Grief and the No-End House: The Monster Within Us

Editor’s Note: Due to the nature of this post (analysis-based), the entire post will be going over the events that transpired throughout the season. If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read further.

If you’ve ever experienced grief, you know its a hopeless, all-consuming thing that changes you fundamentally as a person, depending on how close you were to the individual that died.

For Channel Zero’s The No-End House (2017), the main character Margot, played by Amy Forsyth, is reeling from the death of her father, played by the amazing John Carroll Lynch, a year prior from when we open on the second season of the horror anthology series.

You get the depth of her grief and closeness to her father with old family movie reels, a young Margot getting dunked playfully in the pool by a large, smiling, loving father.

Margot’s best friend, Jules, played by Aisha Dee, has gone off to college, and has returned. Immediately, you get the sense that there’s a schism between the pair, Margot’s father’s death the fuel to this broken car.

It isn’t long before the pair are out on the town due to some convincing by Jules, and Margot, overwhelmed and certainly not ready to mingle with anyone, is ready to leave, when a handsome stranger appears eager to spend some time with her.

The four of them (a childhood friend of the male persuasion meets up with them at the bar as well), head to Margot’s house and there Margot tells her new potential-beau the heartbreaking story of her father’s death as she understands it: He took a large quantity of pills for undisclosed allergies and suffocated to death. She found him.

This is important because it is the image of Margot stumbling upon her father’s corpse sitting in the living room that is a fundamental image of the series that the season goes back to again and again and that the House uses in various ways to wean Margot’s memories. Margot’s guilt is two-fold: she was the one who found him and she feels as if she actually paid attention to her curfew (she was supposed to be home by 10 p.m. that night), he would still be alive.

To get right to it, the aforementioned friend, a haunted house aficionado, hears of this mysterious haunted house called the No-End House, and with nothing else to do, the four head off to find it. It’s in their neighborhood, and with the handsome stranger in tow, Margot seems more at ease taking risks.

Once inside, it’s five rooms (we’re told its six, the sixth being the neighborhood it creates) of varying levels of unease, however, when the group splits off, it becomes personal horrors. Of course, we follow Margot’s journey, the third room on being various pathways through what scares her. Namely, you guessed it, her father’s death.

She’s met with a strange paper-mache version of her father in the fourth room. It’s in a weird copy of her living room, the television playing the same family movie scenes we saw earlier. The video eventually loops with a voice over of her father saying, “Hi Margot,” and of course, the paper-mache version of her father is on his feet, right behind her, trying to hug her all the while the now-terrifying “Hi, Margot,” plays on screen behind her.

It was at this moment, with my second watch, that I saw what the House was doing. It was going into her mind and extracting her fears, and her greatest fear was, of course, her father dying and seeing him in that state. The “Hi Margot,” was the house attempting to recreate her father in—surprise—a copy of their neighborhood, complete with their houses, although everything is much more sparse, here. Instead of one kind of flower that grows in her normal backyard, everything here is orchids, namely orchid mantises that trap insects and eat them.

Just like the house does!

You see, now in this new neighborhood Margot and Jules (everyone else got split up and they came out together) thinks is their own, Margot’s father is in their home. Her mother is, conspicuously, absent, and Margot, just as shocked as I think anyone would be (but not as scared as she should be in my opinion), welcomes it. She, of course, wants to stay although she knows he’s not her real father, though Jules is immediately scared from the moment she sees him.

This of course is where we can see how grief can blind. If given the chance to talk to, hold, laugh with the one you love who died, wouldn’t you?

I personally wouldn’t because if you’re dead (and I stumbled upon your body), I would run as far away from you because—YOU’RE DEAD and I don’t get down like that.

But Margot is blinded by her grief—her need to know how it felt—why he did it, and she won’t take no for an answer.

Of course, this copy of her father is mum on the reasons as to why he did, giving her the decidedly vague, “It didn’t hurt. I felt nothing,” as an answer when she asks what it felt like, because he’s her memories—he can’t give her answers she doesn’t already have.

I won’t get into the entire series, as it dips and dives into the others’ journeys through this strange world, but Margot eventually—when she wakes to find she can’t remember her mother—realizes this of her father is literally sucking and eating the memories out of her mind.

He needs her to continue to live. He lives, literally, off her memories. We’re shown this when he goes to her bedside at night and touches the back of her head, his eyes closed, as though attempting to remember something. A pool of black liquid forms in the basement and her mother, naked and curled into a ball appears. He heads to the basement and tears her arm off and eats the pomegranate-like flesh inside.

This is when the season took a dive into horror territory for me. These copies of the people that died throughout the neighborhood all live like this, and those that can’t live with their grief, their memories alone of their loved ones, stumble upon the house, create this world for themselves where their loved ones are alive, and never leave.

The House itself feeds off these memories to continue to live.

Again, I won’t get into the mechanics of what that means for the others, as the story-line is tied to what happens to them, but for Margot, once she finds out what’s really going on, seeks to leave her house (which is more like a prison in this copy-neighborhood), and that’s when the chase ensues.

You see, those that live off the memories of their loved ones, literally cannot die once they are born in the No-End House world—they must feed off their loves ones until the loved ones have nothing left to give and then and only then will they cease to exist.

That’s all you leave people of when you die, your memories of them.

So she, Margot, and Jules, who is dealing with her own horrors, are chased through this neighborhood, eager to get back to the house, except they can’t because it’s moved, because duh.

So they hunker down with a few survivors, chaos ensues, death ensues, and bing, bam, boom, Margot and Jules make it out. Of course, they go back in, but I wont’t talk about that because this would go on forever. Instead, just know that she comes to terms with the fact that the handsome stranger who practically lead them into the house, lives there—yeah lives there—and tricked her into staying there with him where he would let her father take her memories until she ended up like—surprise, the five other young women he took there previously because he was a foster kid or some such sad nonsense.

That doesn’t excuse being a weirdo klepto, Jeremy! (His name wasn’t Jeremy, I don’t care enough about his name to look it up.) With this reveal, Margot lets the family he kept in a literal cage on the street the House made for him out and they take all his memories, effectively making him well…a shell of himself.

Now out of the House for good, Margot gets a call from her mother whom she can’t remember because the copy-father took her memory of him, and says that Margot’s father knew they were having financial difficulties and took the pills to get a settlement, which they would only get from the insurance if his death was ruled an accident.

Which it was.

And here’s the kicker, after all of that, Margot tells Jules, “Even though I know the reason, it still feels like this weight on my shoulders I have to carry around.” (It’s a paraphrase.)

This just shows kids, that even if you drive yourself mad trying to figure out why death happens, why it must, trust that even if you knew, it wouldn’t lessen the load on your heart or your mind. Death is final and as this season of Channel Zero showed us, it should stay as such.

Margot’s journey to uncover the ‘truth’ of her father’s death led her to a world of horrors where she thought she could uncover the truth of why he did what he did, but all she was met with was a memory that wouldn’t ever be the real person.

That’s all you have of people once they die, your memories of them. And they’re the most precious things people can leave with you. If you can’t handle that unfortunate, or fortunate truth depending on how you look at it, you may just end up in a parallel world that isn’t what it seems with no way out.

(I’m talking about depression if you don’t get it by now.)

Monster Rating: 10/10

The Monster: The House or rather Grief and/or Depression

What did you think of No-End House? Did you find these themes within it? Found something else? Let us know in the comments below!

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