Episode one of NOS4A2 shows us the shorter way to Christmasland

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NOS4A2 — Courtesy of AMC

Episode one of AMC’s NOS4A2 introduced us to Charlie Manx, Vic McQueen and Maggie. Take the Shorter Way Bridge to our recap.

AMC finally broadcast the first episode of NOS4A2, based on the incredible novel by Joe Hill. I tried not to get too worked up over the differences between page and screen, most notably the fact that our heroine Vic McQueen starts out as a teenager, rather than the much younger girl she was in the book.

The opening scene was killer! Young Danny wakes up in the night and knocks on mom’s bedroom door, but she is…ahem…”busy” with her boyfriend, telling him to go back to bed. He turns on the TV and is puzzled when his cartoon is interrupted by static.

Hearing the faint sound of Christmas music, Danny steps outside his front door and finds a candy cane laying on the ground. Parked out front is a Rolls-Royce Wraith (the license tag: NOS4A2), Christmas music wafting from the radio, gorgeously wrapped gifts in the back seat, car door standing open in invitation.

Danny, of course, climbs in. Meanwhile, Mom’s boyfriend steps into the living room, only to be greeted by a creep who stabs him in the neck with a syringe. When Danny begins to panic, trapped in the back seat of the car, his mother tries to get to him, but the creep breaks her neck.

NOS4A2 recap-courtesy AMC

A weeping Danny is driven away by the elderly Charlie Manx and his pal Mr. Ives, Charlie reassuring him that they are headed for Christmasland, “where every day is Christmas Day and unhappiness is against the law.”

Next, we meet Vic McQueen, AKA “The Brat”, a teenage girl in Haverhill, Massachusetts, whose best friend is the much wealthier Willa. Vic appears to be a pretty good girl and has befriended Bing Partridge, the school custodian.

Vic has aspirations to attend art college after graduation, but her mother is not encouraging, wanting her daughter to follow in her footsteps as a house cleaner. Among the houses Mom cleans is Willa’s…that must be awkward.

NOS4A2 recap – courtesy AMC

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Dad is more encouraging, but he is unhappy in his marriage and drinks heavily. He and Mom fight often and loudly, and Vic escapes by jumping on her dirtbike and riding away. On one such ride, she comes across a dilapidated-looking covered bridge (known as the Shorter Way Bridge) which turns out to be a portal of sorts.

Vic later finds out that the Shorter Way Bridge was demolished years ago, with her father on the demolition crew. At any rate, by taking the mystical bridge, Vic can find lost things. On her first trip, she sees Willa’s name painted inside the bridge and later finds out that her mother dropped her credit card inside Willa’s house when she was cleaning.

Meanwhile, back in the Wraith, Charlie Manx is berating Mr. Ives for killing Danny’s mother. The conversation ends with Manx telling Ives he is on the naughty list and throwing him out of the moving vehicle, rendering him road kill.