There’s an elephant in the room with this season, and that is, events on camera don’t match up with events in real life. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t really see it necessary to address it all that often. Everything I put on this site comes with the awareness that it’s somewhat fake. I hope that comes across.
So, I’m going to give up one more thought on it here in the intro to the eighth episode of this season and not mention again, (unless something really egregious happens). Here it is…
I’m pretty sure Animal Planet didn’t send any cameras with Sea Shepherd this season. Oh, they DID film the first three seasons, but by now they probably felt they had enough footage to cobble together ten episodes without shooting any new stuff. I think that’s why it all feels so fake. I bet all the calendars and shit say, like, 2009 on them.
OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s pretend like this is something real and go forward!
Whaling on the Truth
Season 4 is saved…entertainment-wise, anyway
This could be happening any time between January and December
PREVIOUSLY ON THE WHALE WARS
-last week the Steve Irwin, acting on an anonymous tip, found the Nisshin Maru after two months of searching, then lost it mere hours later because their only pilot, Chris Aultman, had to take a nap.
“We’re all very tired…of Whale Wars”
-Now it’s headed back to port for refueling.
-The Bob Barker is taking its place in the search, leaving behind the Japanese refueling tanker. But the Yushin Maru #3 is shadowing them and relaying their position to the Nisshin Maru. First the Barker has to rid itself of its tail.
-It also looks like the Gojira will be resuming the fight.
It’s not the Gojira, it’s actual Godzilla, rising from the depths to defend the whales (although for him it’s only about harassing some Japanese people. He doesn’t even remember what a whale is)
While we’re at it, I would like to point out how cool Antarctica looks. So at least the show gives us that. I want to visit as long as I don’t have to go with Paul Watson
On the Steve Irwin, the crew is despondent. The first leg of Operation No Compromise has not been a success. They realize the whalers are probably chopping up fresh whale meat right this second as they sail away from the area.
The original draft of the narration script said: “The whalers are most likely busy wound-fucking the whale carcasses” but the lawyers wouldn’t let them do it
Also, Boat Buff Paul Watson got a haircut. Who has that job, I wonder?
I hope it’s a bunch of happy sea mammals flitting around his cabin, singing and doing chores for him like in Snow White
Meanwhile, the Bob Barker is stuck being tailed, like we talked about. But it’s going to have some help, because the Gojira has finally been repaired and is headed back to the fight.
They’re actually celebrating how they won in Trivial Pursuit, because how could you be celebrating the fact that you fucked up cost yourself a month of service?
The ships meet. Captains Lockhart MacLean and Alex Cornelissen of the Gojira and Bob Barker, respectively, get on the horn and greet each other. Because they’re boring and colorless, it’s hard to think of a way to make fun of them. Locky, for example, makes a joke about how the whalers are always running scared and won’t face the Sea Shepherds. I can’t be bothered to look up the actual wording of the damn thing.
It’s kinda like when certain LDS people crack jokes about how everyone else in the world is going to hell. Hilarious!…if you think everyone else in the world is going to hell
Anyway, the Gojira moves in on the Yushin Maru #3 to get a closer look. The Yushin’s water cannons power up and its captain warns them not to get any closer.
Captain Cornelissen gathers his crew to brief them on the upcoming mission to rid themselves of the Yushin Maru #3.
We’ve noticed before how little attention Animal Planet devotes to the lives of the people on this show, but that’s not totally fair. They use popups!
Some of the Sea Shepherds are half-ass MFA dropouts! I never would have guessed!
What’s the plan? First, the Bob Barker will speed up and go as fast as possible. Then it will launch its small boats who, along with the Gojira will harass the Yushin Maru #3 until the Barker is out of radar range.
To their credit, Animal Planet DOES point out that this is basically the same plan they tried a few episodes ago, which resulted in a small boat being damaged and its crew nearly dead. One of the guys who was on that mission, Pottsie, is asked what he thinks about this, and he says he’s doubtful it’ll be any different, even with the Gojira. Like a good captain, Alex steps in with a little thing called “leadership.”
“How about you don’t do it wrong this time, fucktard.”
The small boat crews prepare to depart. They’re taking extra supplies this time, just in case. The show introduces all the crew members to us. Among them is Mikey May, the guy who got hypothermia last time.
I don’t think anybody should go by the name “Mikey” unless they are a little boy in a Life cereal commercial
And with that, it’s time to leave. The small boats speed towards the Yushin Maru #3.
That act was literally less than five minutes long. Thank god I don’t watch these with commercials
The boats near the Yushin Maru #3.
I’d probably be pretty coked up too if I had to do this job, but at least wipe yourself off dude
Two small boats are involved in the attack. One’s piloted by fan-favorite, (or maybe fan-tolerated), Pottsie, the other by Chad Halstead, the former art student turned expert boat driver. Chad’s boat approaches the Yushin Maru #3 and his crew prepares a Shepherd’s Crook, the cutely named prop fouler with a hook on the end of it—supposedly, if you attach it to a ship, the prop fouler will drag alongside that ship and more easily get sucked into the propeller. Supposedly. I don’t think these things have ever worked.
Usually psychological warfare is meant to make your enemy scared, not to pump you up. Just sayin’.
Pottsie’s boat does the same. It looks like both small boats manage to get a Shepherd’s Crook onto the Yushin Maru #3, and this time they remember to detach themselves from the fouler before getting tethered to the harpoon ship, like last time.
Then it’s the Gojira’s turn. You would think they’d try to get the Yushin Maru #3 to swerve and shit to get the prop foulers into their propeller. But remember: that’s assuming prop foulers work.
Instead, their job is to try to distract and harass the Yushin Maru #3. They ready the spud gun and fire…red paint…onto the hull of the ship, where nobody is. I’m not really sure what the purpose of this is.
“Fur is murder, bitch!” “Wait, aren’t we fighting whaling? What does fur have to do with it?” “You know what? I think the toilet needs scrubbing. For the rest of the trip.”
The whalers respond by blasting the small boat crews with their water cannons.
Taking a page from the Birmingham police department handbook, apparently
Not surprisingly, nothing has worked. The Bob Barker is no further away from the Yushin Maru #3. It’s time to pull out all the stops. Time to play their ace in the hole. Time to bust out the secret weapon…which is, um, another prop fouler
And you know what? For the first time in four seasons of Whale Wars, after dozens of prop foul attempts, one of them actually fucking works
Which gives prop foulers roughly the same success ratio as sperm cells trying to fertilize an egg. I take everything back
The Bob Barker is now ten miles away from the Yushin Maru #3. It looks like everything’s in the clear. And then…they receive a distress call. From the Yushin Maru #3.
According to maritime law, (fucking Jereth Cutestory again!), any ship in the vicinity of a distress call must give aid. Will the Sea Shepherds play by the rules? Why start now?
Coming up next: Will Sea Shepherd fulfill its legal obligation to assist the whalers? Or will it try to convince Animal Planet not to put this sequence in the episode? Stay tuned!
Now, the cynical among us might be thinking, “Hey, what if the whalers are faking? If they knew they couldn’t keep up with the Bob Barker, maybe they’re resorting to subterfuge?”
The Bob Barker and the Gojira radio the Yushin Maru #3 to assess the situation but don’t get a response. The small boats slowly approach the Yushin #3 to get a closer look. Pottsie’s boat pulls up alongside it. Looks like everything’s calm. And then…
Well, OK, it’s just a bamboo stick.
Holy goddamn, horse-fucking, shit.
My mind just exploded.
I need to repeat that screengrab a few times to process this…oh my god…
“I’m sorry. I’m a whaler. There’s only one way I know how to communicate, and that’s by throwing a harpoon at things. I don’t mean anything by it.”
Them’s fighting words! In response to Sea Shepherd’s previous fighting words with the prop fouler and stuff. Which were in turn a response to the whalers’ fighting words in the form of killing whales. So I guess in the Asshole Olympics, it’s Whalers: 2, Sea Shepherds: 1
This one moment might have saved all of Season 4 for me, and I haven’t even see what comes next yet.
So…catching my breath here…
Pottsie’s boat guns it and gets away from the Yushin Maru #3. Everyone’s flipping out. They realize that the foreign object isn’t a spear but some kind of bamboo stick, maybe a broom handle, but still: what a bunch of jerks!
Then the show launches into a full-court-press for control of the situation. We get a talking head of Locky explaining that he clearly radioed the whalers to offer help, then one from Alex, and then Peter gives his assessment of the situation. Peter thinks the whalers are giving a “false distress call”. Helpfully, AP puts another pop-up explaining the legal ramifications of that kind of thing:
I’d say the whalers are pretty much fucked by now. Good thing they’re already getting a pass on the whole whale-murder thing, or they’d be doubly fucked
And then, surprise surprise, the Yushin Maru #3 starts back up and resumes its high-speed chase of the Bob Barker.
You know what else? This means that prop foulers still don’t work. I would like to formally re-submit all my ridicule of them from earlier in the recap.
But we can’t keep going with the actual events of the show quite yet. The physical battle may be almost over, but the legal fight is just beginning, because that’s what life is in the 21st century. Animal Planet shows us a press release from the Institute of Cetacean Research, (i.e. the dudes who kill the whales):
No attempt was made, you say? But we just saw Sea Shepherd radioing them to help! And we can assume those radios were tuned in to the whalers’ frequency, and that they were even powered on at all, because Animal Planet doesn’t fake anything ever
OK, NOW we can go back to the fighting. This time it’s the Gojira’s turn to try out a prop fouler. Their version has a bunch of hunks of metal attached to it. The idea is, they’ll drag it in front of the Yushin Maru #3 to get it to change course:
See that graphic? Where the Gojira passes in front of the whalers to deploy the prop fouler? And how it comes really close to hitting the whalers? Well, the show presents the following prop foul attempt as though the WHALERS were the ones running over the Sea Shepherds. Like what happened to the Ady Gil last year. Right.
Here’s the footage, FROM the whaling ship:
Yup, there’s Sea Shepherd. Jumping out in front of the whaling ship. That just proves the whalers are jerks, amIright?
Regardless of whose at fault here, (even though it’s Sea Shepherd), the Barker still can’t get out of radar range. They’ve now been engaging the Yushin Maru #3 for hours. The small boats are running out of fuel. Pottsie decides to make one more prop foul attempt. He pilots his boat in close, runs out in front of the whaling ship, gets way too close, and…the show cuts to commercial.
OK, normally I don’t comment on the Crew Chronicles section of the show because it’s so brief and uninformative, but this time, Christ…
One of the Sea Shepherds apparently was part of a traveling circus before he joined the Cause. His name is Bastien. To show us a little of that circus magic, Bastien trots out one of his juggler tricks. He has a fork in one hand and a knife in the other. And…he switches them. That’s it.
Ta da! A trick anyone could perform on the first try!
Also, I’m a comedy writer! And for my next act, I will…recap Whale Wars. Uh, let’s move on.
So Pottsie’s boat actually HIT the motherfucking bow of the Yushin Maru #3. You’d think that’s an automatic death for anyone on that small boat, but somehow they survive unscathed.
Now then. The small boats have very little fuel left and the Barker still isn’t out of radar range, so the small boats can make one last prop-foul run before they have to break off and return to the Barker. The Gojira, apparently, is too shitty to handle the job by themselves.
Pottsie’s boat approaces the Yushin #3 for its final attack. They dart across the whalers’ path, don’t almost-die this time, and release the prop fouler. A few moments later the Yushin #3 stops dead in the water again. Success, I guess!
What’s to stop the whalers from just sending out another distress call? I don’t really know. It seems like they could do that every time the Barker almost slips away and the Barker would have to stop, right? Even if the first call was fake? Do they have “Boy Who Cried Wolf” rules out there, too?
And with that, the Bob Barker has lost its tail. Finally. It’s been twenty-five days. The small boats return. Nobody died, so the mission could already have been considered a success, but the fact that they did their job is cause for a real celebration. They are greeted as heroes!
“I could really go for some sex after all that heroism.”
Back at the scene of this week’s engagement, the Gojira has stuck around to babysit the Yushin Maru #3, just to make sure they don’t need any help, and to make sure we know Sea Shepherd was offering it. The captain of the Yushin Maru #3 never responds to their offers.
It’s because the Japanese are a proud people…I know because I saw Letters from Iwo Jima
Eventually, the Australian navy gives the Gojira the go-ahead to leave the whalers.
This could be a huge moment in the campaign. If the Yushin Maru #3 really is disabled, the whalers will probably have to send another Yushin-class harpoon ship to help them out, which would mean two ships are out of the hunt. Pretty nice work if it happens that way.
Now the Gojira is sailing east to join the Bob Barker in the hunt. They will be heading to the approximate area where the Nisshin Maru is, then scouring the ocean in a grid pattern to pick it up.
The Barker’s bridge crew spots a bunch of birds on the surface of the water, feeding on something. They approach. It’s whale guts. When the Nisshin Maru processes the whales, they often throw the guts over the side.
This is the exhaust system on the whaling ship. It is fueled by puppies, ponies, and dreams
One of the Sea Shepherds actually reaches into the water and scoops some of this stuff up, unfortunately not getting snagged by an octopus.
“I HAVE always wondered what whales taste like…and since this is already dead…”
It serves to once again upset the Sea Shepherds. They need a place to vent their frustrations. And luckily, one of the crew spots something suspicious on the horizon…could it be the fleet?
Probably is. We only have one act left and this show doesn’t end on down-notes.
Or maybe not. They figure out it’s an iceberg. Too bad.
A few days go by. Then, the Gojira crew spots the Nisshin on the horizon.
Rejoice, Mark McGrath lookalike!
Human Paul Watson is informed. He giggles with excitement.
That’s as good a note to end on as any, I think. It looks like next week will be the climactic Battle of Season Four. Maybe we’ll get something good, but I feel like this episode shot Season Four’s wad. What’s better than whalers throwing a stick at the Sea Shepherds?