NOS4A2: S01.E04. “The House of Sleep”

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Screen Capture: Ashleigh Cummings as Vic McQueen in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Ashleigh Cummings as Vic McQueen in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’



Where are we in the narrative? Victoria ‘Vic’ McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings), with Willa Brewster’s (Paulina Singer) assistance, has found a questionable way to complete her FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application. After leaving his wife, Linda McQueen (Virginia Kull), Chris McQueen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) has moved in Tiffany Jones (Jamie Neumann). Not long thereafter, Vic moves in with her father and his new girlfriend.

Meanwhile, Maggie Leigh (Jahkara Smith) continues her quest to find the individual she knows as the Wraith. The name Wraith comes from the car Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto) drives. Manx drives a classic 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith. Because of how much it costs to maintain these classic vehicles, one does not see a Wraith being driven around town as much as one might have done during the mid-twentieth century.

Even though Sheriff Bly (Chris McKinney) is not keen on Maggie pursuing her investigation, the young librarian is determined to bring the missing children home.

NOS4A2 promotional poster. Image Credit: IMDb.com
NOS4A2 promotional poster. Image Credit: IMDb.com

SPOILER ALERT: If you have yet to see the fourth episode of NOS4A2, you might want to reconsider reading past this point of this article. There are SPOILERS AHEAD! Return to reading this article after you have seen “The House of Sleep.”

Bing Partridge’s Childhood

The opening pre-credits sequence of the directed is a flashback to Bing Partridge’s (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) childhood (Matthew Evegan). Many people, the fortunate ones, remember their childhood days were filled with endless wonder and delight. Consequently, these are frequently seen as being the best days of our lives.

Screen Capture: Miriam Silverman, Larry Mitchell and Matthew Evegan as June Partridge, John Partridge and Young Bing, respectively, in the John Shiban directed episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Miriam Silverman, Larry Mitchell and Matthew Evegan as June Partridge, John Partridge and Young Bing, respectively, in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

Bing’s childhood, especially considering how personable he is with everyone around him, is not one you might expect. Bing’s father, John Partridge (Larry Mitchell), constantly berated him for one thing or another. Even though Bing tried to please his father, John was never happy with anything his son did. Bing’s best was never good enough for his father.

Screen Capture: Ivan Hoey Jr. as Teenage Bing in the John Shiban directed episode ‘The House of Sleep.
Screen Capture: Ivan Hoey Jr. as Teenage Bing in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.

There is only so much disdain a person can tolerate before snapping. Bing’s limit reached a tipping point when he was hanging Christmas lights on the house for his father. The teenage Bing was using a nail gun to hang the lights. The badgering simply got too much for the young Bing. The constant ridicule, day after day, was more than anyone could bear.

Screen Capture: Larry Mitchell and Ivan Hoey Jr. as John Partridge and Teenage Bing, respectively, in the John Shiban directed episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Larry Mitchell and Ivan Hoey Jr. as John Partridge and Teenage Bing, respectively, in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

As Bing was hanging the lights, with John driving the final metaphorical nail into his mind, he shot a real nail into his father’s head.

Screen Capture: Larry Mitchell as John Partridge in the John Shiban directed episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Larry Mitchell as John Partridge in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

 

A Disturbing Twist in Bing’s Story

Later in the episode, with much detail left for the imagination of television viewers, it is implied the teenage Bing rapes and murders his mother.

Screen Capture: Miriam Silverman as June Partridge in the John Shiban directed episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Miriam Silverman as June Partridge in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

As Bing retrieves the nail gun from outside the garage, he can be seen fastening his pants. After taking nail gun and closing the garage door behind him, there is the sound of the nail gun being used one time.

Sharon and Haley Smith are Missing

The episode, immediately after the opening credits, picks up the narrative where the previous episode left off. Sharon (Elizabeth Stanley) and Haley Smith (Darby Camp) are missing. Local police believe Sharon may have left in the middle of the night with Haley. Steve Smith (Owen Burke) is rightly concerned police do not seem to be putting in the effort required to locate his wife and daughter.

Screen Capture: Jahkara Smith and Ashleigh Cummings as Maggie Leigh and Vic McQueen, respectively, in the John Shiban directed episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Jahkara Smith and Ashleigh Cummings as Maggie Leigh and Vic McQueen, respectively, in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

If Sharon and Haley are located, Steve has the undesirable task of telling his daughter her cat, Mittens, has been found dead. Haley adored her cat, there is no question of that. Steve is mystified as to who and why someone would do such a thing to a child’s pet.

Vic Searches for the Smiths

Haley knows about Vic’s secret. The little girl saw Vic exit the bridge. If Haley tells Manx Vic is the traveller, she could be in a world of hurt.

Maggie wants to go with Vic to look for Sharon and Haley, but the bridge will only open for The Brat. Will looking for Sharon and her daughter be the same for Vic as when she found lost mundane objects? The dangers are significantly higher. People’s lives are on the line.

Screen Capture: Ashleigh Cummings as Vic McQueen in the John Shiban directed episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Ashleigh Cummings as Vic McQueen in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

Vic travels The Shorter Way in hopes of finding Sharon and Haley still alive. On arrival at The House of Sleep, Vic is surprised to discover the property belongs to Bing. The high school janitor is standing on the porch. Vic’s comics are in the back of Bing’s car. Bing is curious as to the reason Vic is at his house. Why would she be there?

What is Bing doing?

Bing has Sharon in his basement. The gas he uses to keep her yielding is possibly Nitrous oxide. Dentists use Nitrous oxide. Bing gets her to say, “I love you more than anything Bing Partridge.” This is what his mother said to him during the pre-opening credit scene. Bing could be looking at Sharon as a replacement for his own mother.

Screen Capture: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Bing Partridge in the John Shiban directed episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Bing Partridge in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

Sometimes, when we don’t have a mother figure in our lives, we could all use someone to rely on to bring us through troubling times. The way Bing is going about it, assisting Manx with the kidnapping of children, is not proper by any stretch of the imagination.

Who is The Brat?

Who is The Brat? Manx wants to know the name of the boy that is using the magic bridge. “It’s a girl,” Haley said. Haley immediately realises her mistake. Even though Haley knows about Vic’s secret, the little girl does not know about Maggie and her scrabble tiles.

Screen Capture: Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx in the John Shiban directed episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

The little girl’s skin complexion is already growing grey. There are rings forming around the girl’s eyes. She is beginning to resemble Daniel Moore (Asher Miles Fallica). Haley’s teeth are beginning to fall out and her body’s deterioration is increasing. Manx’s youthful appearance once again returns to his face and body.

Manx talks to his victims in a pleasant manner. Despite this, at least with Haley, Manx knows she possesses information he desperately needs. This approach breaks through Haley’s secrets firewall. She tells Manx what it is he wants to know. Vic McQueen is the girl that travels The Shorter Way, but he does not yet know if she presents a threat to his plans.

Screen Capture: A scene from the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: A scene from the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

As Manx drains a child’s soul, he or she becomes villainous. Their behaviour, as demonstrated by Haley as she dragged a lady through the rear passenger window of the Wraith, is vampire-like. Haley is not the sweet and innocent little girl she was before Bing took her from her bed.

Vic’s Mother

Linda’s relationship with Chris has always been rocky. They get drunk and they would fight. Linda would often wake up with a fat lip, not fully knowing how she was in that condition. No matter how often Chris made his promises, he would always go back on his word. His word is worth nothing. Linda does not want this for her daughter. Consequently, she has told Craig to stay away from Vic.

Screen Capture: Virginia Kull and Dalton Harrod as Linda McQueen and Craig, respectively, in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Virginia Kull and Dalton Harrod as Linda McQueen and Craig, respectively, in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

Vic’s mother does not know what her daughter is going through. She is wrongfully apportioning blame for Vic’s condition on Craig (Dalton Harrod). Craig has nothing to do with Vic’s eyes becoming red. Linda does not know about the bridge, the Wraith, Manx, Maggie or her magical scrabble tiles.

Linda’s observation of people is correct. The dichotomy of an individual’s personality can be mystifying. People are not just good or bad. This is too black and white. Most individuals, with multiple sides to their personalities, reside in a sphere of grey. They will behave in a way that they can logically justify as being good but for others around them, these actions can be seen in a negative light.

Vic Confronts Bing

Bing is one of the most gullible characters to ever be personified for a television series. Considering there have been some seriously naïve individuals on our television screens since the advent of The Idiot Box, that’s saying something. The Idiot Box is what a lot of people referenced television sets.

Screen Capture: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Bing Partridge in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Bing Partridge in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

Vic talks her way into Bing’s home. After what seems an uncomfortable conversation, Vic talks Bing into retrieving her comics from his car. By diverting Bing’s attention to the comics, it gives her an opportunity to search the house for Sharon. Sharon is not there. When Bing returns to the house with the comics in hand, he finds Vic in his basement. Shortly after, the house phone rings. It’s Manx. Rather than wanting to speak to Bing, he directs his new assistant to put Vic on the phone as he has a few urgent questions that need addressing. The high school janitor seems in shock when his new employer asks to speak with Vic. They talk about a possible meeting but do not set a specific meeting place or time.

Screen Capture: Ashleigh Cummings as Vic McQueen in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’
Screen Capture: Ashleigh Cummings as Vic McQueen in the John Shiban directed NOS4A2 episode ‘The House of Sleep.’

Vic discovers where Bing buried Sharon’s body. Like his father and mother, Bing shot Sharon in the head with a nail gun. Bing finds the news coverage of the discovery of Sharon’s body disturbing. The high school janitor appears frantic.