‘Siberia’ 1.07 Recap: “I Never Thought It Would Get This Bad”

In what is surely the bleakest episode of the show so far, hopelessness and despair have set in for our characters on ‘Siberia’ this week. Is there any chance this story could end well for them?

In episode ‘First Snow’, it… well, it snows overnight. This is particularly odd in that it seemed to be the middle of summer the day before. No one is prepared to wake up and find themselves buried in a couple feet of snow – least of all Miljan, who appears to have only packed shorts for this adventure. Of course, Miljan is kind of an idiot anyway.

The characters are still split into two groups. While the majority stay behind at the camp, Johnny, Sam, Daniel and Joyce trek through the woods toward the radio tower in the distance. Unfortunately, with every hill they crest, the goal just seems to be getting further away. On the way, they come across the wreckage of the production’s helicopter, which looks like it must have exploded in mid-air. Joyce takes this very badly. Oddly, they find no bodies with the crash.

Isolated from the rest of the camp, lacking any shelter and carrying only minimal supplies, this smaller group fares very badly in the snow. When they hit a river and try to cross at a narrow section they hope has frozen over, Sam injures his foot but presses on. Eventually, however, he can’t go any further, and tells the others to leave him behind. Daniel volunteers to stay with him while Johnny and Joyce look for help. As night comes on, Sam’s condition turns pretty dire, and Daniel worries that neither of them will last the night exposed to the elements (and wolves). Fortunately, Johnny and Joyce return, claiming to have found shelter beneath a downed tree. They still have quite a ways to go, but at least they have a dry spot where they can start a fire.

Back at the camp, Irene’s infection is getting worse. Miljan has clearly lost his marbles at this point, and keeps insisting that they need to put Irene down like a sick dog. The others are aghast at his behavior. Trapped together in one of the cabins with dwindling food and supplies, tempers are running short.

Sabina leaves for a while and returns with a stash of stuff that she’d been hording in the cave. She explains that this had been her strategy to win the game, but now she just wants to come clean and offer up everything she has. She also takes some of others to the producers’ abandoned base camp to scavenge for clothes. Esther finds a key for the Revealer cabinet there. She tries to keep this hidden at first, but after Neeko goes ballistic trying to pry the cabinet open by hand, she makes a show of figuring out what the key is for and using it. Inside, they retrieve a treasure trove of food, vodka, chocolate, matches, a copy of Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Idiot’ and… bizarrely… sleeping pills. Why would any of the contestants in this game have needed sleeping pills, except perhaps as a method of drugging their competitors?

Miljan finally snaps and attacks Annie in an attempt to kill Irene. The others subdue him and leave him tied up alone in the second cabin. When Esther goes to bring him some water, he attempts to blackmail her by threatening to reveal that she secretly took something from the Revealer for herself. What that is, we don’t know yet, but Miljan implies that it’s pretty bad.

The next morning, by the time anyone else wakes up, Irene has gone missing. Clearly, she was in no condition to run off on her own. The empty bottle of sleeping pills lingers on her bed. Everyone runs over to the second cabin, and we cut to a cliffhanger on their shocked expressions. Did Miljan get loose (with help from Esther) and kidnap Irene? Or is Miljan dead in the cabin? I guess we’ll find out next week.

A few episodes back, I thought it was a little ridiculous the way that the characters overreacted to seeing the aurora borealis. However, this instantaneous change of season is a little harder to explain. Are freak weather events normal for Siberia, or is something supernatural going on? Have the contestants actually travelled through time without realizing it? These are some of the questions I hope the show has answers for before the season ends.


  1. Matt

    As I said last week, the crater that Johnny an Co. found strongly suggests that the mystery of the show will somehow focus on what is known as the Tunguska Event. Basically, in 1908, there was a huge explosion in Siberia equal to a good size nuclear bomb. Most assumed it was a meteor hit but there was no meteor in the crater. Some suggested a tiny black hole hit the earth, however there is no corresponding “exit wound.”

    That said, I think there is definitely some time travel going on. I also think the “Valleymen” people we’ve seen a couple times are either the original 1908 settlers that disappeared or their descendants. The creature is probably something that came through the black/wormhole.

    • Josh Zyber

      Doing some Wikipedia’ing about the Tunguska Event brought up references to Leonid Kulik, the Soviet scientist who investigated the explosion in the 1920s. Of course, Kulik is also the name mentioned in the journal that Miljan found. So you’re clearly onto something here, Matt.

  2. Skim172

    In real life, it’s generally believed that the Tunguska event was likely a fair-sized meteor detonating in the atmosphere. In such an event, the meteor would have disintegrated, leaving behind only traces in the atmosphere scattered across the globe. It’s not that uncommon – there was a similar meteor event in Russia only earlier this year, though much smaller than the one believed to have detonated over Tunguska, which flattened trees in a wide circumference. This one just broke windows and shook the ground when it went off.

    Part of the problem is that we have little primary evidence. The earliest recorded study of the Tunguska event was Kulik’s expedition in 1927, which, you’ll notice, is two decades after 1908. Tunguska’s remoteness – combined with a World War, a Bolshevik revolution, and a civil war – seems to have discouraged anyone from investigating the event until Kulik. So if there was trace evidence to be found, it had to have lasted two decades.

    The “black hole” theory is an interesting one – the idea is that a miniature black hole – not large enough to swallow Earth, but still very powerful – passed through the Earth, entering in Siberia and emerging through the Atlantic. It’s largely theoretical and difficult to substantiate. The meteor theory is still the popular one so far.

    Wilder theories run your standard gamut of conspiracy theories: it was a Communist atom bomb test (in 1908!); it was a secret American doomsday weapon tested on Russia; it was an alien ship self-destructing; it was a magnetic realignment; it was the Illuminati; it was magic; it was some kind of monster (dragons?); and etc.

    I’m wondering if maybe “The Idiot” is supposed to foreshadow a future plot point. I haven’t read the book, but from what I do know, it seems unlikely that Siberia storyline will tie into it – unless they suddenly start encountering rich Russian aristocrats. But the general moral of the story is that the real world is a terrible place that punishes goodness and virtue. Which I guess resonates with Siberia so far.

  3. Matt

    The fact that the “crater” still looks relatively “new” and not covered in new growth is why I think time-travel (or time-displacement) is very very likely. I’m thinking the time shift happened when the sky turned green. And perhaps the time shifts are cyclical in nature.

    I’m holding to the black hole/wormhole theory for the show’s story. Remember the drawing on the rock that showed a creature with a couple villagers “hunting” it? In the picture, there was a sun in the sky as well as a black, swirly thing that is basically what a black hole would look like if I were asked to draw one.

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