SyFy’s Channel Zero
Season 1, Episode 5: “Guest of Honor”
Directed by Craig William Macneill
Written by Katie Gruel & Mallory Westfall
* For a review of the previous episode, “A Strange Vessel” – click here
* For a review of the finale, “Welcome Home” – click here
With Jessica (Natalie Brown) face down in a kiddie pool, stabbed to death… by kids… Amy Welch (Luisa D’Oliveira) must deal with the fallout. The scene is gruesome, even for someone in law enforcement to see. What I dig about this scenario is that the writers aren’t afraid to make characters expendable. And certainly with only this and another episode left there’s a sense of urgency, in all manners of speaking.
Mike Painter (Paul Schneider) is back at his mother Marla’s (Fiona Shaw) with his daughter Lily (Abigail Pniowsky). He’s having a little tooth problem, too. But the news about Jessica comes and devastates him. Amy lets him know about Mrs. Francis Booth (Marina Stephenson Kerr), the kids. They found props from Candle Cove in her basement. This is nearly too much for Mike to handle hearing. That tooth pain again makes him cringe. Due to the fact there’s a new tooth seemingly pushing down from out of the top of his gums. Like a fang. He doesn’t bother with a dentist. No, Mike tries pulling it out instead. Just as his wife Erica (Kristen Harris) arrives. Naturally she’s weirded out about how Lily got there. Maybe it’s best if she just gets the hell out of and away from Iron Hill.
At the station nobody’s buying the Mrs. Booth story. They don’t get it yet. Children murdered under her command, and so much more. Mike tries to say his piece, but ultimately it’s Amy who professionally has had to step up. She makes the call to start searching for these kids. They’ve got to find them. Meanwhile, Mike feels a bit thirsty to get over and see the Candle Cove artefacts. He suggests getting Gary Yolen (Shaun Benson) back on things, to escort him to the crime scene. Not sure if that’s smart. Yet there they go, Gary and Mike; the two unsuspecting partners. Poor fucking Gary. He’s lost his wife, lost everything. Poor Jessica, dying so young, so brutal. Outside Gary finds teeth left on a garden post. Downstairs the remnants of Candle Cove awaited Mike. This is a sort of watershed moment in his life because he’s finally figuring out that the television show was real, that he wasn’t crazy, after all these years. Then there’s Francis. She calls her house where Mike answers, saying: “I have so much to tell you”
We flash back to a younger Mrs. Booth. Her son Jacob and Eddie Painter witness one of her seizures. We see something spooky in Eddie, as he stops the woman’s epileptic fit, commanding her to get up. What sort of power did he have? Where did it come from? In the present, Mike makes a deal to go talk with Francis alone. At the very same time more children are being called by that creepy television show, summoned to do its bidding. To prepare the plank for others to head for the supposed real cove. Even little Katie Yolen is gone from the hospital, she and her brother Dane.
The sudden missing kids start a panic at the station, and Amy does the only thing she can, getting Deputy Simon Grove (Bruce Novakowski) to “find Mike Painter.” The man himself, he’s busy trying to meet with Francis. Once Simon gets there the terrifying little kids are scuttling around in the nearby field, and Mike goes inside to find the old woman. Simon ends up meeting the person in the skeleton costume, as the kids hold him to be murdered. Before passing out Mike sees Francis take off the skull mask in the distance.
And on the way out of town Erica, with Lily in tow, nearly fly off the road due to the pack of kids in front of them.Amy comes across Candle Cove screensavers all over the station. Another creepy image to add to the pile. Another one? When Mike wakes to Simon’s cut throat, Francis in her costume again; with Lily in her grasp. Not to mention the only remaining Painter twin is hooked to wires, strung up overhead, as if a living marionette doll. But then he wakes, in the grass again. Erica and Lily are in a motel room, safe. For now.
Out of nowhere Marla sees that Francis Booth is now in her kitchen. She wants to talk to Mike. The three of them sit around and chat. They have things to catch up on. “Tell me about Candle Cove,” Mike asks of Francis. She talks of life changing moments, life altering people, purpose. That sorta thing. When Eddie showed her the power in him, her life changed drastically. Furthermore, she claims he’s the one that created the show. “You thought Candle Cove found him. What he had was always there. He was born with it. He‘s the light; the beacon. He always was,” Mrs. Booth rambles. Supposedly, she says the dead twin is coming back. Uhh… what now? Either way, just as I suspected Eddie required sacrifices. For the cove. Little Jacob was fed to those otherworldly powers. Francis claims Mike was also born with something special, just like Eddie. One thing’s for sure, he has horrifyingly real nightmares.
At this point his daughter’s seeing scary visions of Candle Cove. Even the Tooth-Child is hanging around her room at night, lurking at the edge of the bed. It lures Lily, closer, closer. Simultaneously, out in a trailer amongst the woods Francis tells her children of the night: “He‘ll be here soon.” And is it Eddie she speaks of?When Mike finally pulls that extra tooth out of his head, everything gets a bit strange; I mean, stranger. On the television Lily shows up. In Candle Cove. Standing terrified in the mouth of the cove’s yawning cave.This set the stage for a great, scary finale! Can’t wait to see “Welcome Home” and find out the last remaining secrets of Candle Cove. Loved this series, from the start. Anticipating an exciting and disturbing finale. Also have a hard time containing my excitement, and need, for the second season. Should be a trip.