Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summer DVR Dump: The River 1.07: "The Experiment"

“So how was my funeral?”

In “The Experiment,” “The River” went from creepy and a somewhat admirable attempt at horror on television to just plain bizarre. Yeah, instead of a spooky happening of the week we had conspiracy theories an Emmet in a cocoon. Yep, you heard that right. N a moment that’s more gross than meaningful, the team finds Emmet in a cocoon (spoiler alert…sorry). Oh and there are some zombies, too, which might have been scary if the shots of them hadn’t been so quick. I guess the quick shots of the monsters are kind of a necessity in low-ish budget television. This episode was more mythology based than creep of the week, and I think that made it suffer. Which I guess means that the mythology behind “The River” wasn’t really all that strong. So maybe it’s for the best that the show ended after eight episodes. I’m not really sure where they could have gone after the craziness revealed in this episode, other than explaining the conspiracy behind Kurt’s (and his girlfriend’s) role in all of this.

We begin this episode with Lincoln in class (working towards that PhD, I guess?) with a girl who is more than a friend filming him on her cell phone. The scene is causal and breezy until Lincoln gets the dreaded phone call from his mom that Emmet is missing and they expect the worst. We then shift into the present day, which picks up pretty much right where the last episode left off. Tess, Lincoln and the team are still investigating the abandoned research station where Emmet was last seen. The team is investigating the grounds, but they’re a bit reluctant to go inside the actual building until they start to hear music emanating from it. Figuring this means someone (maybe Emmet) might still be alive, they take the plunge. Inside, the place is a mess. It looks like something bad most definitely happened there. The team hears buzzing from behind one of the doors, and unsurprisingly, the source of the sound is a room full of dead bodies surrounded by flies.

We go back to old footage again, and this bit of film takes place in Silver Spring, MD, a town of which I’m rather fond (Chompie the Discovery Channel shark was my neighbor one year…seriously!). I wonder if it was perhaps a shout-out to Discovery Communications, they type of company that would have aired a show like Emmet’s. Anyway, the reason we’re in Silver Spring is because Tess lives there. She’s holed up in her house and looks like she hasn’t been able to get up off the couch since she heard Emmet was missing. Clark arrives, presumably to try and convince her to take part in his new television show. Clark tells Tess that Emmet’s emergency beacon has gone off somewhere in the Amazon, and Tess just starts bawling.

Back at the research facility, Lincoln and Jonas are going to brave the room of bodies because somebody has to check and see if any of those bodies are Emmet. Kurt, meanwhile, wanders off, and A.J. follows him. A.J. sees Kurt make a phone call and follow the phone that rings in response, and the two men find themselves in the room of Kurt’s girlfriend. She was apparently working temporarily as a security guard at the research station. Anyway, Kurt’s trying to say his goodbyes, and he quickly realizes that A.J. is there too. There’s a little confrontation, but things don’t have a chance to get too heated because they hear the water turn on in the bathroom. Meanwhile, Lincoln and Jonas finish their grisly task, and Lincoln confirms that none of the bodies are Emmet’s. That half of the team still needs to find Kurt and A.J. before they can leave the research facility, though. During the search, they go into what looks like an operating room where notes about a genetic map are scrawled on a white board and there’s the body of a Zulu man which matches Lena’s tattoo and Lincoln’s necklace. There’s bone coming out of his back, an it’s just gross and strange. The team is reunited with Kurt and A.J., and they’re also joined by former camerawoman Rabbit.

The team continues to make their way through the research facility, and they encounter a new foe- zombies. They all end up holing up in a lab and try to barricade themselves against the zombies. Lena and Lincoln watch a video they find in the room that shows a doctor trying to isolate the youth gene that can be found in the Zulu’s. Kurt’s girlfriend kills him, some sort of virus gets out, and it turns all the doctors/researchers and Kurt’s girlfriend into the zombies. A.J. makes the connection between Kurt’s mysterious phone calls and his girlfriend’s suspicious behavior and asks Kurt what he’s doing in the Amazon. Kurt doesn’t have a chance to answer, though, because Tess sees someone apparently signaling with a mirror from the infirmary. She’s convinced that it’s Emmet, so of course that’s where they have to go next, zombies be damned.

Rabbit leads the team through a tunnel that turns out to have a bunch of sleeping zombies in it. One of the zombies happens to be Kurt’s girlfriend, so Kurt tries to say goodbye. Then he seems to blow the heads of a bunch of the zombies with a machine gun. The team eventually makes it to the infirmary, but Emmet isn’t there. The flashing light that Tess thought was a mirror signal actually turns out to be a wind chime. Tess starts to lose all hope, but then Lincoln sees a dragonfly. The team starts following the dragonfly, and the team follows it all the way up the stairs into a seriously cobwebby room. In the middle of the room is Emmet encased in what looks like spider goo. It actually turns out to be a chrysalis, in what is the most ridiculous moment of this ridiculous television series. Tess cuts Emmet out of the chrysalis, and unsurprisingly, he’s unconscious. The team starts dragging Emmet back to the Magus and have to kill a few more zombies along the way. Back in the Magus, Lincoln and Lena get a little close, but then Lincoln tells Lena he has someone else back in Chicago. Because he’s a freaking idiot. Anyway, Tess tells Rabbit that they’re going to drop her off at the next village, and she’ll have to find her way home from there. Rabbit goes up on deck and promptly get eaten by a zombie.

Elsewhere in the Magus, Kurt asks A.J. to erase the tapes he took of Kurt at the research station. A.J. is reluctant and again asks Kurt what he’s doing in the Amazon. Kurt says he’s going to kill Emmet, but he says it in German so A.J. doesn’t understand what he’s saying. A.J.’s pressing for more information is interrupted by yet another zombie attack. One of them is Kurt’s girlfriend (which confused be because I thought Kurt put her out of her misery). Kurt kills her (again?) and none other than Emmet kills the other threatening zombie. Guess he’s not unconscious anymore, and Clark’s chances with Tess just took a nosedive.

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