Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 3, Episode 3: “All You Ghost Mice”
Directed by Arkasha Stevenson
Written by Nick Antosca & Justin Boyd & Angela LaManna
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Father Time” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Alice in Slaughterland” – click here
That dinner party in the park is pretty nasty, leaving both Alice (Olivia Luccardi) and Louise (Krisha Fairchild) not feeling well. Worse, the younger of the two has bill collectors chasing her down. But what the pair saw the night before is much more haunting than debt. Particularly once they see the dinner table, all the human meat, it’s all gone. Alice is still stuck with the memories of Joseph Peach (Rutger Hauer) doing that gruesome procedure on her. She wants to leave. Instead, Louise suggests she’s “important” to Mr. Peach and they might exploit that. Perhaps they can use it to end the horror in Butcher’s Block?
Yeah; perhaps. Or maybe they’re way in over their heads.
Note: To me, it looks like Smart Mouth (Linden Porco) is wearing masks. That’s surely connected to the terrifying creature from the stairs, the one we saw covering Izzy’s face with a clay-like substance. Looked like he was making a mask.
Zoe (Holland Roden) seemingly had the same procedure done by ole Joe as her sister, and she’s not doing what you’d call… well. She still sees old man Peach; he comes to check on her. She feels “sick,” but he reassures her she’ll be okay. He calls himself her “watchdog” and claims to be her protector. Somehow I doubt that very much.
Alice and Louise run into Luke Vanczyk (Brandon Scott), who warns them to stay away from the woods. Later at home, Alice gets a visit from Nathan (Aaron Merke) – he’s worried about her, seeing as how she didn’t turn up for work. Life is a whole big mess for Ms. Woods, really. Her big sister had that procedure done, though Zoe is far from okay. Drugs are one thing. The fact she’s bleeding from her leg is another.
At a diner, Luke meets up with his father, Chief Vanczyk (Tyrone Benskin). They talk about the “man eating another man‘s lungs” in their jail. The son wonders if dad ever saw anything so wild, and asks about the transfer of Robert Peach (Andreas Apergis). The chief plays it all off, which only makes Luke more suspicious about corruption. Dad always has an anecdote about his boy’s young life to go with every situation; to infantilise his son. We see Luke’s beginning to wonder if maybe Ms. Lispector was right all along about dear ole pops.
Cue Bob Peach dancing to Alla Turca (Turkish March) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He’s somewhere in the halls of the hospital where Louise, Nathan, and Alice have brought Zoe. Yes, they’re all in the same place; somewhere. Plus, Joseph and Smart Mouth sit at the piano together playing the song’s keys.
In the cafeteria, Luke meets Louise and Nathan, telling them about what he saw in the woods – “the staircases” – including the fact his father’s somehow connected. Of course Nathan talks about “human sacrifice” being found in the Peach basement years ago, the rumour which began stories of the Butcher. Suddenly, Bob turns up prancing the halls, and this puts the trio rightfully on edge.
“The universe and everything in it is just one big, random act of violence.”
Poor Zoe isn’t getting any better after her supposed procedure by Joseph. The wound on her leg was self inflicted while she was unravelling in the bathtub. She’s taken to vicious self harm, not a sign of improvement in her condition. Not to mention she ate a piece of her leg, too. Cannibalism’s never good, for anybody. Zoe won’t be telling her little sister about that whole incident. Although it’s clear she worries the same thing could be happening to Alice. There’s terror lurking everywhere now, even right in Zoe’s stomach where the hunger for human meat grows exponentially.
“I think he woke something up”
That hospital’s doing nobody any favours. Alice sees her mom in the hallways stabbing herself in the gut, blood pouring over her feet. Luke, Louise, and Nathan are looking for dancing Bobby, who – when they stumble onto him – only calls the cop “mouse” once more. This Peach is even more disturbing than his father somehow, like a child in a man’s body; a really creepy child. Along the way, Nathan is trapped in a hallway, separated from the other two. That’s when Bob comes and cuts his throat. Luke manages to get through, then puts Mr. Peach in cuffs all over again. While the murderer is face down on the floor he suckles at a stream of blood from the dead man’s throat. TERRIFYING! Dig it.
Alice is thinking back to before, when she started becoming very aware of the possibility she might suffer from schizophrenia like her mother. She’s stuck in that hospital and she’s all but going mad. She sees the familiar face of that aberration in her brain Joseph pointed out. It comes from the darkness – fuller, larger – walking on all fours like an animal, chasing her through hallways and down the stairs.
And while Zoe gets hungrier, a pregnant Edie Peach (Diana Bentley) turns up. Ah, perfect. She’s also brought along a tray with a meal: some fairly rare meat dish. Just the smell alone makes Zoe drool. “There‘s a place for you at our table,” says Mrs. Peach. No big deal, right?
Eventually, Alice winds up in a room where she comes across a note from Joseph, which claims her sister has “come upstairs” with the family, and urges her to do the same. But this young woman is resilient, she isn’t giving up/in just yet. In the middle of it all she gets another call from Dave, the bill collector. She doesn’t have time for that because she’s found a room where Smart Mouth, and a couple other tiny people just like him, are playing like children while they howl and wail. What a haunting moment.
“All you ghost mice, you just don‘t stick; your lives don‘t stick … to us, you‘re just protein.”
Luke takes Bob in the cop car, instead of going back to Louise’s place to interrogate him. He does one better, anyway. The cop puts a few bullets right in this Peach. Only question is: will death stick to Bob? Kinda hard to kill someone/something that’s supernatural. Maybe there’s rules, maybe there aren’t.
In the forest, Alice rushes to try finding her sister, but she doesn’t get to the staircase in time. She watches Zoe go through the door with Joseph. This prompts Alice to go up the steps herself. What will become of her should she step across that threshold?
We’ll find out with “Alice in Slaughterland” next.
Love the connection to the episode’s title. Zoe mentioned their mother read to them from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and, y’know, the fact we have a main character actually named Alice makes for, hopefully, compelling stuff.