by Chris Saccaro
The season finale (and quite possibly the series finale) of “The River” was marked by a dramatic uptick in quality. After the bold move to have the crew find Emmet Cole in last week’s episode, the finale left room for a lot of the repercussions of this discovery–which basically means there is finally time to focus on the characters, and how their journey to find Emmet Cole affected them. The biggest question on everyone’s mind was “What were you thinking?!” The answer to that was a resounding “No comment.” And the crew seems to accept that for the time being.
They are probably so accepting of this complete cop-out because they have more important things to worry about, like getting home. And like every other episode of the season, something stands in the way. However, what makes this episode intriguing is that the source of conflict is more rooted in the crew’s dysfunctional drama, and not the mysterious forces of the Amazon.
Finally, there is some underlying tension between the characters, especially with how they view Emmet’s return. While everyone is happy to have found him, they can’t help but feel that too many lives were lost for Emmet’s mysterious journey. It’s no surprise that someone tried to shoot Emmet. However, the real surprise was Lincoln being killed saving his father.
This would have been a perfect ending to his character. It showed that deep down, he still loved his father. It also would have created tension between Tess and Emmet, because she would’ve had to choose between having her husband and having her son. But in the universe of “The River,” there’s always a loophole, and as usual, Jahel is the key to it all. Which results in Lincoln being revived, but getting possessed in the process.
Although the reasoning behind the possession is questionable, it’s hard to deny that this was perhaps the most frightening “supernatural occurrence” to occur to the crew of the Magus. One of their own has been turned, which causes secrets to be revealed and forces the crew to deal with each other. The scenes that follow are creepy and are quite possibly the best “scares” of the season. Seeing Lincoln thrashing on table while fighting an internal demon who hell bent on torturing his loved ones is hard to watch in the best way possible.
By the end of the episode, it’s tough not to feel upset by the fact that some of the best episodes of the show were saved for the end. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, ensuring that the crew could be back for another season. But the ending also comes full circle with the crew itself “going missing”—like Emmet himself–providing a sense of resolution if this happens to be the series finale. Unfortunately, that may be the case, as “The River” took too long to find its legs, despite a serious improvement in its final episode.
Chris Saccaro is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.