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"The River" Premieres On ABC

Christina Hong |
February 8, 2012 | 12:24 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

ABC’s new drama premiered on Tuesday, February 6. Created by Oren Peli and Michael R. Perry (director and writers of the "Paranormal Activity" series), the show offers the viewers a bit of a thrill with the found-footage and mythological characters.

The show centers on the disappearance of world-famous nature explorer Dr. Emmet Cole, who used to host his own television show before he went missing in the Amazon.  After six months of his disappearance, his emergency beacon goes off, causing his wife Tess to embark on a journey to fervently search for him.

Unfortunately and quite ironically there isn’t enough money to fund the actual search so Tess resorts to Emmet’s television producer Clark to film the journey as a documentary, which would explain the jerky camera usage and the characters awareness of the camera.

Tess is joined by her son Lincoln, a Ph.D student in medical school, a camera crew, a mechanic and his daughter, and Lena Landry, one of the daughters of the cameraman that also disappeared along with Emmet.  The show also indicates that Lincoln who is at rest with his father’s disappearance, had a troubling relationship with Emmet who was more concerned for nature than his own son.

As they go on their search, the crew finds the beacon signal only to realize it came from a shark cage of someone who tried to break out of it underwater.  At defeat, they suddenly discover the Magus, the ship that Emmet used to explore through the Amazon. They probe into the ship, discovering bloodstains on the walls and a mysterious creature that bites Lena and flies out of the panic room into open air. 

Things only begin to get creepy from here as supernatural events start happening.  A mysterious creature is lurking near the river, which causes Lincoln to want to bail out on the trip. Tess’ insistence to continue the journey wins in the end and the crew find themselves living off the abandoned ship that Emmet once used. 

As more demon-like spirits begin to take over the river, Lena finally displays a stash of tapes that Emmet had hidden from the public.  The tapes are filled with supernatural events like Emmet walking on water, holding fire, and commanding dragonflies.   They begin to reveal that Emmet was out on the Amazon searching for real magic from “The Source.”

The first hour ends with a confrontation between Lincoln and Tess about how her guilt is causing her to pursue after Emmet, not love. As spooky forces surround the two, one of the cameramen rushes to the deck to capture the chaos. The mysterious creature kills the cameraman and Tess cries out to the spirit asking if Emmet is still alive.  As the entire crew is confirmed of Emmet’s survival, the expedition continues.

The second hour continues with the mysterious spirit of Emmet temporarily possessing the mechanic’s daughter.  Jahel, the daughter, confirms that Emmet is still alive, but that he should not be searched for. 

Of course again, Tess’ stubbornness overshadows and they begin searching for Emmet in the jungle.  More trouble ensues as they stumble upon a graveyard. They end up discovering a tree covered in children’s dolls. They suspect that the dolls are used to repel the spirit of a lonely, abandoned girl who drowned in the river.  When Lincoln discovers his own doll on the tree, he ignorantly steals back the doll.  All of a sudden strange things begin to happen near their graveyard, so Lincoln is forced to return his doll.  Instead, the tree refuses to take it back and in return drops all the dolls hanging on the tree.  The crew then continues to cross over a shallow body of water and realize after crossing that Tess has disappeared.

Lena believes that the spirit of the abandoned girl wants her mother back, so they end up digging the grave of her mother and laying her skeleton in the waters.  Suddenly Tess arises out of the grave and the crew is back together in one piece.

Back at the Magus, Lincoln speaks with Jahel, who is still possessed with Emmet’s spirit.  As they converse, the spirit leaves Jahel, leaving her a confirmation that Emmet is indeed still very much alive.  Lincoln then runs back into another room on the ship to find an old necklace his father had given him.  As he puts on the necklace the show ends with a flashback of a spot on the back of Lena’s neck that is similar to the symbol on Lincoln’s necklace.

After all the hype of "The River," viewers may be left with mixed emotions of complete enjoyment or disappointment.  The next question is whether "The River" can live up to the success of ABC’s "Lost" without being labeled as too similar to it.

Tune into to watch “The River” every Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ABC.



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