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The River: Season 1, Episode 8 – Row, Row, Row Your Boat

We open with a sweet look back to 1988, where Lincoln sings Lena to sleep aboard the Magus. Life is but a dream.

Except on the present-day Magus, life’s sort of confusing. Looking for answers, the crew confronts Cole, who’s not talking about The Source. He mostly seems focused on rekindling relations with his wife and son.

And then, out of nowhere, Lincoln is dead. Shot. Conveniently, the power was out while Emilio fixed the generator, so on a boat that’s completely covered with cameras, there’s no footage of the murder.

For a second, it looks like an episode of Clue at sea. Was it Kurt in the galley with the long-range rifle? He says no and turns over his weapons. But I’m enchanted by the prospect—was it Jonas at the helm with a handgun? Lena from the port bow with a tactical assault rifle?

Enter the supernatural twist: Jahel believes Lincoln’s spirit is still aboard and that she can convince the Boiuna to bring him back. With some simple chanting, tarot cards and just a little bloodletting, we get enough Paranormal Activity-style footage to bring Lincoln back from the dead.

Not only is he completely reanimated, but he saw who killed him. And he’s pointing fingers at Captain Kurt. Of course, we all know it wasn’t Kurt. He could kill you from ten paces with only a rubber band and make it look like an accident. But the crew locks him in the brig anyway. Or wherever they put criminals on a rundown production vessel.

Lincoln knows it wasn’t Kurt, too. He knows it was Jonas, and he gets some pretty gruesome revenge. I don’t think Jonas is coming back. Ever. Not that anyone else can tell because Evil Lincoln doctored the footage with his bare eyes, so it looks like Jonas just made Lincoln a sandwich.

Fortunately (or unfortunately if, like me, you like Evil Lincoln), Cole isn’t fooled. Over in the makeshift brig, Evil Lincoln kicks the crap out of Kurt before trying to put the moves on Lena. That’s when Cole strikes. Literally. First, Lena gives him some spiked beer and then Cole hits Evil Lincoln with, like, a tire iron or something. It’s a touching scene of father/son love.

As Lena and Cole work together to force feed Lincoln a dragonfly (what else?), Cole reveals that Lincoln is still “in there,” but when Jahel let him back in, another spirit came with him. More chanting, this time with Latin prayers, lots of The Exorcist-style convulsing and just a touch of weird, almost psychosexual torment.

And Cole can’t handle it, so Tess turns to Kurt for help. His brilliant advice: stop talking to the Boiuna; talk to Lincoln. That does the trick. Remember episode three when Clark admits his shortcomings out loud, and The Morcego give them their sight back? This is just like that: Cole just has to admit he was a crappy father and promise to be better … and suddenly Lincoln is Lincoln again.

Throughout Lincoln’s spree of evil, we finally get some answers and some character development. Cole and Clark come to an uneasy resting place, though it clearly hurts Clark that he’s lost Tess (and it doesn’t help that AJ loves to stir the pot). Emilio and Jahel share an interesting moment, Emilio admitting that Jahel’s mother is alive and possibly crazy. We even got some nifty insight into Kurt’s background—is he a supernatural being too or more of a Slayer-type?

I wish this had been the FIRST episode of the season. It was as cheesy and humorless as ever, but at least it left me with some questions that I care to have answered. This, however, was the final voyage of the Magus. For now, at least.

For what it’s worth, without a considerable reboot, I am not sure I want to return to the Amazon. One good season finale does not make a great show. From episode to episode, this season wasted too much time on a “scare of the week” formula that didn’t leave enough time for developing characters, backstory and any kind of genuine interest.

I am a girl who loves her supernatural, science-fiction and fantasy, but in this case, I wish The River had been a straight-forward adventure. Find Dr. Cole. End of story. No magic. No monsters. No mythology. Of course, what we’re left with in the final moments of the show is an image of The River rerouting itself. More magic. More monsters. More mythology.

“It’s never going to let us go,” says Lincoln, as the “eyes-in-the-sky” camera sweeps over the changing landscape. No one can deliver a terrible line like Lincoln. I do think I’ll miss that.

Dead Crew Members: 1 – Jonas
Cumulative Dead Crew Members: 5

5 thoughts on “The River: Season 1, Episode 8 – Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

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  2. Seriously… I mean, I know the reviewer hates the show she’s been reviewing but I’ve been greatly enjoying it. Having someone review a show who obviously hates the show does us all a disservice.

    1. To be fair, she started reviewing the show with the idea of liking it. It’s not her fault the show did not live up to her expectations, nor is that a reason to take her off the beat in my opinion. It’s a review, not a puff piece.

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