The River Review: Does Emmet Cole Play With Dolls?

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"Marbeley," the second episode of exciting new show The River, did not disappoint. In fact, the creepy factor was dramatically increased in an "oh my God I have to cover my eyes" sort of way.

Those “magical” blue dragonflies we encountered on the opening hour? It turns out they are more than just enchanting, and perhaps otherworldly. Jahel slept with her mouth open and one of those suckers just waltzed right in. Residing inside must be a spirit.

Given the video of Emmet’s bug bite, his infection and the ridiculous swatting of numerous blue bugs on the boat, it wasn’t a stretch to believe she was going to be possessed. When Jahel approached Tess as Emmet, Tess was more certain than ever he was alive. While Jahel remained possessed on the ship, the rest of the crew took to the jungle to find Emmet.

Into The River

When they encountered a “graveyard” consisting of hundreds of hanging dolls, including Lincoln’s childhood bear Marbeley, Capt. Kurt (am I the only one who has to stifle a giggle every time I say his name?) decided that was the best place to camp. The actual cemetery they had stomped through some yards back would have been better suited to bunk down for the night.

I have several friends who I'm hoping watched because their nightmares would have been fueled for years to come. For people with a freaky doll fetish, there is little you can do to match the horror that this episode evokes. As AJ urged a doll to open its eyes, and the doll behind him oblibed, I was squealing - and I have an entire house full of dolls (literally).

Why was Marbeley there is the first place? Why would Emmet have put it there? It didn’t seem to fit with the story of the tree and the drowned girl. When Lincoln returned it, why did it keep getting rejected? By that point, I felt sorry for Marbeley. Poor Lincoln just wanted his bear back, no matter what his age, and he selflessly gave it back to the tree only to have it rejected again and again.

It was a really great sign that the search for Emmet was plagued by this mini mystery. I hope that implies there will be many more along the way. There was nothing to indicate the second episode would be anything like what we encountered, but to sit in a dark room and just enjoy it for the enjoyment's sake was a really fun ride. The freaky dolls, the weepy voices, the grown man reconnecting with his childhood toy and losing his mother, only to have her crawl out of an open grave? That was good stuff.

A great lesson was learned during this episode: Pay attention to the old film footage of Emmet Cole. It is not just there as time filler! Of course I didn’t really believe it to be filler content, but I also didn’t pay close enough attention and completely missed the story Emmet told Lincoln about the necklace.

The story was about a child who who would wear the necklace that would be strong enough to stop the swinging of the pendulum between life and death. One day Emmet would meet that child. Naturally, he gave it to his son. At the end of the episode they showed video footage of Emmet filming Lincoln and Lena and she bore the mark of the necklace on the back of her neck.

Seeing that, I had to rewind and go back to the beginning and pay closer attention to what Emmet was saying to Lincoln when he gave him the necklace. I will not miss an opportunity like that again, and neither should you!

Emmet's reaction to the mark was very telling. All those years, when Emmet turned to Lena for help, it wasn’t because she was the only one there, it was because he knew she had a greater purpose. In the 20 years since the video was filmed, he may have even learned what it was. I’m dying to know. What about you?


Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (117 Votes)

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


i think this show was creepy and exciting(some points)...we really needed a change from all the CSI and reality TV thatsw on everynight. Theres always going to be people who are complaining about something. Too bad for them. They can watch re-runs of Friends or Two and a half men lol


whats wrong with being 15 years apart in agge @The Watcher ?? My mom is only 15 years older than my brother and 20 years older than me...i think its great having young parents..they will be around longer , where as many of my friends parents have already passed on...dont be so judgemental if ur so ignorant


really liked it! It has a lot to offer, i think: It's creepy as hell, there's mystery, solid characters, some with the potential of being great characters, cute guy, mean guy with hidden agenda ... hope ratings stay strong


Yeah the "mom" was more like a sister and the conversations between mother and son where stilted and disingenuous. Again these producers put no time into developing any characters, it's all about the camera and the paranormal. The producers suck! They know nothing of storytelling. The "mystery" of why the bear was rejected... people really liked that? It's like these people come from a different dimension where petulant ghosts are like IRS agents - a pain in the ass, but normal occurrence. I really can't believe anyone with a brain could write a show about a stuffed bear... or that someone would be interested in watching it.


I'm happy to report everyone I personally recommended to watch the show watched and loved it. Nobody worried about the camera work, the age of the mother (Joe Anderson was born in 82, Leslie Hope in 65, so they could very well be mother and son)or anything else for that matter. They all want the next episode. So yay! I'm sorry you all were so disappointed, as I stick with my reviews - I enjoyed the hell out of myself.


I'm shocked so many people on here didnt like it! I absolutely loved it. The shaky cam stuff doesnt bother me at all, brings a lot of realism to it. I love the characters and the storyline. Not to mention, watching it alone in my bedroom with the lights off, it was actually pretty creepy! The 2nd episode was definitely stronger, which makes sense becuase the pilot was really just setting up the story. I think this show is incredible and I'm sad a lot of people hated it, I hope it doesnt get cancelled! :(


Apparently, I was the only one who was completely distracted by the fact that the "mom" and the "son" were only about 10-15 years apart in age. I seriously missed a lot of the plot because I just couldn' wrap my head around it! Hollywood has GOT to get over this "anyone over 40 is worthless" attitude that it seems to have! The camera work only added to the confusion for me.


I really wanted to like this show. As others have commented, I can't stand the jerky camera,(documentary feel) of the show. There were some creepy moments but there are too many characters and too much going on all at once for me to keep it straight. It is Lost meets Blair Witch Project. Not good! I don't think I want to invest the time and energy into this show that I did with Lost. (I'm still not sure what happened there.) Not familiar with any of the actors either. I think The River has just bitten off more than we can chew.


Don't like the camera work either - because you can't tell who is where doing what and so you shortly cease to care. And why is the girl with the stitches in her leg in the water? In the Amazon? Where there are piranha? Or at least, infectious material? Not to mention a monster hungry for more blood? And why do they know, right away, to dig up the dead mother? I mean, I can buy that that's what they have to do, but how did they know so fast? Threw me right out of the narrative.


I hated the camera effects and every thing good happening at night. Couldn't see anything . I want be watching it again. To bad. I was hoping for a good scary show to watch.

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The River Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

You should put the camera down and watch where you're walking Clark.


Clark: We need a new camera operator.
AJ: Well, the last one got his head taken off by a ghost, so good luck with that.