Welcome back to the Whale Wars! The seventh-inning stretch is over and it’s looking like the final few episodes of season four will be pretty darn exciting. And pretty much anything would be exciting compared with the first seven episodes of this season.
We pick up right where we left off last week. The Steve Irwin is heading back to port for fuel, having just lost track of the Nisshin Maru. The Bob Barker is about to sail to the area where the Steve Irwin had been searching—but before it can do that, it must rid itself of the whaling vessel that’s tailing it, the Yushin Maru #3. Finally, the Gojira has been repaired and it joins the Barker in the hunt.
The Barker prepares a small boat mission to harass the Yushin Maru #3. They have to get out of its radar range so it can’t relay the Barker’s position on to the Nisshin Maru. That means the Barker will have to leave its small boats behind in the open ocean while it speeds away. It’s pretty much the same plan that they used earlier in the season. The first time it nearly ended in disaster, and even though the Gojira will be nearby this time, the small boat crews are nervous. They pack a few extra sleeping bags to keep warm in case they have to sit in -35 degree wind chill again, but there’s really nothing else they can do aside from just not fucking it up again. The boats launch and the attack is underway.
We have two small boats, one piloted by fan favorite, (or maybe fan-indifferent), Pottsie, the other by art-student-turned-sailor Chad Halstead. Chad’s boat deploys a prop fouler, hoping to muck up the Yushin Maru #3’s propeller. Pottsie’s boat does the same. Neither seem to have any effect. Then the Gojira begins an attack run. It fires paint bombs against the Yushin #3’s hull, because apparently that does something. The Bob Barker still can’t get out of radar range. Pottsie tries one more prop fouler, and to my ASTONISHMENT, it actually works. That’s the first time in the history of Whale Wars this has worked, and probably also the history of whaling, boats, and rope. The Yushin Maru #3 stops in the water. It looks like the Bob Barker is in the clear…and then they receive a distress signal from the Yushin #3. It has come to a dead stop.
Now, according to maritime law, when there’s a distress signal any ship in the vicinity must respond, so that’s what Sea Shepherds do. (And it’s not like Animal Planet has ever given us a reason to doubt what we’re seeing. Shut up). The Barker and the Gojira both try to hail the Yushin Maru #3 on the radio, but the whalers don’t respond. The two small boats tentatively approach the Yushin #3 to see what’s going on. And then…the whalers throw a spear at them.
Jesus Christ on the cross. It really happens! You really need to see the full recap, guys. This blew my fucking mind.
So it’s pretty clear that the whalers were faking being disabled, so that the Bob Barker would be obligated to stop and stay within radar range. Now the whalers resume sailing at full speed. Assholes! The Gojira tries its hand at a prop fouler. It releases a fouler with a bunch of metal cans attached and drags it in front of the Yushin #3.
In order to pull off a prop foul this way the Gojira has to run right out in front of the Yushin Maru #3…like, that’s just the procedure. Still, the show tries to present this as if the whalers were trying to run the Gojira over, like the Shonan Maru #2 did to the Ady Gil last season. It would be like kicking a lion in the face and then blaming the lion for ripping you apart, pretty much. And then suing the lion while you’re at it.
Regardless, the Bob Barker still hasn’t gotten away, and the small boats are running out of fuel, so the Sea Shepherds really have one last shot to divert the Yushin Maru #3. Pottsie again pulls out a prop fouler. He pilots his small boat in close. Runs out in front of the whaling ship…maybe too close…and the show cuts to commercial.
But they’re fine. It’s a you’d-already-know-about-it-if-something-bad-happened kind of moment. The small boat deploys the prop fouler, the fouler gets sucked into the whalers’ propeller, and the whalers have to stop. No shenanigans this time, as it looks like they really are having mechanical troubles. The Barker is now able to get out of range and the small boats rejoin it. The hunt for the Nisshin Maru can resume.
The Gojira heads east to join the Barker, and both ships begin to scour the ocean in a grid pattern. It’s yet another needle-in-a-haystack scenario, and it probably goes on for a few days, but mercifully, it’s compressed down to about a minute. That’s when the Sea Shepherds spot a trail of whale guts in the water. The whalers must be close! And pretty silly, to leave a trail leading right to them like that. Shortly later, one of the bridge crew spots something suspicious on the horizon. Could it be the fleet?
Nope. Iceberg. A few days go by. Then, the Gojira crew spots the Nisshin on the horizon.
And that’s yer episode. I don’t know how they’ll top this the next two weeks. They shouldn’t even try. All I’ll say is, check out the full recap Monday for all the glory. Trust me, there’s a shitload of glory.