AMC’s NOS4A2
Episode 5: “The Wraith”
Directed by Tim Southam
Written by Lucy Thurber

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The House of Sleep” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Dark Tunnels” – click here
Father Son Holy Gore - NOS4A2 - Ashleigh CummingsVic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings) and Maggie Leigh (Jahkara Smith) talk together over the phone. How will she explain to the cops how she found the body? She can’t mention the “magical bridge” or Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto).
Never mind the cops. She’s got a vampire on her trail.

So, what to do? Vic goes out to the garage. She cuts out shapes, making a drawing of the Wraith. She makes dozens until the morning comes, when Chris (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and Tiffany (Jamie Neumann) find her out there, covered in paint.
She’s also drawn Manx.
Dad assumes his daughter’s disturbed by finding Sharon’s corpse. Before work, Chris talks to Vic about being an armoured truck driver in Kuwait during the Gulf War. He saw a friend’s hand blown off, and bottled his feelings rather than talk. “It poisoned me,” he tells his daughter, warning her not to keep what she feels inside like him.

Dt. Tabitha Hutter (Ashley Romans) stops by to speak with Vic, asking about finding the corpse. She wonders why the young artist was out there to find the body, which Vic attempts to explain. She’s not too keen on believing the girl. Vic says it was mostly certainly Bing Partridge (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), in spite of not having any actual concrete evidence. The detective knows there’s more to the story.
Father Son Holy Gore - NOS4A2 - Charlie ManxTrouble in paradise has Tiffany unwilling to put up with Vic, leaving Chris in a bad position. This further alienates his daughter. At this point, can we really say the dad’s a good guy? He hit his estranged wife, cheated on her multiple times. He’s abandoning his child after she’s just FOUND A DEAD BODY. He’s letting his girlfriend kick her out without any conversation. Fuck this guy.

Bing’s hiding away from Manx knocking at his door. He soon lets him inside. He explains the situation involving Sharon’s body being found, by Vic no less. Police have already been by to leave a card. Manx won’t let this get in the way of his working relationship with Bing. He’s on a crusade to kill all the bad mommies and save the kids. These dudes have serious mother issues.

Bing’s sent to talk with the police. He tells a great story. He actually uses Vic as an alibi, mentioning she stopped by his place. Dt. Hutter questions the big guy about his feelings for Vic, if he likes her. He’s a bit nervous about the question. After that, the detective starts asking about Bing’s crime as a boy. Those records are sealed. Dt. Hutter’s curious if the crime was of “a sexual nature.” She might not have immediately believed Vic, but she’s definitely suspicious this guy.
Later, Bing sees Vic at school and gives her an invitation from Manx.
Father Son Holy Gore - NOS4A2 - Greetings from ChristmaslandMaggie believes Manx is taking kids to “his inscape.” She thinks if they can figure out where it is, they might be able to use Vic’s to travel to there. Vic will try to figure out all she can about his when she meets him. Maggie refuses to let her go to the meeting alone. Teamwork! They might be able to bring genuine evidence to the cops.

For now, the two girls party at Willa’s (Paulina Singer) place. Maggie and Willa seem interested in one another— mostly it’s Maggie fucking the bougie girl— while Vic sits with Drew (Rarmian Newtown) and they smooch a bit. After a bit, Vic and Maggie leave to make sure they’re rested for their meeting with Charlie. Back at the motel, the girls bond. Vic feels like she doesn’t belong. Her new friend reminds her the bridge brought them together. Perhaps it was meant to happen.

In the morning, Vic leaves without Maggie, likely trying to keep her safe. She goes to a bus terminal. Manx sits waiting on her arrival. He says he dreamed about things related to her— a river, the watch, the bridge’s bats. She’s been dreaming about him, too. Manx explains he’s figured out how to “live forever” by learning how to replenish what his inscape takes from him, whereas most strong creatives wither away within little time. He offers to teach Vic. She’d rather “burn Christmasland to the ground.”
Maggie shows up to look out for her friend, finding the Wraith in the parking lot. She notices the license plate: NOS4A2. She opens the door. This triggers Manx. The Wraith’s door knocks Maggie over, then plans to run her down. It drives after her as she rushes for cover. She’s run down outside the terminal. Manx takes this time to leave.

At the hospital, Dt. Hutter questions Vic again. The only thing the girl can think to do is tell the cop about the Wraith, its license plate, and the fact there was no driver behind the wheel. She mentions Manx’s name, saying he abducts children and takes them to a place “in his imagination.” She tells the detective about the bridge. It all sounds insane, of course. The cop wants to have her committed to the psych ward. Chris even comes around to sign the forms, believing it’s the best thing for his daughter. Prick.
Not good to be trapped someplace with Manx out there hunting, either— is it?
Father Son Holy Gore - NOS4A2 - License PlateYet again, stellar episode! Firing on all cylinders.
The characters are the best part. The human drama they bring to the whole story amplifies everything else around it x 10. Naturally, the horror’s so palpable, the atmosphere’s so creepy, that the terrifying bits are out of this world, as well.
Point being? It’s all awesome.

“The Dark Tunnels” is next.

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