SyFy’s Channel Zero
Season 1, Episode 3: “Want to See Something Cool?”
Directed by Craig William Macneill
Written by Harley Peyton
* For a review of the previous episode, “I’ll Hold Your Hand” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “A Strange Vessel” – click here
We start in 1988. The Painter Twins sit at the table with their parents, making a wish for their birthday; they decide to make a wish for one another. It was a happier time. Nowadays, Marla Painter (Fiona Shaw) tries to get rid of all the memories of her son, since finding out the truth.
In other parts of Iron Hill, new generations of kids are seeing Candle Cove and all its strangeness. Are there about to be more dead children turning up?
Marla goes to talk with her son Mike (Paul Schneider) at the police station. Only he’s not there, of course. Sheriff Gary Yolen (Shaun Benson) is taking him somewhere else.
Headed elsewhere, Gary shuttles Mike along while he rattles on about broken dreams. Fiona clues Amy Welch (Luisa D’Oliveira) in on what’s happening, as well as Jessica (Natalie Brown); all three are fairly stunned by whatever Gary is up to, and what IS he up to? They’re up at an unfinished home, where the lawman wants to sit Mike down. Y’know, for a chat.
We get a flash back to ’88 and watch Mrs. Booth with her son Jacob (Connor Peterson), the one that tragically turned up in the hills without teeth. We see his mother hit the floor suddenly, having what looks like an epileptic fit. In the present day, Mrs. Booth tries to carry on, although in her classroom one of the kids on their device gets a sudden transmission of Candle Cove that sends him into a near trance.
Tim Hazel (David Brown) shows up at the house where Gary’s keeping Mike. Looks like there may be something nasty brewing, even if Tim says they’re only there to “talk.” Naturally, Mike starts talking about Candle Cove, but nobody’s willing to listen to him. Daphne Bell (Gwendolyn Collins) is also present and she shows Mike pictures of all the kids that went missing back then, including Tim’s brother Gene and her own cousin. Ah, an even more personal connection for them both. Everybody believes that Mike had more to do with the murders than just his own brother.
Another flashback: “Wanna see something cool?” a young Mike asks Gene. He says he’s headed up to the crow’s nest. Oh, my. What else don’t we know about Dr. Painter? The former friends start interrogating him, trying to get what they want; what they need.
When young Mike led Gene up to the nest, Eddie starts showing the kid “stuff in his head.” What? All of a sudden Gene is a mindless drone working off the beck and call of Eddie. To the point he must “pay the toll” by ripping out a couple teeth. OH, FUCK ME. Afterwards he can walk the plank into Candle Cove, which actually means Gene walked over the cliff to his death. So Mike’s story is that, all those years ago he had to stop his brother from doing worse at the hands of that horrific television series.Amy is out looking for Gary and Mike. She only finds a group of kids stabbing a mannequin with knives. When she tries to talk to them they scatter like animals. Things in Iron Hill are getting awfully gruesome. Up at the makeshift interrogation Mike is trying to convince them all about what Candle Cove does to people, and that it’s still working its dark magic on them all. Daphne agrees, partly. She’s had dreams about the show, remembering specific images. Even Gary starts to lean a bit towards it, although Tim doesn’t have much time for any of these theories. He’d prefer to break the gun out and get rough. And in a brief second Mike is shot in the shoulder, right before Marla and Jessica show up. They stop Tim from doing something crazy. I’m more concerned about Gary. He’s way too easily influenced and as a sheriff he should lose his fucking job. Certainly doesn’t help his case when Amy arrives, either. She pulls her gun on him to get the one in his hand neutralised. A serious breach of ethics there, Sheriff Yolen.
Out in a field Mike parks his car for a nap. Then up creeps the Tooth Child to suck on his fingers. A grotesquely wonderful image I won’t soon forget!
Psyche – just a dream. In the hospital, Marla sits with her son and he rests up after his gunshot. Like any good cop Amy wants to find out what was going on up at that house. Mike tries laying out his story about Eddie falling under the influence of Candle Cove, et cetera, and you know how that sounds to anybody normal listening: like batshit nonsense. Yet something needs to explain all the mysterious events surrounding Iron Hill, people are looking for answers. One big surprise is that Marla’s now telling Amy that her son didn’t confess to murdering his brother. And why? Maybe mom is starting to clue in on something having gone wrong with her other boy way back in the day.
Mrs. Booth gets a visit from Daphne, shocked and sickened by the way Tim reacted to everything earlier. The old woman is concerned about Mike, hoping he’s all right, and advises Daphne to turn herself in. That won’t be necessary. Because the older of the two has devious plans. She sinks a meathook into Daphne at the neck. “You shouldn‘t fuck with Mike Painter.” Seems that Candle Cove and the powers behind it have other things in mind for their old buddy Mike.
The children of Iron Hill are over at Mrs. Booth’s place, watching the creepy show. She has cocoa for them. They’ve been good boys and girls. “Where did you leave the body?” she asks them all before they crowd around for a warm, chocolatey treat. Good lord, this is delicious good horror. Is this lady grooming these kids, so they can make sacrifices to the Tooth Child?
Meanwhile, up in Westchester, the rest of the Painter family sleeps. Little Lily Painter is in for a bad night, though. On the television we can hear the faint music of an eerie show, and then Lily is gone in the darkness. At the very same time something creeps in the shadows around Mike as he sleeps in Iron Hill.
Nobody’s getting any rest tonight. During the night Marla hears strange noises. When she investigates – there is the Tooth Child in the living room. But wait! Only a dream again. Looks like the dreams are infecting her, as well. Nobody is safe from the reach of Candle Cove. Out in the street, Lily stands by herself. Mike rushes to her side and she appears in a trance, as the Tooth Child watches from upstairs in the window – watching, waiting, hungry as ever.An incredible episode with lots of things happening. Plus, more Tooth Child than ever. Great, great stuff. Excited for the next episode titled “A Strange Vessel” and I’m eager to see how each little plot plays out from one chapter to the next. Solid, terrifying writing with plenty mystery to chew on.