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The River: Season 1, Episode 6 – Doctor Emmet Cole

In this episode of our favorite found-footage program, the characters stand around and watch some found footage of their own! It’s flashbacks within flashbacks within a concept that’s coming apart at the seams.

Before the recap, let’s cut to the chase. There were two major revelations in this episode: first, Dr. Cole and Tess lost their first child, Alice. In the face of that loss, they began making Undiscovered Country, mostly just to keep their minds off their loss. To me, this speaks volumes about their characters.

The second major revelation also changes the way we look at one of the main characters: Lena set off the beacon that led the team into the jungle. She wanted Tess and Lincoln to take up the search again, to provide the resources necessary to find her own father. I’m beginning to wonder if she and Jonas deserve each other.

But back to the episode. It starts off on Day 28, when Lena (in mourning) agrees to stay while they look for Dr. Cole. By Day 29, they’re already on foot, headed toward Dr. Cole’s last known address: Sahte Falls. There, they find his knife and camera bag, complete with video tapes.

Back on the boat, the team tucks into these videotapes, which show Dr. Cole’s crew waiting around while a ragged-looking Cole swallows a bug and starts talking directly to Lena, which doesn’t please Mrs. Cole. It doesn’t please Russ, either, who sucker punches Cole and stays behind on the Magus while the rest of the team speeds off in search of magic.

Out in the jungle, Dr. Cole does a lot of talking about The Source and gets hit on by a camerawoman named Rabbit. Late in the night, the team is disturbed by an echoing shriek, which seems to have skinned a monkey. Dr. Cole says the culprit is Il Tunchi. Ever the bearer of bad news, Jahel reveals that Il Tunchi is a demon.

Eventually, the shrieking returns, and Manny the cameraman loses his skin. Literally. That’s when Dr. Cole realizes he has to whistle a certain pattern back at the shriek in order to get it to stop. Too bad he had to lose a cameraman to put that one together.

Utterly spooked, Rabbit, his last remaining camera operator, takes off with all of his survival gear. Thank goodness she left the cameras behind. To be honest, not much happens. Cole does a lot of walking and talking. He can start fire in his hands, which is pretty cool. He gets sick from river water. It’s not terribly exciting.

At one point, sick with a fever from the bad water, he uses his sat phone call Lincoln, who blows him off in the older found footage and then looks gutted in the newer found footage. Which isn’t confusing at all.

Eventually we get to the climax of the episode: while trying to pick mangos, Cole breaks his ankle. He can’t put weight on it, so he tries to crawl back to the river. He can’t. And even though he believes he’s about to die out in the jungle, he never stops talking to the camera. He talks to Tess, to Lena, to the world until the very end.

But, of course, it’s not the end for Dr. Cole, who’s rescued by a native tribe, nursed to health and unceremoniously dumped at an outpost. Hooray! The prophet lives!! And the team scurries to the outpost only to find Cole’s dog (who is somehow still alive and bounding after months alone in the jungle) … and a completely abandoned settlement.

Another cliffhanger! On the plus side, it looks like we’re going to have some awesome zombies next week. Who doesn’t love zombies?

Dead Crew Members: 1 — Manny
Cumulative Dead Crew Members: 3