N0S4A2: Season 1, Episode 1 Recap and Review

So, the month of June has come upon us.

As in, it’s summer time…

You know, when the temperatures rise and the sunscreen doesn’t matter?

Of course, I live in an unnamed state in the southern United States.

All I can tell you is that it’s not Florida.

And living in Not Florida during the summertime is just Not Cool.

As in, it’s hot.

Really hot.

Seriously, my face melted off the other day.

Anyone have any hints for cleaning melted face off the floor?  Windex doesn’t seem to be working very well…

So, since it is so hot in Not Florida right now, I am doing what any red blooded (as in even my blood is sweating) Not Floridian would do…

Finding the nearest air conditioned living room and making camp in there until…

Oh, October or so…

So, to keep my self entertained during this sweltering Not Florida summer, I am spending some quality time with my television set.

You, just watching some Christmas stuff, right?

Yes, you heard that right!

I am watching some Christmas stuff here in Not Florida, while trying to mop my face off the floor!

In other words, we are talking about the premiere of the show N0S4A2, a television show based on the novel of the same name.

It goes without saying that the source material is a novel written by Joe Hill, who has been deemed the Prince of Horror.

You know, since dear old dad is The King, after all?

I am huge fan of the source material, and just a fan of The Prince in general.

(His number one fan, heehee.)

So, I watched the series premiere of N0S4A2 this week.

And I must say, I see potential here…

Lots of potential, in all its icy, snowy, Christmas-y potential glory…

And I am excited…

Christmas is only supposed to come once a year, right?

So, without further ado, let’s get down to our review and synopsis of episode 1 of season 1 of N0S4A2, titled The Shorter Way.

And, as always:

Synopsis

The episode begins in a town by the name of Here, Iowa.

We are introduced to a young boy by the name of Danny.

Danny’s mother is a single mother, and her boyfriend is spending the night.

Bored, Danny turns on the television so he can watch cartoons.  However, Christmas music begins to play from his television set, and a candy cane shows up on the doorstep.

Danny runs outside and encounters a mysterious 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith.  The backseat of the vehicle is filled with wrapped Christmas gifts.  The Christmas music continues to play.

Danny climbs into the vehicle, and is almost immediately trapped inside.  An intruder creeps into the house and jams a syringe into the boyfriend’s neck.

The intruder also snaps the neck of Danny’s mother when she realizes something is amiss and runs outside to save her son.

The driver of the vehicle reveals himself to be a very old man by the name of Charlie Manx.  Manx assures Danny that everything is all right, and Danny is being taken to a place Manx calls Christmasland, as a reward.

The episode then flashes to a small town in Massachusetts, and we are introduced to a teenager by the name of Victoria “Vic” McQueen.

Vic (nicknamed “The Brat” by her father) is a smart, talented teenager from a poor, working class family.  Vic dreams of attending art school after high school graduation, but is constantly reminded by her parents (her mother in particular) that this probably will not be possible for her, due to her family’s financial situation.

It is also revealed that Vic’s parents fight constantly over anything and everything, including their daughter.

After hearing her parents fight over a lost credit card, Vic flees the house on her motorcycle.  She ends up in the woods and sees a bridge.  This bridge is called The Shorter Way Bridge.  However, this bridge should not exist, as it was demolished years ago.

This does not stop Vic, who decides to explore the bridge anyway.  Vic notices that the bridge is very old and infested with bats.  The word “Willa’s” is written on the wall of the bridge, and Vic realizes that her mother must have lost her credit card at Willa’s house, while cleaning the house.

One evening, Vic attends a party at her friend Willa’s house.  Willa belongs to an upper class family and attends a private boarding school, but she and Vic have remained friends.  Once Vic arrives, she confirms that the credit card was indeed left behind at Willa’s, as Willa’s mother hands it to her.

The party quickly becomes uncomfortable for Vic, as Willa’s friends are snobbish and Willa’s mother offers Vic some unsolicited advice in regards to her parents.  Vic leaves the party, and meets back up with her parents.

Vic and her parents celebrate the holiday.  Vic realizes that her mother has been beaten by her father and becomes troubled.

That evening, Vic’s parents argue again, this time over a lost watch.  Vic again flees the house on her motorcycle, to escape.

Again, Vic ends up in the woods.  The bridge is still there, and Vic decides to enter it.  The walls of the bridge have the words “Aunt Carrie’s,” a restaurant where Vic recently had lunch with her parents.

Vic realizes that the watch was probably left at the diner, and rides her bike to the end of the bridge. She arrives at the diner, and retrieves the watch.

Vic uses the bridge to travel back to the woods.  It quickly becomes apparent that using the bridge takes a toll on Vic, as her eye turns red and she passes out shortly after returning home.

While Vic is recovering after her ordeal, her parents argue again.  Vic’s mother informs her daughter that her father has left this time, and this time it is probably for good.

Vic again uses her bridge to find her father, and is devastated to learn that he has abandoned his family for a younger woman.

In the meantime, in Here, Iowa, a woman named Maggie Leigh is asking questions in regards to the disappearance of Danny.  The police tell Maggie to stay out of it, as she is not qualified to help.

We learn that Maggie plays Scrabble.  Maggie keeps her Scrabble tiles in a purple bag.  We also learn that the Scrabble tiles are no ordinary tiles, as Maggie can ask the tiles questions, and the tiles will spell out an answer.

Maggie asks where Danny is and reaches into her bag.  Her Scrabble tiles spell out two words:  The Wraith and The Brat.

Charlie Manx continues on his way to Christmasland.  His appearance becomes significantly younger, while Danny has transformed into a demonic looking child.

Manx throws out a third passenger in his vehicle, a man by the name of Mr. Ives.  Manx states that Ives has become sloppy and has increased the risk of Manx being caught by the authorities.

Manx then advertises for a new assistant in a magazine.  This ad catches the attention of a man named Bing Partridge, who is also a janitor at Vic’s school.

A map in Manx’s possession, titled The United Inscapes of America, reveals a new mysterious location.  That location is titled The Shorter Way Bridge.  Manx decides that he next needs to travel to Vic’s hometown.

My Thoughts

Well, that was a chilly reception.

Of course, I mean this in a good way.

After all, there is just something creepy about hearing Christmas before the accustomed time, as in after Halloween but not after…oh say…Valentine’s Day?

I know that this is only a premiere, but man, are my hopes up for this one.

I found quite a few things to like and possibly even love about this adaptation.

So, let’s talk about that.

First of all, if you are going to have a good horror story, you need to have a fantastic villain.

After all, what would Nightmare on Elm Street be if Freddy didn’t come up with inventive, gory ways to kill teenagers daring to have premarital sex?

Or, think about this one.

What would Dracula or ‘Salem’s Lot be if our big bads…

Wait for it…

Sparkled?

Yeah, I know.  I had to though.

But the good news is that the vampire in question, Charles Manx, does not appear to have a sparkling bone anywhere in his unnaturally young, powered by the souls of innocent children body.

So this is a good thing.

In order for this show not to suck (ha, totally on purpose, you are welcome), we need a convincing bad guy.

And Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx (who happens to be my favorite vampire not named David, Dracula, Spike, The Master or Kurt Barlow) seems to be able to pull that off.

After all, he does have big, uh, fangs to fill.

I do love the look of Manx in this adaptation, but can we take a moment to talk about Quinto’s voice?

He really hasn’t said a lot, so far, but when he talks, I listen.

Because he just sounds so damn creepy answering questions about his age.

He could read a children’s book as Manx, and probably ruin my favorite Little Golden Book forever, with that voice.

So I look forward to Quinto as Manx, I think that he will make this character his own.

Now, I have read the source material and count it as my favorite Joe Hill book at the moment.

One of the reasons I love this story so much is the imagery.

Of course, I had high expectations for the onscreen adaptation.

And so far, I am impressed with what I have seen.

Maggie’s scrabble bag in particular…

I know that it is a small thing, but seeing her reach into the bag, and the image of the bag being infinitely large as her arm goes into it is really cool, I don’t think I can ever get enough of that.

I also loved The Shorter (or is it shorta) Way Bridge.

I had built up an epic picture in my mind, and the show has not disappointed on this part.

I also love how we can hear the bats flying around, and I love how the bridge actually looks so realistic, even though we know it is not really there.

This is giving me high hopes for the onscreen version of Christmasland, which we will hopefully at least catch a glimpse of next week.

But, back to what makes a good horror story…

Let’s not forget our protagonists!

Another reason why I love N0S4A2 so much is because of Vic McQueen.

Vic is smart, sassy and kicks some ass.

I also love Maggie Leigh, the anti-Renfield to Vic’s not a soul sucking vampire.

We are only one episode in, so we have not seen a whole of character development.

But again, I am liking what I did see.

Ashleigh Cummings is showing us a bit of the sassiness that Vic possesses, along with the charisma and personality.

Ashleigh Cummings as Vic McQueen – NOS4A2 _ Season 1, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Dana Starbard/AMC

Vic is obviously someone who lives a lot inside her own head, and we have been given glimpses of this in the first episode, as she is an outsider in her small town who has aspirations for something better for herself.

Maggie Leigh (along with her really cool Scrabble tile bag) is another protagonist whom we have been given a glimpse of.

Both Maggie and Vic obviously possess supernatural abilities.

Manx is a supernatural being.

So, we are in for a showdown of some kind, obviously.

And I am looking forward to it.

Well, that’s it for The Shorter Way.

Join me next week as we dissect and review the second episode, titled The Graveyard of What Might Be.

Tune in next week…

Same bat time, same bat channel!

 

 

 

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