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CHANNEL ZERO: CANDLE COVE Recap: “A Strange Vessel”

CHANNEL ZERO: CANDLE COVE Recap: “A Strange Vessel”

This was the episode we’ve been waiting for from Channel Zero: Candle Cove, where they put aside both the clunky dialogue and any attention on the realistic human elements, and they let the totally nutso mystery encompass anything and everything. This was bizarre, creepy, unsettling, and flat out crazy from beginning to end, and as a result it was the clear standout from the first four episodes.


If we thought Eddie was a terror in 1988, the four young knife-wielding Candle Cove cosplayers under the control of their murderous teacher have certainly managed to up the stakes, culminating in the single scariest scene of the show at the end. This episode used footage from the actual puppet show better than any other (it wasn’t just weird, it was really unnerving), but the kids’ papier mache masks were the most chilling iteration of those characters yet. And even with all of the foreshadowing about their stabbing tendencies, the show’s misdirection that the female police chief was the target, and not Jessica, made that scene extra shocking. Every moment with those dead-eyed killer children and their masks was terrible in the best way.


Mrs. Booth also appears to be the big bad at this point. For one, the puppets in her basement seem to be the ones used on the show. Also, her son was a victim in 1988, but she was the one who was sending him off to play with Eddie (that felt like a goodbye hug, not a see-you-later hug in the flashback). If she was the person airing the show she certainly knew what Eddie was doing so did she sacrifice her son to Candle Cove? Is her son the Tooth Child now? With only two episodes left there are so many more questions about what happened in 1988, a mystery I thought had mostly been addressed, that I can’t wait to go back there more in the last two episodes to see how everything is connected.

A band of possessed kids roaming around their small town killing people under the direction of their evil teacher–who also cares for a Tooth Child–who may or may not be her own son–is a pretty good summation of what made this episode so great, and that’s before we even get to the stuff with Mike, his “daughter,” and his dead brother’s body.


Mike’s “daughter” Lily being possessed (presumably) by Eddie was one of the best developments on the show yet (“It’s hard to be in this body”), and Eddie instructing Mike to burn his body so he could rest was another really freaky aspect of this episode that just worked so well. (Poor) Jessica and Mike standing over his remarkably well preserved corpse while it burned was troublesome, not just in the visuals, but in how it might prove to be a mistake, considering evil forces are in play here and they might have been manipulated. Also, did Lily wake up at the end because Eddie’s body had been burned, or because Jessica had been killed?

Oh, and just slightly more important, is Mike really Mike or is he Eddie? Because that flashback to 1988, where young Mike told young Jessica the way to tell him and his brother apart is by the extra tooth he has, and her responding by saying she’d know if he tried to kiss her, certainly felt important, especially when he then didn’t kiss her in front of the house in the present. Clearly Mrs. Booth had a problem (understatement) with Jessica, and so did young Eddie.


Is this whole thing about how Eddie killed Mike and stole his identity to escape the clutches of Candle Cove? Does that make any sense? I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter, that’s how much fun this whole mystery has become. That note about the extra tooth will become relevant (uh, there’s a literal Tooth Child wandering around feeding on kid’s teeth), but with anything clearly being possible now who knows where it might lead.

(Side note: there were so many great, creepy moments it’s almost impossible to include them all, but some additional highlights were the kids wall of drawings at the hospital; the monitors in the school all having the skeleton puppet appear in them; the kids “rehearsing” on the stage and their silent stalking through the streets at night; the whole sequence of the female police chief entering the basement, followed by the cat licking the blood from the neck of the woman Mrs. Booth killed.)

The first three episodes of Channel Zero: Candle Cove were a mixed bag at times, with the best parts being the weirdest parts. Well this episode not only put all its attention on the craziness, it turned the insanity way up, and it resulted in a stellar hour of television.

What did you think of this week’s bonkers episode? Tell us in the comments below.

Images: Syfy

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