Episode 8: “Parnassus”
Directed by Jeremy Webb
Written by Megan Mostyn-Brown
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Scissors for the Drifter” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Sleigh House” – click here
Maggie Leigh (Jahkara Smith) is left wondering where the sheriff went. She’s left alone in the world once again, after already losing her parents originally. She can’t get Joe on the phone. She has no clue that he’s been stabbed to death by vampire children in Christmasland.
But, is Maggie actually an orphan?
She calls her mother: “I want to come home.” She tells her mother she threw away her Scrabble tiles. She’s had drug problems over the years, which obviously drove a wedge between her family. A wedge that won’t come unstuck. Afterwards on the porch, Maggie sees her Scrabble bag has returned. She asks about Joe, then reaches inside to pull the tiles. They spell DEAD.
When Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings) wakes in the morning she continues to have brief visions of the vampire children. She has a “wake and bake” session to start the day, already not feeling well. Across town, Bing Partridge (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) isn’t great, either. He’s upset Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto) hasn’t come back for him since they last saw one another at the gates of Christmasland.
This has him thinking bad thoughts. He goes to get his gas mask, then takes a drive to watch Vic, out getting her mail, including an acceptance letter to the Rhode Island School of Design with “a full scholarship.” The news has Linda (Virginia Kull) weak at the knees, though she’s melancholy about it.
The Brewsters host a little get-together for Vic. She and Linda attend, even if mom’s not being super cool. She’d rather clean dishes while everyone else has fun. She can’t take a minute to be happy for her daughter getting a free ride to college. Chris (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) shows up— sober, too. He wants to try to make it stick.
Meanwhile, Bing’s at the McQueen house. He finds a shoebox in Vic’s room with vodka, weed, condoms in it. Linda comes home early and the big guy slips out before she sees him. The shoebox is still on the bed. This gives Linda more to bitch about— she starts locking her daughter down right away. So Vic tears her mother apart verbally, calling her a “small town loser.”
Then she runs out, just to be caught in the woods by Bing.
Manx pulls up in his Wraith to a fancy club, Parnassus. Its name comes from a Roman town. Inside, Charlie has a drink. He sits with an old friend, Abe (Reg Rogers), telling him about Jolene July passing away. He also mentions Vic, whom he considers “special.”
Speaking of our young artist, she’s tied up in Bing’s basement. She may be close to suffering the same fate as Haley’s mother. She’s brought milk and Christmas cookies. She tries to use their former friendship to help her out of this situation. But the big guy’s got his own plans involving more gas. Vic tries to give herself more time by suggesting Manx doesn’t want her hurt, sowing doubt in Bing’s mind.
In a lesbian bar called Miss Trixie’s, Maggie meets a pretty lady. She chats her up about her tattoos. Mostly it’s a ruse to get pills. While they party, she steals the rest of the bottle on her new friend. She’s pretty fucked up, getting a glimpse of herself in that state in a bathroom mirror. It makes her second guess things suddenly.
“Only girls who are nice and sweet
get to have a tasty treat.”
While Vic tries to cut her duct tape ties she’s told pieces of Bing’s homicidal history. He admits his “very best feeling” was from killing his parents. He rants quietly about his father. He laments his mother not protecting him, rushing to bake cookies whenever her husband would verbally, and physically, abuse their son: “She was a scaredy cat.” He talks more about his mother, in a sexually disturbing way. He starts smelling Vic, suggesting she’d taste good, too. Luckily, she cuts her ties, kicks him in his nuts, and gasses him with his own chemicals.
At Parnassus, we hear more about the inscapes. There’s “a map,” which Abe has access to, seeing the Shorter Way open up when Vic found her own inscape. We know Charlie’s looking to find a mother for all those children. He’s definitely planning on trying to make Vic the mother of those vampires. Disturbing on many levels.
If he can’t make her his wife, he’ll just kill instead.
Maggie uses her tiles to search for Vic’s bike. They just spell THE BRAT.
Did Linda not actually sell the bike?
Maggie calls Vic, fucked up on pills and sleeping on the street. She sounds bad and it worries her friend. Vic rushes home asking her mother about the bike. Linda breaks down, admitting she’s only ever been afraid of “being alone.” That goes for everything in her life, specifically her marriage. It also involves the bike, which she hid in the basement. Vic takes it and rides to the Shorter Way.
MISS TRIXIE’S appears on the wall as she flies through to the other side, finding Maggie close by a dumpster near an overdose. Vic helps the young woman vomit pills out of her system. These two ladies will save each other yet.
Any surprise that this was a great episode? The drama’s as fantastic as the horror and all the wonderful creepiness. On top of that, the actors each knock their roles out of the park. Maybe it’s different for those who’ve read and loved the book. Father Gore’s digging it all so much regardless.
“Sleigh House” is next.