2×07: “Cripple Creek”
Directed by Tricia Brock
Written by A. Rey Pamatmat
* For a recap & review “The Hourglass,” click here.
* For a recap & review of “Chris McQueen,” click here.
It’s obvious that after Bing got left behind by Charlie, with a bullet in him no less, he was pretty upset. He managed to get away from the scene at the lake, wandering up into a graveyard someplace. He made it to the foot of a statue, an angel looking down upon him. And so he prayed. Even though he still thought he’s been “so good” and that all he’s done is “save the children.” But it seems like he finally started to question Manx after everything, just before getting pigeon shit in his mouth.
And now, catching up with Charlie, it’s no doubt Bing has questions for his Master.
When Charlie comes to he’s ageing and tied to a post. He’s getting grilled by Bing, who’s not pleased with the way things went down. He forgets how much Bing knows about him, the Wraith. Bing’s putting Charlie under the gas so he can get the truth out of the vampire once and for all. He quickly figures out he was never going to get to Christmasland.
In Christmasland, Millie and the others see their power flickering once more. She goes up to the house on the hill where Cassie explains that “the thinning of the veil” between the two worlds has caused chaos, since Charlie’s death. Cassie says Charlie’s greatest fears are in that house. She opens a door and shows Millie one of them. It’s a room with a glowing Christmas tree, and also a closet in which a previously human Millie exists.
We see more of Charlie’s younger life. His mother did sex work in a saloon while he’d dance and entertain for a few coins. He was propositioned by a local business owner called Mr. Tim to help him wrangle boys for occasional odd jobs. The promise of more coin had young Manx’s eyes alight. He started offering candy and dreamy promises to other boys, urging them that Mr. Tim can make their lives better. Of course we all know what was really going on there, whether young Manx knew or not. His mother and everyone else in town knew.
In present day, Wayne’s struggling to keep memories of his mother alive while the Wraith sucks all the good out of him. Craig’s burned ghost tries to keep the kid’s eye on the prize while they reminisce about Vic. In the nearby garage, Bing beats the shit out of Charlie, disappointed that he’s not getting to Christmasland. The vampire tries to say Bing’s still special, that the children need him. He attempts to appeal to Bing via Wayne, believing they can save the kid. But it’s not enough to stop the beating.
Funny, in a terribly sad way, how Charlie rages against his mother for being a sex worker— one who tried to protect him from a child molester— and then looks at the guy who he was feeding children to as a father figure. Quite sad, and shows the depths of the loneliness in Manx’s heart. He isn’t only a terrifying, nasty character. He’s a sad, pathetic, and lonely one, too. Perhaps more so sad and lonely than anything else. That’s why he clings to Bing. Not only because the big guy’s useful, but also because nobody else knows the same loneliness as him, other than a damaged soul like Bing.
Millie and Millie continue playing in that room together. The still living Millie talks about being free and leaving home once she’s sixteen. This freedom, among other things about real human life, is not something the dead vampire Millie understands. At least not anymore. The vampire Millie finally gets what’s going on, and she goes to her dead mother, asking why she’s being kept there in Christmasland. Cassie boils it down to control: Charlie wants an obedient, subservient daughter, not a daughter who’ll grow to be a woman and go off to live her own life. And if Christmasland / Charlie dies, that means Millie will, too.
Things are changing for Manx when Bing begins to have a pang of conscience, after seeing the state of young Wayne in the car, falling apart from the inside out. There are scary things about to happen, as Bing’s ugly monster rears its head. We already know he’s done some horrific sexual things. Here, he seems to confirm it. And is he going to go hard Deliverance on ole Manx? He’s as much upset by bad fathers as he is by bad mothers, apparently. Who knew. This terror brings up another memory from young Manx’s past, of a night at the saloon alone with Mr. Tim. So much said without showing much. Was Mr. Tim his first kill? He was already a misogynist, blaming his mother for what happened. And this was when something truly evil awoke inside him.
“Bitch, bitch, go to sleep. Take a nap while I love you deep.”
That’s one awful nursery rhyme from Bing. Like things weren’t dark enough already!
When Charlie comes to he’s being dragged back to the Wraith. Bing’s going to kill Charlie. He wants to protect the children from him. He locks Manx inside and prepares to crush the car, sending Wayne off to find police.
And so Bing starts the machine, putting a tank of gas inside with Charlie. Then he gets in the front seat, intent on ridding the world of two monsters at once. Wayne watches outside while Charlie passes out, and the crusher slowly pinches the Wraith. But the boy stops the machine, opening the door. He calls out to Charlie, who’s able to get to the fresh air. Wayne’s still partly stuck under the Wraith’s spell. Bing’s able to get out, as well. Not in time enough to avoid Charlie regaining his strength. Uh oh.
Some very heavy things in this episode. Although there’s already been plenty of that, this episode really put that in the foreground given what we saw in Charlie’s young days. Just seeing more of Manx’s backstory is chilling, to see how deep the evil runs in his blood. And there’s no telling what’s going to happen from here, especially now that Wayne is firmly in his clutches. Bing almost did the right thing, too. So sad.