The contestants helped by the Evenki are becoming discouraged that there seems to be no civilization in sight. As they try and yell their way to human contact, Neeko sees a road and trudges through the snow to get to it, throwing his backpack in the process. However, he finds a sign that indicates there’s mines in the area. Meanwhile, Sam and Daniel haven’t heard anything on the radio due to the signal being down, which is either due to the antenna being down or the coordinates given by the cameraman being off. It turns out to be a result of the wire being severed and Johnny goes out to help him patch things up while Joyce fetches the tape. They are stopped in their tracks, though, when they see the rest of the contestants coming up to the facility. Everybody exchanges hugs, but Daniel is informed that Irene stepped on a landmine and he runs to her aid.
The entire group makes it back to where Irene is and they all seem convinced that the best course of action is to wait until the rescue team arrives, despite Irene’s leg getting tired. Daniel, though, begins talking about her stepping off the mine, claiming that it’s a dud to the horror/disbelief of everyone else. He steps over the barbed wire fence separating him from Irene and slowly walks over to her, where he gets her to grab his hand and quickly step off the mine. With some of the contestants unable to watch, she does just that and the mine ends up being a dud after all. When they get back to the facility, the two groups compare war stories from their time apart, from Johnny’s electrocution from the tower to Sam nearly losing his foot; while talking about how much his team helped him make it through the ordeal, Sam mentions that he didn’t think he was going to live any longer and closed his eyes, hallucinating seeing Natalie by a river bed. As he recounts his vision, Annie becomes upset and leaves, causing the news of Natalie’s discovery to be broken to Daniel, Sam, Johnny, and Joyce for the first time.
Sam finds Annie and gives her some encouraging words about Natalie, patching things up between them immediately. While Irene shows off how quickly her wound healed to Joyce and Johnny fixes the radio connection, a vehicle approaches and the group thinks that this is their salvation, their ticket out of the Siberian wilderness. However, out of the military van comes a stream of masked soldiers with rifles, who shout Russian at them and force them down on the ground. Chaos ensues in front of the research facility as the contestants try to make them understand that they mean no harm, the soldiers furiously check coats looking for something, and Johnny, Daniel, and Esther, the only three who didn’t make it outside in time, wonder what the heck they’re going to do.
For her part, Esther gets dragged out to join her friends just before the soldiers and the contestants quietly talk amongst themselves. Sam informs Miljan that the guys are looking for some type of weapon and aren’t upset about the dead bodies in the facility, since they’re the ones who killed the scientists that were working there. Inside, Johnny and Daniel are trying to decide what to do, with the latter wanting to give the radio another try; Joyce, though, stands up while the soldiers are talking and attempts to talk to one of the superior officers, explaining that they’re contestants on a reality show and that they were the ones who called for the help. What hurts her is that she lies when asked if there’s anybody else, since the leader of the squad sends one of his men into the facility where Johnny and Daniel are and gets him to bring them out. They tie Joyce’s hands up to the truck with zip-tip and point a handgun at her head, counting down from 3 and seemingly ready to kill her off in front of her friends. However, before they can pull the trigger, the land mines get set off, giving the contestants the opportunity to run inside and duck for cover.
While Sam tells the group that the Russians were talking about the Valleymen, Johnny makes a break for the outdoors in order to free Joyce and bring her in before they can finish the job. He gets her untied and rushes her into the facility, going back outside where Daniel remains. The two are on the opposite sides of the road and make a break for it as the explosions get closer to the group. When they arrive inside, they hear a loud, beastly roaring coming from the outside, where the soldiers had been emptying countless rounds at an unseen assailant since the mines started going off.
Darkness comes and the battle is still raging on. The group is split on what to do – Miljan and Neeko want to stay in and wait for things to die down, while Daniel and Johnny discover that there’s nobody at the truck, giving them enough room to run for the vehicle and get away. What ultimately decides the fate of the group is Sam informing them that the soldiers were going to execute each and every one of them, meaning that they’re going to try and reach the truck rather than waiting around to die. Cutting their plan off is a random power outage; when Johnny and Joyce go to work on the breaker, they find that one of the soldiers had made it inside the facility, though Johnny subdues him amid a flurry of gun shots. He then takes Sabina outside to cover him as he attempts to take the truck, which he manages to do easily. As the group is driving away from the scene, they see Annie running behind the truck, forgotten amid the chaos. Before they can slow the vehicle down enough to allow her to jump on, though, the soldiers take aim and fire at her, killing her with one shot to the back.
The following morning, everybody is still a mixture of sad and shell-shocked, with Joyce feeling sick after never seen a person die before. When Esther hands her bag to Irene, in search of water, they find Annie’s sketch pad, full of drawings of everybody in the group. They can’t get too pensive, though, not when Johnny runs the truck into a ditch after fish-tailing when he hits a patch of ice. Daniel claims that they’re only a couple miles from town, so everybody gets out of the truck to push while Johnny runs the gas. That doesn’t work, so Esther volunteers to push the gas pedal while the stronger Johnny pushes; it works this time, only Esther just keeps on going and drives off without the group. And she wasn’t alone, because according to Miljan, Esther found the money in the Revealer and took it before giving the key to Neeko, stashing it in her bag and having it with her the entire time.
Though the group is upset with Esther, they quickly make the journey to the edge of town and are soon in town square, yelling for help. Only there’s nobody there – no stores are open, no cars are running, no lights are on. It has been evacuated and its citizens transported to the nearest military camp. Searches for phones and working vehicles do no good, though the truck that Esther was driving is found in an alley – without Esther or the money. They do see, though, lights on at a nearby apartment building, where they also find a stocked fridge and plenty of warm clothes. Finally, it seems as if the group can truly relax; Johnny and Joyce flirt in the kitchen while cooking, Irene kisses Daniel for the first time, Neeko and Sabina experience a noticeable wave of exhaustion and relief, and the first music they’ve heard since they arrived in Siberia gets played.
Later, they go through the stockpile of items that Sabina stole from the producers when the game was still going on. Among them is a tape she found in the woods, a tape that shows what happened to Johnny and Joyce the day the sky caught on fire. On the tape, they find an overturned cauldron with 16 dots and what looks like hieroglyphics carved along the edge; quickly, darkness comes and the same type of roaring that was heard earlier in the episode is heard in the woods, Johnny and Joyce running from a creature whose shape isn’t discernible on camera. The encounter is over after seconds, leaving Joyce cut and bruised from the attack and the group anxious to watch it again to see just what the hell happened.
Before they can, though, somebody comes to the door. It’s Buckley, the host of the show and whose apartment they’re squatting in. He tells them that they’re not supposed to be there.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-As a season finale, that was actually kind of awesome and left me feeling satisfied(-ish) in terms of capital-A Answers while teasing me enough that I need a second season to premiere, say, next week. As a series finale, it was less successful yet still pretty okay – if this is the end of Siberia, I feel like I understand the major stuff that they wanted to get across and the happenings that the contestants experienced while in the woods. That being said, they ended the episode in about the coolest way that they could and I’ve only been made more curious about the details of what went on, why it was these particular people picked for Test Group C, and why the host was still living in the evacuated town.
-(Some) unsolved questions: who is editing this footage together? Where did Esther end up after ditching the truck? How can the host live in a town without power? Did the contestants who were eliminated/left early actually make it out of Siberia? How in the world did the Revealer work? (Was everything pre-loaded? And if so, does that include the snake?) Where did Miljan’s journal go?
-I’m glad that they left the creature’s true form pretty much unintelligible, because frankly, this show is super low-budget and there’s a high probability that it would look stupid/cheap. Better to leave something like this to our imagination and let us fill in the blanks with the template they’ve provided.
-If you find yourself trapped in the Siberian wilderness, apparently all you need is some duct tape and you can fix pretty much anything.
-That stupid sketch pad made me all choked up and I didn’t even really like Annie. Also, Daniel deserved that kiss and then some for doing everything he did for Irene (and the group).
-Favorite character? I love Esther. She was such a mustache-twirling villain, but I appreciated her ruthlessness and how she really was the smartest player in the game. Enjoy your money, girl.
-Can we talk about the awful handling of this show? It premieres a few days before a holiday, the pilot is released early (which doesn’t help ratings), the marketing leaned too heavily on making it seem like another reality series, and NBC refused to move it out of the way of Under the Dome, which was probably my biggest frustration. I get NBC’s idea of a “Guy’s Night” lineup with American Ninja Warrior, Get Out Alive, and this, but when they saw the ratings behemoth that the CBS series became, they should have replaced Siberia with reruns and moved it to a more friendly time period. Even ABC got wise and moved Mistresses out of the way and I’d bet 50 internet dollars that there’s more crossover between Siberia and Under the Dome vs. Under the Dome and Mistresses. While I don’t know if this show could have ever been a major hit, NBC definitely didn’t give it a good chance in becoming one.
-Thank you guys for reading my Siberia coverage this season. I thought the show wasn’t that compelling for the first 3-4 episodes – it mimicked the conventions of reality TV quite intelligently, but it was more than a little dull and didn’t craft the best characters due to having them act like real, (mostly) unedited people. However, once things started to go awry with production, it became pretty fun (like a good B-movie) and, like it or not, I got invested in the fate of these people and wanted them to make it out alive. As mentioned above, with the poor ratings and relative finality of this episode, I’m not going to be devastated by a cancellation, since it’s been expected for a while. Since the show was already made before the creators/producers took it to NBC, I hope there’s enough interest out there for another season to be made on one platform or another, because I think this is a perfect summer show and something that, with the right handling, could have done much better than it did.