NOS4A2 Season 2 Episode 7 Cripple Creek- Review And Recap- Bing’s Redemption
In a Bing-centric NOS4A2 Season 2 Episode 7 the tables were turned on Manx if only for a while.
I have long touted the talents of Ólafur Darri Ólafsson(Bing). As fantastic as all of the characters are, Bing is the one who has stood out. NOS4A2 Season 2 Episode 7 was devoted to the lurching man-child who has done some vile things. He’s a central character of the novel, but not to the same degree as the series for one reason. Ólafsson has brought him to life in such an arresting way he steals every scene he is in, even when he shares time with Zachary Quinto, who was born to play the dapper vampire. NOS4A2 needs Bing to expand the story beyond the page. Ólafsson has done just that.
The character actor has played everything from a scheming king in Cursed to comedic corporate shill in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. He can do it all. Arguably he is doing his best work as Bing, the massive partner in crime Manx controls. This week a surprising redemptive arch found the two at odds and simple-minded Bing finally realizing there are many kinds of evil in the world.
NOS4A2 is at its best when it is giving context to all the characters. The good and the bad are better for the backstory. The horror makes things interesting, but the emotional journey everyone is one makes the series compelling. This week Charlie Manx continued to define his past, and Millie and Bing got a chance to determine their future. All of the characters become more relatable, more sympathetic, and more terrifying when the hows and whys that made them are revealed.
In the last episode, Maggie stole the spotlight as she went toe to toe with The Hourglass and came out virtually unscathed with enhanced abilities. Bing gets to prove his worth, and although he is a troubled man who has done despicable things is finally working for good. It’s too bad Manx has a few tricks left, and the old vampire and his car aren’t that easy to kill. Age makeup is used well this week to show the steady toll being away from the Wraith is taking on Manx. When the car is hurt, so is Manx. He can not heal without the vehicle and a child to power it. Rapidly changing Manx’s age has been a hallmark of the vampire’s persona and an effective weapon in director Tricia Brock’s arsenal.
Bing knows what he is doing is wrong. He hasn’t put all the pieces together, but by the end of the episode, he’s put enough together. Understanding he and Manx are both monsters and should be stopped he gasses and restrains Manx before disabling the Wraith. This makes Charlie vulnerable and age quickly, allowing Bing time to interrogate him. He asks him about the other assistants before him and about Christmasland. Manx finally admits everyone is dead, and he never had any intent on letting him go there. He tells Bing they are both monsters and neither deserve to be with the children.
As evil, as he is, Bing is right. Both men are terrible people who should be nowhere near little kids. It’s only Bing, however, who realizes that Manx is hurting the children in his obsession to save them. He isn’t saving them at all, just using them as personal batteries. The man nearly succumbs to Manx’s trickery but, at the last minute, changes his mind and fight back.
Bing gasses Charlie and places him in the Wraith. He intends on crushing the car with him and Manx inside. For a brief moment, it looks like the most unlikely of heroes had saved Wayne when he let him out of the car to crush it. Unfortunately, Manx’s control over Wayne is nearly complete, and he was able to get Wayne to stop the machine and let him out. As Bing tried to escape, Manx stabbed him and calmly convinced Wayne to get back into the car much to the dismay of ghost Craig.
Craig is trying. Like all good fathers, he is instinctively trying to protect his child. He desperately tries to keep Wayne grounded in who he is in his heart, not who Manx is turning him into. It is working to some degree, but it requires intense focus to maintain the ironclad control needed to keep the monster at bay. With Craig in the car with him, Wayne is not alone. As much as Manx would like to have absolute influence, it won’t be possible at least for a while longer. Good parents want the most for their children. They want them to grow up happy. Nothing makes a parent more satisfied than watching their child become a happy adult. Craig, Lou, and Vic want that for Wayne. Charlie never wanted that for Millie, and she is quickly learning that.
When the lights begin to wane in Christmasland again, Millie visits her mother in the house on the mountain. Her mother explains to her that Charlie robbed her of her future by denying her the ability to grow up. The house hides his deepest secrets and fears. She shows these to Millie when she opens a door, and Millie comes face to face with her previous self. This Millie is carefree and on the verge of adolescence. That is something Manx can not abide by. That is his greatest fear that his daughter will become a woman. It is the thing he hates most in the world. In his mind, women are all unfeeling, lying creatures that should be avoided at all costs. More even then, the man who abused him as a child he hates his mother.
A sad flashback explains how his childhood doomed the events of Manx’s young adult life. He was never a young man filled with hope. Manx didn’t change because life beat him down. He was a monster potentially from early on. His mother was a prostitute who entertained guests in a saloon where Manx lived with her. She loved him, but he was often in situations that could be dangerous to a kid. As a result, he blamed her for the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of the town pedophile.
The man was a master manipulator, and the writers do a brilliant job capturing the grooming language which the shopkeeper uses and later Manx mimics. Initially, the man used Charlie to bring him more victims. Presumably, on Christmas morning, he decides the boy should be involved to a greater degree and abuses him. Following that abuse, Charlie snaps and commits the first murder of his life. Shortly after, his mother finds him bloody and tells him she will help him. Instead, he kills her as well in a fit of rage.
He blames her for what happened. When his mother reminds him, he was complacent in this as well by bringing the pedophile boys; he kills her too. He can not face his own complicity. His mother warned him to stay away from the man, but he offered money, which becomes an ongoing weakness for Manx. He was a vulnerable child who was preyed on by a human monster. He may have been a monster himself all along, though. When he killed his mother, his eyes changed, indicating it may have been hiding there all along.
NOS4A2 Season 2 Episode 7 was all about parents and their influence on children. Craig, who is Wayne’s biological father, is using that influence to help his child hold onto his humanity. Millie’s mother is trying to help her child find hers again, and Manx is trying to convince Bing he wants to be partners to save children from their horrific parents. It’s a lie, but it is one he believes after all these years. Catch up on all our NOS4A2 coverage while you wait for next week, and the fight to save Wayne continues.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.