AMC’s NOS4A2
2×09: “Welcome to Christmasland”
Directed by Toa Fraser
Written by Thomas Brady

* For a recap & review of “Chris McQueen,” click here.
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, click here.
Father Son Holy Gore - NOS4A2 - Wayne's HelmetCharlie Manx is back at Christmasland with young Wayne, whose transformation’s nearly complete by the look of him. He introduces the boy to all the other children waiting for the arrival of their “new friend.” All the kids are excited to play with Wayne. First, Charlie wants Millie to show Wayne the place, but she isn’t around. So he shows the boy himself. He tells Wayne about all the awesome things in Christmasland, such as no parents, meaning no curfews and bedtimes and so on. Plus, the kid gets a shiny pair of scissors for a “special game.” Then Wayne signs his name to the big book, similar to signing one’s name in the Book of the Devil, as Wayne Manx rather than McQueen. Uh oh! He’s joined the ever growing Manx family.

On the road, Vic McQueen can’t get her bike going so trusty Lou Carmody’s attempting to fix it. He’s left with that nasty bite from Wayne but he’s fine. Vic says she needs to go the last leg of this journey alone. She says that Wayne will “need his father.” But Lou doesn’t want her talking like that, he wants Vic to survive this so they can live happily ever after, however, it may just be that she’s trying to think rationally about an irrational situation. The one who’s simply not letting Vic go alone is Maggie Leigh, refusing to allow her friend to go alone.

We see Charlie and Millie together again at Christmasland, in an icy corridor amongst the Ice Maze. He recounts finding her friends when she was younger when she’d hide away, isolated in the maze. She wants to leave. She talks about their home in the real world, the one Cassie showed her. Charlie soon realises Millie’s been outside the park. She wants to show him the house. She brings her father there and he’s horrified to confront his past, especially the brutally deformed Cassie. This is when Millie finds out she can’t leave with her mother, because of what her father did. And Cassie also reveals to Charlie that Vic’s breached his precious fortress, warning of the “great white static” that will destroy everything.

Vic uses her inscape to find Christmasland. She and Maggie arrive outside its walls. They’re shocked, though not surprised, by the size of Manx’s eerie amusement park. They briefly chat about parents/being a parent. Vic’s desperate to find her boy, to have a second chance at being a more focused mother for him. All they have to do is get inside Christmasland, then find Wayne. Out of nowhere, a young girl comes running at them from the shadows, but Maggie’s able to use her power to stop the girl in her tracks, giving them a chance to escape.
Fun to meanwhile see Lou and Tabitha eating burgers, laughing. They talk about their respective loves, relating about how it is to live with someone who has a powerful supernatural gift. Both Lou and Tabitha have stuck around through a ton of fucked up shit, all out of love. It’s doubly complicated for Lou because Wayne’s involved. Right now, Tabitha and Lou just try to keep faith their loved ones will make it back safely.

Vic accidentally alerts the kids of Christmasland to their presence. She and Maggie see the decapitated ornament heads in the trees around them, all the hideous little demonic vampire kids. Then Charlie calls out to Vic from the centre of town. He’s there with Millie and Wayne by his side. Vic attempts to speak reason to Millie, offering her freedom in the real world if she brings Wayne with her. Charlie talks a good game about Christmasland. He wants Wayne to choose whether to stay or go; the boy wants to stay. Charlie starts a game of Scissors for the Drifter, as Maggie plants a bomb and rushes for a hiding place. Vic’s got her own bomb, too. She leaves it behind for a bunch of the demon vamp kids. Maggie leaves another bomb elsewhere but her tiles get snatched by a couple of the kids. She then finds herself surrounded by a whole bunch of them, so she chases after the kid with her tiles right into the Ice Maze. Vic’s chomped and nearly piled on by a group of the kids, though a falling Christmas tree squashes a few.

Things are messed up in Christmasland.
Charlie’s read to decapitate Vic. But his daughter wants him to stay, to let Vic and her boy leave. She realises, finally: “Im not enough.” She understands her, her mother, they were never enough to fill Charlie’s endless need for adoration, for reverence, and for whatever else that fills his narcissistic heart. Millie tells her father she’s leaving for good. This makes Mr. Manx very, very angry.

Vic sees Wayne alone at one point and tries to get him to leave. He runs away, straight into the Ice Maze. Mom follows her son inside but everything looks alike. In another spot, Maggie corners the girl with her tiles. She gets them back, but she’s attacked by a group of the kids, all looking to carve her like a turkey. Vic stumbles onto them and gets Maggie out of there, though only for the time being. They hide as the kids run through the corridors, then they get moving again. Eventually they come upon Wayne and Vic does her best to lure her boy back home. When she hugs him close he stabs her with his pair of scissors.
Also inside the maze now is Charlie, following trails of blood.

Soon enough Charlie comes face-to-face with Vic and Maggie. He cracks Maggie with his mallet and before he can cave her skull in, off go the explosions the women set inside Christmasland. Each explosion does damage to Manx, rocking him back to a decrepit old man and creating an opening back out of the maze. Vic takes her chance to crack Manx’s skull a few times with the mallet. “Hes just an old bitch,” Maggie says, stopping her friend from wasting any more time and energy.
Christmasland is on fire. The kids are running around in chaos. Manx stumbles back into town searching for his daughter but nobody will help him. Millie’s back at the border of Christmasland, at the wall of static separating it from the real world. She steps through to the other side, except she immediately starts to fade in static. Until she grabs hold of an ornament on a tree, then she stops herself from disappearing.

And Vic finds Wayne again. She grabs him up and takes him by force.
They watch Christmasland shut down… for good?

A solid episode. Good thrills here! Nice when the action heats up occasionally. Also just entertaining to see the father-daughter dynamics with Charlie and Millie change, along with the emotional stuff between Vic and her little boy. Can’t wait for the finale.

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