Channel Zero – Season 2, Episode 5: “The Damage”

Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 2, Episode 5: “The Damage”
Directed by Steven Piet
Written by Harley Peyton & Lisa Long

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Exit” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Hollow Girl” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 11.23.14 AMMargot (Amy Forsyth) and Jules (Aisha Dee) drive away from the No-End House, seemingly free from its haunting horrors. They’re out again. However, they’ve got no idea that John (John Carroll Lynch) escaped with them. On top of it all, the house was feeding on their memories, they barely have any left.
Speaking of John, he’s out lurking around someone’s backyard, waving to the little girls. A concerned dad comes out to confront him, so John goes on his way. A cannibal, feeding off the memories of others, out in the real world.
When they head back to Margot’s place, the girls are both freaked out. Their memories all slipping away. Margot calls her mom (Corrine), they get to talking: mom reveals dad’s death by allergy, his actual suicide, helped them in a dire financial team, allowing them to keep the house. A terrifying sacrifice to save his family.
Im sure he did it for us
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 11.28.04 AMKnowing the truth doesn’t set Margot free, she’s weighed down by it. She doesn’t want to keep carrying the burden of knowing. Jules talks about the previous summer, after John’s death. She hated seeing Margot “getting attacked by a beast” mentally, in brutal pain; she admits to running away from it, her friend. Meanwhile, just outside, dad is lurking, and he’s very, very hungry. Ravenous, in fact.
Out of nowhere, Seth (Jeff Ward) arrives, warning Jules: “Hes in the house.” Dear ole dad slips in while Margot sleeps. He’s feeding again, draining those memories while she rests. Memories of her old dog. And soon enough, a black puddle on the floor opens up, birthing an eerie looking thing. One which John starts tearing apart to eat. Seth cracks him over the head. They’re all worried about him being out in the real world.
Dad wants a family again. Margot doesn’t want to be fed upon anymore. They’re not sure what to do with this… creation. They’re not free from the No-End House if it follows them out into the world. She asks him to go into the basement until they can figure it all out.
But papa ain’t happy. And he’ll just get hungrier.
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 11.36.37 AMSeth tells Margot the only sure way to get John back into the No-End House is if she leads him. Fuck that. Neither she or Jules is willing to go back there. It could mean getting trapped inside, all over again. If the house disappears for another year, dad is left in the real world, and who knows what’ll happen then. So, they might have to “kill him.” A cruel twist of fate: losing your dad to suicide, then having to kill him, too. We also hear more of Seth, discussing his life back at the house; those people caged in the suburb were his family, he couldn’t hurt them and he locked them away for protection.
Poor Jules isn’t well, either. That fleshy orb knows where she’s gone, she made a connection with it. She’s starting to slip between reality and the world of No-End House. Can she actually ever escape? Or is the house a part of her, and the rest of them, now?
Upstairs, Seth and Margot allow John to eat more of the memory dog. He digs in, feeding. A disgusting scene. They sit and wait to see how it goes. She wants to see what her memories “feel like,” so dad lets her hold the dog’s head. He talks about their past, camping, happier memories. This is when John begins succumbing to the medication Seth put in his food. He must die again, as his daughter watches the death. In a way, it’s like a grim healing process. Because she only saw the aftermath before his suicide, now she sees the other side. They’ve got to get John back to the house before it’s gone, as well. Doesn’t help things when mom gets home in the middle of it all, and John is still alive. He gets up and starts throwing everyone around, chasing after his daughter.
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 11.48.56 AMJohn starts feeding off Margot’s memories again, as Seth grabs him off her. But this only leads dad to nearly jamming his finger through the guy’s head. Finally, Margot pleads with him, agreeing to go back to No-End House with him. And poor ole mom, she has no idea what’s been going on, waking up from being knocked out by her formerly living husband.
Now, Margot, Seth, and John head back to No-End House.
Across town, Jules is still trying to figure out her own life, the memories all faded and the real world blending with that of the house. She’s nearly driven mad, and she starts running down the street. But when she gets to where No-End House recently appeared to the others, it isn’t there anymore.
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 12.04.59 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-19 at 12.07.06 PMA favourite of mine, this episode really digs into all the disturbing memory stuff. Can’t wait for the finale. Not sure how it’ll end. But that’s what makes Channel Zero so damn good! “The Hollow Girl” is next.


Channel Zero – No End House, Episode 4: “The Exit”

Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 2, Episode 4: “The Exit”
Directed by Steven Piet
Written by Nick Antosca & Katie Gruel

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Beware the Cannibals” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Damage” – click here
IMG_0316Margot (Amy Forsyth) and Seth (Jeff Ward) wake the next day, after becoming intimate. Dylan (Sebastian Pigott) is still trying to show Lacey (Jess Salgueiro) the truth about what’s happening, that they’re actually married; however, that’s just us going on what he’s said, it isn’t necessarily true. Although currently his word, the strangeness of the No-End House, these are all we have to go on.
Of course it gets a bit nasty because she’s “not remembering anything” and she’s attacked him with his own knife. And out in the middle of the nearby neighbourhood is still that cul-de-sac, a group of people stuck inside. Everybody else is strange, like they’re all lost. Of course, they are, in various ways. “Theyre part of the house,” Dylan tells them, and they’re not keen on the group’s trying to leave. A parade of people follow behind them as they go.
Naturally, one of them is John (John Carroll Lynch), who’s looking paler, more awful than ever. He heads further after them while the rest of the neighbourhood stays behind.
IMG_0317On their way, in a field, the group finds a decimated man lying on the ground. He’s one of the cannibals, unable to feed and wasting away. JD (Seamus Patterson) questions Seth, as to why he hasn’t said anything about his peeling skin; the former threatens to expose the latter if he does say a word. Because something fishy’s going on, either way. Regardless if Seth is one of the doubles.
Soon they come across a corn maze. Within are people calling out, all kinds of them. They stop outside for the night and light a fire. Seth tells Margot he’s not who she believes him to be; “someone who doesnt belong.” He claims he lives in this place, or that he came there before and that living there can “be beautiful.” Meanwhile, Dylan ties JD to Lacey as he goes to check out noises in the dark. Then a woman comes from out of the darkness, digging her fingers into Lacey’s eye sockets before walking back into nowhere. This is when an angry, grief-stricken Dylan sees the withering skin on JD’s arm.
Dylan stabs him, telling the others to keep away. “Hes not real,” Seth says. So Dylan lights the cannibal JD on fire while they all run into the maze. Yet Margot tells them all that Seth lives there, that he can’t come. But now they’re all divided, so many eerie things culminating at once. Not to mention surrounding them in the corn maze is a sea of lost voices, calling out to their loved ones.
IMG_0319IMG_0320Soon they’re all lost themselves. Margot can’t find Jules (Aisha Dee) anymore. Then she comes across one of those black pools, a person materialising out of it. She stumbles onto her friend touching another big, fleshy orb. She takes Jules away from it; simultaneously, we see the person sinking back into that black pool of blood-like substance.
Just as they get away, dad shows up to plead with Margot. He needs a taste. To tide him over, y’know. He needs something on which to subsist, a cannibal, a junkie. He tells his daughter to flee before anything bad happens, so she does, with Jules in tow.
John: “Im only a reflection that lived in you
The remaining trio come to the No-End House. Where Dylan says they have to go on alone. He wants to burn the place to the ground. Inside they find more of the masks, only this time a bit different; each of their faces is a mask with a cracked open head, one hand hauling a dark face out from within, a visual metaphor of what we’ve been seeing already. They go further, into Room 2. The place goes dark, when the light returns a black pool expands across the floor almost like it’s alive, chasing them both, spreading in arm-like streams. Jules attempts jumping across to Margot. They manage to get out as the pool takes over the whole room.
Outside, Dylan’s not so lucky. John finds him, sinking a knife in his guts and ripping his throat open. Leaving him to die in the grass, as dad heads on towards his daughter.

Margot and Jules hear more of the Russian, an old teacher of theirs; the old woman writes DON’T GO over and over across a chalkboard. Except it isn’t an old woman, it’s the creepy man from the hallway, from Margot’s earlier visit. He tries hauling her away, but Jules pulls her back to the next room with her.
This takes them into the gruesome sounds of John’s death by allergy, a mask of his swollen face in front of the girls. He chokes and coughs and sucks for air. A nasty experience. Finally, they make it to Room 5. “We got this,” Jules assures her friend. In there is a bloated, ghostly version of John, in a living room but with a bathtub. He runs his hands through the water, silent. Afterwards he lurches for a hug.
But the girls escape, out into the open air. They don’t see the white flowers anymore, instead a normal dandelion. Dudes are out front trying to get in, so Margot and Jules tell them the house is “finished eating.” They head back to normal life, in a normal neighbourhood. As if none of it ever happened.
Problem is, John’s escaped, as well. He has come back to the world. That can’t be good.
IMG_0326Oh, this is probably my favourite episode now! Wow. Just incredible how Channel Zero consistently ups its game. And here I was concerned there was no way they’d be able to do better than Season 1. Pfft. Amazing.
“The Damage” is up to bat next week.

Channel Zero – Candle Cove, Episode 4: “A Strange Vessel”

SyFy’s Channel Zero
Season 1, Episode 4: “A Strange Vessel”
Directed by Craig William Macneill
Written by Erica Saleh

* For a review of the previous episode, “Want to See Something Cool?” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Guest of Honor” – click here
With Mike Painter’s (Paul Schneider) daughter Lily (Abigail Pniowsky) at his mother’s step in Iron Hill, will we discover more secrets behind his childhood? In 1988, Mike and Jessica talking about Eddie, the kids starting to go missing. Then Mike shows her a Pirate Percy doll his brother made recently. No sooner does Candle Cove come on, the skull-headed figure announcing: “Do you sense it? Something is coming. A strange vessel is headed for the cove!”
In the present day Mike tries to figure out how his daughter got all the way back to his hometown, at grandma Marla’s (Fiona Shaw). Lily’s spaced out, no answers for her father. But you know that deep down Mike understands this connects with Eddie, the other missing and dead children. And maybe Marla understands that, too.
Standing in the hallway of the hospital Jessica (Natalie Brown) can clearly see there are multiple children all witnessing strange things. Candle Cove characters appear all over the wall in kids’ drawings. At least Jessica’s kids are making up. Uh oh – she also notices her boy Dane is missing a tooth. That’s because Katie has it, and the grin across her face as she looks at it is disturbing.
While Mike tries to explain to his wife their daughter showed up in Iron Hill, Jessica goes to see her husband, Sheriff Gary (Shaun Benson), as he sits behind bars. I mean, he fucked up. He’s still convinced Mike is dangerous, advising his wife to go home and get his gun, to keep it close. Just in case. However, husband Gary isn’t aware that his wife’s reconnected online with Mike as of late, before his breakdown and his trip home.
Amy Welch (Luisa D’Oliveira) is busy running things at the station, between actual work and turning down a fellow officer’s sort of sweet advances. I hope to see more of her. It’ll be nice to have her take on a bigger role at work because of Gary’s situation.
Switch back to ’88. Jessica doesn’t particularly like Eddie much, preferring Mike’s company. Especially seeing as how Eddie went pretty weird after watching too much Candle Cove. In the present Jessica meets Lily, who’s still pretty spacey. When she asks the little girl what she likes, Lily replies: “I like pirates.” Oh, for fuck sakes! Then, in the wall of the living room, she pulls out the Pirate Percy doll. She also says she isn’t Lily. Her doctor dad tries to do his thing, analysing; is Lily channelling the spirit of her dead uncle Eddie? Speaking of, we go back to ’88 again when he tells Mike about how every time they send somebody off to Candle Cove, “it gets stronger” – the Tooth Child? Regardless, there was a division between the brothers, and clearly Eddie felt that slipping, worried his brother would love a girl more than him. Tragic, really, as well as part of growing up, figuring life out.

We get a strange reenactment in the shadows, what looks like kids wearing papier-mâché replicas of the Candle Cove characters. Then there’s an amazing matching shot of young Mike and Eddie playing cards, which then cuts to Mike playing cards with his daughter; more evidence of the fact she’s channelling uncle Ed. Also, a terrifying figure lurks in the shadows as father and daughter/brother play. What is it? A pirate?
Only problem with the whole channelling dead Eddie thing is that it really gets to Marla. She’s a good woman, whose family was just torn right open. Mike has been immersed in this weirdness his entire life, or most of it; she’s only been experiencing the truth behind everything recently. And she doesn’t know exactly how to handle all those emotions. Hopefully she’ll be able to keep it together. At the same time, Mike talks to his brother through Lily; about his murder. Basically Eddie’s soul needs to get put to rest. Until then Lily ain’t Lily.
Those creepy mask wearing kids are no doubt those crazies Mrs. Booth has been training. Deputy Welch winds up talking to the old teacher, worried about what she saw them doing recently by the roadside – stabbing the shit out of a mannequin. They speak a bit of ’88, Jacob… then we’re back to that time once more, as Eddie goes to see Jacob Booth. Oh, my. I can see it coming now. Candle Cove comes on. Mother hugs her son Jacob tight, kissing him with tears in her eyes. Is she doing what I think she’s doing?
Eddie once tricked Jessica and tried sending her to Candle Cove. So brother confronts brother. Eventually, Mike gets the upper hand by pulling back those injured fingers on Eddie’s hand and running off. Present day once more, there are other nasty children skulking about. Amy tries to track down those kids at the school only to stumble into a darkened room where computer screens with Candle Cove screensavers pop up. On she goes to the gym where the mask wearers shout “Protect the ship” before Amy interrupts. Jesus, these kids are creepy.

Mike and Jessica go the morgue where Eddie’s body lies shelved. They’re taking the next necessary step to try returning Lily to normal. They burn his remains out in the woods. Simultaneously, grandma can’t seem to keep her eyes off her granddaughter, the spirit of her dead son looking back. If all this works, that spirit will be gone soon enough. Good, and sad in a way for Marla.
In other parts of Iron Hill bad things are on their way. Deputy Welch is at home with her Chinese food, the friendly law enforcement suitor from earlier in bed next to her. Little does she know there are awful kids coming for her. In a last minute move she heads over to see Mrs. Booth. No answer. So Amy finds the spare key and lets herself in. Noises lead her down to the basement. There she finds unpleasant jars, a Candle Cove doll, a dead Daphne being feasted on by a cat. GET OUT, AMY!
It seems the masked kids didn’t go to see the deputy after all. Jessica discovers them in her home, wielding knives. They start stabbing her, so she pulls the gun. But who could kill a kid, right? This sends her outside, as the kids crowd her in the little pool and stab her repeatedly under the watchful eye of Mrs. Booth.
Later in the night Lily wakes. She’s herself again, finally. Although she doesn’t remember a single thing. It was all a “nightmare” her father says. But the nightmare’s just beginning.

What a savage episode. This one frayed my nerves, genuine fright a couple times. There’s just this true sense of dread and suspense. I never expected Jessica to come across those kids. That really threw me for a complete loop.
Next episode is titled “Guest of Honor” and I’m in awe trying to think of what they’ll do next on this series. Love this show. Give me another 5 seasons, right now. So many great, classic Creepypastas they could use.

Channel Zero – Candle Cove, Episode 3: “Want to See Something Cool?”

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 shouldnt 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.

Jesus christ on a fucking slice of Melba! This was 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.

Channel Zero – Candle Cove, Episode 2: “I’ll Hold Your Hand”

SyFy’s Channel Zero
Season 1, Episode 2: “I’ll Hold Your Hand”
Directed by Craig William Macneill
Written by Nick Antosca & Don Mancini

* For a review of the premiere, “You Have to Go Inside” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Want to See Something Cool?” – click here
Where is the search for his brother Eddie going to take Mike Painter (Paul Schneider)? Last episode, we discovered – through his mother Marla (Fiona Shaw) – that the TV show Candle Cove didn’t actually exist. It was a figment of the twin brothers’ imaginations. So where does it all go from here?
We see images of the discovery of bodies in Iron Hill. Bits of news coverage on the murders. Snippets of the eerie Candle Cove. Katie Yolen, daughter of Gary and Jessica (Shaun Benson & Natalie Brown), hears the show talking to her.
Then we cut to a terrifying scene at the Yolen residence, as screams in the night wake Gary and Jessica. Their boy Dane is screaming, on the floor a bloody hook. Katie stabbed him with it. And haven’t we seen such an image before? Oh yes. It all comes full circle: “This show, it can make people do things,” admits Jessica to Mike over the phone, begging him to come back and help. Things are getting murky.
Now Mike has more belief on his side, including his mother. Too many coincidences. With Katie seeing the show, is it real? Doesn’t matter. Because the mind of children is making it real, and that’s the only thing that does matter. The Yolens are left reeling, naturally. Sheriff Gary’s not exactly thrilled about Mike coming to talk with Katie. I can see why he’d be sceptical. Yet Jessica knows Mike, and knew Eddie, more than anybody else. She knows there’s a soft, human side to him, as well as the fact creepy evidence is starting to mount in Mike’s favour.
So he gets back into the mix of things in Iron Hill, despite any objections or weird looks from those who know him. It’s like everywhere he turns, no matter if it’s a kid’s drawing in a hospital, there is something from the past staring out at him. At the same time, his mother Marla is trying to track down information on Candle Cove, which proves pretty much impossible. A weird guy at the public access station has tapes of some episodes. He is absolutely fucking terrifying to me, good god. And he doesn’t actually have any of the show – he made a bit of “fan fic.” Although he did see the real show as a child, and strangely lingers on its memory all these years later. But the real television series was unrecordable, off a pirate signal.
In the hospital Mike finally gets talking to Katie. He shows her the drawing he found from the wall outside. It has a pirate ship in it, and a train track leading into a dark cave. “What happened when you saw Candle Cove?” he asks Katie. A trippy moment ensues, as Mike sees himself talking to his lost brother Eddie. Katie talks about the cave. To anyone else, it sounds loony. To Mike, it’s awfully real. When Gary hauls Mike out to talk Katie’s visited by a strange-looking creature – the Tooth-Child from up in the hills.

Speaking of teeth, Amy Welch (Luisa D’Oliveira) goes to see Beth Fry (Rachelle Casseus). She’s had a break-in at the house. A keepsake box, that has her boy Alex’s baby teeth in there. God damn! You know what’s going on there. Oooh, love the creepy creeps.
Also, Mike has a life back in his new home. He’s got a wife, a daughter. He checks in with them while on the morbid adventure home. While talking to his daughter Lily (Abigail Pniowsky), she pauses strangely, peering into the darkness, telling him: “You have to go inside.” Spooky, and definitely spooks poor Mike. A little later his mother sees the picture Katie drew and tells him that the tracks, the cave, is a real place.
Marla and Mike head out together. “I look around and I see him everywhere,” Mike says about Eddie, as we literally see the young twin run on ahead in a memory. This prompts a nasty little bit of family history to regurgitate between mother and son. Tough lot of history, really. Particularly considering Marla’s had no closure on the loss of her son. When they get up to an industrial area, Mike heads inside, seeing a vision of Eddie. Or is it someone real? Chasing the figure onward Mike heads through familiar territory, where he and Eddie would play around as boys. He sees a boy off in the distance, in the dark, through a concrete opening. He follows until the light all but disappears completely. Further in he discovers lit candles and what looks like the mummified corpse of a child.
The police are called in, and what’s the consensus? All of a sudden Dr. Painter comes home, things start turning up, kids stab each other, and Candle Cove suddenly reappears on everybody’s minds. And who is the child? Is it Eddie? So many anxieties resurfacing.
We flash back to Eddie being questioned about his busted hand, from last episode. Marla tells the boys to “watch out for each other.” She tries to instil a sense of toughness in them because of how cruel the world is, and this is ultimately what eats her up inside in the present day. The fact she couldn’t protect them from everything. Amazing acting from Fiona Shaw, a fantastic actress, giving it her all in the role’s brutish grief. And Mike, he flashes back, too. To holding a hook, exactly like Katie.
Then we see Mike in flash backs, dragging something into a grave he’s dug out. He cries. From out of a dream Mike is ripped, and the horrific monocled character from Candle Cove is sitting life-sized next to his bed: “All your secrets will be safe in Candle Cove,” he speaks from the shadows.
Could Mike have murdered Eddie under the spell of that mysterious show?
Awhile after, Mike tells his mother that he indeed killed Eddie. Buried him a grave out in the forest. He believes someone took the body away since nothing’s been found. His mother cuts him with a knife when he tries to tell her “more” about the story. But what more is there? Holy shit.
Mike goes out into the woods. He remembers the good times, before all the bad. He can’t forget the bad ones though, no matter how hard he tries. And he can’t fight the dreams, the nightmares. Sheriff Gary ends up tracking Mike down to answer a few questions about his confession to mom. Yeah, knew that would happen eventually.
In all of this, I can’t help wondering: does Mike remember what happened, for real? Could his memory of supposedly killing his brother be false? We’ll have to wait on that one. For the present moment he’s a suspect. A viable one, too.
But Gary has other plans than going to the police station. He and Mike are going for a drive. Where?
We also see more of Mrs. Booth, Mike’s old teacher, mother to Jacob who turned up dead in the murders during ’88. She’s the one stealing teeth from Beth Fry. She’s summoning the Tooth-Child out with them. What a wild image! The monster eats the teeth right from her palm, like an animal. So stunning and creepy. Love that more than I can say.

What a nice follow-up to the first episode. Very pleased with the series so far. Can’t wait to see “Want to See Something Cool?” next, and remember that’s a quote from the public access dude. I hope we see more of his weirdness because he looked positively obsessed. Just like I am already with Channel Zero.

Channel Zero – Candle Cove, Episode 1: “You Have to Go Inside”

SyFy’s Channel Zero
Season 1, Episode 1: “You Have to Go Inside”
Directed by Craig William Macneill
Written by Nick Antosca
Based on the story by Kris Straub

* For a review of the next episode, “I’ll Hold Your Hand” – click here
SyFy’s new series is based on the stories from popular horror website Creepypasta, so it’ll be curious to see if they unsettle all of us in the same way.
Dr. Mike Painter (Paul Schneider) is man who has seen his share of tragedy. At twelve, in 1988, his twin brother was missing, a part of the Iron Hill Murders when several children disappeared. So Mike hasn’t been back since. Appearing on a television talk show promoting his latest book, he ends up talking with a young boy over the phone, one who’s experienced a tragedy, too. The boy is silent until he starts laughing eerily. “Why are you scared to come home?” the boy asks after a television show’s music plays in the background.
Except everything seems… dream-like. Or nightmarish, better yet. And then Mike wakes up after the image of a strange burning straw-type person, walking through a dark hallway.
Already I’m thinking this might be some creepy shit.
Of course Mike has to revisit his hometown, so the memories flood in quick on him. Then his mother Marla (Fiona Shaw) is surprised when she sees him show up. She evidently hasn’t seen him for a long, long time. Marla filled her life with other kids after her son left, obviously her other boy Eddie gone, no husband around anymore. “I hope you havent come to rip open a wound,” she tells him. People come around Iron Hill every so often to try putting a lid on the murders and she assumed he would, eventually.
Over at the police station, Mike meets with Sheriff Gary Yolen (Shaun Benson), someone he knew once upon a time when they were much younger. Now Mike wants to look at the files on those murders. We get a slight bit more information – 28 years ago, the missing kids were found dead in the woods, in a tree, without teeth. The obligatory invite to dinner after coming back to town is extended from Gary, his wife Jessica (Natalie Brown). And Mike reluctantly goes. Lots of talk around the table, about kids and how dangerous – or less dangerous – things are today. Gary apparently worries about his kid, as well. Thinks he’s “growing up a little bit strange.” Says that his boy Dane is obsessed with David Bowie. Hilarious. Turns out that Mike and Jessica were actually close, along with his brother Eddie. Old times get brought up, a little bit of awkwardness. Y’know, dinner parties!
Upstairs, little Katie watches a television show. But something interrupts a moment, the static giving way to a brief but terrifying image. When Mike happens by her, she only says: “It went away.” This looks to really shake Mike up. He heads downstairs and talks about the old kids TV show Candle Cove; that Katie was watching. Jessica, Gary, a bunch of them talk about the show. Until Mike can’t handle it anymore and has to leave.

In a flashback, young Mike watches his brother Eddie confront some kids. One of whom insults Eddie for being abandoned by his father. Kids pin him down then nearly snap off a couple of his fingers as his brother watches on. Vicious. At home, the boys witness Candle Cove on the television. What a god damn eerie show.
Sleeping on the couch, Mike finds the TV turn on by itself. When he gets up to shut it off, a voice speaks to him from the darkness. A strange thing lurks just beyond his line of sight. Or is it all another dream? Poor Mike, I say. Seems he was doing some sleepwalking and ended up elsewhere. He talks to his mother about recent nightmares, although she’s still not clear about why’s actually back home after all these years. Maybe she just doesn’t want to admit it, she must know.
Things start to get worrisome when Jessica can’t find her daughter Katie at home. Uh oh. At a diner, she finds Mike to start help looking. Everyone available is out searching. Bad memories for everybody must be coming up. Speaking of memories, we flashback to Eddie and Mike as their bully sends a nasty dog running after them. Strangely, the dog runs to Mike and calms down completely, eating from his hand. Weird. Back in the present, Mike is in a bit of a strange situation. Jessica asks why he was gone for five hours after dinner, getting home at three in the morning. We also find that Mike was released from a psych ward a few days ago right before going back to Iron Hill. Hmm. Suspicion’s been cast. Even Jessica thinks there’s something wrong now, and Mike can only think to run when she tries alerting her sheriff husband. He goes to speak to Dane, who talks about “the crows nest” and this so obviously spooks him.
Out past the signal tower in the woods, where the bodies were found years ago, there’s a place Mike remembers. It’s marked with a creepy skeleton, like from Candle Cove. When Mike finds it though, someone is in the costume, and gives chase. Yet he does get the skeleton man with a nice knife swipe. Mike loses him and wanders around. We see horrific memories of someone jumping off a cliff, of young Mike stabbed. All sorts of awful things. But luckily, Mike soon comes across little Katie, safe and sound. When they go, a strange and unnerving creature comes out to pick up a couple errant teeth bloody on the ground. What a crazy look to it! I love how we only get a blurred and wide shot of it mostly. Excellent suspense.

Everybody’s curious as to how Mike found out where Katie went, Gary particularly. She tells dad it was the show told her where to go. Still, it’s all very confused. She has two teeth gone, so that’s a mystery, as well. For now, though – Mike is a free man. They can’t charge him with anything, and in all likelihood, even though we know nothing for sure right yet, he didn’t actually do anything. One thing Mike picks up on is who might’ve been watching from the woods by his mother’s place the day before.
Better yet, we see that Mike, in his wild psychiatric episode, carved MIKE COME HOME into his arm. A wound he still has to keep putting a bit of cream on every now and then, seeing as how it’s still quite fresh. He’s decided now to leave Iron Hill. He talks to his mother about Candle Cove and whether she’d been it again after he left. She says that it “wasnt real” and that he and Eddie would sit watching static: “It was just in your heads.” Oh for fuck sake! As if things weren’t scary enough.

Meanwhile, a couple young boys somewhere else, a girl in her house, a bunch of new kids are being lured by the appearance of Candle Cove. And I’ll bet they’ll soon go missing.
Later during the night, Mike receives a phone call, a boy asking where he’s going: “Were just getting started again.”
I absolutely fucking love this show! The first episode is spectacular. So much eeriness, plenty intrigue and nice character development. Not too much exposition yet not too cryptic, either. Wow. Really good stuff from SyFy on this one. Next episode is titled “I’ll Hold Your Hand” and I’m beyond excited!