“Sleigh House” (Episode 109)
July 28, 2019
Last week on NOS4A2, Charlie Manx relaxed at a Strong Creatives bar, Parnassus, and caught up with an old buddy named Abe. We don’t know much about Abe but he knows ALL about Charlie. Abe thought that Vic is a problem and needs to go. Elsewhere, Bing kidnapped Vic in an attempt to get back on Charlie’s “Nice” list. Vic escaped and after finally telling her mother everything she’s been thinking about her, finds her bike. Maggie was in a downward spiral and tried to OD but luckily, Vic saved her just in time. Catch up on all of the action with our deep dive recap and review here.
Now, on to Part 1 of the two hour season finale of NOS4A2 … BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!
Haverhill, Massachusetts. Tonight’s episode begins with Craig running into his house just long enough to grab his bat and to let his (still) strung out mother know that he’s going to “kill that piece of shit down the way.” Strung Out Mom is totes cool with this … which is pretty on brand for Craig’s mom.
The House of Sleep. Bing, wearing the pinkest, frilliest apron ever, is making himself some Christmas cookies. You imagine he needs them after the ass beating Vic gave him. He is checking his window as if he hears something and in fact, we do see Craig stalking up the lawn of 1,000 pin wheels. After steeling himself, Craig bum rushes Bing in the kitchen.
“Let It Snow,” which had been playing as background music in Bing’s kitchen, cranks up to full volume on the soundtrack.
Craig didn’t really think through the fact that Bing is fucking enormous and so the element of surprise is quickly evaporated. These two have an all out, bare knuckle close quarters fight that would make the superstars of the WWE jealous. The bat, cookie sheets, flour, thew table and chairs … everything is used as they two beat the shit out of each other. With both men on the floor, we see them both scramble for the dropped bat. The camera shifts angle as the bat is grabbed by an unseen hand. Thump Thump, Squish, Squish and blood drops splatter the floor in front of us.
Who Lived, Who Died? You know you’re going to have to wait.
At a hotel, Vic is sitting in bed with Maggie as our Favorite Medium continues to vomit up the pills she took. Vic is furiously texting, trying to get a hold of Craig. Vic looks up and finds Millie Manx in her room, drawing her sword. She tells Vic that she’s next and as she goes to plunge her sword into Vic, Maggie is back and trying to calm down Vic. Vic’s eyeball is at Def Con 1 in terms of full blown irritation.
Haverhill, Massachusetts. At breakfast, Vic is still checking her phone and Maggie mentions that Vic’s visions are getting worse. Vic blames her extended irritated eye on having taken her Bridge to Here, Iowa to save someone’s overdosed ass. Maggie doesn’t respond to this and instead chooses to focus on the fact that they now know she can travel through The Shorter Way with Vic so, upside! They can hunt Manx together.
Vic isn’t letting her friend off the hook so easily. She says she had no idea Maggie had spiraled down so fast and hard. Maggie confesses that Sheriff Joe was abducted while Maggie was strung out on a pill bender. And because she tossed her Tiles, she didn’t even see it coming. She blames herself and laments to being alone, Joe was the closest thing to family she has.
“You’re not alone. Not then, not now.”
Maggie notes Vic’s frequent cell phone checking and Vic says she got someone else mixed up in this and she’s really scared.
The House of Sleep. Vic and Maggie roll up on Bing’s house. They see Craig’s dirt bike parked on the lawn. Over Maggie’s protestations, Vic barges her way inside and in the kitchen, they see the remnants of the fight and blood splattered on the floor.
“Bing’s got him somewhere … or worse.”
Cut to Bing checking Craig’s phone. He drops on a leaf strewn ground and smashes it to pieces. The Wraith rolls up and we see Charlie and Bing are meeting in a forest covered road by a lake. Charlie is annoyed at delaying Bradley’s return to Christmasland (and causing him to miss a meal) so tells Bing to make it quick, whatever it is. Before getting to it, though, Bing offers a tin of cookies … for Bradley. Bing, brother, cookies aren’t the kind of food that Bradley is jonesing for anymore. Oh, Bing.
“Why Bing, you’ll be the last boy chosen at the dance. What happened to your face?”
Bing confesses to Vic attacking him … in his basement. But he swears, he didn’t touch Vic … not in THAT way. Charlie is incensed that Bing took her to the House of Sleep and Bing insists that Vic belongs on the Naughty List. Charlie counters that it is Bing that is on the Naughty list and he’s been there for sometime. Bing continues to defend himself, saying he founds drugs and rubbers in Vic’s room. He continues that Charlie doesn’t even have to take his word for it, Mr. Manx can ask the boy Bing has in trunk. Bing pops the trunk and a beaten, but alive, Craig is bound up inside.
“Who in, God’s name, is that?”
We come back from break and Craig is transported into the boot of The Wraith. Charlie questions him about why he tried to attack Bing? Craig says it was in retaliation for what Bing did to Vic and to Haley and Sharon Smith. Charlie appreciates Craig’s chivalry, a dying quality in men, and realizes that Craig is in love with Vic.
“I don’t blame you. There’s a lot to love about Vic McQueen.”
When Craig confirms that Vic loves Craig back, Charlie’s face falls as he asks Craig is they’ve “consummated their love.” Craig’s non-answer answer makes Charlie’s entire demeanor change. He grimaces at Craig as he tries to process a woman as strong as Vic ruined by a no nothing boy like Craig. Craig, feeling his oats, says that wherever they go, Vic will find him and adds that she’ll kill Charlie.
“She can certainly try her best. Pity, now I’ll have to do the same.”
Charlie slams the boot shut on Craig, telling him to rest for the road to Christmasland is paved in dreams. Turning to Bing, he thanks him for sparing the children of Christmasland a grave mistake. He tells Bing to head home and clear out his things, get more gingerbread gas, and meet Charlie at a pre-determined address. If he can do all of that without getting picked up by the police, Charlie will take him along for the final ride. In the meantime, Charlie says, he’ll be dealing with Vic McQueen.
I’d like to note that Charlie hands over the address on a Christmas themed cardstock, with beautiful handwriting. Penmanship isn’t taught in schools anymore and I am sad about that.
The House of Sleep. Maggie and Vic are still inside Bing’s house, conferring with the Scrabble Tiles.
Where is Craig?
Can the Brat find The Wraith?
Is the Brat ready?
A nice detail that Maggie’s stutter is back and full blown after using the Tiles so frequently in such a short amount of time.
Vic heads outside and breaks into Bing’s shed. Maggie is hot on her heels, trying to convince her to heed the tiles, they are never wrong. Vic isn’t hearing it, she’s run to Craig for everything since she was 6 and she loves him and he needs her. She finds a can of gasoline and straps it to her bike. Maggie, knowing her friend is going no matter what she says, says she’ll come with Vic but Vic isn’t having that either. She tells Maggie that she was almost dead just a little while ago and wherever Vic is going, she’s going to need to be fast and nimble. She tells Maggie to stay here and help the police track down Bing.
They guy goodbye as Maggie tries to make Vic promise she’ll call from wherever she winds up. Vic takes off and Maggie dials the police about a possible abduction at Bing Partridge’s house.
The House of Sleep. Maggie’s phone conversation turns into an in person conversation with the police. Detective Hutter walks up on the conversation and turns up the interrogation on Maggie and her and Vic’s stories as relate to Bing Partridge. Maggie is scant on details but confirms that she KNOWS that Bing has Vic and probably Craig too. Tabitha believes her but without the full story from Maggie and/or Vic, she can’t do much about it. An officer calls Tab into the house.
In Bing’s basement, Detective Hutter rifles through Bing’s lockbox of sin and death. The bloodied hammer gun that killed Bing’s parents is in there. Hutter thinks a minute and convinces herself that she enough now. She gets on the radio and puts out an APB on Bing, giving his full description, car details and places of work. As we hear this, we see Bing in his car, rolling by his house and seeing all the police activity. He keeps going. As Hutter finishes her APB, Vic makes her way to the foot of The Shorter Way.
The neon green spray paint says, “Sleigh House.” Vic hesitates a moment and then plunges into the dark (literal and metaphorical). She comes out of the Bridge onto a wide lawn with a big farmhouse in the distance. It’s still day time here, almost dusk. Vic takes off her helmet and gives the house a long look.
The Sleigh House. Vic makes her way into the Sleigh House via the garage. Parked inside is The Wraith and a boy inside, calling out to Vic for help. Vic runs around and opens the rear door, extending a hand to help Bradley out of the car. He grabs her hand and starts pulling her in.
“Mr. Manx, I caught a girl. Come and see!”
Ashleigh Cummings as Vic McQueen – Photo Credit: Zach Dilgard/AMCThat little shit! Vic pulls her arm away, her wrist blackened where Ghoul Bradley grabbed her, and slams the door shut. Ghoul Bradley looks very sullen.
Craig calls out and Vic runs to the boot and tries to break him out. Ghoul Bradley protests that she’s interfering; Craig is his friend now – they are going to play Scissors for the Drifter together. I don’t think Craig is cool with this plan. Vic tells Craig she’ll be right back, she needs to find the keys to open the boot. The Wraith’s horn is blaring, sending up the alarm for Charlie to hear.
Vic takes off at a run for the main house and Ghoul Bradley gives chase. He’s having a lot of fun and thinks they’re playing some sick version of tag. She kicks Ghoul Bradley loose and is able to close the door on him, leaving her alone in the house.
Alvin and the Chipmunk’s classic Christmas tune, “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” is playing when she enters the house. Way to ruin this song for me, forever, show.
Vic begins searching for the keys to The Wraith, every little sounds making her jump. Sounds, like the pinging of the microwave as she enters the kitchen. I don’t blame her, the Victrola playing the Chipmunks and the whole Charlie Manx vibe is super SUPER creepy. Ghoul Bradley pops up at a window and bangs on it, yelling for Mr. Manx to let him know a girl is inside the house.
Vic’s eye begins to throb as she spots a kid’s drawing of a father and daughter, signed by one Millie Manx.
The cause for the eye pain is evident when we cut to the yard where Charlie is gliding his hand along Vic’s bike. He begins to roll the bike towards The Bridge.
Inside, Vic stumbles through the house, towards Charlie’s voice. Holding her head, her vision is blurry. Too much Strong Creative energy interfering with each other.
“Victoria McQueen. Come out and say, ‘how do.”
Charlie rolls the bike to The Shorter Way and tosses it inside. The Bridge disappears, bats scatter, and Vic collapses in shrieking pain on the floor of the house. It’s a debilitating level of pain, Vic left rolling around on the rug.
We come back from break as Vic regains consciousness from a brief blackout. Alvin and his brothers are still singing. Vic regains her feet as Charlie villain monologues about The Shorter Way being as impressive as advertised but, now that it’s gone, her only escape is to go with Charlie to Christmasland.
FYI Vic’s eye is not just red now but full on dripping blood. She locks the door nearest to where Charlie was approaching. In the other room, Ghoul Bradley is bashing his head through the pane of glass on the door.
No Ghoul Bradley, Vic does NOT want to play with you!
Charlie kicks his door in and enters the house, creepily calling out, “Victoria.” Vic is hiding in the room with the Victrola which totally gives up by her location stopping the record of the Chipmunks. We watch the needle lift up on its own. Fucking record players, they can’t be trusted. I’ve always said it.
After a tense moment of no one moving, everyone listening, Vic makes a run to the laundry room. She barricades herself inside as Charlie tries to shake the door open.
“Looks like you’ve gotten yourself into quite a pickle, Vic.”
Vic yells at him to get out and leave her be. Pulling a great quote from the novel, Charlie replies that “it takes a lot of brass to break into a man’s house and tell him to get.” He tells Vic she can still get to Christmasland. She reaffirms her vow that she’ll find Christmasland and burn it to the ground. No no no, says Charlie. Vic will only get to Christmasland with Charlie, either in the front seat or in the trunk, with Craig. Vic tries to get Charlie to let Craig go, saying he’s innocent in all this.
“He RUINED you.”
After an awkward moment where no one says anything … really, how do you respond to an immortal beast criticizing your lack of sexual morals?!? Charlie continues that because she’s no longer clean in his eyes, she cannot be the loving mother to his children that he had hoped.
“You are, however, capable of providing them with a proper meal.”
Again, no response from Vic. Charlie is leaving it hard to respond to these statements. He tells her to come out or else, he’ll set the place on fire … which is exactly what he does. Using the gas can that Vic brought. Irony!
I’ll note that Charlie removes Millie’s picture from the fridge before setting the house ablaze. Vic’s eyes go WIDE when the smoke reaches her laundry room. She removes her barricade but the fire is already burning too hot on the other side of the laundry door to let her escape. The tiny ceiling level window is no help either. She looks up, there is a laundry chute on the ceiling. Vic is in full freak out mode as we head to break.
Haverhill, Massachusetts. We come back to the police station and see Hutter making calls. In an office off to the side, Maggie asks her tiles where Bing is right now.
SoChemPharm. Bing is hauling out tanks of gingerbread gas when his boss finds him. Bing tells him he quits but his boss is all, “nah, you’re fired.” He mentions the cops coming around looking for Bing as he picks up his cell to call the police. Bing orders him to put the phone down and then repeats the command in a terrifying yell. He adds, “please” the second time so I guess that helps. We cut away as Bing approaches his boss in a most menacing kind of way.
The Haverhill Police Station. Maggie sidles up to Detective Hutter and whispers that Bing is at SoChemPharm right now but Tabitha is all, nopers, we sent cops there already.
“He is there … now.”
Hutter asks if someone tipped Maggie off. Maggie takes Tabitha into an office and comes clean about her Scrabble Tiles and being a Medium. She says there are forces, and people, in this world with powers far beyond Detective Hutter’s comprehension. She basically confirms every nutty thing that Vic told Hutter previously that she knows Hutter did not believe. But, surprise! It’s all true. Go to SoChemPharm and get Bing Partridge.
Sleigh House. We cut back to Vic trying to prop herself up high enough to climb into the laundry chute.The flames are due to arrive in the Laundry Room, imminently. Vic shimmies her way up the chute … she’s basically auditioning for American Ninja Warrior at this point … but loses her grip and plummets back into the Laundry Room, smashing her legs against the table and sprawling out on the floor. The fire is now full on in this room.
SoChemPharm. Police Squad cars roll up on Bing’s
place of employment former place of employment but he’s already bounced. Detective Hutter is there and inside Bing’s car, she finds Bing’s boss ex-boss all tied up. Check out the tattoo that Bing left as a going away present …
Sleigh House. Vic is lying amongst the flames, reliving one memorable line from almost every person she’s come into contact with this season. The final voice is Maggie from the first time they met, telling Vic that she is ONLY person that can stop Charlie Manx. Vic gets herself up off the floor and attacks the laundry chute once again.
In an agonizing long, fraught climb, Vic makes it up and out of the chute to the clean air of the second floor. She crawls her way to a window and gulps in fresh air as she coughs and regains her bearings. In the distance, she sees The Wraith driving away.
Thoughts. The same way that the season began with two episodes best viewed together, NOS4A2 ends with two hours of television that make up a complete telling to the end of the season. So, not too much to say on this one.
That being said, it was GREAT to see the show pick up this thread from the novel. They recreated so many aspects of the Sleigh House chapter, shot for shot, especially in the case of the laundry chute climb, and in some cases, line for line.
Speaking of lines, Zachary Quinto has owned the role of Charlie Manx all season long but tonight, he hit a new gear as Vic took the battle to Manx’s home turf. Quinto’s line readings and mannerisms were on fire and cemented my thought that no one else could ever play this role as well as him.
And, a special shout out to Ashleigh Cummings for her portrayal of agony and loss when her bike is tossed into The Shorter Way and it all disappears. I knew it was coming and it still effected me in a visceral way. Cummings has consistently portrayed Vic’s pain and suffering but she too, hit a new high tonight.
It’ll be interesting to see where Vic goes from here now that her knife is gone and her inscape inaccessible. But, tune in to the final episode of the season, “Gunbarrel,” to see how it all unfolds.
NOS4A2 airs on Sunday nights at 10pm (ET/PT) on AMC and will be back next year for Season 2. Thanks for reading and Live Tweeting with me.
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