It isn’t easy to tell a story of alternate realities and stolen memories in just six hours of television. But SyFy Channel’s Channel Zero: No-End House puts a terrific exclamation point on such a story with its final hour, ominously titled The Hollow Girl.
A year has passed since Margot, John, and Seth returned to the No-End House, leaving a distraught Jules staring at the empty lot upon which the house once stood. During that time Jules has relentlessly studied her supernatural foe and prepared herself to do battle with it to get Margot back. But during that time John has grown to resent and regret the way he must endlessly feed on Margot’s thoughts. When Margot learns the house has rematerialized in a new location and is ready to take in new victims, she wonders if there might be a way to stop it, setting Seth very much on edge. The resulting chain of events causes very evil secrets to come to light and calls into question what love might really be without memory and vice versa.
With only a sliver of what was already a very small cast still in play for the finale, The Hollow Girl goes for the intimacy of the story between Margot and her loved ones rather than exploring the cosmic mystery of the House itself. This might seem like a dissatisfying conclusion, but it makes sense and is well-played. When most of what you are has been taken from you, it makes sense that you would fight that much harder for whatever is left, and the circumstances of how it all got that way be damned. Special credit goes to Aisha Dee as Jules, who skillfully manifests the toughness this character has developed over her unseen year-long journey. Jules has largely been a bystander throughout the events of Margot’s life and the series. Now she takes control, becoming very much the hero of the story and its emotional heart. Meanwhile, Amy Forsyth (Margot) and John Carroll Lynch (John) share the most emotional moment of the series near the episode’s end, saying in no words everything that their relationship has come to symbolize and leaving the viewer feeling their regret as they make the final decisions regarding both each other and the universe they have come to inhabit. This father-daughter team were perfectly cast. Without Forsyth and Lynch there would simply be no No-End House. This television event could not have happened as it has.
If The Hollow Girl has a flaw, it is that perhaps too much focus is given to what Jules has become and not enough to how she got there. The year Jules spent on the outside is worthy of its own spin-off, as there are so many questions begging to be answered about how she dealt with literally meeting her mother and sister all over again, to dealing with the inevitable fall-out from Margot’s mother and JD’s family regarding the disappearance of their loved ones. Jules is such a rich and understated character that she is perhaps too understated, and finding out what her year leading up to this episode entailed would have been very satisfying.
Each season of SyFy Channel’s Channel Zero might be based on a different Creepypasta story. But the seasons each seem intent on exploring family tragedy and twisting the knife of that sorrow in their season finale. Candle Cove brought a truly sorrowful end to the saga of two brothers and No-End House does the same with its sad tale of a daughter and the ravenous simulacrum of her late father. Like its predecessor, No-End House does not provide easy answers to its protagonists’ troubles, nor end with the promise that everything will be okay. Instead it asks the audience to think about the relationship they have just spent six hours exploring and let it jell in their psyche. The ugliness is presented as part of the overall beauty, and the parts we would like to forget are most necessary to the overall whole. It’s just the kind of lesson the No-End House would strive to keep us from learning, and we are left to wonder whether we will follow its path or our own.