SyFy’s Channel Zero: Candle Cove began with the story of Mike Painter (Paul Schneider): a psychologist besieged by waking nightmares, hallucinations, or worse. The premier episode saw him trying to find peace by returning to his forlorn hometown of Iron Hill. Mike is tormented by both the unexplained murder of his twin brother and several other children decades ago and by his memories of Candle Cove: a mysterious, frightening television show that only children can see. From an adult’s point of view, the children are watching a blank screen.
If Mike wanted peace, he isn’t finding it. One child has already been lured away at the urging of the sinister images on her television screen. She returned home mostly unharmed, but not before suspicion fell on Mike as the prime suspect in the abduction. Is Mike a madman still in the throes of the psychotic break that drove his wife and daughter away, now committing crimes that he isn’t even aware of. If he is, then what is Candle Cove? Or the toothsome creature lurking in the woods outside of town, for that matter?
Episode 2, I’ll Hold Your Hand seems to make it clear that Mike is not guilty of the little girl’s abduction, but he is guilty of something. And then the little girl becomes guilty of something too.
I’ll Hold Your Hand is short on thrills, yet beautifully bleak. There’s a revelation about Mike and his brother that viewers will probably already have seen coming. But while the plot twist might not be suspenseful, the way it is played and the impact it has on the characters is well-executed. Channel Zero is consistent in its slow, steady horror. Just like the full-view shots of the tooth creature do not make it less disturbing, knowing what dark secret Mike is about to reveal doesn’t make it less troubling.
I’ll Hold Your Hand could easily be dismissed as an unimportant episode at first, but as in the first episode, there is so much to watch for. We learn that certain people in the town know more than they’re letting on, and we see that the similarity in shape between a television cord and a gut hook aren’t subtle. The episode also cements that our journey through Candle Cove will be a slow one, but it will most certainly be interesting.