Channel Zero Debrief with Executive Producer Nick Antosca: Episode 4

In an exclusive weekly feature, Channel Zero creator Nick Antosca breaks down the latest episode and teases details of future episodes.

When you’ve got an anthology series like Channel Zero, which has a self-contained storyline each season, no one is safe from falling victim to the evils of Candle Cove. This week’s episode, “A Strange Vessel,” brought a lot of Mike’s past to light as his brother, Eddie, made a special visit to request to be put to rest, and the legacy of Candle Cove is passed on to a new generation. As the gruesome discoveries begin to mount, viewers can’t help but wonder who will break the cycle?

As each episode of Channel Zero airs, we’ll ask creator Nick Antosca the burning questions posed by the current installment and get a glimpse into the process used to create this wholly unique horror experience. Check back each week for further insights!


Den of Geek: Anticipation is a big part of this episode. The identity of the spirit inhabiting Lilly, the illegal mission Mike and Jess went on, and the papier-mâché play all were hinted at long before they were revealed. What reaction from the audience are you going for?

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Nick: Anticipation and unease.  The first two-thirds of this episode are the eerie quiet before the storm. In last ten minutes of the episode, the storm hits and continues until the end of the season. After tonight’s episode, Candle Cove has disrupted the lives of all of our leads and there’s no denying that something nightmarish is happening in Iron Hill.

Lilly saw a faceless pirate behind Mike, very different from the costumes or giant puppets we’ve seen so far. Did Mike see it, too? Who is that?

The puppets are the “playful” facade of what’s really behind Candle Cove.  That “pirate” with the elongated face standing in the doorway behind Mike is made from the same stuff, just more nakedly nightmarish.  That was the performance artist Olivier de Sagazan. As for whether Mike saw it too, I have an opinion but other interpretations are not necessarily wrong.

Jess asserts to Mike that “If you could go back and take another path, you would,” but Mike insists, “There’s no other path.’’ Wouldn’t he want to undo it all and maybe even have had a life with her?

Sure, of course he would.  But that would mean changing things that were out of his control: Having a twin brother, being born in Iron Hill, seeing Candle Cove in 1988.  Given the circumstances he faced — his brother was killing people under the influence of Candle Cove and clearly intended to kill 12-year-old Jessica — he believes he had no other path but to kill Eddie.  How do you turn in your twin brother for murder when you helped him commit the murders and he has supernatural abilities?  If Mike hadn’t stopped him, Eddie probably would have found a way to kill Jessica back in 1988.

In the flashback we see that Jess was supposed to have “gone to Candle Cove” with the others. Is that why the kids come after her even though she didn’t cross Mike Painter like last week’s victims? And would it be fair to say that Gary is only still alive because he’s in jail?

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Yeah, that’s certainly part of the reason the kids go after Jess.  The reasons she was supposed to die in 1988 are the reasons she’s supposed to die in the present day. And yeah, Gary’s lucky he’s in jail.  Although he’ll probably feel pretty guilty and helpless when he hears about what happened.

Is Eddie’s extra tooth a key detail that might tie together the mysterious Toothchild with Candle Cove?

Teeth tend to represent certain things in dream psychology.  Apart from being a distinguishing characteristic, Eddie’s extra tooth may have some suggestive symbolism that links him, the Tooth Child, and the missing teeth throughout the story.


The answers are coming in hard and fast, but plenty of looming questions remain! Check back next week to see where the next episode will take the Channel Zero audience. Antosca answered these inquiries from Winnipeg where Channel Zero is currently filming its second season. The series airs on Syfy each Tuesday at 9pm ET. Remember to return each week for more insights from the show’s creator.