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NOS4A2 - Good Father - Review

29 Jun 2020

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Two episodes in its second season and NOS4A2 is already making serious creative mistakes. After last week's surprisingly solid season premiere, I was hoping that would signal a new creative direction for this fledgling basic cable horror series based on Joe Hill's excellent novel. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be.

Instead of continuing with the further development of Vic, Lou, and Wayne, or even Maggie, the producers opted to dedicate an entire episode to showing what we, the audience, already knew: how Charlie Manx's relationship with Cassie (Celeste Arias) dissolved and led to the development of Christmastown and Millie as his daughter as its chief resident. Yes, a Christmastown origin story. Frankly, they're about a season too late for that. I feel that we should have been better introduced to it toward the end of last season if they really wanted to make an impression with us, but...better late than never, right?

 In this case, that whole structure feels miscalculated. Granted, I am sure Zachary Quinto probably wanted more screen time since they barely showed him at all in the last episode. Here he is the main attraction. The episode starts with Charlie's resurrection thanks to Bing's involvement with a mechanic rebooting the Wraith. Not surprisingly, he uses that knife that Vic left in his to kill an orderly as he makes a nice homage to the original Halloween 2 by limping though the empty hallways, now more of a zombie than powerful vampire we know him as.

We then transition to when Charlie was young and vibrantly alive with his wife, Cassie, who is pregnant with Millie. His father-in-law may not approval of the baby, since they had eloped and never approved of the marriage (Charlie was merely his driver), but let them live in his mansion anyway.

Next, we see zombie Charlie telling Bing to put a child in the Wraith and meet him at his house, the Sleigh House. As you can tell, the Wraith is Charlie's "knife," that allows him to access "inscapes," like Chirstmasland that only Strong Creatives can enter.

Next, we go back to the past where the father-in-law shoots down Charlie's business idea and tells him Millie will receive a trust fund on her 18th birthday, so there's no need to worry. Meanwhile, Zombie Charlie kills another security guard in the present and Bing finds a child named Michael to lure into the Wraith with promises of Chirstmasland being a place where he can never be bullied again. Fair enough description.

In the present, Charlie calls Millie in Christmasland and tells her he is on his way and not to worry about the lights going off again. Then, kills a random person in a public restroom. When police arrive, they see Charlie in his human form emerge. Charlie then meets Wayne in a park and taunts him about Vic, causing Wayne to run away and Charlie to start bleeding. Next, Bing brings the Wraith captured to Charlie. Bing inside it restores all of Charlie's wounds and we see Mike become Christmasland's newest vampire child.

Then, we go back to the past where Millie, not Charlie, kills Cassie after she decides to leave Charlie and take Millie to her Aunt Beatrice's. Charlie offered to take Millie to Christmasland after he buys the Wraith, and that is exactly where they go in the Wraith. Being there causes Millie's teeth to fall out and become a vampire child, who then bites her mother to death.

We conclude with present day Charlie returning to Christmasland in the Wraith and feeding the children with the former owner of the Wraith who helped restore it. Bing and Charlie then visit a grave - WANYE'S! - with an engraving that reads, "without a parent's guiding hand, he's better off in Christmasland," as they decide that Wayne must be taken from Vic's incompetent hands.

I will definitely give the episode credit for raising the, um, stakes (pun intended), but without showing Vic or Maggie, the episode lost a lot of steam. This is expository info we should have learned about last season. It has good intentions about developing Charlie's character and setting up episode 3 and the rest of the season, but felt sort of like too-little-too-late for me. We wonder if Wayne will tell Vic about Charlie, and I'm guess he won't at first, but later will when it is dramatically convenient. I liked the relationship between Charlie and Millie, but I wish Cassie could've just been turned into a vampire instead of just killed. Again, this should have been addressed last season when they were setting up all of the characters. Hopefully, they won't do too many flashbacks after this. There is definitely promise with Charlie now officially after Wayne, but, again, it all feels very "been there, done that" before.