The journey of Margot (Amy Forsyth) and her friends through the enigmatic No-End house has been slow and perilous. For Margot, it at first seemed like a second chance with her deceased father. But the father was not what he seemed, for it turned out he and all the other creations of the the House are created to feed on human memories, leaving their creators mindless or dead. In “The Exit” Margot’s group set out to escape this ghoulish hell, unaware that some of their companions are no longer what they seem.
This episode serves up some of the creepiest atmosphere of the season, and that’s saying something. Watching the inhabitants gather to stalk the would-be fugitives is handled perfectly. The House’s identity has been solidly maintained throughout the series, and the slow, relentless way it defends itself in this episode continues the tradition.
Tensions come to a head with escape in sight as the House reveals its final trump card: a corn maze inhabited by a shambling horde of discarded creations. Channel Zero allows itself the slightest bit of indulgence in zombie movie tropes here, but they don’t overdo it and the restraint makes the threat still feel credible. Carnage ensues and several characters fall, but it’s from the secrets that they keep as much as it is the threat around them. Some odd characterization choices seem to have been made here, however, and Margot comes off unusually wooden at some very dramatic moments. But it doesn’t break the immersion or ruin the scene. Just makes the events of the episode seem even more odd and surreal than they already are.
Eventually, Margot and Jules (Aisha Dee) are allowed to escape if they can first retrace their steps through the No-End House. Naturally, it’s not the same experience twice. While the production team clearly went out of their way to make the second journey through the house as special as the first, the corn maze sequence of the episode proves difficult to top. No fewer than three of the characters we’ve gotten to know over the course of four hours of television have just been brutally killed within minutes of each other. After that, watching the girls play what amounts to a game of hop-scotch around a few pools of blood just feels anticlimactic in comparison.
Of course we, the audience, know that the girls’ experience with the No-End House is far from over, but it is nice to watch them achieve victory by the end of the episode, albeit a costly one. Of course, it is immediately made clear how much danger they are still in, with the episode ending on a suspenseful twist. The Exit is not a perfect hour of television, but it is a quintessentially Channel Zero one.