Looking for a leading figure in times of distress is instinctive for human beings, more so when the reality is so incomprehensibly scary as it is in MGM+’s mystery horror drama From. In a story that revolves around people who have been caught inside a virtually unknown town infested with murderous nocturnal monsters from which there is no escape, looking up to someone feels to be the need of the hour. The viewers were introduced to Sheriff Boyd Stevens in the very first episode of the series. Boyd is the unofficial leader of the townsfolk, just like Jack Shepherd in Lost (produced by the same creators), who took it upon himself to protect the hapless residents and find a way out for them from their hellish existence. But as the story progresses through two seasons, it gradually reveals that Boyd’s role as a leader is more intricately connected with the place than he previously thought, which might or might not provide a way to save the townsfolk in the long run. We will go through each of the major connections so far established with the character to speculate about Boyd’s role in the larger narrative.
Arrival And Finding A Deterrent
The township in question acts like a flytrap for unaware victims who happen to get caught in it, subjecting them to a nightmarish experience. Like many of the unfortunate victims before, Boyd, his wife Abby, and their son Ellis arrived in the town and learned about every horror the place had to offer, including the grotesque abominations that preyed on the denizens at night. Before Boyd’s arrival, the townsfolk used to hide in underpasses and bunkers to avoid the monsters. That changed when Boyd ventured into the woods and discovered certain talismans, which apparently acted as deterrents against the monsters.
However, it should also be mentioned that while tending to his duties for the townsfolk, Boyd was too lost to notice that the horrors of the town were exacting a toll on his wife, Abby. A battle-hardened ex-marine like his husband Boyd, Abby started losing her sanity, questioning the legitimacy of the reality they had been put into, and finally snapped the day when she started shooting the townsfolk nonchalantly. To stop Abby from wreaking any more havoc, Boyd had to shoot her to death. This results in an estranged relationship between Boyd and his son Ellis and also a repressed sense of guilt that Boyd suffers from, which makes him feel an added sense of responsibility so that no one ends up like Abby due to his negligence.
Venturing In The Wilderness And Meeting Martin
Boyd’s decision-making acuity, sense of judgment, and situational awareness quickly earn him the trust of the townsfolk, and as sheriff of the town, he becomes the unofficial leader of the denizens. Even veteran residents of the township, like Father Khatri and Donna, rely on Boyd, pinning the hope of an eventual escape on him. Aside from managing the town’s usual problems, Boyd tries to find clues to make sense of the place, to no avail.
However, situations start to go south once Matthew’s family arrives in the town. Under the influence of unknown observers, a teenager named Sara tries to kill the youngest member of the Matthews family, Ethan, but ends up killing her own brother, Nathan, by accident. It is assumed that she escapes into the forest, but in actuality, Father Khatri sheltered her in the basement of the makeshift church. Father Khatri came to know about Sara’s communication with the unknown observers, and coupled with some other strange coincidences, he had the hunch that she could be the key to finding an exit from the place. Unfortunately, Father Khatri died during an attack by the monsters and handed over the responsibility of finding answers to Boyd. With this and the general sense of desperation the townsfolk are experiencing, Boyd decides to take a drastic measure by venturing inside the forest accompanied by Sara and journeying to the farthest end to find an exit.
Moving through every kind of turbulence the place had to offer during their journey, Boyd reaches the spot from where a lighthouse is visible, which, according to Sara’s vision, is the place that can provide the answers they seek. However, as it becomes increasingly impossible to continue the journey, Sara advises Boyd to enter a Faraway tree, which teleports him to a dilapidated location, where he meets Martin, an ex-marine who has presumably gone through the ordeals before and is still bound by chains. Martin asks Boyd to end his suffering by killing him, a request which Boyd ignores and gets busy unshackling him. Boyd sees worms crawling inside Martin’s skin. Martin, who warns Boyd to leave before the tune from the music box playing nearby stops, adds that the monstrosities are just the tip of the iceberg of the place, which harbors unimaginable horrors. Martin then asks whether Boyd considers Abby’s words to be true, that they are still living in a dream—a question that startles Boyd. Soon enough, the music stops, and Martin causes a flesh wound on Boyd’s arm, stating his blood is now Boyd’s blood, and goes into a catatonic state. A dumbfounded Boyd escapes the place and finds himself in the forest at night, with the place seemingly vanishing out of sight.
Killing A Monster
After returning to town, Martin’s infected blood starts causing episodes of hallucinations, breakdowns, and traumatic experiences as Boyd sees the skin-crawling worms inside his arm as well. Later, as Ellis gets injured during a mishap in the Colony House, a blood transfusion becomes necessary, and Boyd’s blood matches the group’s. However, Boyd is unwilling to undergo the process as a transfusion will mean infecting his son with the infection as well, and he stays adamant in his decision, much to the confusion of others at clinics who thus far have suspected that he has completely lost it.
Boyd instead hits upon a daring plan and infects a monster with his blood to transfer his infection, which eventually kills the monster. Considering it to be a way to create a deterrent, with the help of Kristi and Kenny, Boyd extracts the infected bile of the monster and uses it as a silver bullet on the monster. However, it doesn’t work the way he thought it would, and he even sees a vision of his deceased wife, Abby, who asks him to join her. Boyd was also the one to see the living nightmare situation and warn the townsfolk about it.
In the season finale, as Julie, Randall and Marielle, are getting tortured in their nightmares, a desperate Boyd brings Sara to the place where he met Martin – and Sara senses the presence of the music box, which needs to be stopped to end the suffering of the trio. After some brainstorming, Boyd finds out a way to locate the music box and destroys it
Can Boyd Become The Savior Of The Townsfolk?
Boyd’s role in the context of the place is less individualistic and more about filling in the shoes of his predecessors. From hints scattered throughout the series, it can be said that the town goes through the ‘toying with survivors’ ordeal periodically as a cycle of events that repeats itself over various periods of time. Boyd’s role is akin to Martin’s and the ones whose skeletons he saw shackled inside the dilapidated building. Whether he can find a way to help the people escape or not, he is the chief representative who will witness certain scenarios and will convey ways to adopt them accordingly to the townsfolk. Ignoring his personal cost, he is like the messiah who sacrifices their entirety for the upliftment of the masses. But there is no guarantee that his revelations will be beneficial for the people either, as the more his actions ‘defy’ the grand design of the ‘creators’ of the town, the more new threats start cropping up.
It is also noticeable that all of Boyd’s new findings were somehow connected with him following a dog inside the wilderness; this might prove an important factor later on, as we have seen a painting of a man and a dog in Victor’s artworks too. For the immediate situation, we think Boyd will test the bile on the monsters resting in the underground maze during the daytime, which might produce the kind of results he is seeking.