(commented on by Kathryn A)
Ah, one of my favourite episodes! It's got it all; a milestone in Jim and Blair's relationship (character growth), good character stuff for supporting characters (Simon&Daryl), action, adventure, explosions, and mystical spooky stuff! And what's more, we don't have any BOTW's, we don't have Blair in male-hormone mode, we don't have Jim in WASP asshole mode - there's nothing not to like!
Wait a minute - "Lake Incacha"? Isn't "Incacha" the name of the Shaman of the Chopek? You mean he was named after a lake?
Note that in that pivotal conversation with Blair about being asked to go to Borneo, Jim refers to the relationship between him and Blair as "our project... this sentinel thing". Talking in terms of the dissertation, because that's all that's been explicitly said about it. Jim needs Blair, but he can't say so, even when it looks like Blair could be running out on him in search of better academic pastures. (Ah, I love the looks on their faces). But Blair knows that it isn't as easy as that, even at this point in the episode: he asks Jim if he's upset - because Jim ought to be upset, because there is more than just a dissertation going on here, there's a relationship.
And then the phone call; and of course Blair knows where the rubber hits the road, he knows that Jim needs him, he knows that there's a commitment here that he has made, has to make, to Jim. But Jim never wants to admit he needs anyone. And you also have that cool "I don't want you following me into danger" thing with Jim, too.
There they are, in Peru, in a plane, flying over the jungle. Blair asks Jim "How does it feel to be back?" and Jim doesn't want to answer. Then when we get to the line when he says that if they're dead he'll bring back their bodies - I really think that Jim was reliving survivor's guilt, thinking of the men he lost the last time he was here. I don't think Jim's memories of Peru would be all that great, really. Not the clearest ones, the reason for him being there.
Then Blair goes and jumps out of a plane to follow Jim, when he doesn't know how to control the parachute. Whoa!
It's fascinating that when Jim has his dream, he's looking for Blair.
The thing where Jim is standing on the edge of the cliff, "If I go forward, I'll die"... he doesn't actually go forward, but I assume that when he says "Okay, I'm ready", that that was the point where he made the choice, and the choice was to go forward.
I wonder if the choice would have been the same if there hadn't been anyone in peril?
And Jim still doesn't tell Blair what happened, how he got his senses back!
- is friends enough with Blair to encourage him in his opportunities.
- doesn't want to admit he needs Blair.
- doesn't like Blair following him into danger.
- has a friend in the Defence Department who can give him military satellite photos!
- doesn't want to talk about his previous time in Peru; or at least, not while he's got other things on his mind.
- a man with a mission; nothing if not determined.
- typical Jim response; when there's something wrong, or something odd going on, you have to drag it out of him with pliers.
- knows all the archaeological hot-spots in South America!
- is friends enough with Jim to (a) not immediately say yes to his opportunities and (b) give up his opportunities for him.
- knows that Jim needs him.
- always asking questions.
- will do crazy things, like jumping out of a plane, for loyalty.
- thinks of material explanations first, when there are problems with Jim's senses; not psychological or mystical ones.
- has not taken auto shop.
- likes fishing.
- wants to connect with his son.
- knows how to obfuscate under pressure.
- has trouble with his senses, and then they go away completely.
- hears a mantis chewing on a leaf.
- hears the cries of the villagers.
- hears Blair and Daryl's conversation.
(Ah, so many)
The whole conversation about Borneo.
"Jim, I have been in the jungle before."
Blair jumping out of the plane.
All the panther bits.
Daryl demonstrating, with the tactlessness of kids, that he did learn something from the "boring" museum visits in Lima.
Jim gets thwacked by a woman!
The whole choosing thing, on the edge of the cliff.
"It's about friendship." (!!!!!)