Syfy’s Channel Zero: Candle Cove ends stronger, and creepier, than ever. The last two episodes of the series steer the audience into uncertain waters, as the storm clouds that have been brewing finally start to roll in. I will do my best to keep any spoilers out of this review, because this last leg of the journey really deserves to be experienced first-hand. These final episodes subvert previous Horror Honeys predictions, and cast a distinctly terrible light on the events of the first four episodes. They also point out some of the show’s inherent flaws, while highlighting its strengths. For the last time, let’s sail to the Cove.
|Halloween isn't a day on the calendar; it's a feeling in your heart.|
And a mask on your face.
Have you ever had a stress-induced dream where all your teeth fall out? No? Yes you have, shut up. This episode is the emotional equivalent of that dream: uncomfortable, anxious, and accompanied by a mounting sense of dread and the urge to check your teeth. Compared to the rest of the series, this episode is decidedly weaker; it’s heavy on the exposition and has moments that are a bit derivative of Poltergeist. However, as with Black Mirror's most recent season, in a less consistently strong series, this episode would be perfectly good. It only falters in comparison to the quality of its predecessors. There are still a few solid twists, some cringe-worthy body horror, and more creepy kids. Of course, the Tooth Child makes an appearance that will have you checking under your bed tonight. This show knows when it has something solid, and isn’t afraid to lean on the reliable scares that pile of calcium nightmares provides. The selling point of this episode is the long-awaited reveal of Candle Cove’s origin, and the person who created the infamous show.
Episode 6, “Welcome Home”
|Hand over the Bagel Bites, motherfucker.|
The series finale brings Mike, and all of us with him, home to the Crow’s Nest and the dark heart of Iron Hill. There is not much that can be said about this episode while still maintaining a spoiler-free zone. It can be said, however, that this episode blurs the line between imagination and reality far more than any of the previous episodes have. It’s part dramatic showdown between enemies, part bloodbath, part family reunion, and part dreadful fever dream. The resulting cocktail is everything that the series has been proud of so far, and it goes down about as smooth as it can, in spite of the unsatisfying aftertaste of a resolution. As a finale, the story feels a touch anticlimactic after the buildup of the previous episode. There are no loose ends left untied, but the knots used aren’t quite what the audience may have been hoping for. The episode is still worth a watch though, if only for a small handful of reasons. After investing time in the first five episodes, it only seems right to finish the series off. You’ll be rewarded for your tenacity and loyalty with a surprisingly badass journey for Mike’s mother (played expertly by Fiona Shaw), and a sympathetic arc for several previously unlikeable characters. Even with moments that are textually weak, Paul Schneider also gives a solid performance that is interesting to watch. Additionally, the nightmarish imagery is particularly strong in this episode, and there should be at least one image that sticks with you long after you shut off your TV or close your laptop.
|Is it wrong to say that these puppets looks like a demonic middle school art final?|
Looking back at the sum of Candle Cove’s six-episode arc, it is a solid piece of horror television and quality storytelling. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that it lacks the qualities that made its creepypasta inspiration so gripping. There is something that is lost in the transition from short fiction to a fully fleshed-out story. While Channel Zero: Candle Cove is entertaining, disturbing, and certainly worth watching, there is such a thing as explaining too much. Filling in the gaps deliberately left by the story’s original author neuters the audience’s imagination.
Just like Cloverfield was scary only up until the monster could be fully seen, the inherent fear factor is diminished when there is nothing left unsolved. Sometimes, when it comes to horror stories: nothing is scarier than something, and less is more. As much as fans want to see their favorite stories brought to life, the story cannot be expected to transfer perfectly to the screen. Here, the story provided a solid framework, but the television show is its own separate entity, and should be treated as such. Of course, this is a matter of personal opinion, but if Channel Zero: Candle Cove is any indication: the source material will always be king.
What did YOU think of Candle Cove?