REVIEW: ‘NOS4A2’ Season 1 – Finale

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The two-part season finale of NOS4A2 aired Sunday night on AMC. Last week’s episode, which is titled “Parnassus”, opens with Maggie (Jahkara Smith) recovering in Sherrif Bly’s (Chris McKinney) home. She begins to worry about him when he doesn’t come home, so she decides to use her tiles to search for him. She discovers that he’s dead, which sets her off on a downward spiral into some old bad habits. Back in Haverhill, Vic (Ashleigh Cummings) continues to have visions of the kids in Christmasland.

She receives an acceptance letter into RISD and tells her family and friends. Her friends decide to throw her a celebration party but her mother (Virginia Kull) isn’t as excited about her going off to college. As the party goes on, Bing (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) sneaks into Vic’s house and lays out some evidence for her mother to find. This evidence causes a fight between Vic and her mom, which puts Vic in quite a predicament. Meanwhile, Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto) meets with an old friend (Reg Rogers) for some advice.

The first part of the finale, which is titled “Sleigh House”, opens with Craig (Dalton Harrod) going after Bing for what he did to Vic in the previous episode. Craig confronts him but quickly discovers that he made a mistake. Meanwhile, Maggie and Vic are having breakfast. Realizing that Craig could be in danger, they rush to save him but are too late. Ignoring Maggie’s warning, Vic decides to go after Bing. While this is happing, Bing makes contact with Charlie and reveals new information about Vic.

“Gunbarrel”, the second part of the finale, sees Vic in an extremely dangerous situation. With her plan to save Craig thwarted by Manx, Vic is desperate to find another solution. She runs into a local biker, Lou Carmody, (Jonathan Langdon) and asks him for help. Vic is determined to finally stop Charlie and free the Children of Christmasland. After days for torment, Vic faces her toughest challenge as she prepares for her final showdown with Charlie.

With their relationship being developed over the past few episodes, I was rooting for Vic and Craig. It was evident that they both cared about each other, especially when he gave Vic a commemorative pin. However, the opening scene of the first part of the finale automatically took away any care I had for his character. Yes, Vic has made many impulsive actions, including confronting Charlie without Maggie’s help. It doesn’t make any sense for Craig to go after Bing given the events of the previous episode. Craig doing this out of love set his character up for inevitable doom. I would’ve cared more about his character had the opening scene played out differently.

On a more happier note, it does excite me to see Vic and Maggie bonding more. Vic saved Maggie’s life and made sure that she was safe. The episode showed me that Vic does care for Maggie and would be willing to do anything to make sure that nothing happened to her. Since they both don’t know anyone else that has powers, they only have each other as support. Maggie’s parents clearly won’t do anything to try and understand who she is. Vic’s parents don’t get along and can’t seem to be there when she needs them. Vic and Maggie quickly became family after the events of last week’s episode and since no one else can really help them. It’s taken a while for them to get here, but I’m glad it wasn’t left as a plot device for season two.

Just when I thought the show couldn’t put its characters through bigger challenges, “Sleigh House” elevated the stakes of the entire show. The show has found ways to distance itself in certain elements from the original source material, which only increased my curiosity as to how Vic and Maggie would be tested. The show’s already given Maggie obstacles to undergo, which she overcame with Vic’s help. The first half of the finale gave Vic her most dangerous challenge yet, and to make matter even worse, it became much more personal. Vic has undergone an incredible transformation since the start of the season and is now willing to put everything to the test to save someone important to her.

“Gunbarrel” immediately picks up with Vic trying to escape from imminent danger. The episode has by far the best opening scene from the entire season. It adds to the stakes that were set up from the first half of the finale but it also shows how far Vic has come. She has people who depend on her to stop Charlie and save the children in Christmasland. Had she not gone through this life-changing journey, it would have been nearly impossible for her to find a way out of the burning house. Vic’s call to action is what carries her forward.

I can only imagine that fans of the original source material were excited with the introduction of Lou Carmody. I wasn’t quite sure what to really think about Langdon’s performance. However, his confrontation with Charlie made me change my mind. His character seemed to be written as comic relief, which seemed odd in a show like this but he showed courage when he came face to face with Manx. For someone who was just thrust into danger without any real explanation, Lou was able to handle himself. It will be interesting to see what direction his character takes during season two.

This was a great way to end the first season. Seeing an incredible piece of literature being adapted into a television series is amazing. It took liberties to include new aspects and really elevated the elements of horror. Maggie and Vic have gone through so much and will surely face bigger challenges next season. Bing will have bigger roles to fill given the way the second half of the finale plays out. And as an added bonus, fans of the book will be surprised with one of the final scenes. I, for one, am very excited for season two.

NOS4A2′s first season will be streaming on Shudder in both the U.S. and Canada starting August 8th.

Finale Rating: 10/10  Final Battles