Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 4, Episode 4: “Bizarre Love Triangle”
Directed by E.L. Katz
Written by Mallory Westfall
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Love Hurts” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “You Belong to Me” – click here
The title of this episode derives from “Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order.
Young Jill was always drawing Pretzel Jack as a girl in various contorted positions, coming out of his door and interacting with the world. As she slept, her dreams seemed to come alive. She woke up to the little blue door in her closet once late at night, so she opened it up, and out came her imaginary friend. She was a little frightened at first. He showed her his contortionist skills and they started playing like old pals together. For those who don’t know, Jack’s played by “Twisty” Troy James, who was recently on America’s Got Talent: watch here.
In present day, Jill (Maria Sten) is reunited with Jack in the basement, while Ian (Steven Robertson) watches. Soon, Jack goes over to lie next to his old corpse for a nap. Ian and Jill head upstairs to talk about what’s next. He says she has to first control her tulpa, then they can get rid of him entirely.
They notice Tom (Brandon Scott) in the yard arguing with Sarah (Diana Bentley). Timing’s not good. The sight makes the angry wife feel her pain, waking Jack up. They can’t keep him from getting loose, either. He stabs Sarah, before Tom gets her away. Tom and Sarah rush off with Pretzel Jack on their trail, at the same time cops show up at the house. While they’re on the run, Tom and Sarah work out their issues, or at least they try to, anyway. He discovers the baby isn’t his after all, too.
Oh, and now in the mix is Jill’s father Bill (Gregg Henry). Why’s he suddenly so eager to talk to her? Does he know anything about Pretzel Jack? Wonder if the imaginary maniac ever tried to kill dad, for all the daughter’s resentment towards him. Hmm.
Jack’s stalking Tom and Sarah. Jack stashes Sarah away safely with her bloody leg, then he tries luring the killer elsewhere. A chase ensues through the rest of the gym and into a pool area. Jack tackles Tom into the water, just as Jill and Ian arrive at the school. They find her husband on the verge, again, of drowning. The pair connect mentally, allowing Jill to concentrate, stopping the homicidal pursuit of her imaginary friend. Ian wants to help her “crush” the entity. They connect again, and she tries crushing Pretzel Jack from her mind. The killer explodes into a white dust under the water. Simultaneously, Jill falls to the floor, her ear bleeding. If his old corpse is in the basement, that means a new Jack could always form again.
Currently, everybody’s safe from the horror. Although it’s incredibly awkward at the hospital. Jill and Sarah have a moment alone together, as the former finds out her husband doesn’t have an illegitimate child with the other woman. In the hall, Tom keeps giving Ian the suspicious eye. Tom wanders off and winds up talking to the cops again, who believe his wife’s up to something bad.
Jill tells Ian she wants to learn how to control her mind. She’d rather not go back to her house, so they go to a summer place belonging to Ian’s family. All of a sudden she feels sick. He says it’s normal after what she’s been through. She has deja vu when entering the house. They rest for the night, anticipating another strenuous day to follow. After she goes to bed, Ian has a look at her vibrating phone to see all the messages from her father. Tom also gets a voicemail from Bill, who’s desperate to tell his daughter something about their family.
“You killed a part of yourself today”
In a motel, Bill is drinking when a knock comes at the door. He finds Ian there— his son. Holy shit. Ian hates his dad, just like his half-sister does. He seethes at Bill. The father suggests there were sketchy things about his son, like a kid from school going missing, a pet dying. Maybe his intentions with Jill aren’t as pure as they once seemed. Father and son argue angrily, until Ian goes into one of his unsettling mental states, the lights flicker, and he conjures a door, from which a nightmarish entity emerges to pluck dad’s eyeballs out and murder him. This boy has his own imaginary friend.
Tom goes to the motel, where he sees Ian leaving. He goes looking for Bill, only to see the motel room is empty, cleaned out, as if nobody was ever there in the first place. An interesting turn of events, now that Ian’s no longer the knight in psychological shining armour he presented himself as to Jill earlier, and it’s Tom left trying to find a way to protect his wife from these insane and vicious psychic forces.
Things get creepier with Ian putting some moves on Jill. Yuck.
Jesus, what a chapter in this season! There’s always a way for the show to surprise, which is an element that keeps it fresh and disturbing. Great horror.
“You Belong to Me” is next.