How much of what we saw during Channel Zero: Butcher's Block was an interpretation of real events?
After watching Channel Zero Season 3 Episode 6 it's really hard to tell, isn't it?
I've been sitting here ruminating on everything that occurred, the flashbacks we've seen throughout, and the key binding it all together: Anything is better than going insane.
There are two possible scenarios we're playing with here.
The first is that everything we've seen exactly as it seems. One of the most bizarre things a group of people in a small town could have ever witnessed was reality for them. They beat it but lost many of their own in the process.
It's a good yarn, for sure, but not nearly as good as it is if you have to dig a little deeper and wrap your noggin around it.
That's why I'm going for the gusto here and suggesting what we saw was Father Time taking over Alice, something she vowed to fight with both barrels. After all, anything is better than going insane.
When she arrived in town, she had been through hell. She had watched her mother and sister slip away to a disease she feared more than anything else. Top it off with the fact her mother went violently after stabbing her sister, and her own fear catapulted.
It made her susceptible to things like the story she was told on her first day in town about the Peach family.
Poor, unfortunate Nathan thought he was sharing something kooky about Alice's new town. Alice also thought she was hired for an office job. That was another problem for poor, unfortunate Nathan as well as Izzy's mother.
Much like Joseph said to repeatedly to Alice in the finale, Alice's brain is too fragile to see many of the things she would be seeing. That was the understatement of the world. It also came to her mind too late.
The things Alice saw during her first days tore through her mind and created a scenario of such doom she fell down the rabbit hole and was unable to recover from them.
She saw Louise's murder board after hearing the story from Nathan and it all came together for her.
Using the hole in Izzy's bedroom and her view from behind wearing the clothing she found in the park, Alice imagined the crazy mini baby man that set Alice off. In reality, Izzy was running because she was afraid.
Izzy's mom really did take off before the social worker got there. Either she was killed by someone else later on, or Alice did it herself. It could have been her first kill.
Did you notice how the woman we've been calling "scissor lady" was all cleaned up and had a name now that Alice has lost her mind? Diane not only looked different, she talked differently and was the one to rescue Izzy.
Not seen through the eyes of schizophrenia, Diane was a different person altogether.
Luke and Chief Vanczyk were likely looking for Alice when she his father was killed Luke was injured. I don't doubt any of that happened. In fact, we know the lives of Louise, Izzy, Luke, and Zoe were changed significantly because of their final scene.
Whether Alice substituted townspeople for the Peaches, though, is a mystery I don't want to solve. I'd like to think she killed only the Chief out of fear and attacked the debt collector because any one of us could be driven to such a place is that ass was as snarky and stalkery as that dude turned out to be.
At the very least, Alice got to have some fun before finding herself reunited with her mother.
I'm also sure there is an old playground in Medallion Park that looks scary in that abandoned setting. If there were nearby building, it's not even impossible there would be a stairway to nowhere if the town doesn't care for its derelict properties.
It all came together at the end with the Peaches exploding and Alice realizing she would have done anything not to go insane, but it was already too late as she was back in her mother's arms.
Zoe has been taking her medication. Probably all along. That's why she and Louise got along so well. It's probably why she wanted to leave town.
Who would want to stay just to listen to their sister browbeat them about whether or not they were taking their meds when they were. Zoe didn't know how close to the disease Alice had gotten.
Butcher's Block was beautifully filmed and the breadcrumbs were left to find our way through the schizophrenic mind in a terrifying way. It is horrifying to think this is what some with schizophrenia suffer, and even if it's only a handful who are inflicted so violently, that's too many.
Still, isn't it incredible that our brains, whether healthy or sick, have such magical capabilities? We know we're only using a small fraction of the organ as it is; can you imagine the possibilities if we had more access to its functionality?
Thank you to the author of the creepypasta upon this was chapter was based, Kerry Hammond, to Nick Antosca for bringing Channel Zero to TV, to Arkasha Stevenson for her director's vision and the cast and crew for bringing it home.
It was the best season yet.
If you haven't seen this masterful chapter, do yourself a favor and watch Channel Zero online. You don't want to miss it!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.