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[SeriesFest 2020] 'NOS4A2': Father dynamics and intergenerational trauma


[SeriesFest 2020] ‘NOS4A2’: Father dynamics and intergenerational trauma

NOS4A2 creatives and cast preview the upcoming season at SeriesFest.

NOS4A2’s second season is set to begin tonight on AMC but those at the virtual SeriesFest had the chance to watch the premiere a day ahead of time. I’ll leave the recap/reviews to our own, Nick Nafpliotis (keep an eye out for the first one tonight or his first impressions). After the screening, there was a Q&A with the show runner; Jami O’Brien, creator, Joe Hill, and actors Zachary Quinto and Mattea Conforti. There are some minor spoilers ahead.

This season will look at different father dynamics. For example, O’Brien said Vic is following the same path as her dad. The trauma from battling Manx causes her to turn to alcohol disappointing her family. For Millie, she’s been living for 100 years and hasn’t seen Charlie for eight years. She misses him and with the lights going off in Christmasland, she senses something isn’t right with him. She grapples with who her dad is, following in his foosteps, and if she’s safe with him. At the same time, Vic is asking the same questions.

Hill expressed his love for Charlie Manx because in the end, the show’s villain only wants children to be happy and safe; hence his Christmasland. The famed author uncomfortably saw a bit of himself in the character. When he was going through a divorce, he wanted to make sure his kids had great things and were having fun. That could help ease some of his own bad feelings and sadness. That was where the idea of Charlie came out of. Later, he realized that his children were going through the divorce as well and it was okay for them to feel feel sad or angry.  

Quinto described where his character is at this season. Manx is not thrilled and a thirst of revenge is awakened in him on some level. He is weakened and teetering on the edge of his own destruction so when he overcomes that, he wants to come out swinging. In the eight years that have passed, there is a different landscape and Charlie spends most of his time thinking up the best and most manipulative means of extracting revenge on Vic McQueen.

Conforti sees Millie taking on more responsibility in her dad’s abasence. She’s beginning to learn to be more independent while managing the kids and Christmasland. Millie is finding her own self and becoming more of an individual but she still wants to be reliant on and worshipful towards her father. Also, she feels threatened when the lights begin turning off in Christmasland because it’s the first time that she fears Charlie might be dying and that Vic is responsible.

[SeriesFest 2020] 'NOS4A2': Father dynamics and intergenerational trauma

Not all the fathers on the show are bad. O’Brien discussed the casting of Jonathan Langdon as Lou. They auditioned a lot of folks but it was tricky because they didn’t know if there would be a season two. The actors were told that they’d have a small part in one episode for the first season but the role would be expanded and more significant later. It was important to love Lou from the start because in a world where the fathers are failing in NOS4A2, it’s nice to have a good one bring hope and be a good partner for Vic. She then praised Langdon’s fantastic work on the show this year.

Hill added that Vic can do Heroic things like ride a motercycle in the heart of darkness to confront a vampire, but Lou is a hero because he shows up every day and is kind to people, steady, and supportive. This type of heroism isn’t celebrated in TV, film, and stories because it’s not dramatic.

One of the major themes of the new season of NOS4A2 is intergenerational trauma. We learn more about Charlie’s backstory and his traumas other than those caused by Vic. For the female protagonist, it’s about looking at her suffering at the hands of her family and Charlie and if she’s able to break the cyle with Wayne. Vic is afraid she can’t and leaves her family like her father did. But when her son is actually threatened by Manx, she realizes her role in protecting Wayne and what she stands to lose.  

Elaborating on Charlie’s back story, Quinto shared that we see him in his previous lives struggling as a father providing for his family; especially Millie. It seems his life as a child stacked the deck against him from the beginning and he didn’t have a chance. Hopefully this season will foster in the viewers more understanding and compassion for someboy who is so manipulative and bloodthristy later in life.

The actor then talked about how the 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith will play a huge part this season and we will see the origin of the car. Though not alive technically, it clearly is a character on the show and is treated with the same kind of respect and attention. Everyone does a good job of that from the writers to the mechanics. There are different cars used during filming and they even removed the body and placed it on the chassy of a Ford for some of the driving scenes. It just speaks to the collaborative effort behind the scenes by the entire team to make it work.

NOS4A2 Season 2

Near the end, the guests spoke about their favorite parts of the season. With out spoiling anything, Confortie teased something she hasn’t done in any of her film productions. Quinto thought there were plenty of highlights but likes the things the season builds to in the later parts; in particular the last two episodes are the most gratifying because it built to a place he was happy to arrive at.

The fifth episode was also a standout even though the cast didn’t originally know how their scenes would be put together. They shot two episodes at the same time and they didn’t actually film chronologically so episodes blended together. That fifth episode was something they dreaded but had a real fun time doing.

It was an informative evening and at least we don’t have to wait so long for NOS4A2 to begin its second season. The show airs Sundays at 10:00 pm on AMC starting tonight.

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