The show I love to hate is back and it’s back with a vengeance! Whale Wars has returned for a second season on Animal Planet and the incompetence, disregard for human life and flat out stupidity of Captain Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd command crew have never been more prominently on display!
I think their slogan should be Save the Whales AND Die Trying, the “and” being an obvious substitution for the word “or” which just wouldn’t make much sense because as far as I can tell, the goal of Watson and his Eco-Pirates is to accomplish both aims, not one or the other.
Last season, the witless captain coerced crew members into actual, honest to goodness, punishable by law piracy, routinely sent untrained, untested, amateurs into the Arctic Ocean in tiny inflatable boats to harass the Japanese Whaling boats they struggle against—that is if they can get the boats launched in high seas with almost no training to do so.
And let’s break here for the disclaimer shall we? My problem isn’t with the cause. The cause is one I actually feel is noble, worthwhile and one that should be fought for—don’t doubt that. My problem is with the careless regard for human life on the part of the captain and his command crew, my problem is with acts of terrorism and end justifies the means ideology and the seeming goal of martyrdom for the cause.
This season, only two episodes in and the Sea Shepherd flagship, the Steve Irwin, a ship that Captain Watson sails into the iceberg rich waters of the Arctic Ocean even though it’s hull has a ZERO ice rating (which means that it’s not built to withstand any contact with icebergs) is already stuck, due to a poor decision by the captain, in a field of icebergs with no apparent way out.
Of course, being only the second week of the show, obviously they’ll not only survive, but their pure dumb luck will see them through, but what seems obvious to me is that these people are living on borrowed time. My favorite scene so far was the one where the hull keeps getting battered by an iceberg in the same spot and it seems that a hull breach is imminent. Two of the dumb kids who volunteered to help save the world are dispatched to the area to monitor the situation (yell and scream when water starts rushing in) and the camera person taping for Animal Planet refuses to stay with them citing the absolute idiocy of being there.
At least someone has some common sense!
My favorite new character though is the woman who was formerly in the U.S. Navy and has obviously been on a well-run, organized, ship where the crew has been trained, the captain is competent and the command crew is…well, sane. With every new dumb thing Captain Watson does, they cut to her telling us why its not the right thing to do—it’s brilliant!
My favorite returning character, aside from the foolish Captain Watson is the imbecile First Mate, Peter Brown. This man can’t seem to get through a sentence without mentioning how deadly what they do is and how happy they should all be for the chance to die! His nautical experience obviously doesn’t qualify him as a First Mate, as he was at the helm trying to steer through a field of icebergs, a more experienced crewmember kept reading off the bearing he should be heading—and Brown, inexplicably, didn’t know how to steer the ship to correspond to those bearings!
He kept demanding, “Port or starboard?!?!?!?!” Oh yes! The crew is in good hands indeed, when Mr. Brown is at the helm!
The sad part is that because these people are such buffoons, the cause becomes lumped into that buffoonery. These people come off as being stupid—and they are. Sure, before they get on board, they are all told that they should be prepared to sacrifice their lives for the whales; what they aren’t told is that their lives will constantly be put in peril, not for the whales, but for the inexperience of their Captain and his command crew, for the complete lack of training they receive and for the decisions made with careless disregard for life.
Simply put, it’s a clusterfuck. But it sure is entertaining! And we’re only two weeks in! Will Captain Watson finally screw up bad enough to earn his first martyr? Will Peter Brown manage a single sentence that doesn’t mention risking life or dying? Will the former U.S. Navy Sailor get tired of all the incompetence, mutiny against the idiocy and take the ship over? Stay tuned!