Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: The River "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"

Non Spoiler Review:
The first season of The River comes to an end as Emmet attempts to reforge his relationships with his family and crew. A random event throws the Magus into turmoil and forces the crew into a race against time to save Lincoln.

Like many episodes, Row, Row, Row Your Boat was a taut roller coaster ride, and I certainly was entertained. This week's paranormal bit was yet another take on a tried and true formula. Not much new here at all in that respect. The final minutes were the major twist that sets up a possible next season (which may or may not happen at this point). 

I'm interested enough to stick with the show, but given the body of episodes under its belt, The River needs to evolve beyond the supernatural riff of the week format, and really put a new spin on things. It gets marks for effort and certainly surpassed the other new genre shows this year. It would be unfortunate if it didn't get a chance to grow with a second season.

Spoilers Now!
Happy reunions abound on the Magus as Clark interviews everyone for their final reactions for his documentary. Only Jahel is pensive about how lucky they were to have seen the Bioúna and allowed to leave. And it's also time to get answers from Emmet.

Emmet explains he thought he was supposed to find something in the Amazon, but that's over. He should have died, and admits to failing Lena's father. Lena wants to know what the mark means. He confesses he thought she was meant for something special but he realizes now all the signs he's seen were signs to just get out. She presses him to know what the source is, but he prefers that she hate him rather than suffer from his knowledge.

Emmet tells Lincoln the tapes of the expedition will go in the fire, and no one will know what's happened. Then a shot comes through the window and hits Lincoln and kills (!) him. Distraught Tess demands someone confess to it. Accusations start getting tossed around, including to Kurt, as Clark reveals overhearing the conversation where he said he would put down Emmet. Kurt hands over his gun and tells them if he'd wanted them dead they would be.

As Jahel pilots the boat she hears static on the radio and asks if anyone is there. Emmet questions Tess about where she found Kurt. Then Jahel runs in and tells them there's a way to get Lincoln back from the dead—the Bioúna. But Emmet says there's some things they don't call upon.

In private Tess asks her to bring back her son no matter what it takes. The two of them perform the ritual in secret (which is being channelled to Jahel). Emmet runs in as the boat takes on water and Jahel creates mayhem. They run into the infirmary and find Lincoln alive and awake and he tells them it was Kurt who fired. Emmet is happy Lincoln is back, but confides his fear with Tess that they brought back something dark.

Jonas chats with Lincoln as he's recovering and having something to eat in the kitchen. Lincoln reveals he knows it was him, not Kurt, who shot him (in an attempt to kill Emmet). He didn't tell anyone because he has unfinished business with Kurt, and then kills Jonas.

Emmet thanks Clark for funding the expedition but Clark dismisses any gratitude and says he was just making a documentary and didn't expect to see him alive. He's hurt that Tess and Emmet are obviously getting back together. Emmet reviews the footage to catch up, including what just happened in the kitchen, except the video shows Jonas walking out after a friendly exchange, and Lincoln staring (evilly) at the camera.

Emilio reveals to Jahel that her mother isn't dead, and used her gift just as Jahel has done. She was unable to silence the voices but he won't tell her where she is. But it should serve as a warning to her.

Lincoln visit Kurt, who immediately recognizes he's not Lincoln. He beats up Kurt and tells him they've met before. Meanwhile Clark is drowning his sorrows about losing Tess in the kitchen when AJ comes in, and they both find blood dripping from the ceiling—Jonas' body.

Lena finds Lincoln on deck. He confesses he wants to be with her again, so they go inside to hook up, but he abruptly throws up as Emmet approaches and demands it let go of his son.

Lincoln is locked up and Emmet tells them he needs Lena to help free Lincoln from what has him. He's possessed by the black snake—the Bioúna itself. Emmet tries to get a dragonfly down his throat. The spirit remains too powerful and Emmet can't do it. So Tess goes to Kurt to plead for his help. She asks if he tried to kill her husband, and he says yes, but he isn't going to now.

Kurt apparently knows more than them about the Bioúna. The spirit has to be forced out by Lincoln so he advises they talk to him and not the demon. Emmet appeals to all that he's missed about his son's life and Lincoln's body rises, blowing out all the windows. AJ films something swimming away underwater.

Day 38. Apparently free, Lincoln apologizes for his behaviour, but Lena can't really deal with him. They are within two kilometers from exiting the Bioúna, and everyone seems to be making some amends after their arduous expedition. Except they realize the signal has been lost and they're not on the map anymore. They send up the drone which shows the river itself is closing and changing with the jungle. Lincoln says it's never going to let them go.

The Verdict:
After a string of supernatural themes—ghosts and demons, zombies, mad science, etc, the inevitable possession gets a role this week. It didn't really offer anything we haven't seen from any recent exorcism movie. Sure, it made for an interesting episode, but quite predictable, right down to the familiar he has to beat the demon himself idea.

Jonas' attempted murder of Emmet really got surprisingly little play (or real motivation), as did Kurt's story, which I'm guessing is planned for a next season (if there is one). It all came off pretty contrived, and relied on the pace of events, again, to divert attention from the plot holes. 

I'm hoping for a second season. I'm not entirely sold on the series yet, but would keep watching if it were to improve. The current television crop has very little innovation and The River can't be faulted for making an attempt at something different, even if it did slip into cliches after its impressive premiere. It's got a pretty decent cast of characters that can carry it forward, if given the chance.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...