It’s all about Emmet this week, as we finally get to see the last recorded footage of his journey through the jungle of the Boiuna. Oh, and about Lena too, because she has a dangerous secret that she’s going to share with a member of the crew… and not a person you might expect either.
It’s Day 28 of the search for Emmet Cole, and night has fallen on the Magus crew. Lena stands alone at the prow of the boat, mourning her father. Lincoln watches her from near the main cabin, but doesn’t go over. Instead, he walks into the main cabin and tells Tess about how they can get Lena home to Boulder, Colorado, in only a few days. Tess doesn’t want to spend the time, given that they’re two days away from Sahte Falls – the “address” Russ gave them on where to find Emmet. Lincoln pushes for the detour until Lena enters and tells them to head to the falls first. There still might be a chance Emmet is alive. Which would, quite frankly, be rather awesome.
The next morning the team hikes through the Sahte Region before pausing to rest near water. Tess tells Lincoln she fells bad about not letting Lena go home, and asks Lincoln if he can imagine having to grieve for Emmet. He did that already… six months ago. It was comforting for him, because he knew Emmet wasn’t suffering. To which Tess responds that she wants Emmet back any way she can have him. They reach the falls soon after, but Emmet is nowhere in sight. Then Jonas finds Dr. Cole’s knife in the water, and Lincoln orders everyone into the water. He uncovers Russ’s camera bag under a tree, and a brief search uncovers a camera and video tapes, which they immediately take back to the Magus.
Clark, A.J., and Jonas work feverishly to piece the tapes together while Tess and Lincoln wait outside. Clark at last opens the door and comments that he’s not sure Tess wants to see the footage. Anyone else slightly scared by this pronouncement? Tess enters the editing room and takes the seat of power in front of the controls and orders Clark to play it.
The tapes start off 5 to 7 months ago with Russ and the two other camera operators, Rabbit and Manny, chilling out on the deck waiting for Emmet. The good doctor is in his quarters meditating or something… and then a bug flies into his mouth and he wakes up. Creepy much? He looks right into the camera and says “Lena, I found them.” He explains whoever he’s looking for is in the Sahte region, while in the present-day editing room Tess asks Lena precisely how much contact she had with Emmet. Lena maintains she never saw any of this, and on the tape Emmet describes being over the falls and hearing a strange song that he then plays on the guitar.
Emmet declares it’s time to pack up and leave. Russ argues with him about it, and Emmet says Lena would be ashamed of him because she knows how important this is. Russ gets angry that Emmet’s involving Lena, but the good doctor says she’s marked for this. While Russ and Emmet get into a physical altercation, Tess asks Lena what Emmet means… but she has precisely zero idea about any of it. We do though, if you’ll recall a few episodes back when Emmet showed us the markings on the back of Lena’s neck when she and Lincoln were kids on the boat.
Manny breaks up the fight at last, and Emmet declares he’s going to leave with or without Russ. The end result is that Russ stays behind while Rabbit and Manny accompany Emmet on the journey deeper into the Sahte Region, despite him saying he might just be a whole can of nuts. Oh, and the dog comes with them too. Of course, amirite?
The trio of hikers stop in the middle of the jungle after the canopy opens up. Emmet quotes Kipling, and says that’s the type of thing Clark would just cut out of the show. Clark, watching the video, smiles at the mockery. Another short distance away, and Emmet’s educating his camera operators on food in the jungle. Pay attention to the monkey…
Emmet finds some markings on a tree and comments that they’re close. In response, Manny demands some answers about who or what they’re chasing. Rabbit agrees, and Emmet then explains about the xolos tribe and their extraordinary health. They even flay the flesh beneath their shoulder blades as though removing wing… because they believe themselves angels. Angels guarding a secret, in point of fact.
There’s a sudden whistling in the woods. That same four-note tune Emmet played on his guitar before. This of course excites the good doctor, and means they might be getting closer to that mysterious Source… and crossing the line between life and death. Umm, anyone else see this as a horrible idea?
After Manny heads to bed, Rabbit flirts a bit with Emmet. She slides her hand on top of his, but he rejects her advances. He and Tess may be separated legally, but not in Emmet’s heart. Which is rather romantic if you think about it. Tess does too… she touches her heart when Emmet says he still loves her on the tape.
Emmet records himself in super closeup because he’s too excited to sleep. The camera turns off, and then immediately comes back on at the strange whistling. It stops when Emmet leaps out of the tent and looks around. He comes back in and all three sit up… then a face presses against the tent and the dog goes nuts. The dog bolts from the tent, followed by Emmet and the cameras, and eventually stops at the pelt of their monkey friend on the ground. Then Emmet sees blood on Rabbit’s camera lens. They look up… and the skinned monkey is speared in the tree.
The next morning – Day 6 – Emmet maintains the spirit responsible for the monkey’s death is a threshold guardian. He calls it Il Tunchi, and theorizes they wandered into its territory or something. Manny then sees their rations are gone, and Emmet comments on the cleverness of the spirit.
Jahel stops the tape, much to the chagrin of everyone else. She explains it’s better for them not to watch because Il Tunchi isn’t a spirit – it’s a demon. The spirit doesn’t come to trick people; it comes to kill them. Dun dun duuuuuun.
Jonas finds a sobbing Lena out in the hallway. He sits with her, a comforting presence, and she confides in him. Then she asks if she can trust him… and though there are cameras watching, Lena admits that she remotely activated Emmet’s beacon using a direct satellite link-up. It was the only way she could get anyone to come look for Russ, so she lied. And now they have to watch Emmet die on video. I did not expect her to confide in Jonas. Got to be honest.
On the tape, Manny cooks dinner while Emmet explains to Rabbit about the creation of “The Undiscovered Country.” After the death of their baby daughter Alice due to a heart defect, Tess helped Emmet find his way again. The cameras were just a way to have something to do, and it spawned a massive enterprise that turned the world into their family. It’s all a rather emotional speech, and even touched my cold sarcastic heart. (I know, right?)
The wind whistles that tune again, making Emmet and the others book it for cover. Manny doesn’t make it though. His off-camera scream is accompanied by a ragged tearing noise. Emmet and Rabbit get into some low trees where they hide out from the creature. Once the whistling vanishes, they head out to search for Manny. And find him later that night… skinned and hanging in the tree. Ewwww.
Il Tunchi returns with more whistling in the darkness. Rabbit and Emmet book it for cover again, and it’s there Emmet figures out he can stop the creature by whistling the tune back. It wants to be answered. Emmet maintains these are all tests, including the spirit, but Rabbit doesn’t want to keep going. She wants to head back to the ship and go home. Emmet appears to convince her to stay… until the next morning when she takes all the survival gear and turns back.
All Emmet’s left with is camera gear and a sat phone. No food, no tent, and no water filter anywhere in his pack. He figures he can survive though, so long as he keeps working on the show. Emmet looks right at the camera and says “There’s magic out there. Let’s go see it.” This makes Clark and Tess smile in the editing room, and it’s followed by a few bits of Emmet explaining what some flowers are.
Right after he finds Xulos markings, the wind begins whistling. Emmet whistles back and it dissipates immediately. Later that night, Emmet’s trying to get a fire started with wet wood when he realizes he could die out there in the jungle. Branches snap out in the woods, and he hides with a rock in hand to brain whatever is coming. Then the dog appears. Hooray!
Emmet finally decides to try his magic to start a fire. He sits cross-legged and hums until fire suddenly bursts to life in his palms. Lincoln, watching the tape, shakes his head in amazement. Emmet then also gets the radio working, and his spirits are lifted. Kind of cool to be honest.
Emmet finds some grubs, and while he and the dog share he explains his theory about death being a window. And maybe, just maybe, that window is open out in the Boiuna. Then he expresses a desire to have known Alice; maybe out here he can do that.
When next the camera powers on, Emmet is suffering from a fever after drinking river water. He could collect a medicinal herb to treat it, but that’s energy he’d rather spend on food. He has to find some calories somewhere if he plans to make 70 kilometers. Then he looks at the dog… he could get those calories. Except he pets the dog and then pushes him aside. Good man, Emmet.
Emmet calls Lincoln that night by the fire. It’s a bit of an awkward conversation because Lincoln on the tape can barely hear him. Lincoln watching the tape is ashamed of himself for giving Emmet the brush off. If he’d known that was the last time he talked to his dad…
The next scene is Emmet giving young Lincoln that necklace we saw a few episodes ago. The one that precisely replicates the marking on Lena’s neck, in fact. Then older Lincoln, driving the Magus, does some self-recrimination for good measure.
Lena practically strips looking for where she’s “marked.” Until at last she feels something at her neck and shaves some hair away to get a good look. Now’s the first time she sees the mark there, where Emmet spotted it so many years ago.
Back in the editing room, Clark offers to vet the next set of tapes before Tess watches them. She refuses, and everyone settles in to watch. Emmet comes on, and now no one’s sure how many days later they’re seeing.
Emmet keeps plodding along, getting visibly weaker as he goes. Then he comes upon a mango tree, but falls and breaks his ankle when he tries to climb up. No making it to the falls now, unfortunately. He decides to try crawling for the river and a fishing village. Soon that’s given up too, as he can’t go any further without food and can’t forage for food.
He takes one more look at the dog, and draws his knife. But he can’t do it. Emmet pushes the dog away, and then falls onto his side in front of the camera. He offers what would seem a tearful goodbye to the world. With the words “Tess, forgive me,” the wind whistles again. Emmet can barely purse his lips, let alone whistle, and Tess says as much to Lincoln when he asks. It looks like all’s lost for Doctor Cole.
Tess pauses the tape and kicks everyone except Lincoln out. The tape begins again, and Emmet closes his eyes. Branches reach out over his face… and then whistling natives appear. They carry Emmet back to their village and care for him through the fever. Just after Emmet wakes, they carry him to an outpost and set him down outside the gates. The camera cuts out right after.
Tess and Lincoln are energized now. They can find Emmet! The team heads through the jungle and they soon come upon Emmet’s dog. The dog leads them the rest of the way to the outpost, which is now empty, broken down and overrun by the jungle. It’s been several months since the tapes… where is everyone?
Next week? We find out.
Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of ‘The River: Peaches’.