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NOS4A2 - Bruce Wayne McQueen - Review

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With an episode title like "Bruce Wayne McQueen," it is not a surprise that the episode starts off with a flashback of Vic getting a C-section eight hears prior to the start of season 2. What turned out to be a big surprise is how this transitional episode was structured. I was not expecting the writers to suddenly construct a shifting POV episode from Wayne, to Vic, back to Wayne, etc. showing how Wayne is captured by Charlie on Vic's watch in spite of all of the precautions she took in the middle of the season, or during season 2 at all, really. It was a refreshing change of pace from the Vic/Charlie opposite side of the coin that was starting to feel as ancient as Charlie's real physique. Since Showtime's The Affair recently ended its run, it reminded me of how fascinating a Rashomon-like tableau of perspectives can be on a cable TV series.

After we view Wayne surviving his own C-section, title cards conveniently tell us if it is either Wayne or Vic who we are seeing the perspective of. Through Wayne, we see the relationship between Bing and Charlie, while Vic gets more of the actions scenes, where she somehow manages to get by two cars in one episode. We see Bing mock Wayne through the windows of the Wraith, seemingly jealous of all of the attention he is suddenly getting that his friend, Mike, did not. This further solidifies Charlie's status as the creepiest non-pedophile child abductor cable TV has seen in quite a while.

Not-so-shockingly, Bing's loyalty is not rewarded with Charlie being unappreciative for single-handedly bringing the Wraith (and him) back to life, finding children for him, plus building a shrine to him and wearing out Tabitha for him in the previous episode. These things mean little to Charlie, who then proves no good deed goes unpunished by leaving Bing when driving off with Wayne in the backseat, allowing him to be caught and arrested. You almost feel sorry for Bing since no one, even his own so-called "master" abandons him. I felt Olafur Darri Olafsson gave some of his best work of the series thus far, having to change motivations and moods on a dime as he tracks down and abducts Wayne while brandishing a gas sprayer acting like an over-sized child, then having to be more superior when Charlie arrives.

The direction by Hanelle Culpepper made this episode even stronger for me than the beautiful performances from the featured cast. The shot of Vic opening her mouth to scream with agony while hiding under the dock was a sensational moment. The camera tilts underwater with amazing precision. This shot will be an unforgettable image for me. The scene where Wayne watches from the Wraith as Lou unsuccessfully tries to tame Charlie with an axe, only to watch Vic get hit by two cars; the Wraith and the Hourglass Man. The CGI in this scene was dodgy, as a lot of special effects-heavy scenes have been on this show, but, again, the performances prevent the audience's attention to waver. Though, story-wise, not much happens in this episode, its conciseness came with enough technical and emotional abundance to forgive any feelings of shallowness from the script.

 Overall, a real memorable gem in a horror series that was lacking them until now.


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