The River S:1 E:2

We kick off the second episode of the River at one of many crossroads. One that of course, will be answered by a startling revelation that will propel the rest of the hour. Last episode it was revealed by a very complicit spirit, that all around animal loving good guy Dr. Emmit Cole just might be alive. His son, Linc, and his wife Tess, have tracked him to his abandoned boat, but the mystery remains - Where did Dr. Cole go from there? Well luckily the crew stumbles upon a cache of unseen, raw video footage. But alas there's is no way to know what order the tapes are in! So the tapes are useless in tracking down Dr. Coles whereabouts. But wait! It turns out, Lena, the missing camera mans daughter, had been in contact with Dr. Cole long after he lost touch with his son and wife. Conveniently, she remembers a conversations she had with the good doctor regarding a bug bite on his hand. Through the magic of video tape, they are able to put the tapes in some sort of order, and deduce where he may be located, or at least was headed.

A shaky cam jaunt through the thick jungle leads us to an abandoned graveyard covered in creepy moss. Time is taken to carefully read some of the gravestones, just in case it happens to be important later (spoiler alert: it will). The group stumbles upon an odd clearing in the forest where dolls heads are hung from various trees haphazardly. All the intelligent people think it might be a good idea to keep moving except of course for everyone's favorite sleazy reality show producer Clark Quietly, who thinks this creepy cove would make a great spot to set up camp. In doing so he vaults to the top of the list of people that could be responsible for all the shenanigans that are occurring. The rest of the easily led lemmings fall into line and we are at the main set piece for the show.

We fill in some back story gaps, like Linc thinking his mom cheated on his dad, explaining their separation. Linc also at one time may have been playing hide the totem pole with Lena. Through the genius of flashbacks we see that his father would have approved. Back in the present and at the creepy doll faced camp, everyone settles in for the night, yet no one feels comfortable. In the series first genuinely scary moment of the series various people give interviews under the cover of darkness with the doll heads making some menacing faces in the background. Pretty good stuff there.

Linc discovers his old teddy bear is one of the freaky dolls hanging in a tree. He decides to reclaim what he believes is rightfully his. The spirit who guards the doll heads disagrees. Lincs mom disappears suddenly. Luckily the group is able to quickly figure out that the spirit who abducted Tess only wants her own mother returned to her. Now where are they ever going to find her mother? Well, it sure is a good thing they paid so much attention to those grave stones earlier. It's also very fortunate that they dig very shallow graves in the amazon. In no time they dig up the corpse and present it to the spirit in doll head cove. Just in time too, because we cut right to the mom emerging from a near by swamp. I'm not going to time it, but even with all the convenient "remembering" she was still under that muck for a good 5 minutes. I don't care who you are, no one holds their breath underwater for 5 minutes without at least a little brain damage, if not death. Reunited (and it felt so good) the group gathers their belongings and moves on to episode three.

Two episodes in and there is very little promise in this show. Stylistically, episode two was an improvement over episode one. There was less "shaky" cam and the scope opened up a little bit after finally moving off the boat and on to land. But the biggest problem is still the writing. Too may silly coincidences. Nothing seems natural. Characters know things that they should have talked about before, but choose to divulge them just in time for them to be relevant. It's maddening how many times this happens. The writing needs to improve if the series is going to amount to anything. There are five episodes left, I will try to stick it out for all of them...pray for me.

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