REVIEW: ‘NOS4A2’ Season 1, Episode 4 – The House of Sleep

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Things have finally started to get serious in AMC’s newest show, NOS4A2 with the premiere of its fourth episode, “The House of Sleep.” In last week’s episode, Vic (Ashleigh Cummings) tries to live a normal life by completely ignoring Maggie’s (Jahkara Smith) plea for help and looking more at colleges. While visiting her dream school, she realizes that attending college might be difficult because of financial situations and begins to have visions of Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto). Meanwhile, Charlie decides to put Bing Partridge (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) to work on finding The Shorter Way but are interrupted by Hayley (Darby Camp). With Charlie realizing that Hayley knows who has been using The Shorter Way, he orders Bing to kidnap her. Vic returns from her college visit and finds out that Hayley has been taken.

In “The House of Sleep,” Vic deals with the repercussions of ignoring her gift. She blames herself for not being able to save Hayley from being kidnapped. Maggie tries to relate with her but Vic is just focused on saving Hayley. As she begins to investigate, she discovers that Bing is somehow involved with the kidnapping. Meanwhile, the show dives deeper into Bing’s earlier life, which acts as an explanation for why he may have decided to work for Manx. Bing is worried about being found out and tries to get Manx to help him. Manx on the other hand is far too busy trying to get more information out of Hayley about the user of The Shorter Way.

Bing’s backstory was one of the biggest highlights of “The House of Sleep.” From the start of the series, it’s a bit predictable that he was may have been teased a lot when he was younger given how he carries himself and how shy he is. Although the trope of having an abusive childhood that leads someone to either kill or be involved in murder within the horror genre has been done several times, the show offers a unique take on it.

Bing lives in fear of his father but doesn’t do anything to go against him. It’s not until he’s a teen that he takes his anger out on both his father and on his mother for not doing anything to stop it. It’s very reminiscent of Wilson Fisk’s backstory from the first season of the Netflix original show Daredevil.

The season has finally reached the level where things have gotten personal for Vic. Hayley accidentally found out about her secret which put her in imminent danger. This could have been avoided had Vic not ignored Maggie’s warning. We haven’t seen Vic take any of her responsibilities seriously until now. It will be interesting to see where the episode decides to take this newfound aggressiveness from Vic. She only has revenge on her mind, which may in fact do a lot more harm that good to her or the people around her.

Even though Vic is out for revenge, she still very much despises her power. When confronting Maggie, she tells her that she doesn’t think any of this is a gift. Vic thought that she could use her powers to find lost things instead of using it to hunt down someone like Charlie Manx. One can’t help but side with Vic, especially with Hayley being kidnapped. This isn’t something that any high school senior should be worried about. Last week’s episode was all about Vic trying to have a normal life. Vic is still holding on to that idea even though it’s clear that it will never happen.

Much like last week, “The House of Sleep” sure brought the creep factor. Aside from Bing’s backstory, there’s a scene in Bing’s basement where he brings a batch of cookies and milk to Hayley’s mom (Elizabeth Stanley). If anything this scene is as uncomfortable as it is scary. The look of fear and disgust in the mother’s eyes sets the entire mood. Bing, albeit in his own strange way, is merely trying to be generous but it clearly comes off as creepy. The only thing that’s giving the mother any real strength is her desire to find her daughter. I’m hoping more scenes like this one are included in future episodes.

Each episode of this season has progressively gotten better and “The House of Sleep” is no exception. It’s taken liberties of not directly following the source material while still delivering a unique story that doesn’t tarnish anything that’s been set up. The episode’s ending sets up the tone of next week’s episode perfectly and I cannot wait to see what happens.

NOS4A2 airs Sundays at 10 pm EST / 7 PM PST, only on AMC.

Fina Rating: 10/10 Nail Guns