Calls have been pouring in since I reviewed Tormented for you. The questions have been excellent and deserve answers:
Dolly Varden of Bodega Bay, CA, asks: What's the matter with Vi in this story? She had a chance to take Tom, his fiancee and the fiancee's little sister into the sea in one fell swoop, then she just...didn't.
Well, Dolly, I think we can easily see that Vi was a very new operative. She can live underwater, and communicate with Tom telepathically to bring him to her, but she has not even begun her physical transformation into fish form. It would be asking a lot, at this early stage, for her to pull off a complex recruiting move like the one you are describing. I couldn't do it myself until I was nearly sixty, and this little gal is only in her twenties.
Frankie Leigh Siluris of Little Miskatonic, MA, called to point out: I think Sandy is the best recruiting material in the whole story. Not only does she apparently live on that beach 24 hours a day, but she finds all the clues laid down by Vi and would cheerfully follow Tom into either fire OR water, allowing Vi to use him as a lure. In contrast, I'm not sure what Vi even sees in Tom Stewart, other than his connection to Sandy. Why not cut out the middleman and recruit Sandy instead?
EXCELLENT question. I can't speak for Vi, who is after all a character in a movie, but here's my guess: she's doing exactly what you long for her to do, but very slowly, trawling Tom back and forth across the beach like the LIVE BAIT that he is. Tom sure seems able to snag any female he wants, and why waste a talent like that? But the other great thing about Sandy is that she's likely to moon over Tom for the rest of her life, whether he marries her big sister or not. Vi can easily use this to lure her in. But she is MUCH MORE USEFUL TO US up on dry land at her age. That puppy love for Tom will keep until she's ready to join us in the sea. Either way, taking her now or later, Vi wins. My only shadow of doubt is that Vi may have blown the whole bit by appearing in public in the stolen wedding ring.
Ray Dasyatis, of Slidell, LA, called in with this comment: I fail to see the significance of Mrs. Ellis in the story. A little help here?
Ah, Mrs. Ellis. This is some of the subtle symbolism for which Bert I. Gordon is so famous. Here's Mrs. Ellis, the local blind lady, cheerfully discussing the question of ghosts with Tom and even interacting with them herself, without realizing what she's up against. Vi is not a ghost but one of our operatives, transforming from a pretty blonde lounge singer to a water-breathing telpath -- I'd guess an Electric Catfish, but there are no guarantees with these artistic types. In the movie Mrs. Ellis is blind to the fact that she's dealing with a ghost; as a human, she AND HER WHOLE SPECIES, EVEN THE FILM CREW, are blind to the fact that they are dealing with a trickier-than-average FISH.
Keep those cards and letters coming, kids. I'm going to go watch the movie again.