The Deep Breath
Acting as a penultimate episode before the final two-part finale, NOS4A2 sets all its pieces up ready for the fight ahead. With some decent acting and a story that does well to keep things moving at a decent pace, AMC’s latest horror series has really settled into a good rhythm over the second half of this season.
We begin with Maggie deciding enough is enough and throwing away her scrabble tiles. After phoning home and asking to come and stay with her Mum again, she can’t resist the allure of the tiles and consults them again where they spell out the word “Dead”.
While Bing watches on from a distance, Vic awakens to find she’s been accepted into art college, much to the surprise of her Mum. As Vic celebrates with a party thrown in her name, her Mum dampens the whole affair with some choice words, clearly hiding her bitterness. Her Dad shows up soon after, seemingly having kicked his alcohol addiction and declaring himself sober. Vic’s words clearly affected him last time out and it’s great to see some development here.
As he and Vic’s Mum discuss their daughter’s future, Maggie drowns her sorrows in alcohol. As she starts getting serious with a girl at the bar, we cut back to Vic who has a big argument with her Mum before running out the house crying. Unfortunately, Bing jumps on this opportune time and gasses Vic, snatching her away and back to his apartment.
While Charlie Manx enters a bar and passes a clown that looks like Pennywise, he discusses plans with the barkeep over Vic and how she’s special. He warns Manx not to grow too attached as they drink and discuss what’s next.
Vic finds herself at Bing’s mercy and after futilely trying to convince him to stop, she uses a different tactic instead. This time, she tells him Manx chose her to be in Christmas Land which sends our confused janitor into a tail spin. Eventually, after learning more about Bing’s troubled childhood, she breaks free and gasses her captor.
After a heart to heart with her mum, Vic gets her bike back and drives it through the tunnel where she saves Maggie, passed out on a mattress next to some bins. As she hugs her friend and looks off in the distance, she realizes the final fight is upon them and the gloves are off.
NOS4A2’s latest episode may not have a whole lot of plot progression but what it does boast, are some pretty emotional and well acted scenes. Seeing Vic and her Mum going at it in her room is a particular highlight here and the entire scene is acted really well. There are other stand-outs too and the dark glimpses of Bing’s past do well to really add some dramatic weight to his persona.
For the most part though NOS4A2’s latest episode feels like a proverbial deep breath before the final clash. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but as a stand-alone episode there really isn’t a whole lot to write home about here. Still, the nods to Stephen King’s IT are a nice touch and there’s enough character development to keep you engrossed until the finale.