Ready for another dose of terror Gasmii?
So as I sat down to write this week I tried to decide what about this episode was the most frightening. Does the thought of a tribe of Captain-Planet-lovin’ haters judging me unworthy terrify? Nah, anyone willing to post a recap online obviously craves judgment. Does the fear of being buried alive make my skin crawl? Yes, my worst recurring dream is one where I suffocate under a pile of Seattle Grace lab coats. Do I worry that I will be suddenly struck blind in the Amazonian Jungle? I’m terrified to be struck blind in my house. Five minutes later one of my cats will kill me!
We’re watching you, ape-who-feeds-us. You’re just one trip down the stairs from death.
Previously on The River: There’s magic out there, and Emmet Cole has disappeared while searching for it. Tess is desperate to find her wayward spouse, and willing to whore out her son to a reality show to get network backing. A series of unfortunate ghostly events have dropped their crew down by one cameraman.
This week’s Undiscovered Country is a segment taped about sharks in Australia, July 2002. “It’s part of nature to turn on your brother. He’d do the same to you”. Is this a minor swipe on Douche and Tess? The video from last week indicates that Tess and Douche were swapping spit at Christmas time in 1988, so while Emmet Cole is probably a self-absorbed grandiose television personality, I doubt he’s unaware of the affair. Note that Lincoln isn’t in this segment – I bet he’s off at boarding school or college. The camera focuses on a laughing Tess, and we’re back in current day at the Magus with Douche watching on the Sliver station.
Douche hits the StealthSwitch to turn off the emotional porn on the screen as Lincoln heads into the control room. Douche has been busy ‘scanning video’ to find the next location to examine for Dr. Cole. On the bridge the staff examines these printed photos and Lena notices volcanic rock, placing the cave in an area about a day’s hike from the Magus.
Lincoln: “So, we need to hike a full day away from any chance of help, into hostile territory and face certain death. This is part of the plan, Mom?”
Tess: “Yup, I’m still delusional. Let’s head out!”
While the crew prepares for the next death march rather than resting up, we are treated to some more background interviews from secondary characters. I don’t know too much about the filming of reality television, but I’ve always had a sense that shows like Project Runway and Top Chef are draining on contestants not from the personal challenges the audience sees but from all the extra demands of filming a television show. All these interviews have to eat into any rest or relaxation the Magus crew has time for, too. With Jayne’s interview we find out that he’s in it for the money (no surprise). During Emilio’s interview it’s discovered that Emmet Cole hired Emilio straight out of prison when no one else would hire him. Emilio owes Emmet a life debt. How cute, Emmet has a Chewie!
I bet he’ll get hairier as the series continues, too.
The crew is hiking through the forest searching for this cave featured in the videos. Tess is all about moving on without stopping. The group has been hiking all day through thick tropical forestation, dry conditions, and wet conditions and very little down time when they reach the big cave. Jahel, aka Madame Buzzkill, notices a ‘Mark of the Morcegos’ on the outer cave wall. The Morcegos, or “Guardians of the Forest,” are a tribe of warriors who live in the jungle and scare young children with their strange eating and grooming habits.
The Morcegos are kind of like Vegans, only more sociable.
Morcegos guard a sacred spirit stick and curse all intruders in the forest that can’t live up to the spirit of the cheer. Unfortunately most visitors to the area are judged unworthy when they steal routines from the poor school on the other side of the tracks. Can the Magus crew bring on their magical skills with a Krump-Off at Rihanna’s music video audition?
AJ is fine with traipsing through the jungle ahead of the others to set up forward shots, running back to retrieve cameras as the others move ahead and taking a ton of abuse from Jayne. AJ is not okay with caves. AJ was stuck under 300 ft. of rock for days with 22 other men. 19 died, he was one of the 4 who lived. I think being buried alive is AJ’s greatest fear. What perfect timing! I’m sure that he will never need to crawl underground again.
I’ll taunt spirits and shove possessed dolls but I’m not spelunking with you.
The crew minus AJ heads down into the cave, with Douche hoping to find Emmet’s dead body. (Man has a serious need for Tess, that’s all I’m saying.) As caves go, this one is pretty large. All the people can walk upright, plenty of room for the cameras and only a handful of roots and spider webs in the way. I prefer my caves large, cavernous and with a snack bar at the top. More Hannibal, Missouri than anything in West Virginia. Suddenly its pure chaos as the group discovers a mummified body with eyes gouged out, disemboweled and a heart two sizes too small! Jayne grabs a passport conveniently located on the deceased and declares it not Emmet Cole or Lena’s father. Probably some unimportant missionary or Peace Corps worker, Jayne reports. I don’t think the locals necessarily want to read the Book of Mormon or the King James Bible let alone share testimony.
Hasa Diga Eebowai
During these fascinating discoveries, AJ has been keeping busy testing and placing camera equipment in the area around the cave. During one test in particular, one Morcego walks right by in the background through the bushes – this is where I would start getting worried.
That can’t be Heidi, I hid her conditioner but no one saw me.
Unfazed by the mutilated corpse and undoubtedly ordered by the delusional Tess, the Magus crew continues down the cave to their utter doom. A high pitched shriek is coming from up ahead – at this point I was sure we would have another strange ghost sighting, or some unpublished American Idol audition. Instead the crew sees the gorgeous shimmer of light like diamonds, but those diamonds are the eyes of a cave full of bats! I don’t know how this could have been foreseen. Of course, Portuguese for ‘bat’ is Morcego, but Spanish is the second language on this show. Shit, sorry, guano is scattered all over the crew as they run like hell back up the cave path to the mouth, with swarms of CGI bats following them all the way. I was hoping for at least one person to fall on the dead body, but alas I was denied. AJ is right outside, curled into a strange pike position. As Lincoln runs up to check on him, AJ is revealed to be barely restraining a loud stream of laughter. Hey, guano is funny. Like fart jokes and hits to the nuts, it never gets old.
Hours later, Jayne still is pissed at AJ’s laughter, and tosses his camping gear out of the main circle to shun him. I don’t think AJ cares at all. This guy taunts ghosts and follows strange noises; a little public shaming just gives him a night off from filming. Lincoln is attempting to cut his hair with campfire light and a dirty mirror – Lena takes pity on his head and takes over, giving him a haircut vaguely reminiscent of Emmet Cole’s. Can we foreshadow Lincoln’s transformation to his dad any louder? Loud rustling in the woods around seems to signal bedtime! I think it should signal placing all the tents within 4 inches of each other, with someone on guard to shoot anything that moves.
Some strange figures are creeping into the campsite. The doomed Magus crew sleeps on, oblivious to their new friends’ actions.
This isn’t your monthly visitor Tess.
The next morning AJ heads back to camp and finds some physical evidence for how lucky his expulsion proved to be. The group has been tagged with evil eye symbols, and the campfire has a cute window display of Hello Kitty skulls and bones. Nice to see they’re PETA approved. Jahel explains that the Morcegos have begun judgment and only those who deserve to see the jungle will see the jungle. If I could only see the television I proved worthy of I would be expelled to reality land with no hope of scripted programming.
Now the group notices that Emilio has disappeared and begin an orderly and calm search in a standard grid pattern – or they just start running wildly screaming with no thought to the primitive tribe surrounding the camp. During the ‘search’, they pass a little stream of water. Is there a reason this stream wasn’t used last night to rinse off all the guano? Would you choose to sleep in bat shit? I might try drinking coffee brewed from shit beans, but I draw the line at sleeping in it. Emilio is found lying against a tree, with his eyes all puffy and swollen. Rather than toking the good guano and not sharing, Emilio lost his way after losing his eyesight during the night. Over Douche’s objections the group heads back for the Magus to ‘see’ what’s wrong. (Yes, that was the worst, most punny word choice but I can’t help myself).
Lucky for the crew, nothing is tracking them back to the ship.
AJ heads back behind the group to grab his stationary camera, but someone has rudely smashed it to avoid detection. Only AJ would have such a single minded vision to ignore the blatant destruction and assume a crew member tripped over it. A squeal is heard in the woods “Woo Hoo!” Jayne decides to shoot first and ask questions later. The crew members race to the body to discover…
Jayne shot Vicki! Andy’s going to be so pissed…
Jahel thinks this is a really bad development, Bravo executives will be all over this production suing for damages. Clark is pretty nonplussed but now Tess is losing her vision. Rather than digging a pit to make a nice Kalua roast, the crew continues back to the ship.
Somehow all the crew members make it back to the Magus in record time, with two blind members. Speaking of miracles, how is it that Lena is doing all this hiking with a major wound only 7 days old? Is the air in the Amazon magical or is she hoarding miracle cures for flesh wounds? Jahel runs to radio for help, Lena decides to comb through Emmet’s journals for references to this problem, and Jayne loads up more weaponry. Douche makes a real mistake here, showing his hand to Jayne. He requests that Jayne use that super-secret satellite squirrel phone to call in the cavalry. Jayne makes a mental calculation on just how long he needs to take before finding a convenient ‘accident’ to kill Douche.
Lincoln starts flushing Tess’ eyes with an emergency kit, and I can’t keep my eyes on the screen. I wear glasses because I’m half blind but can’t think about touching my eyeball without tearing up. Tears are streaming down my face watching that flush. I have sympathy pain for anything that’s touched Paris Hilton at this point. Oh, the burning.
Jahel is attempting an SOS, but her eyes are starting to burn too. Douche is in the Sliver room replaying footage but now his eyes are going out! Jayne makes an executive decision to move the ship out to the middle of the river just in case the natives decide to try and board. Good idea, watching them swim to the ship will be much more effective on film.
Douche and Tess are both blind now and meet in the hallway of the Magus lower decks. Once Tess realizes Douche has begun to lose his sight, she crumbles a bit. This woman is in such denial, she is still acting a role, devoted wife to Emmet. Douche starts to become Clark to me at this moment when he thinks she is admitting her feelings for him. “I’ve been looking at your face for 20 years. I’d never forget your face…Oh, you were talking about Emmet.” The sadness that over takes him…well, I’ll give him a little more slack. Just a little more humanity and he can be Clark. Tess rubs more salt into the wound with a request to erase all the tapes. Clark’s response is telling “Of course, wouldn’t be the first time, would it?”
She’s not that into me?
Jayne heads into full paranoia, pacing the outer decks with a gun at hand and jumping at every splash. Lincoln, Lena, Tess and Clark meet up in the galley to discuss the cure Lena’s found in Emmet’s journal – the roots of a special tree have acid to counter the poison of the Ciego seed (so it was a poisoned dart after all, not the Guano). Clark heads up to the deck to get Jayne…who stabs him in the gut.
Relax mate, it’s just a flesh wound! At the rate they heal on this ship it will be fine in about 7 days tops.
Fortunately Lincoln’s a doctor so he sutures up Clark’s wounds. Clark takes it like a champ, telling AJ to keep filming. Lena, Jayne and AJ are selected to hunt down the mystical tree. The trio motor away on the raft, but the JabbaWockeeZ have boarded the ship, and they appear to be pissed. Is this because I chose front row seats to Zumanity on my next Vegas trip instead of your show? Sorry, I can’t resist the sexy!
Look ma, no eyes!
The Magus remainders are oblivious to the ABDC champions on deck, and are hanging out in the galley with Clark, who begins coughing violently until the sutures bust open. Lincoln comes up with an idea to suture again with 10 pound fishing line. This will probably cause Clark so much pain that he will pass out and stop coughing. Jahel is confident she can climb up to the navigation room on the second deck due to her superior knowledge of the ship. Let’s examine this a little. Jahel is willing to walk up stairs and across a ship blind when they all know a group of crazy warriors is hunting them. And she’s doing this alone. Jahel, you’re my hero. I’m the insane woman holding her knees to her chest, talking to myself down behind the counter. I’m not going anywhere in that hot mess of a situation. Bleed to death, Clark.
Now two more people leave the galley, Emilio and Tess to grab clean towels. Have these characters no concept of the horror movie convention? Look, when the isolated groups of characters begin splitting off to different areas, bad shit happens. See: all horror movies ever made for more information. Jahel is moving through the ship but her spidey sense is tingling. Tess and Emilio are also moving through the ship, but are just trying not to trip and don’t appear to realize anything is amiss.
Lincoln uses this opportunity to drill Clark on his relationship with Tess. Great timing, Lincoln. You even have a flesh wound to …oh… yes you just dug in for more pressure. Clark lets Lincoln write a narrative he can live with and goes along with it.
Something’s not right – do I smell Corn Nuts?
With her superior skills at paying attention to noise and not ignoring reality, Jahel realizes that she’s being watched, and starts shouting. Now, I’ve watched this scene a few times and can’t determine if she was pushed down the stairs or she jumped? I’m thinking she jumped, because Jahel is running like a bat out of hell down to Tess’ berth and shouting to close and lock all the doors. Lincoln stops his interrogation long enough to lock up too, and we now have two groups of people sealed in isolation on the ship.
Back to the jungle, where Jayne, Lena and AJ have landed. Lena is obviously beginning to lose her vision, and Jayne appears to be trying to hide that he’s next. AJ asks for a gun, but Jayne just punches him.
I thought you asked for one of my guns? To the face?
No time to get mad, it’s time for the scene that made my skin crawl. The trio hears the JabbaWockeeZ approaching, and run into the jungle to hide. In a scene reminiscent to the Ringwraiths coming up on the Hobbits in Fellowship of the Ring, the warrior tracking this trio stalks up on the right side of the screen. In a River twist, Lena and Jayne have to remain silent as HUGE INSECTS SWARM OVER THEIR SKIN…
I just threw up a little.
Back on the ship the iso-teams are just as distressed. Lincoln is dropping F-Bombs all over the galley as he realizes that fishing line isn’t going to happen. He’s scattering crap all over as drawers are being opened and rifled through, but walks over to Clark with a huge knife. Two problems: 1) Lincoln needs to cauterize the wound with a hot knife but no anesthetic and 2) Lincoln is blind. He can suture blindfolded, how hard can cauterizing while blind be?
Fine, I admit it, I Shtup’ed your mom!
Meanwhile, back in the jungle…Jayne can’t pretend to not be blind anymore. AJ doesn’t want to finish this mission on his own; unlike the others he seems to know horror movie conventions (black guy always dies first). After talking a good game, he still heads off to find the tree. AJ can’t help but be the good guy and heads off to the woods, leaving Lena, Jayne and a stationary camera behind.
On the ship the warriors continue to terrorize, banging the doors, the sunroof and keeping everyone on edge. Lincoln is preparing for his ‘operation’, flaming up a knife and pouring some perfectly reasonable rot-gut on the wound to sterilize. Clark performs a service to Tess, insisting that she only started a relationship after Emmet left. Convenient to forget the 20 years prior to that event. Shouting, pain, smoke from the wound (though that last soliloquy probably cooled the knife too much). Based on the past show timelines for healing, Clark should be good to go in about…5 minutes.
Meanwhile AJ is hiking through the woods talking to himself…and finds the tree! In the best moment of the night, he realizes that getting the cure involves crawling under the living tree in a dark, collapsing hole even more terrifying than walking through a big cave underground. I’ll transcribe this for your pleasure, but note that there’s a couple of swear words:
Under the tree? I have to crawl into a cave under a tree? Under a tree? What kind of a smurfing flower grows under a smurfing smurf of a smurf tree? Smurf this smurf of a smurf and the smurfing things I have to do. Smurf, smurf, smurf, smurf this smurfing smurf of a smurf. Smurf the smurf a tree? Ohh….smurf. Smurf this smurf. (breathes heavily as he avoids a panic attack)
The Smurfs have been blurred for the ABC audience protection, but I think you guys can handle them.
I love this guy. He’s a little more restrained than I would be in the same situation, but he’s a braver man than I. Plus I’m female. AJ heads under the tree, practically hyperventilating but continuing on until he gets to the bulbs. And then the cave begins to collapse. Looks like a personal sacrifice to me.
On the ship another type of self-sacrifice is about to occur. Lincoln is calming his mother and preparing her to arm herself as the JabbaWockeeZ almost have the door caved in. Clark wakes up from the pain as she sobs, and begins moving across the room to intervene. Lincoln’s too busy to notice the patient is making noise, since they’re both blind. Clark gets his point across by grabbing Lincoln and knocking him out cold. Clark offers himself up to the JabbaWockeeZ, making an ultimate sacrifice. He takes all the blame for being a selfish asshole, forcing all the group members on this mission and asks to die in their (Tess’) place. Warriors reply by leaving the ship.
While this is a great gesture, I reserve the right to call you Douche in the future.
In the jungle, AJ is yanked out of the dirt cave (grave) by the warrior tracking him. Magic cure bulbs are at his side. He heads back to the others, where Jayne is speaking German in a hushed tone into the Satellite phone never far from his side. “The crew will never find Cole or the Source. They’ll be dead in days. I need an extraction.” Lena doesn’t speak evil German bad guy so she buys his “I’m praying” B.S. story.
German bad guys are awesome.
AJ delivers the cure to the ship, and everyone begins regaining their sight. Lincoln decides to have a little heart to heart chat with Tess on deck. He gives Tess his blessing to move on past her marriage to Emmet, with Clark the voyeur watching on Sliver-cam. Tess choses her TV-perfect family over Clark, and looks directly into the camera to ensure Clark gets the message.
I know you’re watching, perv.
Just one last loose end to tie – Jayne comes into Sliver central to apologize to Clark. His apology is apparently sincere, and so is Clark’s reaction: “Fuck off”.
So ends this week’s adventure, and in many ways this week was more frightening than last week’s premiere was to me. The first two episodes had spectral spooky jumps, while this week was terrifying on a personal level. How do you compare the two weeks? Has this ship lost steam, or is it just now picking up? Did you hear any of Bruce Greenwood (Emmet Cole)’s interviews about the crazy haunted location shooting for this show?
To get the funniest quotes from TVgasm recaps as they’re posted, follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page! You can post your favorite lines right back at us. Thanks for being here!
To follow my personal tweets, You Can Follow Me Here.