A speedster and a cephalopod: TV and movies

Like the CW’s Nancy Drew, FLASH wrapped up short of its planned run due to COVID-19’s effect on shooting. Instead of ending the season’s arc, we wrapped up with a cliffhanger to be resolved whenever next season can finally launch. But hey, it did make a good stopping point, even if it wasn’t planned as such.

While I was disappointed with Bloodwork, the first half-season’s villain, the second half made up for it. We actually have two villains: Carver (Eric Nenninger) is a Luthor-esque corrupt CEO running the dark science crime network Black Hole. His wife, Eva McCulloch (Efrat Dor) — close to the name of DC’s second Mirror Master — is a scientist trapped in a mirror-universe years early. Unstable due to her isolation and from Carver’s lack of interest in rescuing her, she’s determined to break out. Part of her scheme involves replacing Iris and a couple of other characters with mirror doubles obedient only to her. Iris, meanwhile, is trapped inside the mirror and slowly going mad.

Eva makes a much more effective villain than Bloodwork, and by the looks of the final episode she’ll have not only her super-science but the CEO of Doom role. Meanwhile something is happening to Iris in the mirror-verse and it isn’t good …

A B-plot for this season involves Sue Dearborn (Natalie Dreyfuss), a professional thief and adventurer working against Carver who winds up joining forces with Ralph (Dearborn was the maiden name of the Elongated Man’s wife in comics). Like most Flash watchers, I think they’re great together. Another element is that the Speed Force is dying; by the end of the season Barry can’t even whip up enough wind to douse a fire.

There were some elements that didn’t work so well, such as Caitlin and Frost trying to get Frost a life of her own, and “Nash” Welles convoluted relationship with a new metahuman, but overall, even with the short run, this half was a win.

IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955) was the first of many pictures Ray Harryhausen made with producer Charles Schneer, who supposedly provided the seed idea for this one — a giant octopus pulling down the Golden Gate Bridge.Kenneth Tobey plays the submarine commander whose nuclear sub, in the opening scenes, is attacked by something strong enough to hold it in place. Faith Domergue is one of the scientists assigned to investigate a piece of tissue left on the sub, coming to the conclusion it was some sort of giant octopus. Rather than being a mutant, it’s a natural giant rendered radioactive by nuclear testing; now fish, with their innate sensitivity to radiation, can avoid it so it’s desperately dragging down boats and attacking the coast for food. This isn’t an improvement on the “grew big because, radiation” origin but it does make it a little distinctive.

While the giant octopus is impressive (YMMV if you’re not a stop-motion fan), the story itself is flat. The film spends too much time trying to gather evidence to convince the military the threat is real, which we already know. And while Domergue’s colleague (Donald Curtis) is apparently involved with her, he doesn’t object at all when she goes for Tobey, so that makes it rather pointless. Watchable, but not Harryhausen’s best. “That haystack just became a lot smaller than we imagined.”

#SFWApro. Cover by Carmine Infantino, all rights to images remain with current holder.

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