The River Episode 103
Written By: Glen Morgan
Directed By: Michael Katleman
Original Airdate: 14 February 2012
In This Episode...
Clark has a suggestion on where Emmet might be, but it would be another day's hike into hostile territory. The group sets out, and Jaleh recognizes a mark - like a mystical third eye - carved into the trees. This mark belongs to the Morcegos, the guardians of the forest. Tales are told of them to frighten selfish children into behaving. They press forward, and discover a cave. AJ flat-out refuses to go in. Before he was a camera man, he was a coal miner and was trapped underground for three days when his mine collapsed. The rest of the group go in and find mummified human remains. According to his ID, he is not Emmet, but a missionary. He has been disemboweled and had his eyes plucked out. They continue further, and are chased out of the cave by a massive swarm of bats.
They set up camp for the night. As the group sleeps, a native creeps into the camp. When the team wakes, they discover the same eye-shaped marks around their camp, and Emilio is missing. When they find him, a few meters away, his eyes are red and swollen and he cannot see. Lincoln decides they must turn back and seek medical attention for Emilio. Before they make it back to the Magus, Tess goes blind, too. On the boat, Lincoln tries to care for his blind patients while Jaleh tries to call for help. Clark goes blind next, followed by Jaleh. Curt takes the Magus to the center of the river to prevent the Morcegos from boarding. Everyone is on edge, none less than Curt. When Clark blindly reaches for Curt, whose back is turned, he reacts rashly, stabbing Clark in the gut.
In Emmet's journal, Lena finds reference to a blinding powder the locals use while hunting game. There is an antidote, a bulb that grows beneath a special tree. Lena, Curt, and AJ head back into the jungle to retrieve the bulb while Lincoln stays behind to care for Clark and the blind. In the jungle, the trio are being stalked by the Morcegos. What's more, it soon becomes clear that Curt has lost his vision, and Lena's is fading fast. AJ decides he has had enough of this nonsense and takes off, planning on finding civilization. Lena is nearly hysterical. He promises to send a search party to retrieve them - after he has had a massage and a steam. As it happens, AJ stumbles across the tree and decides to do right and collect the bulb. Of course, he soon realizes that the bulbs are literally under the trees - he is going to have to go underground. After a lot of debating and cursing, he goes underground and finds a bulb. Unfortunately, there is a cave in, and he is buried alive.
Back on the Magus, Clark has burst his stitches, so Lincoln sends Jaleh and Emilio to find some fishing wire. Tess goes looking for clean towels while Lincoln tries to stem the bleeding. A clamoring from the deck draws everyone's attention: the Morcegos are on board and trying to get in. The crew locks every door, but the Morcegos won't give up. Lincoln has lost his sight by now, but he still manages to cauterize Clark's wound. Fueled by pain and frustration and guilt (he finally admitted to Lincoln that yes, he slept with Tess, but only after Emmet left her), Clark stumbles out into the galley and begs the Morcegos to take him and let the others go. "It is my fault we are out here," he insists. This being an unselfish act, the Morcegos retreat. On land, one of the tribesmen even rescues AJ from his dirt tomb. Bulb in hand, AJ returns to Lena and Curt, and the trio head back to the Magus. Lincoln turns the bulb into eyedrops, and it cures everyone's vision.
Also: While waiting for AJ to return to them, Curt makes a call on his radio: "The crew will never find Cole or the Source. They will be dead in a few days. I need an extraction." When Lena asks what he is muttering (in German), he tells her he is praying.
Dig It or Bury It?
I feel like the story of the Morcegos was not well fleshed-out. So they are the "boogeymen" of the region to scare selfish children, but what is the threat? What do the Morcegos do to selfish children? And why the eyes? I get that Curt is the "bad guy," but he and AJ seem to be especially at odds with one another and I'm not sure why. Is Curt still mad that the British helped defeat the Germans in WWII? The Morcegos were effectively scary as the real-life terror, but I wonder if all of the local tribes will be portrayed as violent and scary. I don't want or need them to befriend everyone they meet, but it just seems unfair to the natives.
There's Magic Out There
The Morcegos are less about magic and more about instilling terror in their victims. Nothing they do is unexplainable.
The Morcegos are truly filmed like boogeymen. They creep about, confident in the jungle terrain. They have a quietly menacing presence that reminds me a bit of Michael Myers. They cover themselves in white mud, and their eye sockets are black voids.
Weird Wildlife Trivia
I don't know if this is true or not, but according to Emmet on a 2002 episode of the show, up to 14 different breeds of sharks will cannibalize its siblings in the womb.
The crew find one of the missing explorers and discover he has been cursed.