Whale Wars: Watson’s Media Blitz

By Elaine B

The episode opened with the crew still divided over whether Potsie (Benjamin Potts) and Giles Lane should have boarded the Japanese whaler. But no one could argue that their actions created exactly the international incident Capt. Watson hoped for. “We live in a media culture and things don’t happen unless they appear on television,” he said. Meanwhile, volunteer Paul Brown has a more cynical outlook. “The media is very important even if I don’t like them,” he told the cameras. The irony of that seemed to have been lost on him.

The media feeding frenzy forced the Australian government to contact the Japanese government and negotiate for the release of Giles and Potsie. The Aussies decide to act as the go-between, picking up the hostages and transferring them to the Steve Irwin. They arrange coordinates for the rendezvous and the Steve Irwin heads off in that direction. After being awake for 36 hours, Capt. Watson heads off to his bunk for some much needed sleep. But as the Steve Irwin starts off for the meeting place, they spot the Japanese whaler. It’s almost dark but they decide to risk an attack and send out a small boat, the Delta. The Delta crew immediately veers off in the wrong direction. The helicopter can’t reach them on the radio or satellite phone, and with darkness falling has to turn back to the boat or risk being lost.

It’s a tense few hours, with the Delta and its crew of four out of contact in freezing waters in the dead – possibly quite literally – of night. Desperate, first mate Peter Brown, who authorized the attack when Watson passed the command to him, tries to decide what to do. One of the crew takes matters into his own hands, and contacts the Japanese whaler to ask for help. Not surprisingly, the Japanese do not respond to the call.

But, they had better reason than mere annoyance, because the Delta does finally phone home, and arrives soon after. They had found the whaler after all and had quite possibly been lobbing noxious acid bombs onto its deck at the time the Steve Irwin made the distress call. It’s likely the Japanese will not be a good mood next time the ships meet.

This episode was something of a let down, as if the WW producers were looking for drama, but they apparently did not want to look hard enough to send crew members off in the night with the Delta. Now that would have been the real drama and, sadly, it happened off cameras. Hopefully, Watson and his crew will see some real action next week, at a time when those cameras they both love and hate will allow us to watch.