Is anyone else out there watching NBC’s ‘Siberia’, or am I the only one? The show has unfortunately gotten buried by the attention directed toward CBS’s popular ‘Under the Dome’, which airs at the same time. Yet while ‘Dome’ has faltered creatively in recent weeks and seems to have already run out of steam, ‘Siberia’ is starting to get really interesting. Some real crazy stuff happened in this week’s episode.
The crux of episode ‘What She Said’ involves poor Irene, who walks into a booby trap in the woods (seemingly led into it deliberately by Miljan, who’s been acting increasingly strange) and gets her leg impaled on a spike. The others manage to get her out of it, but she’s hurt badly, and the camera people don’t do a damn thing to help. Even in intense pain, Irene worries about being a failure (sounds like she probably has daddy issues) and says she doesn’t want to quit. Everyone else debates what to do. Neeko worries that if she doesn’t get to a hospital, she might suffer permanent damage or even a deadly infection. Basically, the group faces the same dilemma as when Victoria got sick: Will someone have to sacrifice his or her position in the game by crossing into the Safe Zone and pushing the button to call a rescue helicopter?
Eventually, Esther volunteers. She claims that she’s had a crisis of conscience and is willing to forfeit the game to save Irene. She leaves for a while and returns later with news that a helicopter has arrived. However, it only has a pilot who was unaware of the medical emergency. She says he told her that the rules of the game will be suspended and nobody will be penalized if they bring Irene to the landing zone for evac.
Esther, it turns out, is a massive bitch. She never stepped into the Safe Zone. The whole thing was a ploy to trick Johnny, Sam, Daniel and Carolina (and Irene) into crossing the line and forfeiting, so that her own odds of winning the game would increase dramatically. Naturally, Esther invents a convenient excuse about halfway there to return to camp on her own. Johnny gets homicidally pissed when he realizes that he’s been duped.
Not only is there no helicopter waiting for them, Daniel discovers that the button that’s supposed to call the helicopter isn’t connected to anything. It was never connected to anything. This raises all sorts of questions about what happened to previous contestants who quit – especially Natalie, who’d strangely disappeared at the beginning of this episode, leaving behind a note to Annie saying that she felt guilty about cheating on her boyfriend and needed to go home. Her off-camera exit seemed suspicious right away. Where were her dramatic goodbye to her friends and tearful confessional interview? She just suddenly wasn’t there anymore.
Johnny and Sam fly into a rage and attack the cameramen, demanding answers. The cameramen claim that they have no idea what’s happening. They were just instructed to film everything without interfering. They haven’t heard from the producers in a couple of days and their radios aren’t working. Carolina (or Joyce, as we learn is her real name), who has admitted to being an actress hired to be a mole in the group, offers to take Johnny and Daniel to the producers’ base camp, where the show is run from. Sam stays behind with Irene, waiting for that helicopter.
When they get to the base camp, however, they find it abandoned and ransacked. There are no producers or anyone else in sight. Something profoundly fucked up is happening on their alleged Reality show.
Oh, But Wait…
Even that twist (which, frankly, was telegraphed in most of the series’ advertising) is nothing compared to the real WTF moment of the episode. Sabina has been acting kind of squirrelly. She steals a camera from the crew and a bunch of food and supplies that she’s hidden in the cave we saw her sneaking out of in a previous episode. This week, she hears the sound of children laughing in the woods. As she goes to investigate, she spots a young girl, who immediately runs away and disappears. Chasing after her, Sabina stumbles over a skeleton half-buried in the dirt. It looks like it’s been there for a long while. The skeleton is wearing a locket. It’s the exact same locket that Sabina is wearing around her own neck – including the picture inside of her own daughter!
Later, Sabina hears the sound of gunshots in the distance. Is this all an elaborate hoax? Is there some crazy time travel shit going on? Are all of our character dead (perhaps embodiments of the original settlers that vanished in 1908) and trapped in limbo?
These are the same type of questions that ‘Lost’ asked early on, of course. The parallels here are less than subtle. Regardless, as far as ‘Lost’ clones go, this one is surprisingly working on me more than I expected. Given the show’s unlikelihood of being renewed beyond this summer, I hope the writers have an end-game planned for this season.