“8” tries its hand at some claustrophobic sci-fi creature-feature shenanigans, to unmemorable results.
This recap of The Twilight Zone season 2, episode 6, “8”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
In a deep-sea research station in some far-flung corner of the planet, “8” delivers a bog-standard claustrophobic creature-feature that doubles up as the worst, or at best the least memorable, episode of The Twilight Zone Season 2 thus far.
It has ambition, at least; doubling down on the body-horror and the oppressive atmosphere, this is the most overtly “scary” episode and makes the most of its budget for some fun, nasty kills. But once the tight survival story starts postulating about the future of genetic evolution and suggests a hostile octopus takeover might well result from humanity’s meddling, it’s easy to see the whole thing as a bit misguided and silly.
The NYBY Science Station makes for a decent setting in The Twilight Zone season 2, episode 6, but not one that necessarily stands out in the crowded field of all-time classic sci-fi-horror research stations. It’s a far cry from the Nostromo or the base in The Thing or even the undersea drilling platform from this year’s Lovecraftian creature-feature Underwater. But it has enough tight spaces and blind corners that, once a new species of super-intelligent predatory octopus gets aboard, it can generate some tension.
Of course, said octopus escapes and goes on a killing spree, strangling its way through the various thinly-developed researchers across an unmemorable half-hour. This stuff is all passable, but not striking, though it’s nice to see this level of bloodletting in what has been a reserved season thus far. But once the octopus figures out a plan to copycat its DNA for bioengineering purposes, it flips the script, altering its own biological makeup so that it can lead a land conquest. That’s where “8” ends, having failed to impress beforehand.
At just 30 minutes, The Twilight Zone season 2, episode 6 is a brief episode without much to say, however thought-provoking it believes itself to be. But as a diversionary exercise it takes us into the back half of the second season with a decent attempt at an Alien-style sci-fi creature-feature – just not a very good one.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.