Welcome To Christmasland
NOS4A2 returns for an episode of reflection and struggle. As all of our characters band together for the final push to save Wayne, so too does it bring up the fears and struggles the various players have been grappling with all season.
Episode 9 of NOS4A2 Season 2 begins with Manx and Wayne arriving in Christmasland where all the children stand waiting for them. After some brief introductions, Wayne is taken into the local costume shop to get dressed up in his Christmasland gear. That costume comes in the form of an astronaut suit.
Given it’s Christmas Eve, Manx hands over a special present for him – a pair of scissors. They’re used for a very special purpose but for now, that’s kept under wraps. Just before leaving, Wayne signs his name in a book. Only, instead of writing McQueen he’s encouraged to write Manx. As the camera pans out, it shows every single child before him has done the same thing.
Meanwhile, Vic prepares to head up to Christmasland and finish off Manx once and for all. Maggie is not taking no for an answer and tags along for the ride. As they prepare for the final fight, they start to drive up through the Shorter Way. As they head through to the other side, they make it to the outskirts of Christmasland.
It’s here Manx speaks to Millie about what’s happening. She asks her Father to leave and tells him they’re not safe there. She goes on to mention the house and how Manx’s nightmare has manifested itself. As Millie walks away, it seems like the faint hints of fear shimmer through on Manx’s face.
He joins Millie and immediately the house brings back painful memories of the past. Breathing heavily, Manx heads inside and finds Cassie. She grabs him, dancing rhythmically until he pulls back and begs Millie to leave the house. As Manx tears Millie away, she tries one more time to get through to him. It’s no good, Manx wants to stay.
Just before they leave, Cassie reveals that Vic McQueen is already in Christmasland.
Maggie and Vic make it to the main square of and find themselves surrounded by kids. As Manx calls out for Vic, Maggie sneaks under the Christmas tree and hides. Vic steps out and finds herself face to face with Manx, Wayne and Millie.
Wayne is lost, with black veins creeping up the side of his face. As he refuses to acknowledge the McQueen name, Vic turns her attention to Millie instead. She admits that Millie is the reason she managed to make it there in the first place. Staying quiet, Manx makes Wayne choose but he’s too far gone, asking incredulously why they’d ever leave Christmasland.
As the children swarm and chase after Vic, Maggie starts planting explosives. Only, she’s cornered by one of the kids who snatches up her tiles and runs away – straight into the ice maze.
Millie meanwhile, confronts Manx about what’s happening and realizes that she’s never been enough for him. Defiantly putting her foot down, she decides to leave once and for all.
At the same time, Vic is chased by kids who are stopped momentarily by the various explosives going off. It buys her valuable time to hide, regroup and plant more explosives at the base of the rollercoaster. As she does, she spies Wayne running into the Ice Maze as well.
Vic scrambles inside and thankfully manages to save Maggie from a group of kids. They’re both pretty torn up from the skirmishes with the kids though. Bleeding and visibly weakened, this is just the ticket Manx needs to follow them.
The pair finally come face to face with Wayne. Vic tries desperately to get through him. She talks about their time together and how Christmas every day would mean no 4th July. Despite the faint glimmers of the old Wayne coming back, it’s not enough. He brandishes the scissors from before and stabs his Mother in the stomach.
Visibly weakened, Maggie tries to take her outside but Manx stands in the way. After knocking Maggie down, things look to be over until the explosives go off. The blast is so strong that it causes Manx to turn old again. As he stumbles around Christmasland, he calls out for Millie…who jumps through the portal back into the real world. She grabs her ornament on the tree and hurries away.
The lights in Christmasland go out completely. Vic catches up with Wayne and grabs him. As he tells her he hates her, he eventually seems to come around. “Christmas is over, isn’t it?” He says, as Vic agrees and the pair try to break away.
The Episode Review
With an exciting episode of action inside Christmasland, after two seasons we finally see what lies inside the gates. The entire area is fascinating and full of imaginative and wondrous creations. It’s easy to see why kids would want to stay there when they enter. This, ultimately leads to the aforementioned juxtapositions and fears that our various characters face.
Seeing Manx face to face with Cassie is a massive moment and one that really shows the difference between him and Vic. While Vic runs toward danger and faces them head on, Manx instead cowers and runs.
Interestingly, the scene between Lou and Tabitha outside Christmasland is just as important as what’s going on inside. With both of them sharing the Strong Creative burden, their conversation about fear and loyalty is a really nice inclusion to the tale.
Everything is on the line in the finale though and the ending leaves things wide open for the future. Quite how this one will end, remains to be seen.