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S01.E10: Must/Can't

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The group finds itself in a climactic showdown in their last-ditch effort to root out El Coco.

Original Air Date: March 8, 2020

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Ah, Andy. We all knew you were a dead man walking, but it still sucked.

I said last week it was smart taking out Alec first, he was the one most likely to know what to do against a sniper with the high ground.

R.I.P. Alec, Seale, Andy, Howie.

 

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RIP Andy, Howie, Seale and Alex.  Snakebit Jack was a dumb way end to his reign of terror.  I had an eyeroll at that.  

After 10 hours of this, I didn't find the ending worth the time I spent watching.   Is that how the book ended?  I'm not thrilled with that "is Holly next?" credits reveal.  Not sure I care.

Edited by patty1h
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So... smashing its head gets rid of it?

(for a minute there, I thought Ralph was going to fire his gun to trap both of them in the cave)

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So it scratched Holly. I thought I would care but, eh oh well.

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26 minutes ago, tomsmom said:

So it scratched Holly. I thought I would care but, eh oh well.

The thing is, if Holly had any inkling of being scratched by El Cuco, like that big scratch on her forearm, wouldn’t she be freaked out? Seems like a fake tease for the audience.

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27 minutes ago, patty1h said:

RIP Andy, Howie, Seale and Alex.  Snakebit Jack was a dumb way end to his reign of terror.  I had an eyeroll at that.  

After 10 hours of this, I didn't find the ending worth the time I spent watching.   Is that how the book ended?  I'm not thrilled with that "is Holly next?" credits reveal.  Not sure I care.


Will answer book question generally:

Spoiler

The ending was similar. Alec and Howie die; Seale and Andy aren’t in the book. Jack was bitten by a rattlesnake, but he didn’t invite it to do so, and Ralph killed him. In the book, Holly killed him by bashing The Outsider’s head in with an athletic sock filled with ball bearings — something she learned in other King books. Also in the book, Claude wasn’t at the cave.


Having Holly scratched at the end was a tropey tweak, but nothing would happen to her since El Cuco is dead. 

On the whole, I really enjoyed the series and hope they have another based on Ms. Erivo’s Holly. 

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This show really suffered from having a 10 episode series when 8 would have been MORE than sufficient. As much as I liked Andy, he was pointless, there were better ways to help develop Holly than to give her a boyfriend. She was so intriguing on her own, I would have much preferred the show to develop the ties between Ralph, Holly, Alec, Sablo and Howie. Things just felt very flimsy between that core group of 5. Glory seemed like she'd be a bigger presence and then...she really wasn't.  Plus, I always felt that the series would ultimately bring Ralph and Holly to a greater kinship, of sorts because we knew it would always come down to the 2 of them fighting this thing together and then it...didn't happen.  It just kind of sputtered along from the beginning to the end.  Even the shootout felt disorganized and awkward. Holly shouting "Damn you to hell!" felt like it should have been a MOMENT and yet, it fell flat. The actors all did their best, but the material was not there for them.  And that teaser? As IF Holly would ever keep any fear about a scratch secret from Ralph. She would never. A cheap ass scare tactic.

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I didn't really recognize those two boys that Ralph saw in the cave, but going by their age range, I suspect one was his son and the other was the Peterson kid who killed Terry?  Am I close?

Also Holly asked "who's Terry?" while in the cave.  You mean Ralph never explained about the man who was the first victim in their town?  

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Did Andy drive back after he got down the road and that let him get shot?

You wouldn’t expect these people to know how to deal with a sniper who’s a better shot than them but they seemed to unnecessarily put themselves in danger, like Andy trying to make a run for it and especially if he came back for some reason.

Or Howie trying to pull him out when he was probably dead or Claude’s brother being out in the open or Holly screaming at Jack, though miraculously, that broke El Cuco’s spell and Jack stopped, then killed himself.

In all cases they were trying to do the right thing but made themselves easy to get picked off.

Then the conversation in the cave, kind of ridiculous.  Nor did we really need to see the aftermath where they try to give the cops a plausible story, so that they’re not looked upon as kooks.

 

HBO is calling it a season finale.  I would hope Lehane and Price would have the integrity to decline doing another season, though they may be tempted by the money and the popularity of this miniseries to do it again.  Of course HBO could also hire someone else to do it.

 

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In their “version” of what happened did they pin the Frankie Peterson murder on someone else?

 

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I agree with the comments here.

I thought the ending was very poor, except for the actors who did their best. I'm really sorry I stayed until the end.

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Also, what about Maria in New York? Are Ralph, Sablo and Holly really just going to let her remain incarcerated for a murder they KNOW she didn't commit? They fabricated this partner of Jack's, who's the real killer, to exonerate Terry, but what about Heath and Maria, the other victims that we're aware of?  It was unsettling the way a couple of episodes it seemed the group was okay with Jack or El Cuco grabbing another child to murder, and now there's no resolution for Maria in prison?  Just really sloppy stuff.

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30 minutes ago, scrb said:

Did Andy drive back after he got down the road and that let him get shot?

You wouldn’t expect these people to know how to deal with a sniper who’s a better shot than them but they seemed to unnecessarily put themselves in danger, like Andy trying to make a run for it and especially if he came back for some reason.

Or Howie trying to pull him out when he was probably dead or Claude’s brother being out in the open or Holly screaming at Jack, though miraculously, that broke El Cuco’s spell and Jack stopped, then killed himself.

In all cases they were trying to do the right thing but made themselves easy to get picked off.

Then the conversation in the cave, kind of ridiculous.  Nor did we really need to see the aftermath where they try to give the cops a plausible story, so that they’re not looked upon as kooks.

 

HBO is calling it a season finale.  I would hope Lehane and Price would have the integrity to decline doing another season, though they may be tempted by the money and the popularity of this miniseries to do it again.  Of course HBO could also hire someone else to do it.

 

Andy was killed and the car rolled forward. His initial idea was to leave to an area he could get a cell signal. 

The goal of the plausible story was to get Terry’s name cleared as much as to not look like kooks. 

This plays out more or less similarly in the book. 

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1 hour ago, patty1h said:

Also Holly asked "who's Terry?" while in the cave.  You mean Ralph never explained about the man who was the first victim in their town?  

Glory was at the initial meeting when Holly explained her theory and Glory walked out. Maybe the writers forgot?

I haven’t even finished the last half hour of it because it got too stupid. Do we really need to have a prolonged cave search? It wasn’t even an interesting prolonged cave search.

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1 hour ago, scrb said:

 

HBO is calling it a season finale.  I would hope Lehane and Price would have the integrity to decline doing another season, though they may be tempted by the money and the popularity of this miniseries to do it again.  Of course HBO could also hire someone else to do it.

I couldn’t believe it when I read on this site’s homepage that this dreck is getting a second season. 

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I really enjoyed this show and thought the finale worked rather well. 🤷‍♀️ There was a little “About the episode” thing afterwards that went into detail about the last two episodes. 

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Did I miss the explanation about the dead boy that was found last week... a red herring, I guess.

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First few episodes were great before it descended into tedium and predictability. Should have been 6 hours tops.

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I actually enjoyed the finale, but I agree with everyone else, that this should have been eight episodes max.

I thought the shoot-out at the cave was quite gripping even though I kinda knew how it was going to play out from reading the book.

And I agree, the conclusion where the creature is supposedly vanquished is a bit of a lame let-down, but the show pretty much stuck to how the book played out, and as anyone who is a Stephen King fan knows, Uncle Stevie can write hair-raising page-turning beginnings to his novels, but often has trouble sticking his landings. This book unfortunately was no different. Valiant performances by the actors though - especially from Mendelsohn. 

I actually thought the movie might do a twist at the end:

Spoiler

 with Holly and Ralph not realizing it was real Claude crushed and killed, and faux not-Claude pretending to be injured and exiting the cave with Holly and Ralph.

I'm also not too horrified by the thought of a second season, especially if Price and Lehane are involved again as writers - I thought they made a lot of improvements to the original material from the novel, and they could potentially write something new and interesting. i thought the actor's performances were uniformly great, and felt like they were really starting to gel as a team in the finale.

RIP Andy, I knew you were a goner, but you were a gud'un.

3 hours ago, patty1h said:

I didn't really recognize those two boys that Ralph saw in the cave, but going by their age range, I suspect one was his son and the other was the Peterson kid who killed Terry?  Am I close?

I wasn't sure who those kids were supposed to be either, but that's a good guess. At first I thought they might be the two kids trapped in the old-timey cave-in, but their clothes were modern.

I missed the bit about Holly getting a scratch, so I'm very glad for the eagle-eyed people on these forums!

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4 hours ago, Cheezwiz said:

 

I missed the bit about Holly getting a scratch, so I'm very glad for the eagle-eyed people on these forums!

You needed to stay for a scene they put at the end of the credits.

I was sure your spoilered twist was what was going to happen, too.

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So, after ten episodes, no twisty ending, no irony at all, other than Ralph getting half the episode to vindicate Terry so he feels better about himself. Fuck you Ralph. If it wasn’t for your arrogance and bullheadedness, they could’ve stopped him sooner.

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9 hours ago, patty1h said:

 

Also Holly asked "who's Terry?" while in the cave.  You mean Ralph never explained about the man who was the first victim in their town?  

Yeah, I don’t understand that response either.

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@Cheezwiz my husband and I had the same conversation last night about King's problem sticking his landings. The recent It film adaptation made light of this as well. There's something about his work (and/or how screenwriters and directors approach it) which makes that problem bigger on the screen than it is on the page, too.

Just curious - why did you hide a hypothetical that did not happen behind a spoiler tag? I don't want to run afoul of the forum rules (of which I've been a member since the TWoP exodus to Previously.TV, but tend not to post too much about primetime, scripted series).

 

11 hours ago, patty1h said:

RIP Andy, Howie, Seale and Alex.  Snakebit Jack was a dumb way end to his reign of terror.  I had an eyeroll at that.  

After 10 hours of this, I didn't find the ending worth the time I spent watching.   Is that how the book ended?  I'm not thrilled with that "is Holly next?" credits reveal.  Not sure I care.

 

That's how we felt. I enjoyed the series as a whole, but found the finale a big letdown, and I didn't like Holly's scratch. If the thing is dead, and they want to continue the series, let it be a new case every season.

 

10 hours ago, patty1h said:

I didn't really recognize those two boys that Ralph saw in the cave, but going by their age range, I suspect one was his son and the other was the Peterson kid who killed Terry?  Am I close?

Also Holly asked "who's Terry?" while in the cave.  You mean Ralph never explained about the man who was the first victim in their town?  

 

I didn't recognize the boys either. I wondered if they were Claude's relatives who were buried in the old cave-in.

Holly's "Who's Terry?" seemed ridiculous. Holly presented her theory to Terry's widow, who flipped out in front of her.

Also though, did Ralph really kill the monster? I kind of thought he said it wasn't killable right before he smashed in its face.

Edited by General Days
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One question:  In the end credit scene where Holly sees a face in the mirror behind her - I blinked and didn't see it.  Whose face did she see?

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53 minutes ago, patty1h said:

One question:  In the end credit scene where Holly sees a face in the mirror behind her - I blinked and didn't see it.  Whose face did she see?

I thought it was Jack.

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Wow, that was a tense shootout.

The rest, meh. I couldn't even tell you the plot of the final episode or how it was wrapped up. Is that me, or is that faulty storytelling? And for a show that was super dark all the time, we end...in a cave.

RIP, Andy.

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I'm not sure I understand what happened at the end. Were they pinning the murders on Jack? Or someone else, someone they made up? I wasn't clear on any of that. 

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15 hours ago, Cheezwiz said:

I actually enjoyed the finale, but I agree with everyone else, that this should have been eight episodes max.

I thought the shoot-out at the cave was quite gripping even though I kinda knew how it was going to play out from reading the book.

And I agree, the conclusion where the creature is supposedly vanquished is a bit of a lame let-down, but the show pretty much stuck to how the book played out, and as anyone who is a Stephen King fan knows, Uncle Stevie can write hair-raising page-turning beginnings to his novels, but often has trouble sticking his landings. This book unfortunately was no different.

Valiant performances by the actors though - especially from Mendelsohn. 

I enjoyed the finale and the series as a whole. Sure, it could have been compressed into a few less episodes but that fact didn't detract from the show for me. The casting was brilliant. I could watch those actors endlessly, especially Mendelsohn and Winningham.

My son read the book and warned me about the ending (without providing any specifics). Having read a ton of King's novels, I am well aware of the "let down" endings. I've accepted that most of his tales are about the journey and not the destination. I can live with that.

The shoot-out in front of the cave was incredibly tense. Screaming "get down" at the TV had no affect. Andy, Howie, Seale and Alec deserved better.

Edited by Ellaria Sand
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8 hours ago, General Days said:

Just curious - why did you hide a hypothetical that did not happen behind a spoiler tag? I don't want to run afoul of the forum rules (of which I've been a member since the TWoP exodus to Previously.TV, but tend not to post too much about primetime, scripted series).

@General Days, my hypothetical plot twist probably didn't need to be spoilered, I was just being hyper-aware, as I've had other seemingly innocuous things put in spoiler tags by moderators in the past.  : )

Sometimes I can't tell which things can be freely discussed  so I'm erring on the side of caution.

 

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5 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I'm not sure I understand what happened at the end. Were they pinning the murders on Jack? Or someone else, someone they made up? I wasn't clear on any of that. 

It sounded like on the show they were fabricating an accomplice of Jack's, but I couldn't get a grip on the details. They concocted some sort of story in the book as well, but I can't remember the specifics of how it worked.

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8 hours ago, stacyasp said:

When did holly get scratched ?

I went back and watched the mid-credits scene after I read that there was one. I don’t even remember her getting close enough to El Cuco to get scratched. And I think the character is interesting enough to base a second season on a completely new storyline, and not going back to this boring well a second time. 

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21 hours ago, Auntie Anxiety said:

Glory was at the initial meeting when Holly explained her theory and Glory walked out. Maybe the writers forgot?

I thought they were trying to alert us that it wasn't Holly but that is was her doppelganger. My reaction when she said it was "Oh shit, no!" In the cave she was persistent in asking El Cuco if there were others like him. So maybe she was scratched by another creature at some other time? Am I completely off the mark? I mean, why was she so insistent in trying to learn whether there were others like El Cuco? And more importantly why did she say "Who's Terry". There is no way would Holly forget she knew who Terry was. El Cuco had some of Claude's memories but not all of them. Then at the end we see her reading up on the Peterson case as if she isn't familiar with it. So is it actually another El Cuco creature and not Holly? Maybe her comment “an outsider recognizes an outsider” wasn’t about Holly at all. I'm sure there are holes in this theory, but I can't think why else she would ask who Terry was. And it was strange about her being so adamant to know if there were other creatures like El Cuco around.

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On 3/8/2020 at 10:14 PM, tomsmom said:

So it scratched Holly. I thought I would care but, eh oh well.

Did she get scratched by El Coco or was it from the falling rocks?

I'm glad that the demon didn't revert to it's "real" face when it was fading.  It was much creepier to have it rifle through the past forms it had appropriated.   I'm also glad the mystery of the lamps was solved.  El Coco was just picky about what style he had in the cave.  lol

I enjoyed this series.  It combined the slow burn of a visceral crime mystery with Stephen King's more usual supernatural horror.     The tying up of loose threads at the end was much more Dennis Lehane than King, but I appreciated closing the story and seeing Glory and the girls maybe kind of getting to move on a bit from here.

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On 3/8/2020 at 10:08 PM, patty1h said:

I didn't really recognize those two boys that Ralph saw in the cave, but going by their age range, I suspect one was his son and the other was the Peterson kid who killed Terry?  Am I close?

Also Holly asked "who's Terry?" while in the cave.  You mean Ralph never explained about the man who was the first victim in their town?  

On The Watch podcast, Andy Greenwald said he spoke to someone involved in the production and got answers to both those questions. 

- You're right about the boys. Ralph's dead son and the Peterson brother who shot Terry

- The "Who's Terry?" line was just supposed to be an indication that Holly was going along with the cover-up. A "This conversation never happened," "What conversation?"-type response.  

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I thought they were trying to alert us that it wasn't Holly but that is was her doppelganger.

The real person would have the scratch, not the doppleganger. The doppleganger gets the DNA from scratching someone so he can shape-shift into that person.

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1 hour ago, Stampiron said:

On The Watch podcast, Andy Greenwald said he spoke to someone involved in the production and got answers to both those questions. 

- You're right about the boys. Ralph's dead son and the Peterson brother who shot Terry

- The "Who's Terry?" line was just supposed to be an indication that Holly was going along with the cover-up. A "This conversation never happened," "What conversation?"-type response.  

Thank you for both answers. Ralph's son and the Peterson brother make sense.

The "Who's Terry" thing -- since that's what it was supposed to be -- was not well-placed.

19 hours ago, Cheezwiz said:

@General Days, my hypothetical plot twist probably didn't need to be spoilered, I was just being hyper-aware, as I've had other seemingly innocuous things put in spoiler tags by moderators in the past.  : )

Sometimes I can't tell which things can be freely discussed  so I'm erring on the side of caution.

 

Thank you! I hope I didn't come across as trying to call you out or anything. I get confused and try to err on the side of caution, too.

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20 minutes ago, General Days said:

Thank you for both answers. Ralph's son and the Peterson brother make sense.

 

Especially since the sight of the two boys is what made Ralph go back and finish off the demon.  If he didn't, the demon might somehow recover and another kid could die.   Crushing his head made sure.  It was good that they showed that doing it was emotionally tough for Ralph.  

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2 hours ago, Stampiron said:

- The "Who's Terry?" line was just supposed to be an indication that Holly was going along with the cover-up. A "This conversation never happened," "What conversation?"-type response.  

50 minutes ago, General Days said:

The "Who's Terry" thing -- since that's what it was supposed to be -- was not well-placed.

Thanks for this info. I'm not sure that the explanation on the podcast is valid.

I agree that it wasn't well-placed. Didn't she say "Who's Terry" in the cave? If so, why would she need to go along with the cover-up while in the cave? The people in the cave were Ralph, El Cuco and maybe Claude.

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Thanks for this info. I'm not sure that the explanation on the podcast is valid.

It probably is, but it's one of those very frustrating things where you only understand a show after you've read interviews with the writers and producers after the fact. Which means they did a crap job of presenting the story in an understandable way.

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4 hours ago, General Days said:

Thank you for both answers. Ralph's son and the Peterson brother make sense.

The "Who's Terry" thing -- since that's what it was supposed to be -- was not well-placed.

I agree. It made no sense in the context of the scene (to me anyway).

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Oh Steven King. The man has written a lot of great stories...and a lot of questionable endings. This was rather anti-climactic, but at least it was not utterly ridiculous and silly like some stories. 

So sad to see Andy go, even if it was inevitable. Poor Holly, she found the perfect guy, and he gets set on fire by the Renfield of some shape shifting asshole. So what was that ending? A fake out? Holly getting some residual psychic energy? 

Count me as confused by the "Whos Terry" comment. Holly did so much research on this case, met Terry's wife (and was cussed out by her) and has generally been a ridiculously, even supernaturally, observant and knowledgeable person, no way would she not know Terry, the guy who started all of this. At least Terry was finally vindicated, even if it was after death, so hopefully everyone in town starts lining up to apologize to Glory and her family, especially the school that expelled her daughters for being bullied. Assholes. 

Weird ending, but I am still glad I watched. 

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The one thing I didn’t like is when Holly was looking at her computer and it had an article saying 

Terry Matland                                                                                                                              

Child killer

exonerated but he wasn’t a killer, they should have worded better 

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If for no other reason, I enjoyed the final episode because its pace picked up from earlier episodes. And it gave us some resolution.

Will the town publicly clear Terry Maitland of commiting murder?

Sweet moments at Ralph's child's gravesite: "Perhaps we'll see him some day." Delivered subtly by two fine actors.

Edited by pasdetrois
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5 hours ago, pasdetrois said:

Sweet moments at Ralph's child's gravesite: "Perhaps we'll see him some day." Delivered subtly by two fine actors.

Agree; it was beautifully done. Mendelsohn and Winningham had great chemistry.

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I was satisfied with the season and its finale.

It's uncanny how the show anticipated Covid-19. I didn't read the novel, but now I'm sure that King meant the whole story as a metaphor for a viral pandemic.

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9 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

It's uncanny how the show anticipated Covid-19. I didn't read the novel, but now I'm sure that King meant the whole story as a metaphor for a viral pandemic.

Could be, but I think King covered pandemics pretty thoroughly with The Stand. That's the book I can't stop thinking about these days, unfortunately.

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