‘The River’ – ‘Magus/Marbeley’: Beyond the valley of the dolls

“The River” just finished its two-hour premiere. I posted my review of the series yesterday, and I have a few specific thoughts on these two episodes coming up just as soon as the doll tree has friends in Sumatra…

ABC aired two episodes in part because they have a very limited window to get this season on and off the air before “Dancing with the Stars” returns (which is also why there will be fewer than 13 episodes this season, when that’s usually the standard for a mid-season drama), but I also think the scheduling may have worked well as a sales tool.

With “Magus,” you get the set-up, the characters and some scares in the back half as the Corpuseco wreaks havoc (and gives the series its first casualty in poor cameraman Sammy). There are hints of mythology in the footage they find of Emmet doing seemingly impossible things, and of Kurt the mercenary promising his true employers that if Emmet has found “The Source,” he’ll be taken out.

And then “Marbeley” gives you a sense of what the series will actually be like most weeks, with a largely standalone adventure once again proving the theory that creepy dolls are creepy. It’s an hour that unfortunately puts a whole lot on Joe Anderson’s shoulders as Lincoln, and I think he’s one of the weaker links in the cast, but the story as a whole worked (and paid homage to “The Blair Witch Project” with the bit where they find themselves going in circles trying to get away from the creepy dolls).

I liked both of these hours (and found Lincoln less annoying as the show moved along), and now I’m curious what you all thought of them. Did the Monster of the Week action of “Marbeley” reassure you that the show can be entertaining even if it takes a long time to find Emmet, or did it feel like an unnecessary detour? Did you like Anderson any more than Dan or I did? Do you like the glimpses we get of the Cole family in their ’80s and ’90s glory years?

What did everybody else think?