THE OLD GUARD (2020) stars Charlize Theron as Andromeda, the leader of a quartet of ageless, unkillable trouble-shooters (“We fight for whatever cause seems right to us.”) startled that for the first time in more than a century, a new immortal’s been born (a black female Marine thoroughly unsettled by all this). Making matters worse, Andromeda’s body is beginning to run down (it happens eventually) and a Pharma CEO wants to capture them all to monetize the secret of their healing factor (I can’t believe not one person in the film made a Wolverine joke). A franchise launch — the ending sets up for a sequel or a series to follow — but a fun one. “Three hundred years at the bottom of the ocean would make anyone insane.”
Written by Nicholas Meyer, INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS (1973) has scientists in a small Southwestern research facility turning up dead due to heart attacks from intense sex, which brings federal agent William Smith to investigate. Could it have anything to do with researcher Victoria Vetri (a former Playboy centerfold totally rocking the Hot Librarian look)? Or maybe sexy entomologist Anitra Ford? Unraveling the mystery involves batshit Weird Science (“If they replaced the androgen and estrogen with androgynous hormones they could reshape the cellular structure!”) the kind of warnings against casual sex that would be standard a decade later (if this had been released 15 years later it would have looked like an AIDS allegory), and lots of hot, scantily clad bisexual women (plus, unfortunately, an ugly attempted rape sequence). The queen bee’s motive is unknown (nor do they explain why unlike the others she can turn her multifaceted eyes normal), which makes me wonder if the subtext is the old antifeminist bogeyman of a ruthless feminazi lesbian cabal reducing men to slaves. In any case, great fun for someone with my taste. “Keep me company in my time of … need.”
The fourth season of BLIND SPOT ended on a great cliffhanger: Burke (Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio) in control of the FBI, Jane Doe’s (Jaimie Alexander) team framed as fugitives, Burke’s Big and Evil Plan underway and the team apparently killed (admittedly the escape was so obvious, I was more surprised that one person did buy it). This season Jane, Kurt and the others fight back trying to stop Burke’s scheme (which involves weaponizing the amnesia drug used on Jane in the past) and clear their names; while I was disappointed with the finish for S2 and S3, I was confident this season and the series would go out on a win.
And it almost did, until they decided to get clever with the ending. First we see Jaimie, Kurt and their friends, happy in their post-FBI lives; then Jane starts seeing visions of herself dying in Times Square seconds after saving the day and getting stuffed into a body bag (mirroring the opening of S1). Is it a dark thought of how it could all have finished or is the happy ending just a dying hallucination (most online critics think the latter, though I believe the evidence shows Happy Is Real). That’s the kind of arty finish I could have done without — and dammit, I wanted a happy ending! That aside, it was an impressive final episode that squeezed in more than 100 cameos from seasons post. “That’s probably the last time you’ll say ‘let’s focus’ when trying to defuse a bomb.”
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