A New Recruit
After the intriguing opening episode NOS4A2 returns, diving deeper into the mystery around Christmas Land whilst continuing to develop the characters and the plot. While the episode itself doesn’t move things forward that much, it does help flesh out some of the world, with an intriguing ending that’ll certainly keep you hooked for the next episode.
We begin with the janitor, Bing, determined to make it to Christmas Land. After writing to Manx and asking to be considered a resident, a vivid nightmare sees him bolt upright in a panicked state. As he looks outside, he sees the moon wink at him before we follow his mundane life and understand why he wants to get out. He doesn’t have to wait for long though, as Charlie Manx himself shows up and invites him personally to Christmas Land. Although hesitant, he eventually jumps in the car and they drive off. After asking him about chemicals, Manx puts him to sleep as they continue to drive toward the fabled land.
Meanwhile, Vic questions her father about what he’s been doing with the bartender before deciding to put the bridge to good use. She finds her lost rabbit from school and brings it back to Craig who, wide-eyed and afraid, tells her not to cross the bridge again. Back home, she talks to her Mum about concerns with her Dad, worried about him living with the bartender he’s been having an affair with. She decides to go and see him which causes friction to ensue in the family.
This comes to a head late on when Vic’s mum shows up and an argument breaks out. Determined not to hear the fight, Vic prompting drives off on her bike, back through the tunnel to Massachusetts where she comes face to face with Maggie who seems to know whats going on. After filling her in on the “strong creative” gene, Maggie has her tiles read which point to her needing to help find Daniel and stop Charlie Manx. She refuses, and after apologizing to Maggie, she drives back through the tunnel and heads home, nursing her bloodshot eye while the moans of her Father’s lover echo in her mind.
The episode then ends with Bing solidifying his resolve after earlier being asked to bring 10 children to Christmas Land. Manx shows Bing a large graveyard full of dead children as a way to strengthen his resolve. As they trudge through the soft snow, Bing agrees to help and the episode ends with Manx determined to find the one girl capable of stopping him – Vic.
Although we don’t see a whole lot of Danny this episode, the interesting dynamic between Bing and Charlie Manx more than makes up for it. Quite how Maggie slots into this whole tale is still unknown although I’d imagine her tiles will play a more crucial role later on in the series. While the show itself doesn’t necessarily do anything outstanding or deliver anything wholly original beyond its fantastical premise, there’s enough mystery and intrigue to keep you hanging around. If you were hooked by the first episode, you’re likely to see this through although if you’re on the fence, the second episode doesn’t do a whole lot to persuade you, despite being slightly better than the pilot.
Still, it’s early days yet and having not read the book, I’m genuinely intrigued to see what direction this show will take. Zachary Quinto is the star though, as always, and his performance really helps hold this show together as the maniacal Charlie Manx. For that alone Nos4A2 is worth its weight but right now there’s too many unknowns to say for sure whether this will make good on its intriguing premise.
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