious Minds" • "The Vigil" • "The Walk" • "The Stand" • "Coda: Frannie in the Well"|
1994 Miniseries Episodes
|"The Plague" • "The Dreams" • "The Betrayal" • "The Stand"|