The River
A Better Man

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
The Condemned Man

Jahel: "He stole a soul*, he's a thief. The Boiuna won't stop until it gets him back. It'll kill us all to get him."
Cappie: "This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
Lincoln, into the camera: "He was just doing his job."

*(OH NO YOU DID NOT. I hate that thing not only because it's an easy joke and a dumb one, but also because when you play this game you're saying that, because of their beliefs, it's possible for whatever made-up native savage soul to get stolen by a camera, but not yours, or else this would happen whenever anybody uses a camera, which means one of us is less human than the other. That there's a substantial spiritual difference between us and them, having to do with their crude underdeveloped beliefs and/or genetics. That's where you're going with Other games like this.)

Fisticuffs ensue, for some reason, as Lincoln reverses his position on documentarians from every other episode and defends Cappie as an artist, while Clark tries to beat the shit out of Cappie and get back the tape Cappie stole that has the dude's soul on it.


Quickly, things go from bad to worse: In the end, on the tape, Cappie is forcibly taken off the boat and left on the side of the river to die. Cole keeps yelling to turn off the tape, but there are flashes enough that you can see exactly what happened: Cappie was the first to die. He was strangled, by the vines, for stealing pictures of an elder's death, and has been hanging there ever since.

Everybody: Wigs out and stares at him.
Clark: "In this case, I think we'd better follow Cole's lead. Come with me, Cappie. Your eternal torment awaits."
Cappie: "See, this is exactly what I was talking about. I should have just lied."
Lincoln: "Somehow I am managing to be self-righteous toward literally everybody at once."

Oh my God, it's painful. It's as awful as the guitar thing. Lincoln's viewpoint is that they can do better than Cole's crew, that they have to find a way around this that doesn't involve sacrificing Cappie yet again, that everybody on the boat is a savage beast for wanting Cappie off the boat, that documentarians are all thieves of souls, that "getting the shot" is somehow simultaneously both laudable and disgusting, whatever allows him to be as judgmental toward as many people as he possibly can at the same time.

Blech. This is character development in the most paint-by-numbers sense, setting Lincoln up as the moral compass with only the slightest textual moorings or scaffolding, and then just saying: It is at this point that Lincoln becomes the moral compass. A compass that spins wildly, yes, and one that exists for this episode only, but that's the way the sausage gets made.

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The River




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