My friend woke up in a terrified panic while watching this.
We had queued up episode 2 of Channel Zero: No-End House to watch simultaneously, in our own homes, ready to chat on WhatsApp. About 17 minutes from the end, I noticed he’d gone quiet. Being the stubborn, internalised storyteller that I am, I assumed he’d naturally just decided to stop talking to me, or had gone away and found something more interesting. So I semi-stewed and finished the episode, then half-heartedly said goodnight.
Five minutes later, he messaged me: ‘holy shit! are you still there?’
Against my better spitement, I messaged him back to the affirmative. He had fallen asleep during one of the episode’s surreal, mesmerising dream sequences, shortly after the characters realise they’re still inside the house, and that the laws of time, space and physics have been shredded.
Only when he woke up, he didn’t realise he’d been snoozing, and hadn’t remembered dozing off. It was a snap moment from being fully awake to being fully awake again 20 minutes later.
It took him a while to regain his composure; I suggested getting up for a drink of water, standing outside on his balcony to let the cold air and the street smells and sounds reassure him, or grab some dishes or put away something in the kitchen to ground him into the reality of some chore-related accomplishment.
He admitted that a show in which the characters are trapped in a terrifying other-realm that’s deliberately resembling their real world and playing tricks on your mind is the worst kind of programme to fall asleep to. After more chatting, some fresh air, some water, finishing the episode (his insistence) and an episode of our favourite cat anime, he felt better, but still couldn’t shake it for a few days.
Four episodes left, but I’m glad we took a little break. I’d be freaked out, too. As for the actual episode: points for the slow-burn-to-inexplicably-weird-gore that Season 1 so expertly doled out.