2×03: “The Night Road”
Directed by Craig Macneill
Written by Lucy Thurber
* For a recap & review of 2×02, “Good Father,” click here.
* For a recap & review of 2×04, “The Lake House,” click here.
Millie’s not a happy camper after her father Charlie turns around and leaves right after he just arrived in Christmasland. She sees a bright spot shining out in the woods, so she walks out to see what she can find, coming upon a house with some kind of half-dead reindeer traipsing around on the lawn. Is that the old Manx place?
The girl cautiously walks up and goes inside. Once she’s in the door slams on its own. But this girl’s no stranger to the supernatural, after all. She comes upon a room with a Christmas tree lit up and presents underneath. Then she hears a door close. And someone knocks, whispering: “Let me out.” When Millie goes to another room, she finds it cheery and familiar. She gleefully tries on clothes, picking through the jewellery on the vanity. Suddenly, there’s mom— with her haggard, mutilated face— putting an arm around Millie before her daughter runs out of that wretched house.
Vic is heading across the bridge, seeing THE LAKE spray painted on the side. Moments later she’s at the lake, though not without a bit of a headache, likely a nasty side effect of not having used her inscape much for a long time. Bit of a surprise when Chris McQueen comes outside to see his daughter’s there for a visit. She’s a mess, talking about Manx’s supposed death and apologising to her dad. All Chris can do for now is tuck her in for some sleep. Of course it’s not easy for Vic to get a rest, given her head is full of traumatic memories. When she wakes up she goes through her old books full of writing and drawings. Chris keeps it for obvious sentimental reasons. They do the small talk thing before Vic tries to explain to her father she’s kind of lost right now. He already knows. Then they get into a brief talk about addiction that quickly goes sour.
Later, Vic goes over to see her mother Linda, who’s thrilled to see her girl after such a long absence. Linda’s got a new man named Sean and she’s living well, it seems. She has questions about little Wayne. Her daughter breaks the news about the fire, her clear drinking problems. Linda doesn’t want her child going the way of her ex-husband, pushing the phone on Vic and urging her to call home to Colorado. Even when Vic calls she doesn’t get through after Lou sends it to voicemail. What’s so interesting to me as a viewer is how NOS4A2 is fully a supernatural story, but it encompasses such real, raw issues surrounding family. Watching Vic, as a recovering addict/alcoholic of 10 years, is tragic, and very relatable to me.
Things may be getting upsetting once Bing turns up at Lou’s shop. Oh, lord.
Young Wayne’s left outside while Bing and Lou talk cars inside. He hears Christmas music drifting up the road to their place, and he walks off towards it. The music leads him right to the Rolls Royce, where he comes upon Charlie, recognising him immediately. Manx pulls a candy cane from the boy’s ear, hoping to lull the child into his grasp. When Lou sees Wayne isn’t outside he’s worried, though Bing keeps him busy looking at a broken bike. This gives the mechanic a glimpse of Bing’s creepy equipment, so he tries to call Vic back, getting no answer. He leaves a voicemail in code using Star Wars geekery, doubling down after with a Stan Lee reference while nervously stalling for time with Bing. Lou uses a strap to nail the big guy, taking him down, though that doesn’t stop Bing. He manages to slip away from Mr. Partridge, yet he still can’t find Wayne. The boy’s on the verge of getting into Manx’s car, but the kid is far too smart to let a stranger take him, running off into the woods. Thankfully he’s snatched up by Lou and they hide, for now.
Soundtrack: Vic’s listening to “Last Dance” by Scratch Massive
At Linda’s, the phone won’t stop ringing.
When Vic finally answers it’s a call from the police about her boy and Lou. They’ve managed to survive their encounter with Bing and Manx, and the cops are on the scene in Colorado. That doesn’t mean everything’s okay. Wayne still has that candy cane, and the electricity keeps flickering a bit. Vic and Lou connect on the phone and she tells him she’s going after Charlie. Lou doesn’t want her to go, but it’s not something he can stop. He’s convinced she’s going on a “suicide ride,” laying a proper guilt trip on her. Nevertheless, Vic is determined to fight this head on.
At Parnassus, Charlie runs into Snake (Tom Savini) for a moment at the bar before he sits with Abe (Reg Rogers) to have a drink. He’s looking to meet someone named Jonathan ‘The Hourglass’ Beckett (Paul Schneider). Doesn’t look like Abe is willing to help, despite his working and personal relationship with Manx— Abe’s godfather to little Millie. This refusal doesn’t sit well with Charlie. So he pushes harder until Abe agrees. He takes a call from his daughter, who’s asking about the house. Dad shuts it down with talk of the “Naughty List.” Why does he want to hide that place from her.
And outside, Vic’s arrived. She and Charlie come face-to-face once more as he pontificates about his power. He explains they’re on the Night Road, the “collective inscape” created by/for people like them. Charlie goes on another misogynistic rant about Vic. He threatens to take Wayne away. Then Vic plays chicken with the Rolls Royce, tossing a fiery gas can at it to try and destroy it— but it doesn’t work.
So she rides home.
Linda’s concerned about her daughter drinking. At home, she tries to dry Vic out. She tells her daughter to go home, back to her own child. Vic worries about putting Wayne in danger and not being able to protect him. So she gets a lesson from Linda about age and parenting, and what it takes to raise a child, even if you’re not #1 Mom all the time. Understandable that Vic’s scared, she has a demonic vampire and a serial killer after her, not to mention the vamp kids up at Christmasland. No wonder she’s worried about the safety of her loved ones. Meanwhile, up at Christmasland, Millie’s decapitated that ghostly reindeer and brought up to the house on the hill. She leaves it on the porch and knocks on the door. She runs off to wait and see what happens. The ghost of her mother steps onto the porch, gently calling out to her daughter.
That night, Vic goes to Tabitha’s place where Wayne and Lou are staying. She’s greeted first by Maggie, glad to see her friend alive and surviving. Vic then goes in to see her boy and her lover. She’s not getting a happy reception, particularly from her child. Neither is Lou excited, sure that she’ll be running off again soon. Vic claims she’s there to stay. We’ll see about that.
Elsewhere, we see the Hourglass get a call from Abe about Manx, as well as Ms. McQueen. What exactly does the Hourglass do? Can he turn back time with that glass of his, or something more sinister?
“That’s what love is: you say.”
A solid episode that gives us more of Vic’s tragedy but also pushes the plot forward. Love to introduction of some new faces, even if Savini was only onscreen for 20 seconds. Paul Schneider was amazing in Channel Zero: Candle Cove, so I’m pumped to see what he can offer here as another supernatural creeper in league with Manx.