The following post contains spoilers for Episode 3 of The Stand. If you have yet to watch, turn back now!
The Stand‘s Nadine Cross may be a survivor of the Captain Trips pandemic… but that apparently doesn’t mean her fellow survivors should trust her.
Episode 3 of the CBS All Access adaptation, which dropped on Thursday, unveiled more backstory for Amber Heard‘s mysterious character, revealing that she’s been a longtime loyal follower of Alexander Skarsgard’s villain, Randall Flagg.
Nadine had first been contacted by Flagg when she was just a young girl: She and her friends half-jokingly attempted a séance, and Flagg used the planchette to carve the words, “Nadine will be my queen” into the wooden floor. (Much to the girls’ horror, of course.) Then, in present-day Boulder, we learned that Flagg has been communicating with Nadine for years — and now, he wants Nadine to kill Mother Abagail and the five survivors who are leading the Boulder Free Zone. Nadine, for her part, no longer seems terrified of Flagg like she was as a child, but instead appears quite infatuated with him, a toxic dynamic that Heard describes as “tragic.”
“Let’s face it: Nadine has been groomed by Flagg from the time she was very young,” the actress explains to TVLine. “And like a lot of people that are effectively groomed, people from a vulnerable position are given a certain amount of protection and love — or what seems like that — from someone. And when that person seeks to own them, or take advantage of them, or otherwise engage in an unhealthy dynamic, it can be really hard to get out of [that] and see through [it].”
Though Nadine initially told Flagg she’d do “anything” for him after he asked for a favor, she looked significantly less certain about that promise when Flagg urged her to end six lives in Boulder. According to Heard, Flagg’s request will “set up a power dynamic” between him and Nadine in upcoming episodes “that is really, really unhealthy and tragic, frankly.”
“The person who was once offering you protection as a vulnerable person is now also saying, ‘I also need you to do this, and do this, and pay this bill in this way,'” she teased. “But Nadine almost has no choice but to love Flagg. It’s all she’s known.”