Channel Zero Butcher's Block Review: Alice in Slaughterland

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What does it all mean? In whose minds are we tinkering while watching?

None of that is clear by the time we come out of Channel Zero Season 3 Episode 4, an hour that begins with what seems like the very real recollection of Alice dealing with Zoe's past as she first fell victim to Father Time.

But as the installment progressed, the similarities between what was happening "upstairs" and in what I supposed was the real word with Louise and Luke left me stumped. Other than my certainty this is more than a mere horror story, I have no idea which way is up.

Her Own Madness - Channel Zero

While "Alice in Slaughterland" was jam-packed with activity, I'm no closer to understanding how it all ties together.

There has to be some significance in the choices Alice made along the way, the things she experienced in the field, the riddles she heard and why she ultimately decided to stay with the Peach family when Zoe was so desperately trying to persuade her otherwise.

Related: Channel Zero Butcher's Block Review: All You Ghost Mice

The most obvious answer is her madness was quickly catching up with her even if she wasn't as close to her 26th birthday as her mother and sister were at the time their schizophrenia hit.

Father Time Catches Up - Channel Zero Season 3 Episode 4

Seeing her little head lurking about was one thing, but what it had grown into, a tall, flat creature with a bulbous paper mache head, was downright frightening. Do people who suffer from the disease give their diagnosis a personification like that? 

If the diagnosis alone wasn't enough to scare the pants off of you, whatever creature took light as a result surely would. To suffer from something that's so closely connected to your imagination (as I assume schizophrenia would be considered) has to be the very worst.

Related: Channel Zero: Butcher's Block Review: Father Time

It's like living in a waking nightmare from which you can never wake. 

The flashbacks to Zoe at the beginning of her disease worrying about the harmless neighbor and unable to recognize her sister were heartbreaking for everyone involved, even the police officers called to the scene.

Rib Cage Garnishment - Channel Zero Season 3 Episode 4

Now, though, Zoe is at peace with herself.

I can only guess she went with the Peach family to keep Alice safe or because she was under a spell of some kind or because she is dead. I cannot think of any other theory that fits given her current actions.

If she was with the Peaches because she wanted to partake of their lifestyle, she would be willingly eating their bountiful food supply. Perhaps she doesn't know that it's garden variety and not taken from the bodies of unwilling human donors. 

I have to admit, they have given new meaning to the term "finger food."

Finger Food - Channel Zero Season 3 Episode 4

If that's how they've been surviving all the time they've been gone, it's not a bad living. The meat looks divine, and the crops appear to be plentiful. 

Granted, they kill and eat those who cross them, but whether or not that is something they choose to do or they do as an "eat what you kill" policy is unknown. Why waste good food, right?

Related: Channel Zero: Butcher's Block Season 3 Episode 1 Review: Insidious Onset

I've grown to like Edie Peach. Her relationship with Zoe is sister-like, and she seems to care genuinely for Zoe. 

Mmmm. Give me parfait and ear wafer. My favorite. Bring it on!

Edie

She's also funny as hell, while still retaining enough mystery that I'm not sure if she is peachy keen with being a Peach or incredibly relieved to have someone else in the house that doesn't officially belong to the family.

Having been perennially pregnant since her "death," I have to wonder if she's been caring for Izzy upstairs or if the little girl has been on her own since her mother was served as dinner.

Izzy in the Field - Channel Zero Season 3 Episode 4

I'm fairly certain that Joseph losing his two daughters will be a key to solving the puzzle of this chapter of Channel Zero.  Izzy probably got caught up in whatever it is that eventually led to Alice and Zoe as the ultimate replacements for his dead girls...unless they ARE the girls who were originally dead.

Who knows with this show?

The family theme and things going terribly wrong struck in another crazy way when Luke appeared at Louise's door with the not-quite-dead Robert. 

They worked their asses off to get all of the blood out of the backseat of his patrol car, but it didn't matter in the long run. 

Best Big Chainsaw Scissors Ever - Channel Zero Season 3 Episode 4

The shenanigans they went through to kill Robert and cover their tracks was grotesque and remarkably good TV, but Luke desperately wanted to believe the Peaches must have had something on his father for him to be working with them.

All that got him was his throat slit ear-to-ear.

Related: Get Shudder via Amazon Channels for Spine-Tingling & Provocative Films, TV Series, & Originals!

The best and worst part of that scene was how it was playing out in tandem with Joseph killing Alice's disease upstairs. SPOILER ALERT!! Photos of Channel Zero Season 3 Episode 5 show that Luke will be upright, a slit throat and all. So I ask again, what does it all mean?

There is connective tissue running through the stories that may go beyond the schizophrenia. Perhaps it's the kidnapping? The original murder of Joseph's daughters? Were they killed by someone with schizophrenia? Did he have schizophrenia and murder them? Maybe Robert, the favorite son, is guilty. 

Where does it then connect to Alice and Zoe's mom and going through the door to find Alice stabbed? Did Mom kill Zoe? Is Alice making all of this up from an insane asylum with a view of the Peach's Meats sign? Is Louise her doctor and Luke her nurse? 

I'd love to know what you all think and to hear your thoughts on the incredible production of Butcher's Block. With only two episodes remaining, I need to know where you stand!! 

If you need to search for more clues, do it when you watch Channel Zero online via TV Fanatic. 

Alice in Slaughterland Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (10 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA Member), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Channel Zero Season 3 Episode 4 Quotes

Zoe: Do you feel safe?
Alice: Yeah, why?

Gardener: I am framed, but not guilty. I have locks, but no hair. I only close when I am open, and my jam will not spread on any toast. What am I?
Alice: A waste of time!