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NOS4A2 - The Night Road - Review

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As we delve into some serious parenting issues, NOS4A2 is starting to find its footing this season after a few dramatic missteps.

It makes sense to expect to see more of Millie's mother after we discovered that Charlie had her killed in the back of the Wraith. However, I just thought we would see more flashbacks instead of Millie going out of Charlie's imposed boundaries in Christmasland to find that she has been permanently placed in her own private hell in a hollowed-out (haunted) house. Nice way to start the episode.

 Next, we see Vic riding her motorcycle to a place not many were expecting: her father's house. Yes, she rode all the way through the bridge to transport herself to her father's house. Chris McQueen is sober now and willing to welcome her in spite of her admitting a lack of communication with him. This pairing represents some of the best casting on NOS4A2. It was nice to see how much better of a father he has become to her, even saying that he threw out her mini liquor bottles to protect himself and stay sober. Nice parenting tips to a mother who clearly needs some right at this time.

Like Charlie, Vic wants to keep her family safe, but keeps putting them in danger for selfish reasons in the process while escaping to her own reality, alienating everyone around her. Unlike Charlie, however, she is not motivated by needs for revenge. Meanwhile, Charlie continues his desertion from reality. It is clear that he needs Christmasland to live and keep his family alive, but he does a good job of making everyone think that the place doesn't matter to him, seeing how little time he actually spends in it.

We see that Charlie goes out to a roadhouse bar on The Night Road and talks to messed-up looking criminals like Snake (special guest Tom Savini). Everyone in the bar seems to realize that Charlie is setting himself up for failure in setting up said revenge. Abe (Reg Rogers) tells him he is retired and doesn't want to connect him with The Hourglass, but Charlie persists. Snake might even help him as well. It is clear these characters have some respect for Charlie, but don't really want to help him enact this revenge. Of course, Millie won't be too happy when she discovers that it is her mother who Charlie is hiding from her while he expects her to babysit all of the children he brings to Christmasland for her.

Both Charlie and Vic have their work cut out for them. They deserve each other at this point, but we all know TV wants a climatic battle between heroin and villain. But, it won't be here after Vic cannot even vanquish the Wraith in the same heroic way she did last season with the flaming bottle. It is jarring to watch Vic's character go from promising young artistic woman to alcoholic screw-up, but that is what a misguided childhood and teenage pregnancy can do to the best of us. The really sad thing is that Charlie gave Vic structure and she seems to be falling apart unless he gives her a threat to overcome. It is odd to me how self-destructive Vic's noble quest has become as she does nothing but alienate Lou and Tabitha in her quest to vanquish Charlie once and for all, even if she dies in the process.

We then see Bing distract Lou enough at the mechanic shop for Wayne to wander off from his basketball playing to run into...drum roll, please...Charlie by the side of a woodland road. Charlie tries to tempt Wayne with presents, but Wayne is too clever to fall for Charlie's unimaginative ploy and gets away from him without much resistance from Charlie when we already know he is capable of more. Meanwhile, Bing doesn't fool Lou either and Lou calls the police while pretending to call about his vehicle. It seems these two will have to try harder to abduct Wayne. Luckily, we still have seven more episodes to go this season.

 Next, Vic and Charlie meet at the bar on The Night Road, where Charlie wonders what darkness Vic has been going through to even qualify to travel on it before riding off without even attempting to fight with her (again, seven more episodes). Charlie clearly enjoys toying with Vic and will not enact any revenge without serious build-up and cavalry, which he seems to get at the end of the episode with The Hourglass being contacted, against all logistical reasoning. Yes, Charlie does display humanity even when he hides it by doing evil things, as this phone call illustrates. People respect him, even though he is not likable. He could be so much more aggressive and ruthless than he's been so far, but maybe that is a caring parent's intuition for one another being displayed more than anything. He knows Vic deserves better than most of his victims he kills without a second thought, so at least he grants her that much theatrical reprieve.

 Wayne and Lou seem safe hiding out at Maggie and Tabitha's house, but how longer remains to be seen. One can only guess how much tensions there will be between Tabitha and Vic since Maggie almost died because of Charlie. Now, everyone is at risk by staying in the house together. Hope Millie doesn't contact Vic there like she did in the season premiere and set off a known location for Charlie to find.

Now that Vic is claiming that she will settle with Wayne at Maggie's house, perhaps her selfishness will fade a little, but keeping her a flawed anti-heroine seems to be the real order of the season. She really isn't a "bad" mother, but doesn't seem to realize it herself. Lou loves her and sticks with her and Wayne for a reason, even if her behavior completely negates his reasoning for staying. It is almost like she wants to fall into the same trap her own parents put her into when she was younger. We want to see her to succeed since she is the center of the story, but are not sure if she wants to survive everything that is being thrown at her in her rather selfish quest to become the heroine she already knows she is.

What exactly this is all building toward is anyone's guess. Obviously, they could go the route of the novel (which I will not spoil and you should read if you haven't already), but something tells me the producers will go in another, more-television-friendly direction. What do you think?


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