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You know, Maggie said a long time ago that every gift comes with a cost, and I think that just... using my Bridge a lot when I was younger and fighting Charlie Manx and Craig... it has taken me apart... in ways that I don't understand... and don't think I can be put back together.
Vic to Lou

Bad Mother is the first episode of the second season of AMC's NOS4A2. It is also the eleventh episode of the series overall.[1]


Eight years on, Vic McQueen receives shocking news about Charlie Manx. Maggie consults her tiles at great risk. Bing hunts down the Wraith but hits a roadblock. Millie Manx discovers a new aspect of Christmasland.



Millie Manx and the vampire children of Christmasland play a sinister game. They repeat the phrase "Bite the smallest! Eat him up!" Meanwhile, a group of kids sneak out into the woods to get a look at Sleigh House, or at least where it once stood. They’ve heard stories of how Charlie Manx used to cook kids and eat them. There’s believed to be a large number of missing kids buried on the land.

Back in Christmasland, Millie and the vampire children notice the lights flicker on and off. They suddenly start to hear the kids from the real world. Millie follows the voices into the woods, where a breach between Christmasland and the real world has formed. Millie stabs her sword through the static, and it appears on the other side. Rather than taking the risk herself, she pushes one of the vampire children through the breach. He makes it over and bares his fangs, causing the frightened human kids to run. He goes chasing after them but immediately disintegrates. And then, all at once, the lights of Christmasland flicker out. Millie fears the worst for her father.

Vic tells Lou that she's only with him for his comic collection

Gunbarrel, Colorado. 8 years have passed, and Vic has settled into a trailer home with Lou and their son, Wayne. They’ve set up a bike shop, where Vic works on design. Lou and Wayne return home with a new video game: 2K20. Lou wonders how he got so lucky, and Vic tells him that she’s only with him for his comic collection. Wayne then tells his father that he’s too old to play the game with him. Completely unaware of his mother’s past, Wayne asks who Charlie Manx is after seeing a news report of his death. He supposedly died in his hospital bed after spending the last 8 years in a coma. Vic insists that she’s fine, though she takes the truck, claiming that she has to clear her mind.

Haverhill, Massachusetts. Maggie and Tabitha have been in a happy, long term relationship. While taking photos of Tabitha, who is now an FBI agent, Maggie gets a call from Vic. They surmise that she’s calling after hearing of Manx’s death. Vic asks Maggie to ask her Tiles if Manx is truly dead, but Maggie no longer uses them. Vic is certain that Manx is still alive and determined to prove it. She has to finish the job, and to do that, she needs Maggie to asks her Tiles how to find a new Knife. Maggie refuses. She tells Vic to make an honest man out of Lou and get online, so that she can see photos of Wayne. Vic hangs up with Maggie and takes a drink of alcohol before restarting the truck. She drives it into the woods, hoping that her Bridge will appear, but it doesn’t. She gets a call from Wayne, who informs her that Sam called. He has a bike for them, and Vic has to pick it up.

Vic meets with Sam, who informs her that he discovered the bike while cleaning up his storage space. He remarks that Steve McQueen had one just like it. A Triumph. As Vic grabs the bike from the loading bay, the lights start to flicker.

Paul Demeter has restored Charlie Manx’s Rolls Royce Wraith, but he has taken out the engine and filled the space with sunflowers. Bing manages to track it down, under the guise Ethan Anderson. A Rolls Royce enthusiast. Paul tells Bing that the preview will be at the cafe, where he can discuss sales with the gallery assistant. Paul explains to Bing that the Wraith was owned by a ruthless serial killer and that he purchased it at a police auction a few months ago. The Wraith will be for sale next week for $150,000. They are interrupted by Paul's son, Mike, who complains about having to go with his mom for his step-brother’s birthday, who he hates. Bing says that he doesn’t like sleepovers either as friends can be mean. He tells them about Vic McQueen, who told lies about him. Paul then gives Bing a flyer and sends him on his way.

Vic returns home with the Triumph. She tells Lou that it’s her new Knife, and it’ll allow her to travel the Shorter Way. She believes that she conjured the bike, which excites Lou. He compares them to Han and Leia and Rey and Finn. Vic wants to use the bike to find Charlie Manx. Lou reminds Vic that he’s dead and asks if she’s been drinking. Because every Christmas, she nearly drinks herself to death and starts to hear phones and voices. Vic insists that this isn’t like Christmas, however, she is determined to find out if Manx is dead. Lou tells Vic that now that they’re free of Charlie Manx, they can finally start to consider making things legal, between themselves and with Wayne. She assures him that this is what she wants as well and kisses Lou. As Lou heads out for work, she tells him that she’ll pick Wayne up from school, as she works on the bike. Lou suggests a family name, trying out "Team Carqueen" , "Team McCarmody," and "Team Carqueemody."

Maggie goes to the Haverhill Public Library, where she researches Manx’s supposed death. She grabs her Tiles out the desk. Before asking them anything, she calls the police department to report that the lights flickered and that the cute librarian with purple hair is hurt in the basement. She then asks her Tiles if the Wraith is dead. She goes shoulder-deep into the bag as the lights flicker. She spells out "YES." She suddenly begins to suffer a seizure of sorts and falls out.

While working to repair the Triumph, Vic’s music switches to Christmas carols. Then, the phone rings with ice covering every inch of it. As she’s about to answer, Lou calls out to her and reminds her that she was supposed to pick Wayne up from school. He tells her that the other moms were there and asks if she’s coming to his game. She promises him she’ll be there. Lou then asks Vic to talk about whatever is bothering her. She claims she merely lost track of time. While Lou doesn’t know what it is that Vic was hoping to find, he was hoping that he and Wayne would be enough for her.

Vic lies awake in bed. She kisses Lou awake and they have sex. Afterward, she apologizes for her actions yesterday. She tells him that he and Wayne are enough. They’re much more than she deserves, in fact. Lou tells Vic that she deserves so much more than shacking up with him. While Vic has made a lot of mistakes in her life, Lou isn’t one. She then tells him that it’s "Team McCarmody" forever. Vic tells Lou to get ready for work and she’ll take Wayne to school.

Wayne wakes up to find Vic in the kitchen preparing ice cream for breakfast. She tells him that they’re playing hooky today.

Bing stalks Paul’s house. He waits for the perfect opportunity and confronts the man, spraying him with gingerbread smoke, rendering him unconscious.

Vic and Wayne play basketball outside the shop. Wayne then tells his mother how his father says that the Triumph reminds him of a sewing machine. Vic replies that Lou is a Harley guy. Wayne then asks about Charlie Manx. Vic tells him that Manx is a serial child abductor, and that’s why Vic’s told Wayne that he should never go anywhere with anyone who doesn't know the password: 1048 Fairbanks. The code to the Batcave. He asks if Manx took her, but it was in fact his biological father, Craig Harrison, who was taken. Vic tells Wayne that she'll never allow anything like that to happen to him.

The phone in the shop starts to ring, but only she can hear it. She cuts the cord and the ringing stops. The house phone then rings, followed by her cellphone, as the front screen appears as static. She cuts the cord to the house phone and throws her phone as well as Wayne’s cell phone into the oven and turns it on. As Wayne rushes into his room to hide, Vic grabs two miniature bottles of alcohol from under the kitchen sink and drinks. The ringing continues. She busts open Wayne’s door and answers the green toy dinosaur phone. It’s Millie, demanding to know what she’s done to Christmasland, as it has gone dark. Vic tells Millie to stop calling her house. Millie advises Vic to leave Christmasland alone or else her father will stick a fork in her eyes and pop them out like corks. Millie calls Vic a liar and a pest. Vic informs Millie that she’s coming for Manx and to never call her again. Vic then throws the toy into the oven.

Vic stands over Charlie Manx's dead body

Vic starts the Triumph up and rides off into the woods. Just like before, the Shorter Way Bridge appears before her. The inner left side of the bridge, written in green spray paint, says "the morgue." Her Bridge takes her into the hospital, where she skids out of control. She gets to her feet and pushes her bike to the morgue, where she finds Manx’s dead body on the autopsy table. She takes a scalpel and stabs him in the chest, though he doesn’t move. Vic leaves the morgue, returning to Gunbarrel on her Bridge. She returns home to find that their house has caught on fire from the phones she left in the oven. She finds Lou and Wayne sitting near an ambulance. She greets Wayne with a hug, though Lou doesn’t acknowledge her.

Vic, Lou, and Wayne are forced to spend the night in a motel. After putting Wayne to bed, Vic apologies for her recent actions, though Lou is beyond upset. He accuses Vic of always having one foot out the door. Both he and Wayne can see it. He can’t believe that she got drunk in front of Wayne and set the house on fire. He questions why she needed to know that Manx was alive so badly. Vic recalls Maggie telling her that every gift comes with a cost, and Vic believes that she’s now paying that cost at the expense of using her Bridge. Lou believes that Vic needs professional help. He’s even prepared to sell the bikes to pay for it. He promises her that they’ll figure it all out in the morning.

As Lou and Wayne sleep, Vic lies awake in bed throughout the night. She stuffs her pockets with alcohol from the mini-fridge and prepares to sneak away. Wayne catches her as she’s leaving. She tells him that he’s safer with his father. He accepts that she's leaving and tells her not to forget her jacket. It has armor to protect her. Vic tells Wayne that she loves him before leaving. Vic hopes on her bike and rides out to the Shorter Way, headed to the Lake.

Bing has Paul under the influence of gingerbread smoke, and he is now susceptible to suggestion. Bing orders him to help lower the engine into the Wraith. Once the engine is in place, Manx’s heart beats once again and the lights of Christmasland rekindle, though Millie, unlike the other vampire children, still remains concerned.



Guest Starring


  • Larry Vigus as Sam
  • Maxim Swinton as Smallest Demon Kid
  • Jack Brunault as Jack (Real World Kid)
  • Mason Yam as Tom (Real World Kid)
  • Liam Anderson as Demon Boy
  • Reese Grande as Demon Girl



Promotional Images


Episode Guide