Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block– Episode 2: “Father Time”

Starring: Holland Roden, Olivia Luccardi, Krisha Fairchild, Linden Porco, and Rutger Hauer
Written by
: Harley Peyton, Mallory Westfall, and Angel Varak-Iglar
Directed by
: Arkasha Stevenson

Review by Justin Partridge

”Do you know what The Food Chain is, Timmy? Well, the first thing to know about The Food Chain is, we’re on top of it, and evvvvverything else is lower down.”

Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block continues to not fuck around in its second episode. Armed with a driven, consistently scary script from staffers Harley Peyton, Mallory Westfall, and Angel Varak-Iglar and theatrically violent, methodical direction from Arkasha Stevenson, “Father Time” aims to eat your goddamn liver while showing you a man-eating someone’s godDAMN liver. While other season’s tended to lean on more shadowy, lyrical depictions of horror, Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block looks to be a season that goes full tilt visceral. The show is all the stronger for it.

Last night, in Butcher’s Block, Zoe SAW something.” Thus kicks off this episode’s driving plot given grace and empathy from actors Holland Roden and Krisha Fairchair, who are our leads this week. Both Alice and Louise are hip to the insanity spreading across the city and are determined to get to the bottom of it. Even better, the show doesn’t waste any time showing exactly what caused the sisters to suddenly move in the first place. Told in all its gory detail and pieced out over blunted flashbacks throughout the episode.

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Linden Porco as Smart Mouth — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

While all the seasons so far have explored the idea of dealing with trauma, “Father Time” feels much more empathic and engaging. Thanks in large part to the predominantly female cast, the writing staff’s own deft touch, and Arkasha Stevenson’s bluntly raw direction. Holland Roden and Oliva Luccardi feel like actual blood. Embodying all the beautiful, skin-crawling familiarity and raw truth that comes from that relationship. Krisha Fairchild’s Louise hovers over the episode like an immutable truth. All questions and fact seeking as she continues her own (increasingly insane) investigation.

While that all sounds like more HBO drama fare than that of a horror show’s, trust me, guys, “Father Time” is nowhere even CLOSE to short on scares and bloody set pieces. The episode’s script does a fine job of fleshing out Zoe and Alice’s backstory. It also starts giving away tidbits about the Peach Family, the seemingly immortal clan of 1%ers that doomed the city. This is where most of the episode’s red spreading is focused as the writers, and Stevenson, treat us to meticulously paced and showy sequences. One based around the Peach’s patented “procedure” that can miraculously cure addiction and psychological pain. By means of Victorian brain surgery. And the other, a gory, but truly, dark and funny scene of one of the younger Peaches. Let’s just say, taking a meal down at the county jail, much to the horror of his captors.

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Annelise Pollman as Izzy — (Photo by: Syfy)

BUT IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH, Stevenson and the writers also display a cunning knack for Lynchian like surrealism that almost sharpens the bloody stuff in contrast backed by Jeff Russo’s truly bizarro score. Stuff like Linden Porco’s Smart Mouth giving an eloquent speech about his long-dead sisters at a family meal. The sharp-toothed Eraserhead inspired personification of Alice’s budding schizophrenia peeking from the folds of her brain. All while Rutger Hauer’s Joseph holds an ivory mirror to show her. Arkasha Stevenson films it all with a sort of stagey quality that sells it really well. Giving audiences a full range of her talents and abilities as a horror director.

If I had just one complaint, it’s about the random use of CG throughout this episode. It’s just little things, but they are super on the nose not to address. Things like grim grey flashes of “monstery” looking scrims across bits of meat and faces that really undercut Stevenson’s already focused direction. Now, this may just be a choice, and if so, I will shut my yap. However, it seems kind of redundant and hokey. A stark contrast to the show that surrounds it.

Verdict: Please, dear God, Watch It. I am going to be honest, despite my love for the previous seasons, your mileage will wildly vary on them. That’s just the truth. One day, I will probably explain why. But that said, I truly believe Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block will be the season that will really catch the hell on. So, it is up to YOU to give it that audience. It’s scary, raw, and ambitious as all hell. Ambitious in the right way, instead of the trashy or stunt castingly way (LOOKING AT YOU AHS). It isn’t for the faint of heart, for sure, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t satisfyingly scary. It’s also one major step forward for female-driven horror. 

Until next week, ya ghouls, be seeing you.

Justin Partridge
A writer, a dandy, a Friend of Tom, and a street walkin' cheetah with a heart fulla napalm. He has loved comics all his life but he hasn't quite got them to love him back just yet. That hasn't stopped him writing about them or about any other media that hoves into his sights. He can usually be reached via the hellscape that is Twitter @J_PartridgeIII or by e-mail at

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