The sisters have climbed the stairs and entered the Peach Home, but there are still rooms yet to be explored. What lies behind the Red Door?
Having finally come round to her senses, Zoe wants out, but now Alice is all in. In her search for the doors that go “downstairs” Zoe comes upon a Red Door. Behind it lurks something else, something even less human than the Flayed Man. But Alice won’t leave. She wants the schizophrenia cut out of her so badly, she even gives up Izzy when she discovers her hiding in the walls. Joseph promises that no harm will come to the little girl. Shortly after, Edie and the Flayed Man bring Izzy to the Red Door. They leave her there, claiming she’s been “marked.”
Aldous Peach pays the Police Chief a visit. Chief brings Aldous to Robert’s shallow grave, only to find that his son, Luke, is no longer there. Louise has managed to save Luke by a hair’s breadth. They find themselves under siege by Aldous and his goblin children. Still weak, Luke is carried into the basement by Louise. Frantically, she attempts to pry the boards off the smuggler’s entrance hidden there, but Aldous is in the house.
Joseph holds a ceremony just as he did for Zoe, “baptizing” Alice in a basin of blood and pulling a centipede—her schizophrenia—from her throat. Alice is beyond relieved, but Zoe has other things on her mind. While the others are distracted, she goes back to the Red Door. Stealing herself, she goes inside. It appears to be a dark, otherworldly extension of the Peach Home. Lying in the center of the floor is Izzy, unconscious. Zoe grabs her up, rushing back for the door but not before catching sight of the godlike creature with a cow skull for a head. Zoe runs through the house with Izzy, finally finding the door “downstairs.” She tells the girl to wait for her outside until dawn. If she’s not back by then, she instructs Izzy to run to Louise’s house.
Just as Louise and Luke are convinced they are trapped, the Police Chief shows up, shooting Aldous and his goblin children in cold blood. He is overjoyed to find that Luke is still alive and regrets his actions. Louise refuses to let him take Luke however. She insists that if he wants to help, he can assist her in cutting off the heads of Aldous and the children. Only then will they be safe. When the dirty work is finished, Luke silently asks what’s next. The Police Chief wants them to leave Garrett. Abandon the town to the Peaches while they can still escape. Overcome, Luke shoots and kills his father.
Zoe goes back for Alice, but is still unable to sway her into coming back to the real world with her. Despite warning her of the cannibalistic hunger that is soon awaiting her, Alice is convinced that anything would be better than going mad. Desperate to return to the way things were, Zoe takes the centipede Joseph Peach removed from Alice and swallows it whole. She flees the house, leaving the Peaches to grovel before the deity they seem to worship, but with a promise to bring Izzy back.
I just feel bad for Luke, man. Shoutout to Luke. Didn’t see him becoming by far the most sympathetic character of this entire season. Not that I don’t love Alice, Zoe, or Louise. But the poor guy is only trying to do the right thing, gets himself murdered by his own dad, loses the use of his voice, possibly forever, and then kills his dad out of revenge. Or justice. Honestly, a bit of both. And I don’t blame him.
In a similar vein, we are witnessing an almost Hitchcockian Psycho-like flip of characters. Where once Alice was our protagonist, the one who moved the story onward, the one who protected and sought the truth, now Zoe rises to the challenge. The plus is that it’s a less jarring transition than that classic swap between Marion and her sister Lila. Not only do we know Zoe well, we’ve seen her climbing to this moment.
Despite her willingness to have the schizophrenia removed from her, Zoe also resistedfrom the get-go. She turned that cannibalistic hunger inwards, literally consuming her own body to keep herself from harming others. I wonder if this isn’t a metaphor for schizophrenia and other mental illnesses and how they manifest. Though we tend to see violent portrayals of schizophrenia and other delusionary illnesses in our media, the truth is less black and white. Some sufferers lash out due to their symptoms, as Alice and Zoe’s mother did. But others direct that energy inward, self-harming or even becoming suicidal. Is this foreshadowing? Is Alice destined to mirror her mother’s fate, while Zoe might escape it?
We’re coming up on the season finale, and still so much to wrap up. The seasons for Channel Zero have always been mini-series short, but this is the first season so far to have truly suffered from it. The pacing of No-End House felt fluid, but never rushed. It was likely aided by the helpful structure of the “rooms” in the House. Additionally, that story had far less elements.
With Butcher’s Block, we seem to be following several trains: Alice and Zoe’s intertwined madness, Louise’s quest for truth, Luke’s quest for justice, the Peach’s quest for superiority and family. And whatever the hell that demon-god thing is. While I don’t feel any of these storylines have been necessarily butchered, I think the season could have benefitted from a few more episodes in its run.