The River (ABC) 'Los Ciegos' Recap & Review
The River is finally on week two, and after its fairly impressive and creepy first two episodes, we needed to be hooked in with this next episode. 'Los Ciegos' certainly does things correctly and keeps the show moving at a steady pace, while keeping things consistently creepy.
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Episode recap *Spoilers Ahead*
The show starts with yet another Undiscovered Country segment which shows Emmet talking about unborn sharks turning on each other, still in the womb, which obviously foreshadows some upcoming plot element, but more on that later. We also see Clark pausing on Tess' image and longingly staring at her, which signifies that he may have some feelings other than friendship for her.
This time we have the team setting out into the jungle to find a cave that hopefully has some clues to Emmet's whereabouts. A.J. the cameraman refused to go inside however, as he is terrified of closed spaces due to a mine accident that happened to him some time ago. The rest of the team goes deeper into the cave, only to find a dead body with its eyes cut out and some shiny things on the cave ceiling which turn out to be bats. Needless to say, everyone gets scared sh*tless and runs out of the cave.
The team then decides to camp out there (since finding a body with its eyes cut out wasn't enough incentive to get the hell out of there), but Kurt sends A.J. away from the camp, since he didn't partake in the cave exploration. The next morning, everyone wakes up to strange markings around their sleeping areas, except for A.J. since he didn't sleep there. The all too knowledgeable Jahel then states it's the Morcego, a tribe of strange, disemboweling natives. This sends the team into a panic to pack up and get out of there.
Soon after that, Tess starts to experience loss of vision, which eventually sends her into complete blindness, at which point Lena connects the dots to the markings they seen around their sleeping areas, as well as the eyeless body they saw in the cave, and deduces this is the work of the Morcego. Now with everyone in a panic, realizing they too might lose their vision, they make their way back to the Magus as fast as they can.
Once on the boat, slowly more and more people start losing their vision, as Clark is the next victim of blindness. Him and Tess meet up in the lower parts of the ship and have a moment together that Tess immediately tells Clark to erase from the tapes, though Lincoln saw the entire thing.
Kurt thinks that some of the Morcego might have followed them to the boat. With the crew being very jumpy, and Kurt trying to be as vigilant as ever, the unsuspecting Clark approaches him from behind gets a knife to the chest. Though he swears it was by accident, Kurt is a very shady character that we all already know has a separate agenda from the rest of the team, so this might have been his way of trying to dispose of Clark early.
Now that there are people going blind and a person with a stab wound, the team is running out of choices. Lena finds one of Emmet's journals which lists a bulb from something called a Sentido tree which is supposed to cure blindness. With the team steadily losing their sight, Lena volunteers to go, along with Kurt who packs the firepower, and A.J. who was the only one unaffected by blindness, while Lincoln stays behind to treat Clarks wound.
The show here splits into two parts, showing us Lena and group trying to find the Sentido bulb, and Lincoln and rest of the blind crew managing on the Magus. As Lena, Kurt, and A.J. make their way into the jungle, both Lena and Kurt start to lose their vision, even though they try to deny it — but A.J. quickly catches on. He then decides to turn his back on both of them and leave them there, as he tries to make his way through the jungle to find the nearest civilized settlement, get a hotel, and then get flown out of there. Meanwhile on the Magus, the slowly dying Clark gets interrogated by Lincoln about his mother's affair with Clark, which he doesn't deny, but states he doesn't know the whole truth and tells him that Tess never left Emmet, that it was the other way around, and that his last expedition ruined their marriage.
The Morcego find their way aboard the Magus and at this point, everyone is blind, even Lincoln who must continue treating Clark's stab wound. At this point, everyone locks themselves into various rooms while the Morcego try to force themselves in and gut everyone to death. Clark then decides to be the hero, knocks Lincoln out and goes out into the hallway where the Morcego are slowly closing in on him. He then proclaims it is his fault that they desecrated their land, and the he was the one who mandated this expedition.
Meanwhile A.J. stumbled upon the Sentido tree and realizes he can be the hero and save the day, but soon realizes the bulbs are actually underneath the tree. He reluctantly goes into the hole (simultaneously conquering his fear) to grab the bulbs but starts to get caved in. Having his worst fear come true after all, he says goodbye to his family and loved ones on camera.
The Morcego seem to understand English, or just get that Clark seems to be very remorseful about desecrating their land and they clear out of the boat, as well as pull the dying A.J. out of the hole and leave some bulbs with him as well. With the crew safe, and finally regaining sight, they set out and continue the search for Emmet.
What I thought about the episode
The third episode definitely continued to be extremely creepy and proved that the found footage/reality show formula for The River just plain works. Whether its from the angles that the cameraman is taking, or from the various surveillance cameras on the boat, the show retains that believability that we're watching something being documented, and that something being very scary.
Luckily the actors all have a believability to them as well. From the friendly mechanic and his young daughter, to the scheming director and the two-faced foreign bodyguard, this show has some very diverse characters that meld together to almost form that dysfunctional reality show group that shows are known to put together, only to stir up some drama.
I'm also glad that I was wrong with my initial assumptions that the 'monsters' were never going to be shown, as we definitely got to get a good look at the Morcego tribe and their eyeless faces.
If there is one thing that somewhat disappoints me, it's that I wish these story arcs would extend past a single episode. Case in point, the team loses their vision, yet find a cure for it immediately within the same episode. Maybe it's just because the first season only has eight episodes to work with, but I'm hoping that the show gets some cliffhanger episode endings, ones that are so intense they will have me cursing my TV that I have to wait another week to find out what happens.
This next episode solidified that the show has an interesting concept that they can keep building off of, enough character drama to carry it further without it simply being a scare jump fest, and yet keep the scares coming and consistently leaving the audience creeped out.