The Lake House
NOS4A2 has been a bit of a mixed bag this year. Much like Maggie’s tiles, the second season has brought up a jumbled array of different ideas that are only now starting to rearrange into something more coherent and familiar to what we saw last season. Unfortunately there’s still not enough to hold a candle to last year’s surprisingly robust drama but there’s still time for this one to turn it around in the second half.
Episode 4 of NOS4A2 Season 2 begins with Wayne starting to fall prey to Charlie Manx. As this antagonist curls his icy tendrils around Wayne’s mind, Vic struggles to save both herself and her son from a grizzly fate. Wayne awakens in the middle of the night to hear an ominous rendition of ‘Holy Night’ floating into his room. As he heads downstairs, he looks out the window and sees the various inhabitants of Christmasland asking him to play.
He’s clearly sleepwalking though and as Vic tries in vain to wake him up, Charlie Manx asks for a favour. Before we find out what that is however, Wayne suddenly awakens.
In the morning Vic decides to pack their stuff up and head over to her Father’s house. Vic arrives up at the lodge overlooking the lake and tries to keep her sanity in the wake of what’s been happening.
With the house set up and secure, Lou confronts Vic over her behaviour and tells her to take some time and get her head screwed on right. Maggie arrives not long after with her tiles and the duo talk about their upcoming fight with Charlie Manx.
Only, this fight is being fought cold as Wayne sleepwalks again in the middle of the night. It’s motivation enough for Vic and her father to finish wiring up the explosives and have a heart to heart about their fear and family relationships.
It’s just the motivation she needs to try and make more of an effort to be there for her family. She finally opens up to Lou as well and tells him she’s going to quit drinking and doesn’t want to lose him. Only, she’s in more danger of losing Wayne as Charlie Manx continues to assert his will over the child, leading him to Christmasland. When Wayne blurts out their address in the middle of a sleepwalk, it’s enough for Manx to grab Bing and prepare for what comes next.
Tabitha meanwhile heads to the police station with information about Bing. Her first port of call is the hospital but once there, she finds a whole box of supplies missing. This is motivation enough to visit Bing’s house but given she’s there alone, she doesn’t have time to wait for back-up – which is still 20 minutes away. Ignoring a call from Maggie, she heads into Bing’s house alone but despite getting the better of Bing, finds herself face to face with Charlie Manx.
Maggie decides to use the tiles to try and find Tabitha and it spells out the words “House Of Sleep.” Realizing this links to Bing, Vic grabs her gear and heads out with Maggie, using The Shorter Way to reach Tabitha. She happens to be outside Bing’s house with the police. Realizing what this means, Vic quickly phones Lou and tells him to make sure Wayne doesn’t leave.
The Review Write-Up
With most of this episode dedicated to Vic coming to terms with her destructive behaviour, there really isn’t a lot here to write home about. Aside from Wayne’s dreams and a couple of tense moments late on with Tabitha, a lot of this episode feels like foundation setting for the fight ahead. That alone would be fine if we weren’t halfway through the season.
The backstory for Charlie Manx during episode 2 is probably the highlight of the season but aside from that there really isn’t a lot here to warrant an exciting follow-up.
It’s such a shame too because the first season managed to deliver some pretty good action set pieces but so far this just hasn’t managed to reach those same peaks. Hopefully the episodes ahead can change that and given the final snapshots here, NOS4A2 could be about to step it up a gear.