Despite a slow start, NOS4A2 has really come into its own during this second half of episodes. That much is especially evident here as everything boils down to saving Wayne now.
With Vic back on the move, things are ramping up for a dramatic finale to come. However, there will be casualties along the way and as this episode proves, that could come from the unlikeliest of places.
Episode 8 of NOS4A2 Season 2 begins in the past as Chris attends his Father’s funeral. What begins as a poignant and reflective affair, soon dissolves away to show resentment. While he does, Vic, who’s still a young child here, listens to him talk about his Father with disdain.
Back in the present, Vic continues to try and get the bike working. After some hard grafting – and both Lou and Chris’ help – she manages to get it started again.
This is ammunition enough for Vic to begin her quest. She kisses Lou goodbye, given how exhausted he is following their ordeal, and prepares to leave. She also kisses her Mother goodbye too, while Chris jumps on the back of the bike and heads with her over the Shorter Way. As she does, Linda looks in shock as the bridge appears before her.
Meanwhile, Vic arrives at the junkyard but finds Manx gone. Wayne’s phone is there though, stuck on the floor, while a battered and bloodied Bing bleeds out on the ground.
Chris beats him down, demanding to know where Wayne is. However, it’s one step too far for Vic who lashes out at her Father for his aggression. Now that he’s passed out, the only option they have is to phone Tabitha and report what’s happened. Bing’s life is saved by the doctors though, who all ready him for jail.
Before he goes however, Tabitha heads in to interview Bing. Given their past, she knows exactly how to get through to him. Bing’s resentful of Manx, regretful of his actions. Tabitha uses this as leverage to make him “helpful and honest.”
He does admit to kidnapping Wayne but demands Vic speak to him before revealing more. Lo and behold, Vic heads in and asks him where Wayne is. Bing instead asks for forgiveness. As he takes her hand in his, Bing reveals exactly how to find Manx.
Before the kids have Christmas every day, they have to hang an ornament on a tree. This happens to be the last stop on the journey before reaching Christmasland. This is just what Vic needs. She rushes off and finds Maggie, asking to use her tiles for the upcoming fight for Wayne’s life.
On the back of her excellent interview techniques, Tabitha is given her badge back. As she heads outside to reveal the good news to Maggie, she spies her partner using the tiles inside her car. As they talk, Maggie decides to head off to Colorado with Vic in order to track down Manx and save Wayne’s life.
Before she goes however, Vic and his Father lay out explosives. It’s here that earlier scene with Chris in the church is given more gravitas. Vic talks to Chris about the past and his drinking. Vic berates him for ruining their family and eventually leaves as Maggie and Lou arrive. It’s a small scene but one that shows that Chris had ironically become what he always resented his Father for.
With all the Christmas trees hanging ornaments around her, Vic manages to speak to Millie in Christmasland. She asks to be free and in exchange, will show her a secret. After rolling up a snowball, Millie moves it through to the other side but it dissolves.
The plan is all set, but just before seeing this through the tiles spell out “When souls fall.” The meaning of this is obscured for now, as Manx drives down the road in the Wraith. The others take position and ready themselves to attack.
Wayne steps out from the Wraith and has grey hair now. While Wayne heads off to hang his ornament, the Wraith senses something amiss as the alarm wails.
While Wayne successfully hangs his ornament, Lou finds him and hugs his son. Only, as the Wraith drives the explosions on the road go off, prompting Wayne to bite his Father. Rushing back to Manx, he bundles back into the car.
Before it drives off completely, Manx runs over Chris McQueen and snaps his neck. As he lies motionless on the ground, Vic looks at her Father in disbelief.
The Episode Review
Phew, what an ending! Presumably Lou will be okay after his bite but it;s still a tough pill to swallow given how far Wayne has descended.
Chris dying though is a pretty big shocker but it’s orchestrated beautifully by that opening monologue of resentment at the church. Vic’s echoing sentiments towards him out on the road is ultimately made out to be a poetic bit of irony.
It makes Chris’ death that much more meaningful too, especially when you consider the last thing Vic said to her Father.
With Bing out the picture and plenty of big questions still hanging over this one, NOS4A2 bows out this week with another decent episode and a big cliffhanger to chew over.