This Channel Zero review contains spoilers.
Channel Zero Season 2 Episode 6
(exclusive photo: No-End House Room 6)
“If memory is a disease, then what’s love? An infection?”
“I did love you; I still do love you. I just loved them first.”
Channel Zero: No-End House might not be the most terrifying, hide-under-the-blanket horror show out there, but its disturbing tale has culminated in some top-notch storytelling in the season 2 finale. Suspicious viewers were rewarded for mistrusting Seth, and those looking for closure for Jules and Margot, whether through vindication or forgiveness, got their wish as well. The house might not have been destroyed, but the piper was paid, both by Mr. Sleator in a surprising self-sacrifice and by Seth in what can only be seen as poetic justice.
The passage of time served the story well, and Channel Zero proves once again that it can pack a lot into six episodes. Jules obviously had a lot of personal growth in the year she waited for the house to return, and having her investigation lead her to a Reddit-like message board similar to those that spawn creepypastas was a nice touch. The passing of a year also made it clear that no matter how small the memories were that Margot gave up willingly to her father, she was pulling from a finite source. The apple from a few afternoons with her dad seemed a perfectly inconsequential morsel, but the effect is noticeable in Margot’s blasé demeanor right away.
And how surprising it was to see the look of regret on Mr. Sleator’s face! The arrangement they made for Margot’s dad to continue living seems inconceivable after the events of last episode, but it creates the perfect contrast to the reveal of Seth’s predatory nature. Quite a reversal! Plus it makes perfect sense that Mr. Sleator would end up sacrificing himself to protect his daughter; it’s exactly what he did in real life! It’s this type of character motivation parallel that highlights how well-constructed Channel Zero’s stories are.
Perhaps some viewers predicted that Mr. Sleator would give himself willingly to Jules when she came to kill him, and many probably shouted at the screen, begging for someone to open the damn cage to let Seth’s “family” out as Margot eventually did. The fact that these resolutions were foreseeable doesn’t make them any less impactful, though. Margot’s father is redeemed in the audience’s eyes, and the massive memory drain for Seth was a fist-pumping moment of triumph.
It was a particularly effective comeuppance given Seth’s earlier warning to Jules about the starving manifestation that would suck her dry given the chance. Although it was great to see a newly-strengthened Jules resist the call of the glowing orb, it wasn’t entirely clear how she ended up inside the thing. However, the term “psychological tumor” is as good a term as any to describe the orb, and making it all about her guilt over not helping her friend gave her quest all the more meaning, especially once she vanquished the tumor itself.
But even Seth’s behavior was understandable given his lack of understanding of what it means to be in a loving relationship, either with a partner or a family. It’s not just about being an unloved victim of the often fickle foster care system; it’s also his admission that he has already fed all of his unwanted memories to the memory vampires the house created for him. He has created for himself a world in which all of his needs are met and none of the trauma remains, creating the empty cycle of eating, swimming, and fucking. This is the only definition of happiness Seth ever learned.
And so Channel Zero: No-End House becomes the perfect character study in a manner that exposes viewers to all of the horrors of human tragedy: loss, guilt, denial, and a host of imperfections. And like the people in Quebec waiting to enter the house, all anyone wants is something that will “change your life.” Whether for the better or for the worse doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something different. The house might as well be singing the opening song, Madeleine Peyroux’s cover of Elliot Smith’s “Between the Bars,” which commands:
Drink up with me now, and forget all aboutThe pressure of days. Do what I say,And I’ll make you okay and drive them away,The images stuck in your head.
One thing’s for sure; Channel Zero: No-End House will be stuck in our heads for quite some time. After this wonderful finale, fans will be eager to see what Nick Antosca and company come up with for Channel Zero season 3.