Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 4, Episode 6: “Two of Us”
Directed by E.L. Katz
Written by Nick Antosca & Isabella Guiterrez
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “You Belong to Me” – click here
* Season 5 (hopefully) to come next year!
This episode’s title comes from “Two of Us” by the Beatles, which has been covered by everyone from Boney M. to Aimee Mann, Darren Criss, Kenny Loggins, and more.
Tom (Brandon Scott) is being dragged off by Tall Boy (Stephen R. Hart) to one of Bill Hope’s developments, that “ghost neighbourhood” the half-siblings talked of before. Ian (Steven Robertson) is filling his face with “Stucky Burger” like usual, trying to regain his strength after exerting so much of it to call his murderous tulpa. He tells Tom that he loves Jill (Maria Sten) in a “pure, uncomplicated way” and sees them as being connected because of their gifts.
Jeff Russo’s music is always fantastic. Never better than in this episode. Tom gets a chance to make a run for it and finds himself pursued by the relentless Tall Boy. Meanwhile, Jill’s headed to the neighbourhood, looking for her half-brother. She gets stopped by a security guard, so she asks if they’ve seen anybody. And that’s when the colourful Crayon people come out of nowhere to stab the guard to death. Jill runs deeper into the neighbourhood while those things from her brother’s imagination lurk, and she see Tall Boy revving his drill nearby.
Soon, Jill finds Tom in an empty house. She knows the only way to get out of there is to call Pretzel Jack back. She works her psychological magic, reforming Jack in her mind. She can’t manage to create a door. She realises that, somehow, Ian’s inhabiting her husband— this Tom isn’t the real one, he’s a copy from one of her half-brother’s doors. A terrifying moment. She eventually turns around and stabs the created husband with a fence post. This is a confusing thing for the real Tom to walk up and see. He does get to stomp its head in, though.
Jill’s unsettled by having killed her husband, even if it was a double, and just the fact her imaginary friend tried to do the same to her real husband means she wanted it to happen on a subconscious level. That’s ultimately what most of this season comes down to— those isolated, dark corners of our mind where there exist things we sometimes can’t admit to ourselves, let alone anybody else. These imaginary friends and the mental powers of their creators are symbolic of repressed emotions these characters have kept buried since they were children, only for it all to bubble up again in adulthood, when the imaginary friends have become much more dangerous.
Either way, Tom’s also discovered things about himself, like the fact he’s been a terrible, gaslighting husband. While Jill’s got “intense shit” going on in her head, Tom has done shitty things, too. They both decide to embrace the positives and negatives of one another. Ultimately, Tom accepts that, though Pretzel Jack comes from his wife, he’s the one that brought him into the world through his deceptive, hurtful actions towards Jill. The married couple go their separate ways for now so she can try bringing her friend back through the door to help them escape Ian and Tall Boy. After she tries harder and harder she’s able to open a door, at the same moment Tall Boy finds her.
“I’m sorry for letting you believe this is all your fault”
What comes next is a vicious psychological fight between half-siblings. Pretzel Jack takes on Tall Boy and wins after sawing the other imaginary friend’s head. How do they win for good if Ian can keep creating other creatures? Simple: “kill him.” This time, the married couple and Jack are on the same side. Yet those creepy Crayon children still have Ian’s back, not to mention he’s resurrecting Tall Boy.
Ian rushes into one of the empty homes, followed by the trio close behind. In one room, Jill finds the shell of a woman on the floor, like a cracking fossil, almost looking like herself. Could it be an attempted recreation of her? In another room she discovers Ian and dozens of different coloured doors. They face their family issues, such as the abandonment of a father and so on. Then Jack gets murdered by Tall Boy before he can come to Jill’s rescue, as she and Ian fight. But before Tall Boy can do anything else, Tom and Jill both stab her half-brother together, and Ian’s imaginary friend accidentally rushes him with the saw, ironically being the one to do him in— all that repressed anger and strange desire for his half-sister is what finally kills him.
Through it all, Jill and Tom survive. Some time later we catch up to them and they’ve finally had a child together. Not an Eraserhead baby, either. They’ve had a beautiful little HUMAN baby. Wonder if the kid will inherit their mother’s abilities? Oh, yes. It’s a new lifetime of opening doors, imaginary friends, and family issues that could literally kill! A beautiful, horrifying finish with “Animal Farm” by the Kinks playing into the credits.
Channel Zero: The Dream Door is probably my favourite series of the show so far. Surreal, Jungian, full of issues about relationships/marriage/family (running themes across the majority of the show), &, as always, legitimately horrifying. Fantastic writing. Insane, beautiful, grotesque imagery. This one has it all! Sadly no Season 5. At least we’ve got the four existing seasons to binge, over and over.