Ray & Larry in New Vegas in a cage in the basement of the Inferno. The crowd cheers outside, and Larry sarcastically asks Glen “Is New Vegas everything you thought it’d be?” Glen answers “It’s a bunch of lost, scared people, and Flagg is someone who makes them feel a little less lost.” Ray replies they are evil, but Glen disagrees, happy to see the crucifixions on the street, as he figures Flagg can’t count on his own people and must make public displays of those who defy him
Stu lays at the bottom of the ravine, leg still broken. He’s started a fire, and lies with Kojak. Stu shivers, considering the bottle of pills Glen gave him, and pours some into his hand. Kojak whimpers. Stu returns the pills to the bottle.
Lloyd and Rat Woman begin the “trial” of Larry, Glen, and Ray, with many citizens of New Vegas participating. Lloyd accuses them of being spies, lets them know there have been other spies who’ve been taken care of. He announces they could have a different fate IF they renounce Mother Abigail and swear loyalty to Flagg. The crowd cheers, and Lloyd tells them Mother Abigail wouldn’t defend them if she was there.
After Lloyd invites them to come over to the “good side” while Glen asks how long the trial will continue and under whose authority. Rat Woman addresses the surveillance camera and loudly says the court is under Flagg’s authority. Glen says Flagg is the Mother of Dragons. Rat Woman throws a glass at him, hissing at him to shut up, and Lloyd lets Glen know Flagg is watching them.
In his penthouse, Flagg levitates and watches the trial on a big-screen TV.
Glen asks Lloyd why Flagg needs the trial and adulation & why, if he’s so powerful, won’t he face them himself. Glen waves to the camera, and invites Flagg to come down to talk with them. Lloyd punches Glen, “Show some respect!” Glen informs them all Flagg has over them is fear – they’re all afraid of him. He tells Larry and Ray Flagg is far more pathetic than they imagined.
Rat Woman yells at Lloyd–the bailiff–to shoot Glen. Lloyd tells Glen to stop talking, but Glen doesn’t believe Lloyd will shoot him. Rat Woman tells Lloyd he’s embarrassing them. Lloyd draws his gun on Glen, who points out Lloyd’s hand is shaking because he’s never killed a man before. He gently tells Lloyd he doesn’t have to do it, all he has to do is tell the people Flagg is nothing without his fear. Lloyd shoots Glen, who falls, dying. “It’s okay, Mr. Henreid, you don’t know any better.” This incenses Lloyd who angrily unloads the rest of his clip into Glen, killing him several times over. He tells the audience to stop staring, and orders the prisoners out: the prosecution rests.
Flagg drops to the ground, his power waning.
Larry and Ray are locked up in a kitchen, and Ray, terrified, confides to Larry she can’t stand pain. They sit next to each other, and Ray wonders what it’s all for. Nadine and her escort come in, and she has the escort take Ray away. Nadine informs Larry Flagg called and she came, and now she’s carrying his prince.
Nadine asks if anyone in Boulder made it, and Larry tells her a few survived, and figures Harold set the bomb. She doesn’t want Larry to get hurt, says it took her coming to New Vegas to understand, fundamentally, who she really was. Larry finds a pan to show Nadine her reflection. She finally looks at her own cadaverous image in shock. The baby convulses in her womb and she falls to the floor…the baby is coming!
Lloyd arrives with a wheelchair and takes Nadine to the penthouse. She screams as thelabor pains take hold. At Flagg’s penthouse, Rat Woman prepares a scalpel to give Nadine a crude C-section while Flagg looks on, smoking a cigar. “It doesn’t feel right!” Shrieks Nadine. They ignore her. She looks at Flagg saying he knew she wasn’t meant to survive breeding. Flagg assures her she’s his queen, and Nadine’s black stone, on a chain around her neck, begins to glow.
Flagg looks at the stone and grins. As he walks away, Nadine tells him Larry was right, yanks the stone from her neck, and drives it into the window, breaking the glass. Nadine leaps out and falls to her death in an empty swimming pool below. Flagg screams in rage telling Lloyd to cancel the nursery.
In the ravine, Stu sleeps and Kojak perks up as a wolf arrives. Kojak attacks it, and Stu wakes up when he hears the noise. Stu is unable to move due to his gimpy leg, and a blood-covered Kojak returns, victorious.
Lloyd returns to the penthouse and finds Rat Woman in the hallway outside Flagg’s suite. He asks if Flagg is still inside, wondering what they should do now. Rat Woman tells Lloyd it has nothing with her, pointing he shot Glen. Lloyd mentions he keeps seeing the look Glen gave him before dying. He breaks into tears, while Rat Woman instructs him to keep it together and to stay on task.
Flagg emerges from the suite asking Lloyd how things are going. Lloyd, groveling, says he wishes Flag’d told him he didn’t want him to kill Glen, shows Flagg his black stone and reminds him of his loyalty. Lloyd claims Rat Woman egged him on, and Flagg merely asks if the execution is ready for broadcast. Rat Woman and Lloyd assure him everything is ready, while Flagg tells Lloyd there’s one thing he wants him to do first, and “waste not want not”.
Rat Woman, as a bellhop, wheels a covered platter to Larry in the kitchen. She removes the cover, revealing Nadine’s severed head, and compliments of Flagg.
Later, Lloyd enters with an escort and informs Larry it’s time for him to “live the rest of your life.” Larry smiles. They brought Nadine’s head to “show me there’s no hope.” New Vegas appears to be falling apart and Flagg lost his queen and child… Lloyd will be next! The escort puts a hood over Larry’s head, leads him to where Ray is waiting, similarly attired.
Lloyd takes Larry and Ray to the Inferno’s pool, removes the hoods. A crowd has gathered around the pool, they chant “Make them pay!” In a deafening roar. Ray & Larry are unceremoniously chained to the bottom of the empty pool, while Julie calls Lloyd up – Lloyd steps out in front of the crowd, while Larry and Ray join hands for some comfort.
Julie “interviews” Lloyd about how the prisoners feel about being executed. Lloyd finally informs the crowd they’re frightened, and that Flagg will shake the world. He walks away.
In the penthouse hallway, Flagg listens to the crowd cheering his name. He steps onto the balcony and he announces they’re heading to a future under threat because of a new infection: those who sent Larry and Ray don’t want the residents to enjoy the freedom of the post-plague world, and want to chain the residents in their “invented morality”.
Flagg continues, saying the deluded fools worship “an old witch”. He insists there was never enough to go around even prior Captain Trips, that the residents are now the predators and people in Boulder the prey.
Lloyd goes to a large valve and begins filling the pool. Flagg begins to dance as music plays. The crowd dances and cheers. Flagg tells them first they’ll drown the rats, then burn the witch. Rat Woman cuts the broadcast to the airport, while Flagg mentions a plane is being prepped to carry a nuclear bomb to Boulder and wipe it off the face of the earth. Larry says to Ray Flagg does seem to know Mother Abigail has died, and Ray wonders what it might mean.
Flagg tells the crowd one of his favored servants is even now taking the bomb to the airport. Lloyd wades into the pool, extends a baton, and asks Larry if he has any last words. “I will fear no evil” replies Larry. Lloyd tells him to shut up, beats him with the baton, but Larry continues repeating the phrase.
Outside, Trashcan Man drives into New Vegas with the nuclear warhead.
Flagg watches, smiling, as Lloyd continues beating Larry. From the crowd, suddenly, a woman loudly repeats Larry’s words, while Flagg, livid, asks who it was. They spot the woman and Flagg orders Lloyd to shoot her. Lloyd refuses, while Flagg sneers that he’s weak. The Head Custodian repeats “I will fear no evil” and the guards beat down.
Trashcan Man drives into the Inferno…outside, storm clouds gather overhead.
Flagg tells Lloyd to do as he’s told. Lloyd yells to the guards to get the keys and release Ray and Larry before they drown. Flagg laughs at the revelation of more traitors. A highly irradiated Trashy drives the warhead straight to Flagg as citizens of New Vegas gape at him in horror. Flagg wonders why Trashcan Man is here and not at the airport. Trashy, sounding weak and sick, swears his life to Flagg, while outside, the storm clouds continue to form and lightning strikes.
The foreboding clouds gather around the Inferno and begin to pour in at the top of the atrium. The residents stare at the clouds, and lightning begins to strike here and there, shattering windows and setting banners on fire. The residents run and Flagg, losing control, demands they return, but they ignore him. Julie, running, is killed by a lightning bolt. The doors don’t open, people get crushed in the stampede. The glass finally breaks and the surviving residents get out.
Rat Woman is blown apart by a lightning strike. Larry and Ray in the pool are spared, but the water continues to rise. Larry tells Ray not to be afraid and holds her hands.
Lloyd is hit by a falling swinging piece of debris and decapitated. A ball of lightning forms in the atrium in front of Flagg, who cowers before it. The water rises above Larry and Ray’s heads. Flagg stands up and faces the lightning ball. Bolts of lightning hit him repeatedly, and we see him twitch and shapeshift to his true form again before he disappears. More lightning hits the nuke and Trashcan Man, killing him as well. The warhead explodes, wiping New Vegas off the map.
Stu sees the glow of the blast over the edge of the ravine, as the blast wave sweeps over the desert above. Kojak runs off, finds Tom Cullen walking nearby, and brings him to Stu.
In Boulder, Frannie leaves the school with Joe, as Boulder’s citizens see the glow from the explosion. Joe tells Frannie Flagg is gone, and Frannie asks if he can see Stu…but suddenly clutches at her stomach at what are presumably labor pains.
Given this is the second to last episode of the limited series, I knew it would likely move pretty fast, as there’s still quite a bit to get through, so I buckled myself in for what promised to be a bit of a ride, and I got a ride!
Most of what happened in this episode is in the book, the only difference being everything in the show, between the makeshift jail, courtroom & execution ring all took place inside the casino, rather than the multiple locations in the book. It actually made sense, in THIS Vegas, since so much of Flagg’s business has been conducted at the Inferno.
Another exception is in the book, Larry and Nadine NEVER see each other in New Vegas. Nadine knows Larry is in town, and taunts Flagg with it right before she kills herself, but they never meet again after Boulder. I think it works and makes sense here…sorta. With Nadine in her trance, I’m not sure how believable it is she’d request to speak with Larry alone in the first place. I would’ve liked more of a moment of doubt or SOMETHING that would propel her to go speak with him, but maybe that’s just me. I think the meeting definitely worked to GIVE her that doubt, seeing her own, creepy reflection gave her second thoughts and the fuel to kill herself as well as Flagg’s “prince”. In the book, she goads Flagg into throwing her off the balcony, but I kinda like her having her own agency and choosing for herself in the series.
Since I knew Larry and Ray would end up dying in the nuclear blast anyway, I didn’t invest much time worrying about whether or not they were going to drown first. I still think the series missed a HUGE opportunity in reducing Larry’s redemption arc by leaving out Lucy, his woman back in Boulder, who ends up giving birth to his twins towards the end of the book. He does die in the blast in the book, but the birth of his twins gives his arc a really nice closure I guess we’re not going to receive in the show, and now Joe is left completely alone, since Lucy was his other postapocalypse “Mom”.
I also kinda thought Flagg dancing was a little weird, though Aleksander Skarsgård, bless his heart, managed to sell it as best he could. I felt it took away from the gravitas of the Dark Man, who at this point, is beginning to unravel a bit. It just felt clunky and awkward.
I was also a little bummed they didn’t give us a little more of Stu and Kojack…in the book, Kojak KEEPS STU ALIVE by catching rabbits and birds and bringing them back to him to cook, as well as odds and ends he is able to find in empty cars above. He also helps Stu climb up the ravine so Stu can actually witness the mushroom cloud. Looks like Tom Cullen may be the one to help him instead. And I’m wondering if Nick will also get the remainder of HIS story in the next episode? I guess we shall see.