'The River' recap: The Condemned Man

the-river-cast-abc.jpgThe Magus crew finally find their first survivor: A lovely young cameraman named Jonas, caught in some vines with a big old case of what seems like malaria. But as Clark eventually unravels -- and Jahel, of course, immediately figures out, although nobody ever gives a **** what she thinks -- there's more to the story.

In fact, the kid -- played gamely by the always-delightful Cappie from Greek! -- is dead (or suspended in-between, like one of Lena's zombie babies) thanks to the jungle being mad at him for taping an elder's final moments of life. Yeah, that thing. The fresh and original thing about photos stealing your soul. His presence on the boat summons all kinds of plagues and disasters, and eventually Clark is calling for his execution... But not as harshly as Tess, who wants to make sure and wring every bit of useless information out of him first.

Throughout the episode, there have been low-level rumblings of struggle and power dynamics, so of course this interrupts into a hilariously simplistic fight between Lincoln and Everybody Else for the life of this kid... Even after he's discovered hiding a video tape of Dr. Cole's original decision to do the same thing, sacrificing him for cursing the boat in the first place.

Although the theme -- of finding a way to actually improve on Dr. Cole's ethics and memory rather than just praying to his ghost for guidance -- is a strong one, the stilted dialogue and odd pacing make this one a fairly laughable morality play in which Lincoln manages to hold the most self-righteous viewpoint possible at every turn, even when contradicting himself.
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