‘Siberia’ 1.03 Recap: “There’s a Predator Around Here”

I said in my last couple of recaps that I was taking NBC’s ‘Siberia’ on an episode-by-episode basis. This week, I’ve decided that I’m on board. While I acknowledge that the show could still turn out to be a waste of time, something about it has intrigued me enough to want to see where it goes. This week, the un-Reality series amped up its (entirely fictional) drama.

‘Lyin’ and Tiger and Bare’ is a pretty clever title for an episode that starts with some playful skinnydipping, progresses through a round of mistrust and deception, and ends with… well, a tiger.

Major events kick off when the shed that houses the camp’s food supply burns to the ground. In the aftermath, a kerosene lamp is discovered in the remains, but a number of the food containers aren’t. This suggests that someone stole food and intentionally set the fire. Naturally, everyone immediately suspects jerkward Johnny, who’d argued with group leader Neeko about rationing the food.

Johnny denies the accusation, and later proves himself a team player after the Revealer cabinet delivers a hunting bow and quiver of arrows. Although Johnny is a lousy shot (that injured finger probably doesn’t help), fashion designer Irene turns out to be the group’s very own Katniss Everdeen. The problem is that she’s never hunted before, and is squeamish about killing animals. Johnny, however, has some experience tracking and hunting, and no compunctions about slaughter. He leads her off into the woods in search of deer.

While those two are away, a couple of the girls claim to have seen a tiger in the woods, totally freak out, and gather everyone else up inside one of the cabins. Computer programmer Daniel, who has a major crush on Irene, grows a pair of balls and heads out to warn her and Johnny about the tiger. Neeko finds the story of the tiger very suspicious. Even if the girls really did see one, surely it was planted by the show’s producers specifically to generate drama, and must be totally under the control of animal handlers. “Everything’s a game,” he reminds the others.

Johnny, Irene and Daniel eventually return safely, with a freshly-killed deer that makes for a big feast that night. Johnny is celebrated as a hero – until the next day, when latina bartender Carolina tells Neeko that she’d seen Johnny snooping around the woods suspiciously. When she brings Neeko to the spot she saw him, they discover the missing food wrapped up in some of Johnny’s clothes. This immediately turns the group against Johnny, despite his denials. Fed up with the betrayal, Johnny storms off into the woods to be alone, but runs into Sabina, who has come across something very disturbing – the remains of a dead tiger, brutally ripped apart. This leads to the obvious question of what could do something like that to a tiger. More importantly, it suggests that Neeko was wrong in his theory about the tiger being staged.

At the end of the episode, we the viewers (but not the contestants) get to see some hidden camera footage of Carolina stealing the food and setting fire to the shed. She’d set Johnny up to take a fall. Was this just her strategy to win the game, or is she up to something even more nefarious?

Additional clues this week include a speaker that Neeko spots mounted to a random tree in the woods (he believes that the show’s producers are generating the weird scary noises that have everyone on edge) and a bracelet that Sam the bouncer finds in a stream while ineffectually attempting to fish.

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