Entertainment

Why You Need to See 'The Twilight Zone' Season 2's Crazy Octopus Episode

It's H.P. Lovecraft meets 'The Thing.'

twilight zone reboot season 2 octopus
CBS All Access

CBS All Access' reboot of the classic horror sci-fi show The Twilight Zone, hosted and produced by Jordan Peele, has been a lot of fun over its first two seasons, if a little hit-or-miss for long-time aficionados out there. A few of the new installments have managed to rival the spirit of the original series, and Season 2, which arrived last weekend, has at least one in the form of the sixth episode, '8,' in which a team of researchers in Antarctica meet a very naughty octopus.

The biologists, one of whom is played by Community's Joel McHale, are holed up in a blizzard while fishing new species of deep-sea life out of the swiftly warming coastal waters. When two of the scientists disappear down a hole into the icy depths, the remaining researchers blame their newly captured giant octopus, and spend the episode arguing over whether to kill it or whether to save it for whatever mysterious bioengineering project their research is for.

The episode was written by legendary X-Files scribe Glen Morgan and helmed by The Endless directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, and it's like the H.P. Lovecraft novella "At the Mountains of Madness" meets The Thing, with a touch of cephalopod mayhem thrown in. It also contains all kinds of fun little details and homages, like a TV in the background playing an episode of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, narrated by one Rod Serling. The octopus makes for a perfect villain, squeezing itself into pipes and shooting jets of water to douse the ceiling lamps, using its photoreceptive skin cells to camouflage itself inside its icy prison while the humans remain unaware until it's too late. It's enough to make you wonder: What if evolution had gone the other way, and our betentacled distant cousins had been given the tools to rule the Earth?

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.