NOS4A2 Episode 4
Picture this: it’s Christmas 1979 and you’re a young boy living in Sugarcreek, Pennsylvania.
Now, if you will imagine you’re that same young boy dealing with a mental disability that most people in that time period don’t understand.
Welcome to Bing Partridge’s world. We knew he was a little strange, but now we know why.
A young Bing opens his last gift to find a gas mask – now we know where he got the one he used when he kidnapped Haley and her mom. His dad says it’s a “hand-me-down” from his time in the war. He used more colorful and hateful language, but for the sake of keeping this clean, I won’t repeat it.
It is a cute scene for a while, but being the show it is, it turns ugly fast.
Bing’s dad knocks him down and when Bing doesn’t get right up his father’s response is “get up, retard”.
His mom comes in and tells him to stop and after pretending that Bing shot her, which probably foreshadowed the episodes later events, says “I love you more than anything Bing Partridge”.
Bing is now a teenager and using a staple gun to hang Christmas lights. We all know something bad is going to happen involving that staple gun.
After his dad calls him dumb as “molasses and says toddlers do faster work”, Bing turns around and puts a nail in his dad’s head.
Sweet revenge from Bing and he puts the icing on the cake by going over and saying “get up, retard”. It is interesting to note that he has had the ability to hurt and kill others from adolescence and makes me think things will only grow more brutal as the show goes on.
Then his mom comes out and holds him. This is where we see that Bing really is more than just special needs. It would be fair to say he’s severely mentally ill as it’s heavily implied he rapes his mom and puts a nail through her head (though we see neither on the screen).
It also flashes back to what Bing sees when Mr. Manx visits him during previous episodes.
Back to the present
After talking to Vic and sending her on her way, Bing goes down and we see he has Sharon Smith, Haley’s mom. He’s drugging her to say what his mom always did, “I love you more than anything Bing Partridge”.
This guy has completely lost it. Can you say complete personality change? I never would have thought the Bing we see in episode one is the same as the one we see now.
Speaking of Haley
Haley is on her way to ChristmasLand. I’m proud of my girl for putting up the fight she did, but sometimes words can break us and that’s what Charlie does.
Now, I’m sorry, but anyone who goes this far doesn’t really care about the kids – but I think we basically knew that.
He tells her that if “the girl with the magic” bridge really cared about her, she would’ve taken her over the magic bridge. He tacks on the fact that she will always be loved in ChristmasLand, but “little girls who lie can’t enter ChristmasLand” and bam, Haley tells him Vic’s name and he has her. Complete manipulation from Mr. Manx. He knows these kids have been starved of attention and seek it.
While Charlie runs into a gas shop for some air fresheners, a woman who saw the amber alert out for Haley went over to help her. But demon Haley is hungry and kills her (the colorful … insides we see confirm this).
Haley in ChristmasLand
Finally getting to ChristmasLand, Haley is greeted by Daniel who gives her a pair of scissors for a game called “scissors for the Drifter” which I’m guessing we will learn the rules to later. Violent, I assume.
But every story has a hero and let’s get back to ours.
After finding Haley’s cat, Vic knows what must be done and heads over her bridge. She ends up at no other than Bing’s house. At first, she thinks the bridge makes a mistake and tells Maggie this. Despite Maggie swearing this doesn’t happen, she doesn’t believe her. She pretends that she got lost heading to Craig’s house the first time, but the second time Bing is in for it (more on this later).
Talk with mom
The great part about this show is it isn’t all about the good guy finding and stopping the bad guy, we also see the world Vic and the others live in.
We’ve seen abused children and now we see what being a victim of spousal abuse also entails. We learn Linda stayed because it was what was comfortable and also believed he could change.
The smartest words needed and spoken come from Linda, “people can be both, the trouble is, you only ever see the good”. Not only is it true about people being good and evil at the same time, but it also sparks Vic into action.
Talking to Bing
Going back to Bing’s, Vic gets herself inside by asking for her comics back. Before her chat with her mom, she has dreams that lead her to believe Bing might not be a good guy after all. While Bing goes to get them she sneaks down to the basement where we know that he was holding Sharon, but now she’s gone. Bing has flipped completely on her and she’s got a knife out for protection.
The Phone Call
We don’t always get phones calls from crazy child kidnappers, but Vic does. Charlie calls and when he finds out Vic’s there, he tells Bing not to harm her and to put her on the phone. Vic, who has had enough of everyone’s shit, tells him she wants to talk to Haley. Charlie wants to meet in person and she agrees to it. Saying he will be in touch, he hangs up.
After the call, she asks Bing where Sharon is and he says that he made her clean, but he can’t say where she is. After Vic leaves Bing, repeats to himself “Bing, you thing, what have you done?”.
Vic takes off on her motorbike and using her bridge, ends up at a field and Sharon’s dead body.
The only good thing going for Vic is her parents seem to be able to talk to each other without a screaming match. Other than that, Vic is losing faith in herself and others. Her father tries to console her by telling her the cops will find Haley and who took her. In which Vic replies, “no, they won’t. They can’t protect anyone”.
It’s sad to see this headstrong young woman falling. It seems she has finally realized she’s in over her head.
Each episode just gets better. From the addressing spousal abuse to seeing how mental health and disabilities can affect a child’s growth (especially if not addressed), the show is more than just your everyday horror cliche.
Though when it comes to Bing and his mental illness, the show highlights the often misleading precedent that the mentally ill are dangerous. It is a double edge sword.
All the actors and actresses are amazing in their roles. Can’t wait for next weeks episode.
Be sure to catch NOS4A2 on AMC Sundays at 10/9c.
Ariel B. contributed to this review
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