I’m not sure that I’m entirely sold on NBC’s ‘Survivor’-meets-‘Lost’ fake Reality Competition series ‘Siberia’ yet. It’s still at an early formative stage and could go either way. Maybe it will develop into something interesting, or maybe it will just be a big waste of time. However, after last week’s pilot episode, I said that I’d give the show at least another week. And now, after the second episode, I’m on board for at least one more. Let’s see where this goes.
As the pilot episode ended, one contestant on the show (hippie environmental activist Tommy) had died under mysterious circumstances. The host informed the remaining players that it would be their choice whether to continue or just scrap the whole program. At the beginning of episode ‘A Question of Reality’, all but one of the contestants choose to stay. The accountant named George has had enough. He pushes the red button in the Safe Zone and is flown away in a helicopter, allegedly on his way back home (or so everyone is told).
The players attempt to return to some sense of normalcy, and go through the typical Reality Competition motions of forging alliances and sneakily setting up their competition for failure. After the Revealer cabinet opens to deliver a pack of bullets and a map, everyone scrambles to locate the gun first. When no one can find it, pretty much everyone suspects that dickhead rodeo rider Johnny has hidden it, and he only half-heartedly denies doing so. Later, the bullets go missing as well.
The cabinet opens again later, this time with a potentially dangerous snake hidden inside (that’s weird, right?) and a key. The key opens the shed that two players had found last week. Inside is a big supply of food that everyone gets excited about. However, Johnny and self-appointed leader Neeko get into a big argument about rationing the food.
Major drama ensues when model Esther tricks naïve college student Victoria into eating some uncooked mushrooms. She thinks the girl will just get a little sick and be useless in competitions, but Victoria suffers a major health crisis where she hallucinates, freaks out badly, babbles gibberish about green fire in the sky, and eventually passes out. This leads to much panic and debate among the group about what to do. Some think she’s just having a bad trip and will sleep it off, while others worry that the girl’s life may be in danger. They bring her to the line of the Safe Zone, but no one is willing to forfeit their own chance by crossing the line and pushing the red button. Eventually, they decide to let her sleep through the night.
The next morning, Victoria wakes up feeling better and clear headed. She almost immediately announces her intention to quit and leave, much to Esther’s relief. When nerdy computer geek Daniel asks her why she won’t try to stick it out a little longer, Victoria tells him that she saw things (visions?) and that everyone who stays will die.
Nice of her to, you know, warn everyone before she leaves or something. Bitch.
In other developments, Johnny accidentally cuts his fingertip off (ouch!), but elects to suck it up and stay anyway. While searching the woods to investigate Tommy’s death, Daniel discovers a big bloody mess that appears to contradict the host’s explanation that Tommy died in a fall. On his way back to camp, Daniel also comes across some weird, primitive rock drawings (ooh, a clue!) near a cave. As he pokes his head in, Israeli soldier Sabina walks out, acting secretive and shooing him away. My guess is that either she’s hidden the gun in there or she knows something about what’s really going on. In a very ‘Blair Witch’ moment, Daniel and Sabina get scared by noises in the woods and believe that something is chasing them. They make it back to camp safely, however.
The show is slow to tease its secrets, which is probably a smart plan. There’s something here. I don’t know whether it will turn out to be something good or something bad, but I’m curious enough to follow a little longer.