‘NOS4A2’ Season 1, Episode 3 ‘The Gas Mask Man’ Recap: The Hunt Begins
BY Stephanie Larson
Published 3 years ago
NOS4A2 seems to be really taking its time to get to the really really good bits. And the wait is getting more excruciating. Watching the third episode of NOS4A2 is like watching someone’s ice cream cone slip from their grasp and splatter onto the ground in slow motion. You see everything happening before it clearly and you can afford not to care. But, when the soft pile of frozen cream hits the ground, the shock settles in. Then, after that, there’s nothing again. At this point, it’s like NOS4A2’s appeal is leaning more towards the home life of the star rather than the threat of the overall plot. The highlight of this week’s episode of NOS4A2 is seeing the other characters getting more screen time and seeing the extent of evil Charles Manx (Joaquin Quinto) really has.
In this week’s episode of NOS4A2, Vic (Ashleigh Cummings) pushes through her application to RISD. However, no matter what kind of normal life she wants, the consequences of her abilities catch up to her. Now, Manx is on the hunt for her. And no matter how much Maggie (Jahkara Smith) warns her, Vic refuses to bite. Well up until Manx takes someone close to her that is.
Manx Begins Prowling Haverhill
In Manx’ search for the strong creative who created the Shorter Way, he pays a visit to an old friend or should we say, a victim. Accentuating his arrival with a sudden unexplained brownout, he arrives at Jolene’s room in the Essex County Psych Ward looking like an 80-year-old man. And he addresses the poor old paralyzed woman with barely hidden spite as he presents her knife, a pair of skates. He puts it on her and picks up her limp body dancing with her a little before unceremoniously dropping her to the ground. However, it seems that she isn’t exactly the strong creative she once was before that stood in his way.
The next day in Haverhill, Vic is looking up the application for financial aid in RISD. And one prominent requirement is her parent’s tax returns. Suddenly, her laptop blacks out and a bunch of visions flickers on it instead. Pretending it didn’t happen, she heads out and asks her dad for his tax returns. Unfortunately, he works under the table. So Chris advises his daughter to talk to her mom about it. Sadly, for the second time that day, Vic is disappointed by her mom. Like Chris, she works under the table. But, she’s given a little bit of hope when her mom casually mentions the Brewsters.
Meanwhile, Maggie is still bugging Sheriff Bly (Chris McKinney) about the car repairwoman. But, he only warns her to stay away from the case and her tiles to which Maggie surely wouldn’t. In the middle of a hot little library rendezvous, Maggie interrupts the girl kneeling in front of her and shoos her out of the room. Her tiles were calling. And when she fixes them up, they tell her that Manx is hunting the brat.
Even Evil Has Rules
Back in Haverhill, Manx picks up Bing (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson). And Bing delivers the information he gathered about the Shorter Way. Going to the sight of the demolished bridge, Manx puts together that the strong creative they seek is someone with an old soul and an attachment to broken things. He also assumes that that person is fond of traveling.
Suddenly, the pair hears a young girl’s voice calling out for Mittens before Haley (Darby Camp) comes into view. Manx tries to lure her into his usual trap but, being the feisty kid she is, Haley not only refuses but also calls Manx and Bing two ugly mugs. Bing grabs her by the arm but, Haley kicks his shin and gets away. Manx immediately admonishes Bing’s actions and harshly warns him to never ever mishandle kids.
Later on, Vic arrives at the Brewsters. At the front door, she finds a Christmas wreath dripping blood, but it also immediately vanishes from sight. Willa (Paulina Singer) greets her and since her mom’s not home to help Vic with the application, she doesn’t hesitate to offer her services instead. After a moment’s hesitation, Vic tells Willa about her current home situation. And in turn, Willa suggests forging the needed tax return documents but, Vic’s totally against it. There is still hope, however, through Angela Brewster’s friend at the RISD registrar. And Willa’s willing enough to organize the trip to Providence.
Vic’s Glimpse of Hope
After the visit, Vic drops by the school to fetch her sketchbook. Luckily, she caught up to Bing just as he was packing some chemicals into his trunk. And unknowingly, Bing guides the person his boss is looking for into the school. At home, Vic finds Maggie waiting for her with a warning. But, Vic insists that she wants to live a normal life. And once again, she turns down Maggie’s warnings and pleas.
The next day, Vic leaves for Providence with Willa, Simon (Misha Osherovich), and Drew (Rarmian Newton). While Simon and Willa check out Brown, Drew accompanies Vic to RISD. There, the two spend quite the jolly, hopeful day. At one point, they stop in a gallery where Vic spots a sketch of a temple of India. And Drew tells her all about it and their phallic insinuations. However, when Vic steps into the registrar’s office, things turn around. Without the tax returns, Vic can declare herself an independent but only if she fits into any of the following conditions: married, military, orphan, or experiences abuse in their homes. Suddenly, the visions come on again, stronger this time. Disconcerted, Vic rushes into the streets and is almost run by a car. Luckily, Drew catches her in time.
Following the disappointment and the visions, Vic frantically insists that she’s not meant for college. And that nobody can actually change their faith. She’s not meant for college just like how Drew isn’t meant to not go to med school. However, Drew takes her hand and convinces her to calm down and not lose hope.
The Kittie Killer
On Maggie’s end, she’s busying herself with checking out abnormal activities in places like the Essex County Psych Ward. There, she notices the lights flickering outside Jolene’s room. She goes to check it out and inside, she finds the room freezing. Maggie also finds a candy cane poking out from the old woman’s blanket. And after looking around the room and asking Jolene some questions, Maggie confirms that Jolene was once a strong creative. However, it seems that when she stood against Manx in the past, he paralyzed her. And he might be planning to do the same to Vic if she gets in her way.
Meanwhile, Bing is preparing to do his very first real job for Manx. And this time around, he puts on his father’s gas mask. Then, he proceeds to stalk inside his victim’s house. Once he finds the mother in the bathroom taking a shower, he holds the door close and releases some kind of gas to knock her out. Then, he proceeds upstairs to his true agenda: Haley. He takes her to Manx’ waiting Wraith. And as he heads back inside to take care of the mother, Mittens appears at Manx’s feet. Starting with a few pets, Manx suddenly lifts the cat by its head and violently twists it breaking its neck. (When the villain turns to murder innocent adorable kitties, that’s when you know he’s fucking evil incarnate.)
The Brat Takes Place
As for Vic, the day’s events had shaken her but, she’s slowly regaining footing. On the way back, Maggie calls her and warns her for the nth time. But, this time, her tiles tell her that the wraith is hunting “Smitten.” At that time, it didn’t make sense to either Maggie and Vic. And once again, Vic dismisses Maggie.
Willa soon comes over and Vic makes the split decision to ask about her friends earlier suggestion. Willa lights up and immediately assures her that she’ll do her best. When Vic starts to hesitate again, Willa tells her to fight back and not let her parents tell her who to be. The next day, Vic has all the needed papers right in her hands. After her dad drives off to work, she slips the papers in the mailbox and raises its flag. Back home, she receives a call and the caller tells her all about what happened to Haley. Now anxious and afraid, Vic calls Maggie and corrects her. The word Smitten was supposed to be Mittens. Vic immediately takes off and when she gets to Haley’s house, she spots the cat’s name tag on the ground. Beside it, she finds the cat’s dead body.
NOS4A2 continues Sunday, June 23rd, with “The House of Sleep” at 10/9c on AMC.