There was only ever one way that Channel Zero: Candle Cove was going to end. Mike Painter was a doomed character and we knew it from the first time we saw him. “Welcome Home” (it is hard to imagine a more ironic title for the season finale) sees the conclusion creep home with the horror of a mother killing her last remaining son to protect her granddaughter.
The finale moves slowly, like someone trying to move through waist deep molasses, and it draws out the ending. Those expecting a cacophony horrors to leap off the screen will be disappointed. Instead of a clash of disturbing images, the whole of episode 6 presents its horrors sparingly,focusing instead on the personal aspect of this tale.
Mike sacrifices himself so his daughter can live. He agrees to stay behind so Eddie can inhabit his body. (There is a splendid reversal of the Ringu effect where Lily crawls into the television screen to come out in the real world.)
At the start of the episode, Erica comes back looking for Lily. Mike explains that he knows where Lily is but only he can get her. Erica’s frustration manifests itself in her screamed demand to take her to Lily.
Mike takes his wife out to the field where Lily lays unconscious on the ground. He makes his wife stay back and Mike walks over to Lily. Just like his vision at the start of episode, the Tooth-Child takes some teeth and Mike wakes up in the Cove.
Eddie and Mike bargain over who will stay behind as the Skin Taker looks on. Lily is released and as soon as Erica brings the child back, Marla leaves the house.
She is headed to Mike and on the way she runs into Francis Booth. The teacher attacks her with the hook. As she starts to give Marla the killing blow with the instrument, Amy shoots her.
The temporary sheriff tells Marla to step back and Mike’s mother grabs the hook and plants the thing in Booth’s ear. Back at the cove, Eddie tells his brother goodbye and starts to the television.
Amy holds a press conference and informs the reporters that Francis Booth was the murderer, back in 1985 and now. As she talks to the press, the former sheriff packs up his kids and drives away. The widower is heading toward a new start and leaving Iron Hill.
Marla is healing after Marla’s attack. Lily is coloring a picture. She pauses and watches as the television show “Candle Cove” comes on. Mike enters the room and turns the television off.
There is a flashback to the day that Mike dies. Marla pinches his nostrils shut and covers his mouth with her hand. She kills him in order to protect Lily and the world from Eddie’s power.
It is a shocking moment, but not altogether too unexpected. All of Iron Hill can breathe a sigh of relief although Marla looks a bit troubled.
The slow almost dream-like presentation of the show’s finale, meant the tension never really let up. It seemed certain that the pint-sized new sheriff was going to be attacked by Booth’s children. In the end, however, she avoids harm and comes across as another local hero who defeats the evil controlling the area and its children.
Mike tricks Eddie by replaying that card game where he cheated. Tantamount to playing chess with the grim reaper, this time Mike plays fairly and Eddie wins the game but loses the battle. He is stuck in Candle Cove with Mike.
The former sheriff, whose wife the children killed, takes his two kids away from Iron Hill. Mike, lives on through Lily, who sees her father turn off Candle Cove when it plays on the television.
Channel Zero: Candle Cove ends with a slight whimper and a sigh. The climax of the finale is a bit of an understatement. The only real violence comes from two middle-aged women who fight in the wood.
The most disturbing scenes deal with Mike facing the Skin Taker. Once as a burning entity in the hallway and later when the creature shoves sticks into its face and eye.
The series was easily one of the creepiest and most disturbing on television. Kudos to all the players and show creator Nick Antosca. Only one real question remains, was Marla somehow “touched” by Candle Cove?
- Paul Schneider – Mike Painter
- Fiona Shaw – Marla Painter
- Shaun Benson – Gary Yolen
- Natalie Brown – Jessica Yolen
- Luisa D’Oliveira – Amy Welch
- Luca Villacis – Young Mike/Eddie Painter
- Cassandra Consiglio – The Tooth Child
- Marina Stephenson Kerr – Mrs. Booth
- David Brown – Tim Hazel
- Gwendolyn Collins – Daphne Bell
- Abigail Pniowsky – Lily Painter
- Kristen Harris – Erica Painter
- Bruce Novakowski – Simon Cover
- Tara Koehler – Young Mrs Booth