Well, things are starting to heat up now.
Which is kinda ironic, since we are retreating deeper into the winter fun part otherwise known as Christmasland.
In other words, I am talking about this week’s episode of the summer’s new TV series, N0S4A2.
We are on episode 3 of a 10 episode first season.
Time’s a wasting, right?
We are 30% of the way through the season, so this is the episode where we would expect that the pace be picked up a bit.
No more exposition, in other words.
And that is exactly what has happened.
But seriously, episode 3 of N0S4A2, titled The Gas Mask Man, is the strongest episode so far this season.
And again, it is only the third episode. I can’t wait for more!
Bring it, Christmasland!
So, without further ado, here is my recap and review of episode 3 of N0S4A2, titled The Gas Mask Man.
And, as always:
The episode begins with Vic talking to her friend Willa about life after high school. Vic dreams of attending art school, but faces obstacles, as her father has not filed any tax returns, and Vic needs this documentation in order to qualify for any type of financial aid.
Willa tells Vic to accompany her and her friends on a trip to visit colleges, and that any type of document, including a tax return, can be forged. Willa reminds Vic that she needs to do whatever it takes to escape Haverhill and live out her dreams, as opposed to living out her parents’ dreams.
Manx senses that there is a strong creative in the Haverhill area, which could mean trouble for him. Manx pays a visit to a mental hospital in Haverhill, and terrorizes an elderly patient. We learn that the old woman was also a strong creative, and that her “knife” was a pair of roller skates.
Maggie Leigh tracks Manx to Haverhill and to the mental hospital. Maggie pays a visit to the old woman, and confirms that Manx is in town. Maggie fears for Vic, as Manx is close to tracking down Vic.
Maggie attempts to warn Vic, but Vic states that she is leaving for a college visit, as she is trying to lead a normal life.
Vic visits her prospective college and falls in love with the campus. However, a meeting with someone who works in the office of the registar confirms that Vic will face obstacles in obtaining financial aid. Vic also experiences some sort of vision, where she glimpses Manx.
Manx continues to hunt down Vic, with the help of Bing. Manx and Bing encounter Haley, a little girl whom Vic babysits. Haley is looking for her cat, Mittens, when Manx asks her about The Shorter Way Bridge. Haley refuses to provide any information and runs away from the two strange men.
Later on, Manx and Bing break into Haley’s house and kidnap, presumably so that Manx can take her to Christmasland. Bing also gasses Haley’s mother, so that there are no witnesses. Before the men leave Haley’s house, Manx finds Haley’s kitten and snaps it neck.
Vic then makes up her mind to forge her father’s tax return, and sends the document in the mail. She is interrupted by a phone call from Maggie. Maggie tells Vic that Haley has been kidnapped.
Frantically, Vic rushes to Haley’s house. Vic then discovers the body of Haley’s cat behind a bush.
So, I found this episode fascinating, for many reasons.
One of those reasons was the fact that we got to witness multiple arcs come into play.
Obviously, we witnessed Vic’s arc (more on that in a bit.)
But, we also witnessed another arc.
And this is not an arc for the good of anyone.
Yes, I am talking about Bing’s arc.
In the beginning, Bing was relatively normal, although he did seem to be a little “off.”
Seemed like a decent guy, if a little awkward, and maybe he had some emotional problems as well.
Well, that decent guy is gone now.
In fact, that decent, childlike guy could be said to be another one of Manx’s victims.
I know that Bing is an adult, and he made his choices, but it still seems that Manx is exploiting his vulnerability.
Or Bing’s childlike qualities, if you like that better.
Whatever the case is, we no longer have Bing Partridge.
Bing put on the mask, and has forever become The Gas Mask Man.
The Gas Mask Man is now one of Manx’s creatures forevermore.
God help us all…
This episode saw people making choices that will have an impact.
And Vic has made some choices of her own.
One of Vic’s choices was to get out of her shitty hometown and pursue her dreams of art school, at whatever cost necessary.
This took me back to my days of high school when all I could think about was getting out of my own hometown, and pursuing my dreams.
Vic is turning into a character who we can emphasize with.
This is important in a horror story.
We need characters that we can relate to.
That way, the horror hits home.
And Vic is one of those whom we can relate to.
Vic is someone with potential, and a good heart, but also someone who faces obstacles in life, such as domestic abuse, alcoholic parents and poverty.
Real life has plenty of horror in it.
And sometimes that horror can hit closer to us than a vampire with a vehicle that possesses supernatural abilities.
I was also struck by the old woman in the mental institution encountered by both Manx and Maggie.
(Side note: reading Toni Morrison to life your spirits? Maggie, are you trolling mental patients again? It’s okay, I still love ya!)
I think that old woman is a bit of possible foreshadowing for either Vic or Maggie Leigh, or perhaps both.
Obviously, that old woman knew about Manx and tried to stop him.
And now she is in a mental institution, barely coherent and immobile.
This episode showed us quite a few up close shots of Vic’s eye. And Maggie Leigh’s stutter has gotten noticeably worse.
So, the risks here are big.
As stated before, Vic’s eye hemorrhage has gotten noticeably worse. Maggie’s stutter has also grown worse.
And Manx has become more ruthless, as the use of his abilities causes him to lose what little humanity he possessed in the first place.
Manx is also ruthless in that he will do anything he can to separate his victims from their own humanity, such as murdering said victim’s cat.
As awful as it was to watch, Manx killing Haley’s cat with his bare hands served a couple of purposes.
For one, it sent a message to those who may try to stop him, i.e. Vic and Maggie.
It also means that the one thing Haley loved the most is now gone.
What we love is what makes us human, and Manx cannot have anything that will tie his victims to their humanity.
The game of chess has now begun.
Only this game is a far more dangerous one, and the stakes are much higher.
And trying to fight against this kind of horror can get someone killed.
Well, that’s it for The Gas Mask Man.
Join me next week for the recap and review of episode 4, titled The House of Sleep.
Tune in next week…
Same bat time, same bat channel!