We came into Butcher's Block with the belief Alice was the sister who had everything together.
The events of Channel Zero Season 3 Episode 5 go to great lengths to prove that theory wrong. It may be that Alice has always made bad decisions. She may have been viewing Zoe through schizophrenic colored glasses.
Alice's fear of going mad was so great that the choices she made were mad. Zoe, on the other hand, has fought tooth and nail to remain sane, going to far as to step back into madness to prove it.
In the case of Alice and her madness, she falls into the category of there being nothing to fear but fear itself.
She allowed her fear of becoming schizophrenic to drive all of her decisions.
Alice and Zoe may be right in the middle of one of the most insane and catastrophic life events anyone could imagine, but instead of seeing it for what it is and trying to save herself and Zoe, Alice only cares about warding off the impending disease.
Zoe tried to get Alice to understand what she's become to avoid schizophrenia and that it wasn't worth it.
Zoe: He hasn't revealed to you what you will become. [unwraps her leg] You will become very, very hungry.
Alice: Anything is better than going insane. I feel like I am catching on fire. In slow motion. Zo, our entire lives, we have been on the edge of something terrible. Don't you just, for once in your life, want to be taken care of? Protected?
Zoe: That is like saying you are so scared of being disfigured that you have decided to let someone cut your face off.
It didn't matter. I'm not even sure Alice was listening to her.
It seemed the easiest decision for Alice to make, walking into the baptismal room and ridding herself of something she hadn't even fully understood yet. While Zoe was in the grip of schizophrenia, Alice was only running from what it meant to her to get it.
She was running from her fear of the disease and her worries about what it might be like to have it. She never even allowed herself to know with certainty she would become a victim of it as her mother and sister did.
Even for all her excitement to become a Peach, Alice didn't exactly understand how things worked with the family. While she was eager to rush into the dining room and eat her first meaty meal, it didn't cross her mind one Woods sister wouldn't be enough for the Peaches.
Alice was willing to give up anything and everyone to get her place at that table. She even gave up Izzy, the very girl she was trying to save in the first place. She just pushed her back into the wall. Alice is a peach, alright.
I thank the Peach house for spitting out Izzy like a pit (or giving birth to her like a baby) through the walls. Now I know why she's covered in that white chalk-like substance. It's dried wall afterbirth she gets on her every time she comes through.
That's very gross but incredibly clever. I know there is a lot more to this story as the symbolism continues to pile up, but my thoughts on schizophrenia are getting more difficult to maintain after this penultimate episode.
The birth imagery, though, holds some weight.
Mother: Joseph, you're wasting time. If we don't deliver the little girl by tomorrow night, he won't be kind.
Joseph [ear to Edie's womb]: Shhh. I hear a heartbeat.
Mother: Joseph! That is not the child we should be worried about.
Everybody was talking about Edie's baby and heartbeats and kicking. The only way that baby is coming to life is if the demon (or God as Joseph calls him) has made a pact with the Peaches to make it so in return for a sizable sacrifice.
Izzy isn't sizable, but one of the weird toddling little baby adults has been snatched by the demon god already, so maybe it's getting happier by the second.
That happiness will be short-lived, though, as Izzy will be off the menu.
Alice should have taken heed of what her sister was doing because she just made things a lot more difficult for those in the summer house.
While Alice was thinking only of herself, Zoe couldn't even stand to think of being what she'd become while being in that house. I'd lost track of what the heck Alice was playing with inside her trinket box, so when Zoe opened it and ate the centipede, it was both shocking and heroic.
Alice: What are you doing?
Zoe: I want to go back the way I came in. [eats the centipede]
Zoe is taking responsibility for herself no matter how horrible her life will get knowing now there are worse things than battling and holding your own against mental illness.
That's not a bad message to send. Shit can get nuts, but fighting your own battles are better than fighting someone else's. Go, Zoe!
When she ran out into the field and found the meat growing in the garden, I wondered if she might have second thoughts about what she was doing. After all, the meat she was being offered wasn't from people.
Is it as bad eating fingers and thigh meat if it's fresh off of the vine instead straight from bone and cleaned of human blood? I would have to say no, but the look on Zoe's face said she didn't care if it was from a garden. She still didn't want any part of it.
Do you think Alice was more eager to eat her Peach meat knowing it most likely grew underground instead of coming to the table after a murderous rampage? It could have given her a leg up on her sister when she arrived.
The real crap of it is we don't know that Zoe is escaping to anything better than she just left.
The Chief was a real piece of work (that saw scene with its teeth digging into flesh was beautiful), and the father/son story has to play into the whole family theme somehow.
His excuse for killing Luke to save him from the torture of the Peach family was a load of hoo-ha. The Peaches treat people well if you like eating other people.
Chief: I wanted to make it quick. I was afraid of what they'd do to him.
Louise: Father of the year.
What's coming in the finale?
I talked with this season's director, Arkasha Stevenson, and she has some information for us that I'll be sharing in the next few days. She's done a great job, right? If you haven't heard her story yet, you should stop by to get to know her a little.
My thoughts are that something is coming out of the attention paid to Edie's baby and the house seemingly giving birth to Izzy from the wall. What does it mean? I can't connect the dots.
Similarly, I want there to be a symbolic connection between all of these people and the girls with their schizophrenia, but I'm losing hope. If it happens, I'll be tickled pink.
You have one week to watch Channel Zero online and catch up with us to exclaim in wonder about the finale when it airs. You know you want to.
In the meantime, did you expect the shift from Alice and Zoe?
Did Zoe strike you as the responsible sister? Hit the comments and let's chat!!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.