[All images courtesy Alan Fraser/Syfy]
Season One, Episode Three “Beware the Cannibals”
Written by Don Mancini & Erica Saleh
Directed by Steven Piet
In “Beware the Cannibals” Channel Zero: No-End House ratchets the up tension meter several notches, our characters learn a bit more information about the nature of their prison – and we see another one of them may be more (or less?) than they appear.
Last week, we first saw Jules (Aisha Dee) underwater, staring blankly from the bottom of a bathtub. This week she’s again the first thing on camera, sitting on a couch. She has the look of someone who desperately wants to wake up (or fall asleep) but just can’t (or won’t). Jules is simultaneously in Room Five with the Egg Orb, reliving blue-tinged Christmas memories of her sister and mother (Melanie Nicholls-King).
The younger sister blanks into a silhouette as a Pod Person resembling the adult sibling (Kyla Kane) rises from a puddle of goo in the basement. In her waking dream, Jules lies unconscious, while a hand reaches for her pod sister.
Seth (Jeff Ward) wakes up and asks if she’s OK. Jules insists she is fine. Her priority is protecting Margo, since “she’s the closest thing I have to a sister.”
Margot‘s Great Escape
Back at “home,” Margot (Amy Forsyth) wakes, sees the same two cyclists pedaling down the street, and finds her closet’s transformed into an M.C. Escher-esque funhouse corridor. Even weirder, she hears Not!Father (John Carroll Lynch) practicing endless variations of “Morning, Margot” in front of a mirror. He turns and greets his “daughter” with a hale, hearty, and deeply unconvincing, “Morning, Margot!”
Not!Father loves making waffles for breakfast, but not answering Margot’s many questions about his suicide? Not so much. He answers with generic, comforting responses – his death was quick, he passed out right away, he believes he’s here because it’s “what you wanted … or needed,” and “it’s just you and me.”
Margot finally remembers the “don’t eat anything while in a weird alternate reality” rule and slides her waffles into the wastebasket – on top of her mother’s face. Well, Not!Father did tell Margot he’d already eaten!
The pace and mood becomes increasingly frantic on both their parts. Not!Father races to catch Margot before she walks out the door; can’t he go with her? She goes to her room and Not!Father follows, speed-talking through a series of explanations/pleadings/threats. The empty skin Margot saw in the garbage? “… That’s what I eat. I think I wanted you to find it, I think I’m going to get hungry again soon and I think it’s going to get worse and I think I might lose control unless you could, you know, feed me?”
Not!Father cuts to the chase. “OPEN THE DOOR!”
Thrown chairs bounce off the windows, leaving Margot no choice but the Bluelight Funhouse Closet Tunnel to escape.
Which OF COURSE leads to the backyard pool, a race to an empty school, and an eventual reunion with …?
Jules, Seth, and the Fake JT Experience
Yes, 3/4 of the gang is back together at the “Not So Safe” House. JT2 (Seamus Patterson) tries his best to fit in, fresh off an early morning fire pit burning of JT Prime under the blank gaze of his silent (and soon abandoned) girlfriend (Lindsy Baudry).
Jules, Seth, and JT2 plot strategy in the kitchen. Seth observes JT2 scratching at his tattoo before they set off in search of Margot.
The Meet Up
The 3/4 Gang spy Margot running through the empty streets, followed by the surprisingly speedy Not!Father. Margot begs a man (Bradley Sawatzky) watering his lawn for help. His helpful responses include, “Watch the flowers!” and “Do you think it’s going to rain?” She flees. Lawn Watering Man repeats the same phrases when Not!Father arrives, screaming in his face “where did she go?”
Jules, Seth, and JT2 watch horrified as Not!Father stabs Lawn Watering Man in the neck with the nozzle of the watering hose. His wife shrieks in grief as the blood spurts out of his neck in time with the pulsing water.
Margot runs past the two persistent cyclists and into a school building. Even in NEH land, librarians are in the halls to enforce the rules against making noise. Except this librarian (Muriel Hogue), clutches Margot’s arm while hissing out a “Shhhhhhh” that is way louder than Margot begging the woman to let her go.
Not!Father comes upon the librarian on the floor (presumably knocked down by Margot) repeating a phrase in (I’m guessing) Russian. Luckily for Margot, Jules finds her first and Seth distracts Not!Father by banging on lockers. The escape to the “Safer Than the School” House.
But not for long! Like Katniss in The Hunger Games seeing an oddity in the sky during the Quarter Quell, Margot spies an odd wavering on the horizon. Seth joins her quest to find out what it is. Which leads to several helpful discoveries.
First, there is an actual barrier to the world of NEH; a fluid, flowing liquid curtain of darkness and light, swirling together in the sky. At the edge of the horizon, Margot see a water tower; at the top of THAT she and Seth see the layout of their prison – and in the far distance, No-End House itself.
In contrast to Margot, who only sees a chance to escape back to “reality,” Seth seems rather awestruck – and delighted – by the enormity of their surroundings. He’s also very reticent describing his life in foster care on the way to the water tower; “You can choose to forget things.”
Oh, there was one more discovery. From the tower, Margot sees both a frantic Jules searching for her and Seth and Not!Father heading straight for her friend.
Margot and Seth catch up to Jules for Not!Father and manage to trick him into falling into an improvised tiger trap in an unfinished garage. Returning back to “Kinda-Safe” House, JT2 tells them they have visitors. Who are none other than …
Can This Marriage Be Saved? With Dylan and Lacey
Yup, determined Dylan (Sebastian Pigott) and shell shocked Lacey (Jess Salgueiro) now jointheir merry band. Although Dylan’s “forcibly restrain a person with zip ties & show them wedding pictures” strategy did not work very well winning back his spouse. Especially when his big finale consists of stabbing the Dream Husband (Sean Skene) in the neck with a kitchen knife and saying “He wasn’t real, baby,” as said husband bleeds to death on the kitchen floor, nosily gurgling his last.
Dylan fears Lacey may be beyond return. She’s been in Room Six too long. Well, that and she just saw her husband killed by a home invading psycho.
The New Scooby Gang (Jules, Margot, Seth, JT2, and Dylan) make plans to head for New End House in the morning. Font of Wisdom Dylan says NEH has been picking through their minds, making people out of their memories to keep them in Room Six forever. Those memories then must eat other memories to keep themselves “alive.” JT2 wonders what happens when the memories run out of memories to eat. Dylan answers with the best line of the episode, “Who gives a sh*t?”
Nobody gets a good night’s rest.
Margot hooks up with Seth, forgetting the horror genre staple “Final Girls who want to live don’t hook up with the Bad Boy before the final act.”
Seth later wanders into the kitchen and finds JT2 peeling skin of his arm. Like the latex doppelganger JT Prime saw in Room Five, JT2’s skin is peeling away. Seth seems amused when he asks JT2, “Falling apart already?” Hmmm …. is he smiling (or smirking) as he rejoins Margot?
Jules experiences another waking dream of her mother (Melanie Nicholls King) and sister with the Orb. Multiple figures writhe inside it. Around a sleeping Jules, multiple pools of goo form.
Notes from Nowheretown
*Do the rings on Jules’s hand not match between the Orb encounters that bookend the episode?
*Seth’s behavior at the water tower, his remarks to Margot about forgetting and to JT2 about falling apart makes me wonder. Is he a creature of memory that escaped out to the world, and is now back home? Does he recognize JT2 as a fellow Pod Person?
*Does Jules see Margot as “the closest thing I have to a sister” because her sister is actually dead? Or has her Orb addiction erased the memory of that sister from her mind? Margot realizes she has a “mother shaped hole” in her mind after Not!Father used them to create his food. Is this what’s happened to Jules?
*If you loved the creepy sculptures from Room One, Episode One, check out sculptor/artist Sarah Sitkin’s work at her website SarahSitkin.com.
*Catch up on all the SciFi4Me Channel Zero coverage here.
Channel Zero: No-End House airs Wednesday 8/9C on Syfy.