A giant U-shaped paw print next to a bloody clearing in the woods. A severed finger. A bad mushroom trip resulting in vivid/awful hallucinations. A missing gun and/or bullets. All of these unsettling things cropped up during Episode 2 of Siberia — NBC’s new scripted series about a Survivor-esque competition going horribly wrong — and yet only one character went running for the next helicopter back to civilization and away from a $500,000 cash prize?
Hey, if 25 real-life women put up with a guy dating all of them simultaneously on a real-life reality series like The Bachelor, then Siberia’s freaky-deaky happenings don’t require too much suspension of disbelief. Yes? Yes.
Anyhow, with that backdrop in place, let’s cut to the four key plot developments in “A Question of Reality,” which followed our castaways in the Siberian wilderness after all of them (except George) chose to stay in the game despite the sudden (and still unexplained) death of friendly hippie dude Tommy.
“THE REVEALER” GIVETH… | So that big metal box opens twice this episode. First time around, it delivers a container of bullets and a map with the location to a gun (which only Sabina and Johnny know how to shoot). Neeko decides that as the unofficial leader, he’ll hold on to the ammo, but someone steals it from under his bed, and almost everyone assumes it’s Johnny, who they already suspect has found the rifle, too. (Daniella with the unspeakably long hair asks if he’s got it, but the cameras cut away before we get an answer/non-answer.)
Later, “The Revealer” coughs up a key (underneath a big, live snake — or as Sam sees it, a chicken-flavored dinner). Miljan leads the gang to the little locked cabin he found while exploring the woods with Irene, and sure enough, the key fits and the players discover a food pantry. But once the majority of contestants decide the food should be rationed — after all, they’re supposed to survive out there through the winter — Johnny gets indignant, screeches “You’re nobody’s dad!” at Neeko and demands the food be split up so that each player can ration for him- or herself. Sulky Loner Dude gets overruled, though, and Neeko winds up giving the pantry key to Sam for safeguarding, a move Johnny claims he’ll live to regret. Somebody’d better count all the apples!
FINGER-NICKIN’ GOOD | Johnny cuts off the tip of his finger, gets briefly light-headed, but refuses to cross the exit line and take the next chopper home. Heck, for $500,000, he can buy a new finger, he reasons. BUT CAN HE BUY A PERSONALITY? Oh snap!
ATTACK OF (ON?) THE CAVE WOMAN | Daniel (who clearly doesn’t value his life) goes off looking for the spot in the woods where Tommy died. “Something big ripped through here,” he notes as he spots a giant paw or hoof print, downed sapplings and enough blood splatter to keep Dexter busy for a week. On his way back to camp, he finds a cave and (again courting death) begins to enter when — BAM! — out pops Sabina. (This chick be freaky, yes?) She says there’s a steep dropoff within, and that Daniel shouldn’t enter. And anyway, night is coming and they need to get back — pronto! Daniel gets distracted along the way when he sees some cave paintings of stick figures hunting what looks like a Yeti, and then whaddaya know, in the pitch-black woods, something begins to rustle behind them, causing Sabina to raise her sharpened stick and protectively push Daniel behind her. Whatever it is doesn’t use them for a late-night snack, and they arrive safely back at camp — where the guys and Esther poke fun at Daniel’s creature-in-the-woods recollections. Show of hands: Who thinks Daniel’s gonna be laughing last here? Or maybe second to last, right before Yeti devours him and bursts out into a giggle fit?
‘YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE’ | Esther chooses to do nothing to stop Victoria when the latter woman picks up a bowl of uncooked mushrooms thinking they’ve been boiled — and are therefore safe to eat. That evening, Victoria’s eyes begin to dilate, she starts hallucinating, and Annie (correctly guessing it’s bad mushrooms at work) sticks a finger down the girl’s throat to get her to vomit. “It’s green and it’s on fire…the sky…” says Victoria, as the group tries to decide whether to roll her across the exit line, out of the competition and into what they hope will be a medical evacuation. Except the helicopter call button is past the “exit line,” and no one wants to sacrifice him- or herself to save the chick who might be slipping into a coma, or might just be on the crest of a bad trip.
“This went a lot further than I thought it would go,” admits Esther, but by morning, she’s contending that Victoria probably was looking for a way out of the game in the first place — a lie made easier because Victoria is all “I AM SO AUDI!” from her first moment of lucidity. Victoria tells everyone they ought to join her on the chopper out, but won’t get into specifics. Daniel tracks her down near the exit line and begs for more intel. “I’m not gonna stick around ’cause I know what’s gonna happen,” says Victoria, who apparently had some kind of fungi-induced vision. “You guys are all gonna die. I gotta go.” And off she galavants. Daniel, now on his third strike at the game of self-preservation, stands there like a lean slab of human steak and watches her go. What a maroon!
What did you think of Episode 2 of Siberia? Are you fully hooked, or are you still on the fence? Sound off in the comments with your opinions and burning questions — and for all my recaps, news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!