Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched all six episodes of Channel Zero: No-End House. Those who have watched should definitely read on, though.
While the words "TV horror" might immediately bring to mind The Walking Dead or American Horror Story, the fright-filled series that should be on everyone's lips is Syfy's doom-laden psychological roller coaster Channel Zero. The second season of the anthology, subtitled No-End House, just recently aired its finale, and while it definitely brought its WTF storyline to a proper conclusion, fans were no doubt still scratching their heads over some of the unanswered questions and details that were intentionally left for us to mentally chew on. Thankfully, some of our questions have been answered.
Channel Zero: No-End House star Jeff Ward spoke at length with CinemaBlend about this crazy season, and while he obviously couldn't reveal all of the show's secrets -- since some of those secrets weren't meant to be resolved -- he totally shined a light on several details that were gnawing our collective curiosity into pulp. Let's dive in, shall we?
What's Up With Seth's Former Girlfriends?
We can all agree that Seth came across as a weirdo for wanting to live in Houseworld all the time, and it was already stomach-churning when Channel Zero: No-End House revealed that Seth had a previous girlfriend in there before he brought Margot. That poor soul was introduced in one cul-de-sac home sitting and drawing and endless number of non-identical sketches that weren't directly addressed. While it seemed like these would have all been of Seth, I asked Jeff Ward if it was possible those were of the House-born cannibal that appeared when she entered this world.
We thought that she was drawing me, that she was sketching my face, lke the only memories that she had had left were of me. So she was just kinda left there all day just scribbling my face. But it definitely also could be her cannibal. I don't know. I hadn't thought of that. That's pretty good.
I do like that there was some ambiguity there, since the sketches weren't as photo-realistic or anything as they might have been in another show. Plus, it could very well have been sketches of both Seth and her cannibal, or even a mental mixture of the two. In any case, her discovery later ushered in the exponentially disturbing truth that Seth had been doing this kind of thing for years, with a row of houses occupied by his former loves/victims. (Jeff Ward does consider Seth to be "something close to a serial killer" for his actions, too.) As I'd wondered what happened to each of the women's cannibals, I asked the actor if Seth was responsible for killing all of them.
Yeah, I always kind of thought of it, in the same way that Seth was eager and willing and able to help Margot dispatch of the father, that he had done that with each of the cannibals, or at least gotten them to the point where they were starving. Or had taken [the women] to a safe distance from their cannibals. But yeah, he definitely had to deal with each one of them. I almost in my mind picture it like there's seven seasons of No-End House for Seth's story, and the previous six were him mastering how to take care of each girl, how to deal with their cannibals, and he got better at it every time. So Margot was kind of the most perfect. His best run-up at it, until obviously it ended up destroying him.
Ward and I agreed that it would be extremely interesting to watch that entire run of events play out in prequel seasons. Kind of like watching Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, just without the raincoat. Read on for more!
Why Wasn't J.D.'s Statue Damaged In Room 1?
While Channel Zero: No-End House immediately inspired curious questions, one of the earliest bouts with confusion came in Room 1 of the House, with all the characters' face statues. After the lights flashed and revealed the more grotesque busts that were being pulled apart, the only bust that was spotless was that of Sheamus Patterson's J.D. It admittedly took me a long time to come up with the conclusion that the House was foreshadowing his near-future, in which he was killed by his House cannibal assumedly before any of his memories were taken. (Thus, there was no reason for his statue head to be split apart apart.) But when I brought that up with Jeff Ward, he offered up another explanation that makes just as much sense.
I looked at the Channel Zero Reddit, and it feels like that has got to be the number one most talked-about thing, J.D.'s statue. It's so funny, because I talked to Nick a lot about it, and you know, we came up with a lot of different reasons. But he always thought that it was just because [J.D.] goes in and sees a version of himself, so it was to further show J.D. a perfect version of himself, or this beautiful version of himself, to just entice him to keep going, because the House knew that it's what he needed. So that's kind of what I took away from it, but it is the most talked-about thing, I think, on Reddit about the show.
Very interesting, right? Granted, a rewatch is pretty much required in order to make any such post hoc observations, as it's not immediately clear that J.D. is somewhat obsessed with presenting a more self-assured and faultless version of himself until his smooth-as-fuck cannibal comes into it. Personally, I think both of the above explanations work in conjunction with each other, rather than it being a case of one or the other.
Why Was Dylan And Lacey's Story Important?
Channel Zero: No-End House opens up with Jess Salgueiro's Lacey running away from a mysterious stalker, with "This Isn't Real" marked on her arm, but instead of being a main character, Lacey (and her husband-by-claims Dylan) almost came across as additional body count fodder, considering they existed largely outside the Margot-Jules-Seth storyline. But Jeff Ward clued me in on the fact that Dylan and Lacey's story basically IS the Margot-Jules-Seth storyline, just a severely altered version of it.
It's cool because it kinda gives you a great beta version of what Jules becomes in the last episode. And I really like it as kind of a set-up for where Jules is going to go. And it's great to kind of also be dropped into the middle of a timeline of someone else's story in the No-End House, as like a fun narrative device to see him right away and not know what the hell is going on.
Another plot point that becomes more obvious upon rewatching, Dylan is clearly the Jules in his situation, where he'd previously left the house and then needed to find its next appearance a year later in order to go back and save her. Lacey is the Margot, as she'd initially been hot in the biscuit to escape the house, only to later accept memory-sapped domesticity within its shifting borders. Which then begs the question (that I didn't think to ask at the time) if Lacey's Houseworld "husband" was the same kind of manipulative monster that Seth was. All that definitely adds narrative weight to the couple's story, as it shows another tragic instance in which the House won. And for what it's worth, I jokingly asked about whether or not Dylan would have seen Seth during his previous visit.
That's a very good point. I would have to assume that Seth was able to avoid him in the Houseworld, so he wouldn't give him away right away.
That would certainly have to be part of the Seth-man Begins prequel series, right? Watching him dodge Dylan and Lacey during their first trip into Houseworld would almost invoke a slapstick element that would make the show even more surreal.
Does The House Actually Help Seth?
I think it's clear to just about everyone that the No-End House isn't just looking for general audiences to succeed in making it all the way through and into Houseworld. Otherwise, it wouldn't try freaking the fuck out of people in each room. People like Seth are the true targets, though, and considering how long Seth had been a resident of this modernity-free existence, I asked Jeff Ward if the House was on Seth's side, so to speak. And his answer drew attention to, yet again, another clue that appeared early on for detail-obsessed viewers.
It's interesting, we embedded it in the first episode. When the masked figure in the second room, in the blue suit, when he is walking around to everyone and he shoves J.T. and he looks at everyone, he looks at me. And he looks right into my eyes, and very, very quietly, he laughs. And to us, what that always kinda was, was like, 'Oh, you're back.' It was a laugh of recognition, and of soft acceptance, because I'm sure the House has started to feel what's going on, so it felt right to us that the House does start to come on to Seth's side. That's exactly right.
Definitely makes sense, since the House can manipulate so many other aspects of its inner world. And while it almost seems like the House is a deity that creates things and allows some form of free will to take place -- or free chaos, to be more exact -- there's no reason at all to think that it wouldn't intentionally assist those who praise and honor its existence. As to whether Seth knows it or not, that's another story. The actor brought up another instance where it seemed like the House would have had to have lent Seth a hand, as it were.
Sometimes, we had to figure out that the House kinda has rules that you can bend a little bit, like where Seth got the cage to keep his family in, and how he got them in there. We kinda of have a few different theories for how that happened.
Sure, it's possible that the House appeared somewhere and there was a Home Depot in it where Seth could go and buy all the supplies needed to build that fence, all while nonchalantly telling his cannibal family that he was thinking about getting into animal husbandry. But it feels more like a situation where he wanted a cage to put them in, and then that cage appeared without many questions asked.
Odds And Ends
Of course, not all Channel Zero: No-End House questions could be answered by Jeff Ward, who couldn't speak from the brain of creator Nick Antosca, no matter how much they talked about the mythology. (And Ward gleefully said he was constantly asking questions, as one would.) So as far as Jules' orb story (which I offered theories for in another story), we're likely never going to get a complete answer, as it's one of the No-End House details that was kept intentionally vague by the creative team.
With Jules' cannibal, there are some questions that are kinda left up, and that's one thing that I think Nick wanted to be a bit more abstract and a bit more 'You decide exactly what it is,' and so it's good.
Along with those other all those other moments Ward mentioned that become important upon rewatching the entire season, he also brought up one of his favorite bits that came early on in the season finale. One that makes perfect sense now.
There were so many little tiny nods to the truth throughout the whole season. Like when the world changes, and Amy and I are walking along the fence, and then it's that one shot and it goes back, and all of a sudden the alley disappeared, and we're now in a French place at the beginning of the sixth episode. It was really cool because I'm smiling. I have a tiny smile on my face, because as soon as the world rearranges itself, that means he gets to go out and get another girl. So like, he's so excited that the world has just changed, because he gets to go fishing again, and in a very evil way, it was just so fun to implant all these little details.
Upon first watching that moment, I literally just thought he was happy to be getting a new version of Homeworld to live in for a while, without knowing about how horrible his true intentions were. And so when he showed up in Quebec and found Jules there, I'd assumed that he was there to find her and bring her to see Margot; which, in hindsight, makes no damned sense whatsoever. However, it does make me wonder what would have happened with Margot and Cannibal John had Seth brought back a new girlfriend to Houseworld during that trip. I guess he would have just killed one and shelved the other.
Sadly, Channel Zero won't be back on Syfy for Season 3's Butcher's Block until 2018, so we have quite a while to wait for the next big mind-warp, but we bet it'll be worth it many times over. While waiting, our fall premiere schedule will show you plenty of other new and returning shows that won't shake up your psyche quite so much.