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The River: Please Don't Eat the Dog

The River S01E6: "Doctor Emmet Cole"

Of all the things we learned about Dr. Emmet Cole this week, I think the most important is how bad he is at hiring crew members. First it was the party bro who thought it was okay to film locals' deaths on his Android and this week we learned that Emmet had also hired an extremely dangerous woman to operate his cameras. I'm talking, of course, about Katie Featherston, the main subject of of THREE documentaries that very explicitly prove she is haunted by and/or possessed by A DEMON. Seeing as The River is a found footage show that supposedly takes place in the real world, shouldn't Emmet Cole at least have had a passing familiarity with the Paranormal Activity franchise? I'm just sayin'... If I was trying to staff up an expedition into highly supernatural and treacherous territory, I will probably not hire the most famous demon-bait in America. It's just common sense. Then again, maybe Katie just had a great resumé?

This week's episode, "Doctor Emmet Cole," was basically The River's attempt at a flashback episode. Operating on a tip from Lena's ghost dad, Tess and the rest of the gang hiked out to a waterfall where they immediately found Emmet Cole's backpack. One guess as to what was inside of it? That's right, MORE footage! Fun fact: Did you know that you can store over a week's worth of nonstop camera footage (from two different cameras!) in one tiny ziplock bag? Anyway, before we knew it, the entire crew was huddled around the video monitors watching a (fully edited?) account of what happened to Emmet on his final expedition. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting stuff. But if your primary question is whether a man is still alive or not, maybe just skip to the last tape? I don't know. Instead everyone just stood there watching the tapes from beginning to end, and occasionally Tess would make everyone leave the room when she felt like Emmet might die on camera. Not the best viewing experience.

Emmet's footage began with Magus hidden-camera footage (which, why was this footage in the backpack? Be quiet, brain.) of a mystical dragonfly flying right into a meditating Emmet's open mouth and him awakening with an epiphany as to the whereabouts of The Source. A pretty typical day, in other words. After a brief on-deck fist fight with Lena's dad over the fact that Emmet had dragged them all on his crazy sorcery hunt, he packed up his dog and set off. Two crew members decided to go with him: Totally Gonna Die Guy and Katie (operating under the assumed name "Rabbit"). Almost immediately Emmet became super annoying by bragging about all his jungle knowledge, reciting from memory entire passages of Rudyard Kipling, and forcing everyone to eat bugs for dinner even though they'd brought food. And then when they were all trying to get some Z's, THIS happened:

After that, things just went from bad to worse. First of all, the dog got hungry. Secondly, there was some awkward tension between Emmet and "Rabbit" after she'd tried to put the moves on him around the campfire. Thirdly, the other dude was skinned alive and hung from a tree. Fairly typical jungle issues, but definitely enough to put a damper on everyone's hike excitement.

As Emmet had mentioned in one of his many know-it-all speeches, this particular section of the jungle was home to a race of superhuman natives who believed themselves to be angels. At the same time there was an evil entity that was definitely not a rip-off of the Smoke Monster from Lost. This one was made of leaves, not smoke. But yeah, a leaf monster kept attacking everybody and was responsible for flaying the other dude. Fortunately Emmet knew how to keep it at bay: By whistling the theme song from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Or was it the Mogwai lullaby? Either way, a whistle a day kept the monster away.

So then "Rabbit" stole the supplies and snuck off (she probably needed to get back to San Diego to deal with some demon stuff), Emmet Cole and his dog continued onward, still dutifully filming everything from multiple angles. It wasn't long before he was incredibly thirsty and starving and was staring longingly at the dog as though it had turned into a cheeseburger like in the cartoons. There was even this long, horrible moment where he got out his Swiss army knife and tried to muster the strength to do it but finally couldn't. I don't know about you, but that was the tensest moment this show's had yet! I also don't know about you, but if he'd actually done it I would have turned off the TV and never watched the show again. Life is too short, you know? So good choice, Emmet Cole!

Just when the gathered Magus crew decided Emmet was probably going to pass away on camera, they were shocked and delighted to see that he was then SAVED by the aforementioned angel-tribe and deposited at the fence of the Dharma Initiative! Just kidding, it was probably just some kind of deforestation operation (there were bulldozers and English-speakers, so I'm just assuming). Then I guess the natives stole all his junk and neatly placed everything in ziplock bags for Tess to find near the waterfall? I don't know. Hopefully they pawned the camera. Anyway, after a round of hugs and high-fives, the Magus posse were suddenly shuffling through the jungle looking for that deforestation base camp. After fortunately avoiding the leaf monster and accomplishing in 20 minutes what Emmet nearly died of starvation trying to do, they pretty quickly came upon the place where Emmet had been dropped off. That was the good news.

The bad news was that it was now clearly a haunted, abandoned hellscape like something out of a Silent Hill video game. Uh-oh! We knew Emmet was still alive seeing as he'd pulled the dragonfly trick in Episode 2 and literally spoke to Tess, but now there were other factors at play, including the fact that apparently Lena is destined (via birthmark) to be some kind of mystical being. (Oh, also we learned that Lena had personally set off Emmet's emergency beacon in order to trick everyone into coming, but that ended up being a big who-cares? revelation.) And also we learned that a big reason Emmet had gone on this journey was to have a reunion with his deceased 2-week-old infant daughter Alice. So yeah, things were definitely getting weirder.

All in all, most this episode amounted to watching footage of characters watching footage. Very low-stakes! Still though, the episode was pretty riveting and had a great ending. I'm looking forward to next week's episode more than any episode so far. Congratulations, The River, I finally care. Only two episodes left!

 

QUESTIONS:

... How long does a camera battery last when you never stop filming? 5 days? 20 days?

... What's Lena's deal?

... Have you ever eaten your dog?

Comments (33)
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Like Price now I finally care - great ending, the whole episode kept me on my nails for the first time since episode 2.

And to all the camera-logic defenders and style haters: you're right it can be done better(see Paranormal Activities 1-3) BUT all we see is edited by the fictious production firm using ALL the material from BOTH expeditions, and what the crew saw in this episode is not necessarily what we saw. Maybe they ditch the whole reality angle soon, they chose to do this style and we have to accept it - or quit the show.

For me it worked to ignore the logic. Anytime I did the episode became enjoyable - anytime I kept on focussing on the implausible cameras I ruined it for me.
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I sooo agree....if that dog had gotten eaten, that would have been IT for me.
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This was a great episode and I liked the character and plot development. The surprises at the end were fun too! I look forward to more episodes and seasons!
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For your Question about the camera battery...When the girl took off and left Emmitt on his own...he went through the back pack and he actually said " solar powered battery charger" I guess that's how they are getting away with the super long filming...
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My take on the whole 20minute walk vs Emmet's epic journey... is that they both (A) were able to take the boats further out and (B) went to an outpost near the river. That tribe carried Emmet and unknown distance to their village, let him heal, and them another unknown distance to the outpost.



So ultimately, the tribe might've carried him a great distance (since the camera just went on and off) and perhaps back-tracked his route a little.
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I wish Spielberg would put his hand in some of his shows not his name ex Falling Skies , Terra Nova , Smash and The River and whatever else he dabbles in . Do One thing right instead of multiple things that have potential but are missing something like Quality writing ,Acting and Cinematograpy . Sorry just thinking out Loud
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THANK you.
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what are the rumors in U.S. about the river? Reading on the websites it seems that it will be canceled, no returning for a 2nd season. Let's hope the opposite, 'cause I love this show.

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I'm just glad he didn't kill the dog. Then again it's The River so maybe the dog has been dead all along. Who knows at this point.

I'm really intrigued by the ruins in the jungle I love that kind of stuff.

I'm having some difficulties with the timeline (He disappeared 6 months ago, right? )but other than that I really like this show. It's strange and pretty ridiculous but it's fun!!!
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I forgot to mention, as well as the leaf monster - smoke monster comparison with lost, we also now have a dog in the jungle. Why have we never seen this dog in any of the (hours and hours) of archive footage prior to this?
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too much nitpicking.. who freraking cares?!?!
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I really think you are robbing yourself of a fun experience if you are constantly negating the show due to the unrealistic camera issues. This is the way the show is presented to us. Drop the realism and enjoy it for what it is. It's a show about the supernatural, wherein NOTHING happens the way it should. Every week you have to complain about the cameras, angles, etc. Just let it go already. We get it. I put that factor aside weeks ago. They want to tell the story in this format and I'll accept the method no matter how it's done.



That being said, it's certainly not the best show on televisions, but it is pretty entertaining and I really want to know more about The Source and what Emmet Cole found (perhaps a lost colony of Atlantis? I am leaning in that direction). For some reason I think Atlantis could be tied into this, but that's just a theory. There are legends of a last colony of Atlantis in the Amazon. And...it would almost seem to fit. It's an interesting show, presented in a unique way. I'm not going to spoil the experience by complaining about all the technicalities.



On another note, it looks like The River meets The Walking Dead next week....zombies in the jungle? Yes, please.
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I'm definitely having fun, but that doesn't mean I have to actively ignore anything. The fact is, this show made a very bold creative decision and that decision has just been a fundamental failure from the get-go. There was a real chance for this to be something special, but instead what we're left with is something where I have to put a ton of effort into ignoring reality? Why is the burden on me? Shouldn't the show have just decided to use a normal filming style or at least honor the logic of found footage? Sorry, I'm not taking the blame for The River's ridiculousness.
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Well, I suppose that's your problem then. If you don't want to ignore it, you're making a bigger deal out of something trivial. I decided near the 3rd episode that this is what the show will do, and I'm not going to rob the experience by fretting over all the minor details of camera angles and who is filming and stuff. It's being nit-picky. This is what The River is, and I accept it. I have fun watching it, and that's all that matters. It's your problem if you want to complain and whine otherwise.



If you want reality, then why you watching a show that deals with everything that is not real? You are placing that burden on yourself by choosing to watch a show about supernatural things; things that do not happen. I recognize that none of what happens in this show is logical or real, so I enjoy it as such.
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I actually commented while watching it that it was hilarious that the natives who thought they were angels were such good camerashots. Guess they could have used them as a sub for the dude who got flayed. (Can I just call him Warren?) And can you please tell me if Katie Featherstone was so into Emmet that she not only filmed her awkward attempt to hit on him, but what would she have done if they boned? Really? Who wouldn't have turned off the cameras to hit on a married man? Ick.
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The other dude filmed her "attempts". Watch again if you don't have "faith".
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Change priceiswrong to priceisright because you are spot on. Just because some people can ignore the camara issues doesn't mean everyone can. Unfortunately the cameras aren't the only thing about this show that I'm disappointed with.
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The tribe is filming all along (and they're good !) without knowing it... I believe... but that part is not that clear. Maybe one of them wants to be the next cameraman who's gonna die. Hey, there is one who must sacrifice for the cause. We want blood ! And then, someone puts the tape in the packsack (probably the doomed one), and the packsack at the right place to be found. Really ?



Ok it doesn't make sense, no way, it's ridiculous, but... who cares ? I kind of like this show. At least, it's not about lawyers. I watch it in the dark, with popcorn. And I hope there is more monsters and demons ! Ouuuuuuuu !



I love Bruce Greenwood.

and... There is magic out there...



(Sorry for my bad english)

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Seriously?! This show is a fiction based documentary and apparently some people are concerned about questionable camera angles and battery life!? LOL... you forgot to nitpick about the "realistic" murderous jungle vines hanging people and skinning them alive ala Predator... Im not complaining because its a pretty darn good show and look forward to upcoming episodes... Thats my 2cents... now Im off to the The Walking Dead forum to post complaints about zombies not acting realistic enough (sarcasm) :p
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I think at this point everyone should just agree that the technicality is stupid. We can go on and on how ridiculous the camera angles are or the outstanding battery life they have but seriously, the story is good and I don't care pretending to be stupid for an hour every week for this show. It's a fun horror story. Just sit back and enjoy it.
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I think they said there was a solar charger in the pack, so that answers the battery question. But those looked like Digital Hi8 tapes which hold like 4 hours on EP recording. If they had HDD DV Cams they could easily record all week. Geeking out over...



Anyways, I agree with you Price. This was by far the most interesting episode. I was doubting my chances of watching next week, but now I'm in for sure.



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Meanwhile, I doubt he just left the camera running he whole time. He was probably just sporadically recording monologues and such. I mean, the guy is low of food and water and walking through the jungle... I doubt he wants to be holding a camera facing him the WHOLE time.



So he just occasionally films himself to keep himself sane.
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I wasn't exactly tense about it, but I did think "Okay, you kill that dog, I'm done." The dog was immediately the best character on the show. He just walked over that low, low bar. Jahel might wanna start doing a few more tricks.



I wouldn't recommend this show to anyone I cared about, but I can at least say it surprises me how quickly I watch it from my DVR. A few things are starting to pile up.
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The new camera lady was the same actress from PA, different character (thankfully).

If I were tracking somebody I cared for and wanted to know exactly what happened to them, I would not skip to the end. I'd watch all the tapes from start to finish.

I did get the whole Smoke monster vibe from the spirit chasing them, fun stuff!
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I really liked this episode. Bruce Greenwood did great as Emmet Cole, especially during the confessionals. I felt so bad for Lincoln during that call Emmet made to him. The ending left me feeling optimistic about finding him, but pessimistic about what's left of him if or when the crew eventually does find him.
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I was thinking the exact same thing about the dog! If he had killed the dog, I'd have turned it off, thrown some swearwords towards the TV and never looked back. You can't eat your best friend. I mean I have two cats, they are like walking teddy bears, you can't eat them. I know they wouldn't return the favor and every once in a while I wake up and one of them is gnawin on my toes, but that's just a reminder to give them food before I go to sleep...



However, I did enjoy the episode and I think there was not one moment I thought they were just using some clich. Ok, maybe that moment the girl had to look scared again and throw in some warning about the demon not spirit or whatever. Haha, the camera thing is just ridiculous, how many cameras did Emmet have? There was more than one angle even though he was on his own. Whatever, I really want to see what's waiting in that ghost town!
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You really enjoyed this episode? I thought it was terrible. Lena finally finding the birthmark was just about the only good thing to happen. The "leaf monster" WAS just a rip-off from lost; the fact that the current Magus crew didn't encounter the "leaf monster" was a cop-out; Emmet Cole is the most annoying character on the show (condescending prick); I still think Tess and Lincoln are the weak links (in terms of actors and characters); A.J. is the best character and he's just disappeared; The perfectly edited "raw archive footage" was a f*cking joke; The perfect camera angles obtained by the tribe when they were carrying cole was ridiculous - not to mention Emmets ability to carry and place several cameras in prime locations despite the fact that he was starving (his sodding insects weren't much help then were they); This list could go on and on.



I hope this show either gets a total revamp/reboot before a season two (I do think it has potential) or it just gets cancelled so the talented actors, who unfortunately seem to be the ones playing second fiddle, can move on to better things.



There are so many plot holes in this thing that I just can't take it seriously, which really isn't a good thing considering the documentary style premise it has. This show has literally had two highlights, the first being the tree of dolls and the second being the casting of Eloise Mumford and Shaun Parkes - hopefully the exposure will allow them both to move on to much better projects - they certainly deserve it.
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no way this is going to season 2. I'm just watching it as a mini-series basically, I hope they wrap it up semi-ok.

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Sounds like it was better and worse than last week's on several counts. Hopefully I'll get the chance to watch it tonight and see for myself if I finally have a reason to care about this show.
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I don't get why people get so worked up about the dog. We've not seen it before, as far as I remember, so there's no basis behind saying the characters consider the dog a best friend. Obviously Emmet is emotionally invested in the dog and that's okay, but when it's starve to death or not, you're going to pick not when there's a ready food source - ESPECIALLY when you can magically make fire appear in your hands.



And I see the good and bad elements to this episode. I do feel slightly more invested in the show now, but perhaps that's the hope that comes with renewed belief/evidence that Emmet's still alive and that this expedition has a point. It had to hit rock bottom to truly turn around; I think that's why Lena discovered the marking in this episode. We'll see how it goes from here. Really looking forward to the change of scenery we're sure to have in the next episode.
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Well, even if you let the part where the dog is the best and loyal friend to Emmett out, it would have been just a pretty unnecessary move to kill the dog. Let's face it: dog did pretty well in the jungle, Emmett not so much. Even if Emmett had eaten the dog, he would have died a few days later (who knew the Angel tribe camera team was so close)... So why do it? Why prolong the misery? No one wants to see something like that...
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Eat your dead or yourself, don't eat your dog. But yeah, if it died on its own...



The dog was the first character to actually root for. Unlike Lost, these idiots chose to put themselves through all this, so it's just a gamble they're either winning or losing. If Emmett didn't consider the dog man's best friend, it would be a character flaw from which he wouldn't recover. We barely care about him as it is.
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Clearly, you don't have a dog. That's like saying you'd eat a member of your family if you were starving to death in the jungle. I would never kill my dogs. I probably would eat them if they died on their own though. Different stakes then.
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