The Stand: How Mother Abigail & Randall Flagg Choose Their Followers

WARNING: Major spoilers for The Stand ahead

Stephen King’s The Stand culminates in a showdown between the followers of Randall Flagg and the followers of Mother Abigail, but how are these followers chosen? In the wake of the Superflu pandemic, the survivors in the United States are drawn either to the Boulder Free Zone in Colorado where Mother Abigail resides, or Las Vegas in Nevada where Flagg rules with an iron fist.

CBS’s new miniseries version of The Stand follows the events of King’s novel fairly closely regarding how the survivors of Captain Tripps are drawn to take sides. After the Superflu starts spreading and kills over 99% of the population, the survivors begin experiencing two roughly similar dreams. In one, they come in contact with Abigail Freemantle, a kind 108-year-old black woman living in Hemingford Home, Nebraska. In the other, they see Randall Flagg, although most know him only as the “Dark Man.” Which side people are drawn to depends largely on their personality and what they want for the new world.

Related: The Stand 2020: What Time New Episodes Air (& How To Watch)

Abigail Freemantle, known as Mother A, attracts people like Stu Redman, Larry Underwood, and Frannie Goldsmith. They are drawn together by their collective dreams, and become leaders of a community known as the “Boulder Free Zone,” a democratic society modeled after the ideals of the former United States. On the other side, Randall Flagg, who has a number of different aliases throughout the Stephen King universe, attracts people who are drawn to power, law, and order. Flagg builds a totalitarian society in Las Vegas with him as its supreme ruler. On both sides, Mother A and Flagg’s followers treat their respective leaders reverentially. Mother A claims to be doing God’s work and encourages kind-hearted survivors to join her in the Boulder Free Zone. Flagg, on the other hand, recruits those who are morally flexible, giving those who show him complete devotion and unquestioning loyalty powerful leadership positions in Las Vegas.

Even before everyone arrives in the Boulder Free Zone, Mother Abigail creates a list of five names she says are to be the leaders of their new community: Stu Redman, Larry Underwood, Frannie Goldsmith, Nick Andros, and Glen Bateman. These names are people she’s never met in person, but she claims they were given to her by God. Mother A also says that God is working through her for the benefit of humankind. Other than that, she can’t give any better reasons for how she chooses her followers, but they appear to be people with generally good intentions who don’t need law and order to maintain their sense of morality and ethics.

Randall Flagg’s people, on the other hand, are those with a more flexible sense of morality. They are those drawn to raw power (like The Trashcan Man), either as a means to seek it for themselves or because they are those who need a leader to follow. Of course, Flagg is also a trickster and not above motivating his people through manipulation and deceit. For instance, he has a hold over Nadine Cross since long before the pandemic began, marking her as the mother of his child. That said, how 2020’s The Stand miniseries on CBS All Access will portray Mother A and Flagg’s followers remains to be seen, and could provide answers beyond what the book details.

Next: Why CBS’ The Stand Has A Huge Advantage Over The 1994 Miniseries

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