The horror continues on AMC with the premier of NOS4A2‘s third episode, “The Gas Mask Man.” In last weeks episode, Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings) tries to deal with her family issues while trying to understand more about her powers. During a chaotic argument between her parents, she rides off in her bike and accidentally transports herself to Iowa. She’s found by Maggie (Jahkara Smith), who pleads Vic to help her find the boy who was kidnapped during the pilot episode. Vic refuses and transports herself back to her father’s house. Meanwhile, Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto) receives a work solicitation from Bing Partridge (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) and decides to give him a chance to prove himself.
In “The Gas Mask Man,” Vic attempts to live a normal life and put everything that happened in those past few days behind her. She focuses more on college but difficulties arise because of her parents’ financial situations. She asks her friend Willa (Paulina Singer) for help and the two venture off to visit schools. Meanwhile, Charlie decides to put Bing to work. The two continue to try to find the Shorter Way, but are interrupted by Hayley (Darby Camp), a young girl who Vic babysits. Back in Iowa, Maggie refuses to give up on the kid who was kidnapped and continues to investigate.
The opening scene between Charlie and Jolene (Judith Roberts) surely brought back the horror that wasn’t quite there in last week’s episode. Seeing Charlie walking down the hospital corridors as all the lights are turning off adds that extra element of horror. It truly is menacing and Manx holding a present in his hands left me with this eire feeling. There’s no way to tell what could be inside the box, which brings even more suspense. It’s evident that Charlie and Jolene have a past, especially when he gives her the present. It’ll be interesting to see if they expand on their relationship, especially since it’s hinted that Jolene is also a creative.
Vic’s family issues continue to be a major part of the season’s overall plot. Though it seems like both of her parents want what’s best for her, they have differing opinions when Vic makes it clear that she wants to go to school. While her father is supportive, her mother doesn’t want her to leave like her husband did. It’s quite a revelation that will surely have a big effect in further episodes. On top of that, it’s also hinted that Vic grew up in an abusive home given the way that her parents’ arguments often got aggressive. If anything, this reinforces the fact that her inscape allows her to travel through time and space as a way to run away from her life in Haverhill.
Speaking of Vic’s powers, it’s important to make note of the visions that she has during her interview the the college councilor. It’s a sign that no matter how hard she tries, Vic may never really be able to have a normal life. If it’s her parents’ constant fighting even though they’re divorced or her inability to control her powers, these struggles and new-found responsibilities are a part of her life.
Based on the way “The Gas Mask Man” ended, this is something that Vic must quickly come to terms with, especially since Charlie is getting close to finding out that she’s the user of the Shorter Way. Charlie and Bing’s partnership is shaping to be quite troublesome for Vic.
Manx begins to teach Bing more about Christmasland and why the user of the Shorter Way is the only one who can put an end to his plans. He’s now full taking advantage of Bing’s desire of finding somewhere to belong to for his own personal gain. It’s not difficult to feel sorry for Bing, especially since he was so hopeful that working at Christmasland would be the thing to bring purpose to his life. However, that feeling of empathy quickly leaves once he and Manx make their first strike against Vic. I’m eager to see how she retaliates.
Overall, I absolutely loved watching this episode. Things are finally starting to pick up now that a lot of major elements and characters of the story have been established. Though the show deviates from its original source material in many ways, I for one have become a fan of the way the show has been progressing. Vic will have major conflicts to deal with, especially with the way the episode ended. It’s hard to say that normality she once yearned for will ever cross her mind.
NOS4A2 airs Sundays at 10 pm EST / 7 PM PST, only on AMC.
Rating: 9/10 College Visitis