Please welcome back Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley with her recap of the 2nd episode of The River
We start this episode with a look back to 1988, where the crew is celebrating Christmas aboard the floating television studio. Dr. Cole seems super creepy with Lena. Back in 2012, Lena seems to know an awful lot about Dr. Cole’s bug bite. And everything else going on with the expedition.
In the next scene, Jahel eats a dragonfly and sleepwalks around the ship. Interestingly, she is still staring off into space creepily, but she seems to be possessed by Dr. Cole, who wants them all to leave. Apparently he’s still alive out there. And since this show is an hour-long drama, our intrepid travelers hike into the Amazon, looking for the last known place Dr. Cole was filmed.
Deep in the rainforest, near an imperialist graveyard, they find seriously creepy “spirit tree,” which is strung up with filthy dolls, including Lincoln’s childhood teddy bear, Marbeley. And that, of course, is where they decide to camp for the night. Because nothing says home like a tree full of hanging dolls that seem to have full use of their neck muscles.
Back on the ground, Producer Clark continues to prove himself a total jackass, whilst Lincoln cuts his bear down for a cuddle. As night falls, we get to watch the night unfurl in fast forward, a spine-chilling effect. Until something drags Lincoln off into the trees. And then everything goes nuts. As they flee the scene, Tess is sucked into a giant puddle, and the crew has to yank her from the cold, dead hands of a … stream.
With everyone back on land, Lena tells us the legend of a young girl who drowned in the River trying to save her doll. Lonely, her spirit takes playmates. The dolls, it seems, are for her. And she’s pissed off that Lincoln stole her favorite bear. So they put it back. But, for real? If that was me, I’d want my original toy back and I’d want another for all the trouble I had to go through.
Seems like the spirit child is even more spiteful than me, because she refuses the bear, even after Captain Kurt trusses it to the tree like a Christmas goose. And once again, we’re running through the rainforest. In a circle, apparently, because we’re soon back at the tree.
And then we’re running again. And trying to pull Tess out of the stream again. It’s all very repetitive. Until it is absolutely horrifying. Lincoln decides that, to get Tess back from the stream, they have to give the girl her mother. So they dig up her grave, and offer the viewers at home a brief lesson in colonial grave robbing. For real.
Even more tasteless: Tess crawls out of the other woman’s grave. Alive and a lot less mucky than you’d expect. Yuk and yuk. I almost turned it off right there, but I’m glad I hung on for the payoff: the mythology threaded throughout the episode.
Early on, we were treated to a flash back to 1988, where Dr. Cole gives his son some kind of talisman, which looks like it’s made of spitballs but is supposed to be worn by one who can balance between life and death. Lincoln draws the talisman on his teddy bear, which is less interesting than the fact that Lena has a similarly-shaped birthmark on the back of her neck. Now I’m intrigued!
Mortal Wounds: 1 Cumulative Mortal Wounds: 1
What kind of superhero powers does Lena have? Will this show ever start to take itself less seriously? Is anyone else still watching?