THE PURGE TV Warns Viewers “This Is Not a Test” as Season Two Commences on USA Network – F&S Deep Dive

The Purge TV logoSeasonn Two,  Episode One “This Is Not a Test”
Written by Krystal Houghton Ziv
Directed by Tim Andrew
[All  images courtesy Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network]

Visit Father Son Holy Gore for great recaps of The Purge TV, and follow for tons of in-depth TV/movie reviews!

We begin a second season of Officially Sanctioned, All-American Carnage with The Purge TV Season Two, Episode One, “This Is Not a Test”!

WARNING!

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Spoilers Ahead!

The Purge TV follows four storylines this season.

*Esme Carmona (Paola Nuñez), a “tagger” working the last two hours of her Purge Night at the New Orleans NFFA Surveillance Center.

*Ryan Grant (Max Martini) and his robbery crew pulling a heist at the “First Parish Bank”

*Emergency room doctor Marcus Moore (Derek Luke), hunkered down at home with his wife Michelle (Rochelle Aytes).

*Cooke University student Ben (Joel Allen), venturing out on Purge Night to take pictures at “Suicide Bride” on a frat house dare.

The Purge - Season 2
Sure, Purge Night is a GREAT time for a fraternity prank!

NFFA Surveillance Center Notes

Teaser of the Dammed

*Megan (Cindy Robinson) asks Casting Agent (Paul T. Taylor) that oft-mocked Method Actor’s question, “What’s my motivation?

*After four movies and 10 television episodes, we finally get to match a face to the (in)famous Purge Announcer voice;  veteran voice artist Cindy Robinson has been with the series since The Purge (2013).

*Very meta moment ( of the dramatic irony variety) as Megan innocently asks, “So what is this going to be, a movie or something?

*TV watchers of a certain age remember well the solemn, golden tones of the Emergency Broadcast System announcements. Kids today don’t know what they’re missing!

*We see a map of New Orleans in the opening title sequence, as well as on-screen ID of Esme’s workplace the New Orleans NFFA Surveillance Center.

The Purge - Season 2
From Star Trek to The Purge – welcome, Connor Trinneer!

Esme’s Long Two-Hour Shift of the Soul

*Pre-shift, Esme and her co-workers relax in those icons of 1970’s design, Lee West Alpha Chamber Egg Pod Chairs. Seems weird that they’re facing away from the healthy lights in the center of the chairs. Wonder if they’re SAD  -specific lights, or garden variety light therapy?

*Is that Star Trek: Enterprise veteran Conner Trinneer I spy as Esme’s supervisor?

*Series formally begins with 2:02:46 remaining on Purge Night.

*Even on Purge Night, some crime (like the Purger seen toting a bomb) prompts a question “How would you like to tag this?” as an Infraction, Misdemeanor,
Minor Felony, or Major Felony.

The real-world examples I found referred to its use in electronic monitoring of people already convicted of a crime, or alternately (at number 25 on Dictionary.com, “to accuse of a violation, especially of a traffic law; to hold answerable or accountable for something; attach blame to”.

*The Great Seal of the NFFA reads “Per virtutem pax”,which roughly translates as “By virtue, peace”. According to the seal, the NFFA was founded in 1984.

*It can also refer to “Peace Through Strength”, featured in Ronald Reagan’s 1983 State of the Union message. Interestingly, Reagan won a second term in 1984, the year the NFFA was founded. His campaign slogan – “Morning In America“.

*Vivian (Charlotte Schweiger) notes a Level 10 official in distress. In The Purge: Election Year (2016), the NFFA “revoke(s) the rule that level 10 government officials are untouchable during the Purge” specifically to target Presidential candidate Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) for assassination.

The Purge - Season 2
Sure, NFFA Visual Analytics sounds harmless enough …

*Vicks Vapo Rub to mask unpleasant odors is familiar to fans of both crime investigation dramas and true crime documentaries.u

*Esme’s over-arching plot thread begins when she sees a Dr. Drew Adams, someone who “helped her out of a really dark place” outside her home. Adams shot by persons asking “Professor Adams, where’s the file? and referring to “File 64”.

*Hard-working, dedicated to the ostensible justification for Purge Night, Esme embodies a uniquely NFFA version of Hannah Arendt’s “Banality of Evil“. She condemns a man to summary execution, using the technology and authority of the state to decipher Tommy’s photo-finish half-step over a property line as the last notes of the Purge siren fade. She’s just following orders, after all.

*Is the Liquidation Protocol for a Major Felony (Armed Robbery) in place every other day of the year?

*One wonders how much the as-yet fictional NFFA Surveillance State resembles its most advanced real-life example in China, where, as reviewer JohnLancester notes, “the ultimate goal is to make people internalise their sense of the state: to make people self-censor, self-monitor, self-supervise.

*The NFFA Surveillance State, or at least what we’ve seen through four movies and the television series, mixes the lethally absolutist absurdity of Brazil, the arbitrary absolutism of Stalin’s purges, the above-mentioned technical sophistication of China, and the Sons of Jacob in The Handmaid’s Tale and the Dominonism of The Family.

*Esme may think she’s being pretty sneaky using a flash drive to download the footage of Professor Adams’s assassination, but that ceiling security camera sees all.

*Esme now has a quest for the next nine episodes; discover what happened to Professor Adams, who wanted her dead, and what the heck is in File 64.

The Purge - Season 2
Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a bank robbing man, no time to talk.

The Ryan Grant Robbery Crew

*FINALLY, so good, old-fashioned, non-lethal criminal activity on Purge Night!

*Ryan’s crew is robbing the “1st Parish Bank”. A parish is the Louisiana equivalent of a county, so this is the Purge version of  “1st County Bank”. Still a bit weird, since we’d expect to see a “1st National Bank” or “1st Federal Bank”.

*While Ryan’s second in command, Sara (Chelle Ramos) has a cool head, Tommy (Doug Vargas) takes an almost Joker-like glee in his job, and will pay the price for his impulsiveness and greed by episode’s end.

*The main vault seems to be stocked with singles, no Benjamins ($100.00 bills). Which makes sense; wouldn’t a bank prepare for Purge Night and move large bills to a safer location? For that matter, wouldn’t electronic bank robing make more sense? Cyber crime is just as legal on Purge Night as old-fashioned robbery.

*Ryan’s safecracking tech may be the 21st century high tech version, but his dedication to the craft honors the masters of the illegal art. He also uses flash-bang grenades.

*The human jackals in tonight’s episode are a bit more proactive than their four legged namesakes; jackals in the wild usually let other animals do the work of finding prey, then feast on the unwanted scraps.

*The “honor among thieves” code the Jackals violate may be just as fictional as they are.

*Ryan’s post-Purge storyline – is it connected to Tommy’s? Will Tommy survive the Liquidation Protocol?

The Purge - Season 2
Sandin Security systems have a habit of turning themselves off at the worst times.

Marcus and Michelle: Purge Night and Chill

*Marcus (Derek Luke) and his (fiancée? wife?) Michelle (Rochelle Aytes) fall victim to a classic crime harkening back to the first Purge movie – a home invasion.

*Their security system (from Sandin Security?) unlocks itself at 5:43 in the morning.

*Michelle – hiding in the closet from a masked killer whose seemingly dead corpse later vanishes – calls back to Laurie Strode’s fight against the Bogeyman Michael Meyers in at the finale of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978).

*Marcus pleading for help at his neighbor’s house reminded me of the first appearance of the Bloody Stranger (Edwin Hodge) in The Purge (2013).

*Marcus refers to Darin and Tonya (reference to his previous family?) in “another zip code” and their experiences during Purge Night.

*Marcus’s post-Purge storyline: find out who wanted him and Michelle dead. He has a clue in the scar seen on the assailant’s hand – and the man’s phone.

The Purge - Season 2
That’s, um, quite a distinctive Purge Night getup.

Ben and the Very Bad, No Good, Rotten Purge Night

*Ben and Turner (Matt Shively) leave their fraternity house (looks like Alpha Tau Gamma) to visit “Suicide Bridge”, which people hang themselves from instead of jumping.

*According to Greater New Orleans, Inc., “there are currently eight private colleges and universities, three public institutions, and two seminaries that serve the Greater New Orleans region.” “Cooke University” is not one of them.

*I thought I spied a woman in a blue robe hanging from the bridge – a member of the cult from Season One?

*The young woman’s outfit with a buzzsaw blade – familiar to any 80’s music fan who remembers the 1984 single “Animal (F**k Like A Beast)” from heavy metal band W.A.S.P..

*Ben’s impulse towards compassion gets him caught in a snare trap.

*The “God Mask” worn by Ghoul Face (Lakeith Stansfield) in The Purge: Anarchy (2014) returns. Ironic that that characters saw himself as merely a procurer, while this mask wearer is much more violent.

*According to the CDC, “1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 38 men have experienced completed or attempted rape and 1 in 14 men was made to penetrate someone (completed or attempted) during his lifetime.

*Ben’s reaction, his revenge on the wearer of the God Mask, killing him deader than dead, will define his journey for the rest of this season. Will it lead him into a downward spiral, an embrace of The Purge?

Next episode, we’ll find out if “Everything Is Fine” for Esme, Ryan, Marcus and Ben. It airs October 22 at 9/8c on USA.

Until next week citizens, “Just remember all the good The Purge does.

Official USA netork images, articles, and other Purge related goodies can be found here.
My deep dives into Bates Motel, The Exorcist, and Seasons 1 & 2 of Channel Zero reside at SciFi4Me; Fang and Saucer is home to my deep dives into Season One of The Purge TV, and Channel Zero Seasons 3 & 4.

PRVIEWING SEASON TWO OF THE PURGE TV – NYC COMIC-CON PANEL & SCREENING

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The Purge TV
USA Network
Season Two begins Tuesday, October 15, 8/9c
[All  images courtesy Astrid Stawiarz/USA Network]

Back in August, I looked at the teaser for The Purge TV Season Two, hunting for clues and hints regarding the new season of the dystopian horror franchise. I made some educated guesses and advanced my hopes for what Season Two might bring.

 “It’ll be interesting if Season Two both follows and reinterprets last season’s format. Season One flashed back to the choices made by characters leading up to Purge Night. I’d love to see this season mix it up a bit, mixing Purge Night events with flashforwards, showing this season’s characters dealing with the consequences in the following days, months after the Purge.”

It looks like some of my wishes are coming true in The Purge Universe in this new season, premiering Tuesday, October 15 9/8C on USA Network.

Instead of flashforwards, Season Two begins in the final hours of Purge Night, and as I hoped,  follows our new cast of characters from the day after the Purge through the rest of the year. The standard Purge formula – follow a group of disparate characters through one Purge Night – is undoubtedly thrilling, involving, and hooks me in every time. But it’s wonderful to see the creative Powers That Be shake things up a bit.

New York Comic Con - 2019
Joel Allan, Paola Nunez, &and Executive Producer Krystal Houghton Ziv at 2019 New York Comic-Con.

At the New York Comic-Con, the cast, writers, and creator James DeMonaco gathered for a screening and panel discussion. According to DeMonaco and series writers and Executive Producers Krystal Houghton Ziv and James Roland, Season Two will include some interesting tweaks on the franchise formula.

*World Building. The framework of the original Purge movie was simple (a home invasion thriller), but within that simplicity was room to expand and grow a fictional world. As DeMonaco noted,”Season 2 is committed to illuminating “slices of the [Purge] world” and “the repercussions of the Purge” outside of Purge Night. “The real estate of the 10 hours of TV allows to explore the world.

*When I dove into the Season Two trailer, analyzing the music, symbols, characters for clues. In particular, I wondered about the prominence of the “God Mask”, worn by “Young Ghoul Face” (LaKeith Stansfield) in The Purge: Anarchy (2014). Kristen Houghton Ziv, notes “the writers wanted to incorporate something similar to the God Mask that appeared in The Purge: Anarchy, and ended up deciding to bring back the God Mask in all its terrifying glory.”

New York Comic Con - 2019
Derek Luke (Marcus) and Rochelle Aytes (Michelle) meet-cute with a Purge Night mask.

*Houghton Ziv clarified the Purge chronology, stating that the new season takes place 15 years after the first Purge on Staten Island” In my write up for the first season’s premiere episode, “What Is America”, DeMonaco identified just when in the Purge timeline the new series took place.

*When is The Purge series set? Creator/Executive Producer/Writer  James DeMonaco told Vulture, “The TV show takes place between the first Purge and the last movie. We’re kind of right in the middle of all the Purge timelines, so it’s before Charlie Roan … if 20 Purges have taken place, or 15, we’re probably on the seventh or eighth in the TV show.”

*According to ScreenRant’s very helpful timeline, the New Founding Fathers of America attain power in 2014 and the first Purge takes place in 2017. Based on DeMonaco’s comment, that probably sets this season in 2024/2025.

So if Season One took place during the seventh or eighth Purge, and Season Two is set fifteen years after the first Purge, we’re probably looking at a seven to eight-year time leap between seasons. Which would be 2032?

Season Two of The Purge TV premieres Tuesday, October 15 at 9/8c on USA Network with “This Is Not a Test”.

Until then fellow citizens,“Just remember all the good The Purge does.

Official images, information, and other Purge related goodies can be found here.

My Deep Dives into The Purge Season One are here. Click the links for more of my deep dives into Bates Motel and The Exorcist. Channel Zero recaps and deep dives can be found here at F&S and SciFi4Me.com.

THE PURGE TV RETURNS-WITH CLUES FOR SEASON TWO IN TRAILER & POSTER?

thepurge_castinfo_joe_desktop_2880x900The Purge Season Two
A USA television event
(All images courtesy Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

The trailer and poster art for Season Two of USA’s The Purge series is here, along with some intriguing hints and clues for the next installment of the Blumhouse horror franchise created by James Demonaco. Before its’ October debut, let’s see what hints the art and trailer may provide.

THE PURGE S2 KEY ART - FINAL

First, check out the poster above. Most interesting to me? The return of the “God” mask worn by “Young Ghoul Face” (LaKeith Stanfield) in The Purge: Anarchy (2014). If this is the same mask as worn in that film, it’s looking a bit bloodier than what we saw in the film. Also, are we seeing the sun rise in the East, or set in the West?

Young Ghoul Face - Univ Pictures
LaKeith Stanfield as “Young Ghoul Face” in The Purge: Anarchy (Image courtesy Universal Pictures)

Now, check out the Season Two trailer –

A few interesting snippets of dialog in those two minutes

*An unidentified voice claims, “The Purge is making people more violent, not just on Purge, but every day of the year.

*A young woman first says to Ben (Joel Allen), “What happens on Purge Night says on Purge Night,” then “You haven’t been yourself,” to which he responds, “I know.” We see Ben drawing the same mask worn by the intruder who breaks into Marcus Moore’s house.

*Marcus Moore (Derek Luke) says “Someone tried to Purge me,”and “whoever is after me, they are not going to wait a year.”

*Is the second season moving forward chronologically from Purge Night, or featuring flash-forwards instead of Season One’s flashbacks, as I speculated here?

And the image below brings to my mind a potential connection between the two seasons. Does Ben share a school and/or fraternity connection with Season One’s Rick Betancourt (Colin Woodell)? Last season, Checkov’s fraternity paddle played a major part in Rick’s storyline, even if the fraternity  houses appear to be different. Did Rick attend (the apparently fictional) Cooke University in New Orleans, LA?

NUP_187296_0736.jpg
The Delta Tau Gamma house is all decked out for Purge Night!

*The trailer’s musical accompaniment? A twangy, post-apocalyptic sounding version of “Blood On the Risers,” a WWII-era paratrooper song.

He was just a rookie trooper and he surely shook with fright,
He checked all his equipment and made sure his pack was tight;
He had to sit and listen to those awful engines roar,
“You ain’t gonna jump no more!”
(CHORUS)
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
He ain’t gonna jump no more!

My Deep Dives into The Purge season one can be found here. Click the links for more of my deep dives into Bates Motel and The Exorcist. Channel Zero recaps and deep dives can be found here at F&S and SciFi4Me.com.

Until this fall citizens, “Just remember all the good The Purge does.”

F&S – THE PURGE S2 Sneak Peek Teaser

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Another year, another Purge Night – on TV, at least. USA just released a teaser trailer for the second season of The Purge. Take a look.

 

This fall, “what happens on Purge Night doesn’t stay on Purge Night“. Like last year’s highly rated “television event”, Season Two follows a select group of characters through the night. According to USA this season “dives deeper than ever before in to what the Purge world looks like the other 364 days of the year.”

It’ll be interesting if Season Two both follows and reinterprets last season’s format. Season One flashed back to the choices  made by characters leading up to Purge Night. I’d love to see this season mix it up a bit, mixing Purge Night events with flashforwards, showing this season’s characters dealing with the consequences in the following days, months after the Purge.

We have no specific premiere date beyond “this fall”, but official images, information, and other goodies can be found at the official Purge USA site, as well as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Season Two’s cast includes Derek Luke (13 Reasons Why, Antoine Fisher), Max Martini (Saving Private Ryan, NCIS: Los Angeles), Paola Nuñez ( La Reina del Sur, The Son ), and Joel Allen (Never Goin’ Back).

My Deep Dives into The Purge season one can be found here. Click the links for more of my deep dives into Bates Motel and The Exorcist. Channel Zero recaps and deep dives can be found here at F&S and SciFi4Me.com.

Until this fall fellow citizens, “Just remember all the good The Purge does.”

Fang & Saucer Deep Dive-CHANNEL ZERO: THE DREAM DOOR Ep. 6 “Two of Us”

Channel Zero

Channel Zero: The Dream Door
Episode Six, “Two of Us”
Written by Nick Antosca & Isabella Gutierrez
Directed by E.L. Katz

[All images courtesy Syfy]

For an in-depth recap of this and every episode of Channel Zero, I highly recommend a visit to Father Son Holy Gore. Check out his other great recaps, movie reviews, and in-depth essays on horror.
Now, let’s take a deep dive into the symbolism and references I noticed in Two of Us“, the sixth and final episode of Channel Zero Season Four.  My episode recaps and observations for Seasons One and Two are at SciFi4Me.com, and my observations for Season Three can be found here at Fang and Saucer.

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
Tom gets an involuntary tour of an unfinished home.

Dream Police Observations 

* “Two of Us” begins with Tall Boy (Stephen R. Hart) dragging Tom Hodgson (Brandon Scott) through an unfinished house in Estates before dumping Tom in front of Ian (Steven Robertston). Channel Zero does love its unfinished homes set in desolate housing developments. Jules (Amy Forsyth) leads her Not!Father (John Carrol Lynch) to an unfinished garage “tiger trap” in No End House, Mike Painter (Paul Schneider) survives a lynch mob tribunal in an isolated, never-finished home in Candle Cove, and of course the finished (albeit unworldly) Peach mansion plays a central role in Butcher’s Block.

*Ian’s mood is both boastful and peevish. Turns out Bill Hope (Greg Henry) left everything to Jillian. The house they’re in, and the entire Willow Courts housing development, belong to her (Bad Thing). But, as Ian explains in between gulping down fast food and protein shakes, he loves Jillian in a “pure, uncomplicated way” while Tom is merely the “safe choice” (Good Thing).

*Ian’s continuing use of his abilities is also causing him to suffer some kind of internal injury or spasms affecting his stomach area.

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
Hey, hey, we’re the Crayons, and people say we color around…

*If the spelling on the closed captioning is correct, the Stuckey Burgers that Ian loves to chow down may be from the fictional equivalent of the Stuckey’s chain of freeway rest stop restaurants. The real Stuckey’s never succeed at the fast food business. According to Frank Stuckey,  ″Food especially, I think, was the downfall. Our snackbars really never had a good fast-food menu like Hardee’s, Waffle House or McDonald’s.″

*The fictional, 30% protein “Muscle Syrup” would be in about in the middle range of power protein drinks.

*Jillian (Maria Sten) follows Ian’s bloody directions to the ghost neighborhood. Waiting for her is a bored, newly hired security guard (Robert Borges), and Ian’s enforcer squad of Crayon Kids. Generic crayons of course, not the copyrighted and tradmark protected Crayola Crayons.

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
Here we see a Green Crayon in it’s unnatural environment.

*The Crayon Kids slash the tires on Jillian’s SUV to prevent her escape. But New Security Guard Man is (from the sound of it) stabbed to death and/or ripped to pieces by the colorful gang.

*Robert Borges also appeared in two episodes of No End House as “Hiding Man”, and in Butcher’s Block as “Cop” in the “Alice in Slaughterland” episode.

*Jillian slowly realizes that the injured Tom she finds hiding in another unfinished house is a simulacrum of her husband, created by Ian. One clue? He appears to have the same injury/cramp/spasms Ian displayed earlier.

*Not!Tom also bleeds white goop like the biomechanical androids from the Alien scifi franchise after Jillian stabs him with an improvised cross and Tom stomps his double’s head in.

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
Good to see Ian taking a break from his psychic murder spree and relax.

*Tom proves he’s the real version of himself to Jillian by using a rusty metal object to draw red blood from his palm. After everything else that’s gone on, contracting tetanus doesn’t seem to be too high on Tom’s worry list.

*Ian is ok with using a double of Tom to kiss his own half-sister, but balks at creating a doppelganger in front of Tom because “that’d just be weird.

*Tom may be the non-incestuous “safe” choice, but he’s also the smart choice. He understands Jillian’s fear of what she can do, but also accepts that everyone has a dark side. In Jillian’s case, “sometimes, it just gets out, runs around, kills people, but I can accept that …Pretzel Jack is part of you, but I brought him out”.

*Like the “something blue” worn by a bride, Jillian’s doors were that color as “a gift” from Ian. 

*The husk of herself Jillian spies in this episode reminds me of the Hollow Girl in No End House. Her portrayer, Robyn Delaney, also appears in this series as Red Murder Crayon. 

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
Another brilliant, surreal image in the Channel Zero tradition.

*Speaking of our favorite murder-y clown contortionist, Jillian recreates Pretzel Jack. After making peace with Tom, Pretzel Jack (Troy James)  takes on Tall Boy and ends up sliced in half.

*Jillian conveniently pushes Tom out of Tall Boy’s path. Tall Boy the ironically kills Ian by pinning him to a wall with what looks like a power hedge trimmer.

*Ian may be gone, but in the final scene we learn the Hodgson family now has its very own version of Jack-Jack from The Incredibles. Given the warm, comforting tone of this final moment, I picture a future much like the last scene in I Married a Witch (1842, Dir. by Rene Clair).  Like that movie’s housekeeper complaing about the daughter flying her broom inside, I can see Tom or Jillian gently reminding their child to not keep creating doors all over the house

*”Animal Farm” by The Kinks plays over the closing credits. From the 1968 album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, “Animal Farm” harkens back to an idea of “Deep England” and a rural, pastoral way of life long gone.

This world is big and wild and half insane
Take me where real animals are playing
Just a dirty old shack
Where the hound dogs bark
That we called our home
I want to be back there
********
Girl, It’s a hard, hard world, if it gets you down
Dreams often fade and die in a bad, bad world
I’ll take you where real animals are playing
And people are real people not just playing

The first three seasons of Channel Zero are currently on the Shudder streaming service. Channel Zero: The Dream Door is currently available on demand and will join them on Shudder in 2019.

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
This is probably the happiest-ever-after ending in Channel Zero history.

Sadly, on January 16th, 2019 showrunner Nick Antosca broke the news (via Instagram) that SYFY had cancelled Channel Zero after four seasons.

Maybe I delayed writing this final deep dive to avoid saying a final goodbye to a show I’ve come to find endlessly fascinating. Farewell, Channel Zero, I’m sad to see you go.

Fang & Saucer Deep Dive-CHANNEL ZERO: THE DREAM DOOR Ep. 5 “You Belong To Me”

Channel Zero

Channel Zero: The Dream Door
Episode Five, “You Belong To Me”
Written by Angel Varak-Iglar & Lisa Long
Directed by E.L. Katz

[All images courtesy Syfy]

For an in-depth recap of this and every episode of Channel Zero, I highly recommend a visit to Father Son Holy Gore. Check out his other great recaps, movie reviews, and in-depth essays on horror.
Now, let’s take a deep dive into the symbolism and references I noticed in You Belong to Me”, the fifth episode of Channel Zero Season Four.  My episode recaps and observations for Seasons One and Two are at SciFi4Me.com, and my observations for Season Three can be found here at Fang and Saucer.

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
Beautiful use of the whole frame – making horror fans look in every corner!

Dream Police Observations 

*Morphing effect for the creation and brief life of Unfortunate Bunny Rabbit reminded me of the memory effects in No End House.

*Ian is teaching the CZ version of Creative Visualization.

*Ian “Cute bunny rabbit … comfort, gratitude, love …” Except in this case, Unfortunate Bunny Rabbit resembles a teleportation mishap from The Fly or Galaxy Quest more than any fluffy bunny.

*Jillian creates two “babies” this episode (both with help from another) that live brief, increditbly agonized existences.

*Ian assures Jillian she’ll learn to control and operate her creations “like a puppet”, which of course put this golden oldie on replay in my mind.

*Of course, there’s a long tradition of creepy puppet symbolism in horror (from the beginnings of the Gothic/Horror genre of Marionettes/puppets/ventriloquist dummies from E.T.A Hoffman‘s The Sandman) (1816), the Twilight Zone episode The Dummy (1962), to the “Orpheus & Euridyce meet Geppetto” mashup in Keith Donohue’s 2016 novel  The Motion of Puppets.

*Jillian’s opening the tiny door of the tiny house – so reminiscent of Alice In Wonderland (1865). “So she unlocked the tiny little door, and she stooped down and looked through it, and what do you think she saw? Oh, such a beautiful garden! And she did so long to go into it! But the door was far too small. She couldn’t squeeze herself through, any more than you could squeeze yourself into a mouse-hole!”

*CZ: Butcher’s Block favored red doors; Dream Door favors shades of blue.

*Ian begins to tip his hand, and his true intentions/attidude towards his creations with a dismissive “they can’t all be winners”. Like all good meglomaniacs, he can’t stop there and adds, “like your dog” . By admitting he created the pug, he paves the way for Jillian’s “Eureka Moment” later in the episode when she find her childhood pug stuffed animal.

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
Ian is moving into the the “IDGAF” phase of his power trip.

*Jillian’s realization flows into a classic suspense setup “I know I’m in danger but can’t let you know I know, so I’ll  pretend everything’s still ok while figuring out how to get out of here.”

*Minnesota is indeed the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

*Ian’s cottage, set amidst a blue lake and the vivid green of trees and plants, reminded me (if only in setting) of A. A. Milne’s 1922 novel The Red House Mystery.

*Ian’s stash of mummified animal husks in his basement again brings to mind the MacDonald Triad, along with theory that  experimentation and cruelty towards animals leading to similar behavior towards people. His casual dismissal of Jillian’s misbegotten rabbit ( “they can’t all be winners”) betrays his attitude of his creations as things, mindless tools to be used.

*Ian uses the vague “passed away” when describing his mother’s death “earlier this year … she was very trusting … too trusting. I think she chose not to see certain things.” What exactly did Mom choose not to see – her husband’s other family? Or her son’s sociopathy (or psychopathy?).

*I wish Ian had elaborated on this tidbit about Mom – “she deserved better than she got … my mom was the other woman and I didn’t even know”.

*Ian says Tall Boy “did some not so great things” Did that include killing his mother?

*Ian says Tall Boy “did some not so great things” Did that include killing his mother?

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
If those dogs weren’t chowing down on Bill Hope’s corpse, they’d be ADORABLE.

*Did Ian leave his front door unlocked deliberately? Who leaves the doors unlocked anymore, even in Minnesota?

*Tom greets Jillian and Ian’s return with a Channel Zero Intervention, complete with material collected from Ian’s basement. Lucky for Tom that Ian lugs all his backstory with him.

*Ian commits  Jillian’s cardinal sin in this revaltory scene  – he admits he lied to her.

*Is Ian supremely confident in showing off Bill’s corpse to Tom and Jillian, or beyond thinking of the consequences?

*All the pugs surrying around Bill Hope’s corpse wear adorable crayon-bright knit sweaters.

*As part of Ian’s Confession Time Monologue Theater,  he admits killing the O’Connells (like Michael Haenke’s orginal version of   Funny Games) to be in the house next door.

*The address Jillian calls in to 911 seems off – “48 Brahms Bay Caldecott Street” If I recall corrrectly, the town on the envelope in Episode One was Caldecott MN, not Caldecott Street in Caldecott MN.

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
“I don’t want to kill anybody else today.”

*After Ian’s carted off to jail (we think), Tom makes a basic, honest appeal to Jillian. He just wants to be with her and create a family with her. Which leads to the second short-lived, helpless suffering creature of this episode. Their first child.

*At least their child isn’t abandoned and unloved. Unlike the creature it very much resembles, the baby from David Lych’s 1977 mystifying, nightmarish masterpiece, Eraserhead.

*Poor Detectives Fraser (Marina Stephenson Kerr) and McPhillips (Grey Bryk). Many people make fun of people  wearing socks with sandals. Very few suffer horrific bloody deaths because of it. And it’s not actually  much of a fashion crime anymore.

*Minnesota, like every other state, does have a law against passing a school bus.

*Excellent slo-mo buildup with Tall Boy stalking from behind and the Dad & kid arguing by the bus in front.

*Regarding the detective’s discussion as to just what differentiates spree, mass, and serial killers. The FBI dropped the separate definition of Spree Killers in 2005, but the categories can still be  viewed as helpful references, according to Kathleen Ramsland. “Criminological researchers interested in developmental and psychological issues see value in retaining distinct categories to study their differences.”

*Tall Boy’s weapons of necessity – a pickaxe and electric saw – harken back to Abel Ferrera’s grindhouse horror classic Driller Killer (1979).

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
With Orange Crayon (Micaela Lozano), The Crayola Kids make their Channel Zero debut.

*Tom displays some genre savvy in refusing Ian entrance into his house. Not that it helps him from getting kidnapped; or save the poor cop (Bradley Sawatzky, I believe) walking out of Ian’s house from an extraordinarily bloody death.

*I think “Meet Me at the Ghost Neighborhood”, supposedly written in Poor Dead Cop’s blood, looks a lot more like colored chalk or crayon.

*Thanks to Father Son Holy Gore’s recap for identifying the episode’s closing song – “Always Wanted Your Love” by  Tony Stephens. The episode title comes from the hit written by Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers and Carly Simon. While the Doobie Brothers released it first in 1977, Simon’s 1978 version reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

*WhatSong.Com is a great resource for Channel Zero fans to find songs used in Seasons 2-4.

Next episode, the Channel Zero: The Dream Door finale narrows things down to the “Two of Us”.

Until next time, Dream a Little Dream of Stabby the Murder Clown …

The first three seasons of Channel Zero are currently on the Shudder streaming service. Channel Zero: The Dream Door is currently available on demand and will join them on Shudder in 2019.