DISCLAIMER: This recap of NOS4A2 episode “Parnassus” is rife with spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, horror fanatics! NOS4A2 ushered in the beginning of the end with this installment. “Parnassus” found our protagonist in a sticky situation when the unstable Bing kidnapped Vic. Thankfully, Vic weaseled her way out of said situation. Manx sought advice from an old friend, another Strong Creative with an ax to grind against women. Never trust a misogynist, Manx. Vic also reunited with an old friend – her bike. She even manifested her inscape while saving Maggie, who also reunited with her tiles. You get a reunion, you get a reunion, we all get a reunion!
Alright, ready to delve into “Parnassus?” Let’s get to it.
We open with Maggie (Jahkara Smith) riffling through the trash bin in Sheriff Joseph’s house in a panic. When her search turns up empty, she bursts into tears. Clearly, she’s mourning the loss of her close friend. Maggie decides to phone her mother and beseeches the former to let her come home. Her mother appears to accept her daughter with open arms…but there are stipulations. No drugs, no alcohol and no women. Maggie hangs up. You better hang up on that homophobe. We don’t tolerate homophobia in this house.
Later, Maggie’s velvet bag of tiles materialize out of nowhere. You can leave the Strong Creative life, but it’ll always find you. She inquires the tiles of Joseph’s fate, but they inform her that he’s very much deceased.
Meanwhile, Vic (Ashleigh Cummings) wakes up in Craig’s (Dalton Harrod) bed. She immediately lights a joint. The two share a smooch. A smoke and a smooch…sounds like the name of a movie.
Next, we see Bing (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) waiting anxiously for Charlie Manx to call upon him. However, he makes the executive decision to grab the bull by its immortal horns. He begins typing a letter to Manx, apologizing for allowing Vic to infiltrate his thoughts. The phone rings, but unfortunately not by Manx’s doing – it’s Bing’s place of employment. Bing promptly hangs up. Hey – I doubt Manx is paying you that handsomely, so you may want to keep your day job. Bing procures his gas mask with a newfound mission – one that involves driving to Vic’s house and waiting for the opportune moment to pounce.
Meanwhile, Vic is at home and rummaging through the mail. She discovers a letter addressed to her from RISD. She was accepted into art school! Huzzah! She calls her mother Linda (Virginia Kull), who’s on the job cleaning Willa’s (Paulina Singer) home. Willa proposes a massive celebratory party in Vic’s honor. Linda is less than enthused regarding her daughter’s acceptance into college, despite Vic’s insistence that she received a full ride. A full scholarship, you say? No student loan debt for this chick!
Later, the whole gang’s amassed at Willa’s for the shindig, including Vic’s best-friend-turned-new-beau? Craig. I can’t keep track of love lives. We see Bing meandering through Vic’s unoccupied home while everyone is out partying. Chris (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) arrives at the party and congratulates Vic. He also informs her that he’s now sober, living that alcohol-free life. Linda dryly replies that she doesn’t believe he’ll stick to sobriety and storms off. This isn’t about you, Linda!
Next, Linda and Chris share a smoke while Vic is inside canoodling with Craig. “Canoodling with Craig” – the sequel to “A Smoke and a Smooch.” Linda shares her doubts, always relying on the “McQueens don’t take too kindly to higher education” angle. Later, Linda arrives home prior to Vic, but believes her daughter is also home since Bing is still wandering about inside. Creepy.
Meanwhile, Maggie hits up the bar and meets a pretty girl. The two hit it off with some intense verbal foreplay and exchanging of drugs. Party time!
Then, we see Vic finally arrive home to find Linda sitting in her room. Linda now wholeheartedly believes that Vic has turned to a life of drugs, so she can wave goodbye to art school. Linda, marijuana is a plant, not a gateway to heroine. This is the 21st century. Come on! The two fall into a spat and heated insults are fired. Vic storms out. We see Vic clutching her head as the voices within increase in volume. Suddenly, Bing approaches Vic from behind in his signature gas mask and knocks the latter unconscious.
Later, Manx (Zachary Quinto) arrives at a flashy bar called “Parnassus,” and he runs into an old mate called Abe (Reg Rogers). Abe appears to be a Strong Creative and Parnassus is, presumably, a safe haven for Strong Creatives in general. The two knock back a few drinks and discuss the matter at hand – Vic McQueen. Manx explains that Vic is special, but Abe knows the immortal quite well. He knows that Manx wants Vic to be the mother of his children, just like Jolene. Oh, and they also discuss the demise of Jolene. Abe urges Manx to get rid of Vic – kill her before she grows in strength. Kill or be killed, am I right?
Meanwhile, Vic wakes up in Bing’s basement, bound and gagged a la Sharon Smith. It would appear Bing is hellbent on eliminating Vic before she can manipulate him further with her logic. Bing removes the tape on Vic’s mouth. She continues to persuade him to turn Manx in, and that his boss has no intention of letting Bing see Christmasland. However, Bing really and truly believes that Christmasland is his future, and Vic is the poison eroding said future away. She reveals that she was accepted into art school, hoping the happy news will derail Bing from his mission. But Bing Partridge is steadfast in his objective – eradicate the virus. Kill Vic! He gasses her, and we see Vic lose consciousness.
Next, Maggie is dancing with her new friend and partying hard. The pair make it to second base, even. However, Maggie ends up sneaking out of the bar. Later, Vic wakes up and utilizes her feet to remove the pin that Craig gifted her. She begins rubbing said pin against the tape restraints on her wrists, unbeknownst to Bing. Thankfully, she rises victorious and frees her wrists and feet. She slashes Bing in the face with her pin and kicks him in the family jewels. Finally, Vic uses Bing’s weapon of choice against him and gasses him in the face before fleeing the scene. Go Vic!
Meanwhile, Abe continues to persuade Manx to eliminate Vic. Slay the broad! He reminds me of a typical 1950s man who beats his wife – incredibly misogynistic and antiquated with his verbiage. Manx appears to be on Team Abe, though.
Later, Maggie is drinking outside in the daylight, and decides to mix pills with booze. She phones Vic in what appears to be a farewell call, and the latter notices how peculiar Maggie sounds. Vic springs into action and demands Linda regarding the whereabouts of her bike. Who did she sell it to? However, Linda reveals that she lied – she never sold Vic’s bike, it’s just buried in the basement. Apparently, Linda was so afraid to be alone and unwilling to let Vic fly free that she hid her daughter’s bike and threatened to take art school away from her. Vic storms downstairs and uncovers her motorbike. It’s driving time! Fun fact: Maggie was the one who used her tiles to reveal the location of Vic’s bike. The tiles never lie, y’all.
Next, Vic channels her inscape and finds the drugged up Maggie outside the bar. Vic forces Maggie to through up the multiple pills she ingested and successfully revives the overdosed girl. The two embrace, Maggie in tears. Never do that to us again. Maggie!
Now, this episode started out uneven for me. Once we hit the halfway point though, the action catapulted to a new level. When NOS4A2 is good, it’s good. However, the series focuses too heavily on Vic’s familial drama in the name of “character building” and less on the mythology behind NOS4A2. Too much heavy-handed dramatics – I like my drama with a hint of levity to break up the dreariness. I want to see some world building and the macabre horror scenes we were promised. I’d categorize the series as a drama over horror. My hope is with the final two episodes we’ll reach an exciting climax worthy of a season finale. Side note: MVP goes to Ólafsson, who has been successfully stealing scenes as Bing.
Do you think Maggie will rejoin Team Kill Manx? Now that Vic has her bike back, will she try to find Christmasland? Will Manx take Abe’s advice and try to kill Vic? Join me next week as I continue recapping NOS4A2, here on Geek Girl Authority.
NOS4A2 airs Sundays at 10pm on your AMC affiliate.