The River Review: The Decision of the Son

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"A Better Man" delivered a lot of insight into Emmet Cole, how he felt about his son, what he wished for himself and his family and just how difficult he found things on the Amazon without them.

Indeed, The River is really a story about a man and the son he left behind, who is learning about the father he never knew through very perilous circumstances.

Memories of Emmet

As soon as Lena picked up the accordion and starting singing a folk song with Lincoln while he strummed guitar, I knew either something was going jump out of the jungle or I was going to jump on in there myself and put a stop to that nonsense. Good gracious. Have some taste, people. What's next? Puff the Magic Dragon? That's when Emmet's camera man, Jonas, saved us all when he showed up hanging by the neck from Tarzan ropes by the river.

Found with an advanced case of malaria, Kurt suggested quinine from the Sequoia tree. I had no idea my tasty gin and tonic was due to the great Sequoia! Quinine treats malaria, lupus, muscle spasms. Between that and red wine, no wonder I'm so healthy. But I digress.

I really enjoyed the increased amount of footage of Emmet this week. While a lot of you may dislike the found footage feel of The River, I want to know as much about Emmet Cole as I can, and to see as much of Bruce Greenwood as possible, so I'm all over the historical video sequences.

Bringing Jonas on board the Magus presented the crew with a myriad of new problems, including a shower of dead birds. The all-powerful all-knowing Jahel once again calls it. Jonas is being followed by El Colgado, the hanging man (it's even a Tarot card, that Lincoln picks every time in reference to Jonas). With him on board, they will all die. Seriously, there are no books on this boat that I have seen; where in the heck has she learned all of this? Surely not the Internet.

When Lincoln and Jonas have a heart-to-heart, Jonas admits Lincoln doesn't want to know what he knows. He could lie and tell him what he wants to hear, but to tell him the truth would do more harm than good. Once Lucas lies to Tess in the same manner, they are accosted by a swarm of locusts. The grossest moment was when Lincoln smacked on one of the bugs and it squished on the wall. Yes, I grew up with locusts and there is nothing worse than the sound of a crunching giant bug. Eeeek.

When Jonas decided to steal a soul by filming the death of a dignified man, he was plagued by death. He will be forced to suffer death over and over but never experience it as punishment for what his arrogance. I've never thought about the sacred moment of death, but in this time of paparazzi and trying to get the best shot, I hope a lot of them were watching what could one day become their fate.

We learned that Emmet was anything but proud of the choices he made in light of Jonas' work, how he treated him and that he feared the man he might have become without his family at his side. Through Lincoln's entirely different choices we know that Emmet was and is a good man, on a wayward path. Certainly worthy of redemption, because a son like Lincoln doesn't come from any other type of father.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (34 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


The River reminds me a lot of "Lost". It was mysterious and confusing, but that was the reason I kept watching. Please don't take it off the air!


Yeah, I'm pretty much done with this except for the "show I love to hate" factor, as my daughter calls it. But even that's getting stale. There's too much unnecessary conflict. Conflict is, of course, one of those concepts at the heart of story, but constant conflict is just plain annoying. From flying bugs to beautiful blue but very dead birds to guns to yelling to an annoying cameraman asking the most hackneyed and pointless questions of all trying to drum up more pointless conflict. "The River" is worth while mostly for writers making lists of lines they promise themselves will never ever drip off the ends of their fingers.


You said you dont know where Jahl is getting her info, and I do agree that she seems to be the all knowing, but Her father did say that the El Colgado was a story people use to tell kids to keep them from stealing. I realize they did that someone there to explain why things are happening otherwise there would never be a conclusion to the episode they would all be confused, but really does it always have to be her? They need to find some reference material and soon. If the material is books or papers then someone else can tell us what's what. Oh and I did not like the way they left Tess and Lincoln. Lincoln was ready to shoot anyone that threw Jonas out to die because he believes in saving lives and his mom was willing to kill him albeit for the greater good, but Lincoln would not have it, and they just skimmed over that aftermath. I think that is a big deal.


Gimmicks over story. Camera gimmicks, narrative gimmicks, FX gimmicks. The camera man hanging on a tree pulls something out of his pocket and hides it when he sees the Spanish chick who says nothing about this to anyone. A mystery!! What cold it be he is hiding? I can't wait to find out!! No, not really. This show sucks and I couldn't care less. I really think it was created to test how fucking stupid American television audiences are.


In the beginning, I liked this show, especially on my HD TV, good panaromas. However, this show is going downhill fast...way too much camera movment, no real still scenes or development of the actual dangers. The various and sundry camera movments detract from what might have been a good story line, which, too, is becoming stale fast. I give this show 4 on a 10 scale.


I made the mistake of giving this show another look hoping the camera work and true adventure would change. It didn't. I'm done. Some one let me know when they replace this. Thanks.


I love this show! The mysticism is great! It did remind me of a good ole Bble story, Jonah and the Whale! Still it was a good show.


Great episode. Somebody didn't respect the views of a local tribe. This in turn puts the entire crew in danger. Said person sacrifices himself to save everyone else, and the danger subsides. Just a great imaginitive story. I am, of course, talking about last weeks episode that was the exact same storyline. Thay killed off one nameless cameraman in the first episode, and no one since even with all the new dangers they face every week. This show is getting stale already.


I loved this episode I thought it was cool bringing someone else on the boat and that someone being from Emmett's crew was great we learned a little more about Emmett his episode. Sense Jahel is from there and grew up there and that's how she knows all the legends because she heard them when she was a kid I think is cool because she knows something bad is going wrong and they don't believe her at first but in this episode Clark saw her face in the video he shot and knew she was scared and then he told the others he's learned that when she was affects bad things happen and they should listen to her. I liked how Tess in this episode was the one to translate. I can't wait till the next episode it looks totally creepy and awesome.

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The River Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

Death needs dignity, not ambition.


Do you? Because you're supposed to be the head of security and the only thing you seem to be securing is dinner.