Welcome Destination Truth Fans!
Okay Truthies, or those curious about the series Destination Truth on Syfy – it is time for a recap of the latest Destination Truth episode before Season Five premieres on July 10, 2012!
Did I mention this is a long awaited season premiere? And that the latest episode to premiere for Destination Truth was over a year ago?
In any event, we last left off with the Season Four finale and Team Truth deciding they were to embark on a journey to explore paranormal reports from Antarctica, the most southern point and least populated continent on Earth. No, not the place Santa is from – that would be the most northern point of the world.
Before getting into the meat of this episode, it is important to note for new viewers of Destination Truth that even though you should try to catch previous episodes on NetFlix or otherwise, the show does not follow a chronological order of episodes. There is no set plot – it is adventure reality television that sums up cases within a half or full episode.
We start with the typical footage of the crew packing up their gear in the Los Angeles Destination Truth home office to prepare for their journey while series host Josh Gates narrates basic points about the culture of the place they are going and brushing over what they are investigating.
This episode is a great sampler of what has happened in the season leading up to now: shots of Easter Island, Pripyat AKA Chernobyl, and the depths of Chuuk Lagoon flash on screen and Josh teases that their crew indeed loves growing challenges. Josh states though Antarctica is vastly unpopulated, there have been paranormal reports from Deception Island where a deserted whaling station now resides. We are also told there are incidents noted from the Vernadsky Research Base about neighboring Wordie Hut, a long since vacated British base.
After the Destination Truth crew packs up, we get a look at our trusty Microsoft Visual Earth map to see them zip from Los Angeles to Rio Grande in Argentina where the trek begins.
While unloading gear from the baggage claim, we along with researcher Erin Ryder notice the first stage of prep that crew members including Josh Gates and tech leader Tony Gonzalez took for this trip – their “Sweet Arctic beards”.
I suppose this would be good for keeping warm, however Josh says to Erin, or “Ryder” as she likes to be called, it is for pondering more things.
Once outside, we get a look at the fan favorite in any Destination Truth episode – the rental car. The crew gets a decent looking blue four-by-four, which seems too good to be true since Team Truth is usually plagued with bad cars. Of course, the “catch” is revealed, as the car’s horn sounds more like the car alarm than a tooting horn. Sweet arctic beards? Meet the pretty sweet horn.
Team Truth on this journey is comprised of a smaller crew, which includes camera men Gabe Copeland with Kyle Wheeler and medic Shawn Goodwin. We see them traveling in the car throughout the scenic views of southern Argentina until we hit the port of Ushuaia. Here we get more comedic banter from the crew, where Josh feels the need to point out a Michael Jackson Thriller-esque looking jacket in a store window and the crew tries on some pretty goofy looking survival gear. Though the humor is a welcome element of this show, as always, the magnitude of how dangerous this trip is will soon be revealed to the viewers.
Our intrepid leader visits the Maritime Museum that was placed in the town’s former correctional facility, but more scary than the history of the building are the displays of Antarctic shipwrecks and photos of those lost forever to the bottom of the world. Monica Shillat of the museum has a frank discussion with Josh about how dangerous and cruel the climate of the region is, especially warning him about Drake’s Passage. As if her diatribe on the ocean is not scary enough, she confirms reports of the paranormal on Deception Island, where there is a presence of “sad beings”.
The gang heads to the dock to bring their gear on board and Josh narrates about a neighbor boat currently docked and under repairs after being on the news for taking a beating in Drake’s Passage. Team Truth makes itself at home on the small but brave 54 foot Sarah Vorwerk captained by Henk Boersma (for hardcore Destination Truth fans – you can actually book a trip on this very same vessel or see what this very trip would entail via an itinerary at SarahVorwerk.net).
We get a lighthearted tour of the boat’s interior with the living quarters from the kitchen to the bathroom and bedrooms where we are later showed that people have to tie themselves into bed to prevent being tossed from the force of the sea.
The crew casts off and is ready to try and sleep through their first night at sea, but in the morning, it is revealed we have gone nowhere. We are back at the dock due to a busted transmission.
After getting a cruddy looking, uhh, slightly used transmission unit from Chile shipped over, the repair is made and Attempt Two to hit the sea begins.
The viewers along with Team Truth are taken along on an abridged version of a four day journey that starts out serene but gets shaky once Drake’s Passage is reached. Everything from tossed items, to tossed people and tossed cookies happens to the crew in the violent waters.
Part of this journey includes one person harnessing themselves to the boat while standing guard for an iceberg watch outside.
Sounds like a boring and cold task, but when Gabe finally spots one, the scene becomes tense. Everyone comes outside and Josh grabs the ship’s wheel on deck, yelling that they are going to clip it while the viewer just hopes this doesn’t turn into a scene from Titanic. The boat makes an ominous scraping noise against the large chunk of ice, but the damage is not significant enough to abandon ship. The crew carefully steers through an ice field and finally makes it to the desolate yet beautiful Antarctica, toasting with some champagne.
We travel to King George’s Island where the crew drops in on a Russian research station. They come upon one of seventeen researchers on the base who luckily speaks English and confirms the paranormal reports the team is researching.
Our host, who we surprisingly are never given the name of (perhaps these isolated researchers were okay to be on camera, but prefer to remain anonymous), invites the team into the research base to warm up, check out their flatscreen TV, eat some traditional Russian food, and partake in some booze.
We also get to see the living quarters that include a small Russian Orthodox Church and a sauna, however due to Russian tradition, anyone who has a sauna session must then jump into a small pool of Antarctic water afterwards – sorry no one told you before, Gabe and Tony.
Our next stop is Deception Island, where the volcanic bay seems one of the safest for a boat to find refuge, but we are told the location gets the nickname from hidden rocks beneath the surface which tear up ships.
The crew sets up their gear while Josh narrates that even though the sun does not permanently set this time of year in this region, they need the night vision in the low lighting to show inside the buildings.
Josh rounds the team up to give the typical safety spiel, except this time, he stresses how important it is to stay safe since there is no “extraction plan” AKA there are no ambulances or emergency services available in Antarctica. Josh, Ryder and Kyle split up into one team while Gabe and Shawn are on another with Tony standing watch at base camp with all the camera monitors. Josh and Ryder go the old British base and Josh catches a thermal signature in kind of a square-ish shape in a window.
They quickly head inside and there is nothing alive in the empty room. They call out to see if anyone is inside and decide to head down a hallway to an engine room. After finding nothing, we shift over to Gabe and Shawn who notice a random light in another abandoned structure. They radio to Josh to make sure it is not him or Ryder, but after confirming they are no where near, they go inside to investigate. The two hold an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) session stating they have come a long distance to speak to the spirits there – yeah, no kidding!
Cut to Tony back at base camp and one of the cameras focused in on some grave markers starts having technical difficulties. Josh and Ryder head there when Tony informs them of what is going on and Josh tells Ryder that a theory of paranormal activity out here is from volcanic eruptions disturbing the grave sites. We are met with a creepy sight of a broken-open, yet empty, coffin and only two crosses standing in this volcanic field.
Once Josh checks out the camera while on the walkie with Tony, they confirm the camera’s color is probably changing due to the odd lighting with the camera going in and out of IR mode.
We check in on Gabe and Shawn who find whale bones and make a joke about needing a giant evidence kit, while Josh and Ryder head to an old aircraft hangar. Ryder at first proclaims the building has a bad smell of wood decay and is then startled by the loud sound of something dropping.
Josh and Ryder check the room to see what could have fallen from the flat tin roofing and as they search, they hear the sound again and Josh is even spooked by it this time. They confirm there are no animals inside and call out for people, or spirits, to get a response. Ryder reacts to something and tells Josh exasperatedly it was a dark shadow and she could not make out any features.
Ryder admits she might have been scaring herself, so Josh states he will leave a recorder there while they continue to investigate. Josh narrates that after the split up teams continue their search until dawn, nothing else of significance is found, including whatever would have made the two loud banging noises in the hangar. The crew is back on board and of course, leave it to pop culture enthusiasts Ryder and Josh to imitate a scene from Titanic to pass the time. “I’m king of the world!” Josh proclaims with a smirk. “If we sink now because of this hilarious joke,” Ryder threatens.
Through narration, Josh tells us we are heading for Wordie Hut, or Wordie House, for another overnight investigation. First, we get a view of life on board when the waters are more calm. The crew is able have nice conversations, read and play dice games without being seasick or falling all over themselves.
We arrive a few days later at Port Lockroy, which is inhabited by penguins and Nicola Rickett. She speaks with Josh about how the old building has a “soul” to it and she would not be surprised if it were haunted by the men who inhabited it before. Team Truth afterwards is on the road again, or the sea rather, to Vernadsky Station which is now under Ukrainian ownership.
Vernadsky Station is revealed to be where the Ozone hole above the Earth was first found, among other historical facts, and we are told about the Faraday Bar, which was built from wood that was supposed to be for a new pier. Andre who is running the bar states that any girls who give their bra as a decoration to hang up will get free drinks and snacks at the bar for life. The bar is happy to obtain Ryder’s bra, but they tell Josh the bright red bra he pulls from his shirt does not count. “I want my bra back,” he proclaims loudly to Andre’s delight. Josh is later given the key to Wordie Hut by our colorful bartender who is also the base leader.
The crew boats over to Wordie Hut, sets up base camp and splits into two teams again. Josh and Gabe go it alone, unlock the Wordie House and note that eerily everything is still set up as it would have been in the 1950’s. Ryder, Shawn and Kyle survey the area and are shook up by a loud leopard seal, guessing maybe they might be responsible for some unaccounted noises in the area. They look out at a large ice shelf and note how abandoned the area is.
We shift back to Josh and Gabe who look around and find old documentation by previous inhabitants including a diary. While reading these old words, Gabe says he hears a light click as if someone were turning on a light. When Josh continues to read, they hear the sound twice more. Gabe confirms the switch requires physical force to click on and off, so they walk to a different room.
When looking around what seems to be a supply closet, there is a metallic clinging noise from a jar lid that fell on the floor. While confirming neither were over there, a banging of a door slamming shut is heard in another room. The two men are visibly shaken, so Josh calls out loud and says to Gabe he feels like someone is there.
The guys wander to a storage room which Gabe calls creepy and looks like a scene from a horror movie. Josh tells Gabe he feels like every time they enter one room, they hear a noise in another, so he brings out the Trifield Meter to see if any magnetic disturbances could point to potential paranormal activity. After significant EMF spikes, Josh radios in the team to come into the hut, stating everyone will partake in isolation sessions in one room while the rest watch in another.
While Kyle is in the room Gabe and Josh were in previously, he confirms he hears the same clicking noise noted prior. Ryder is in the storage room, states she feels chills and when she calls out for something to make their presence known, one of her cameras goes out.
Base camp agrees with Ryder that this is a creepy coincidence and Tony states even though the cold chews up batteries, they were indoors, which was less harsh than the temperature outside. While alone, Kyle is startled by a journal falling next to him by itself when he was looking the opposite way and was not moving in his chair. Ryder and Kyle are done while Shawn and Josh take their turns. Josh is in the storage room while Shawn is back in the supply closet. Shawn proclaims he does not feel alone and that the room feels “stuffy”. Josh calmly states he hears light footsteps outside his door, but is frightened to his feet, telling the team he swears he saw a person outside the door. He quickly goes outside the room to look and states he is indeed alone, “chasing nothin’.”
The team remains there the night to investigate and once dawn approaches, they pack up and eagerly begin the journey home.
Through the magic of TV, and likely because the crew was exhausted and wanted the trip home to be camera-free, we zip across the sea to Argentina and fly on home to Los Angeles where all investigation results are looked over. The first piece of evidence is the thermal signature caught in the window on Deception Island, which both Ryder and Josh confirm looks to be something moving to the left which they cannot quite identify.
Gabe and Shawn also catch an EVP of the “SOS” morse code signal in a tapping noise in the Deception Island shack. They also confirm very odd things happened in succession from Wordie Hut, but it is basically a review of what already happened. In closing, Josh states that all the paranormal experiences they had in Antarctica live up to their reputation and that it was an arduous journey to this land of survivors.
This was a terrific episode not only because it was another first for Team Truth and for the paranormal investigative world, but because of the human element of it. The episode had a lot of the trademark Destination Truth humor of the crew members, yet it also really put a stamp on the importance of human interaction.
When you can literally drop in on a research center in the middle of nowhere unannounced and be welcomed with open arms by a large group of people who do not speak English, it gives you a strange sense of hope that people are not completely lost in this world. Well, there is your analysis of the Season Four finale – let the countdown to Season Five out on July 10th roll on!
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