“Islands” Recap

David Attenborough is a treasure. He has that James Lipton quality of making everything seem incredible but given the wonders of the natural world it’s actually justified whereas Lipton gushing over Kate Hudson’s career is not. And unlike Kate Hudson, sloths, or should I say “slowths” (that’s how Attenborough pronounces it), are actually pretty amazing. Prior to yesterday’s episode I thought of slowths as a rather boring animal. One whose slow movements and quizzical face was hardly worth spending any documentary time on. But Planet Earth and David Attenborough proved me wrong.

Life on the islands is precarious one because mating is doubly difficult. Your mate could be on another island a good distance away and you have to traverse tumultuous seas just to see the prospective mate and even if you get there she might already have a kid and be unavailable to mate, as our slowth found out. It’s wild the shit animals go through just to sleep with someone. Maybe nothing wilder than what komodo dragons do.

It’s not that komodo dragons mate any differently than other animals. It’s not like they have to get in some wild tantric positions or anything, it’s how often they have to battle one another to mate. In Indonesia, komodo dragons are king. There are so many of them that their territories overlap and should a female enter the part of the territory that overlaps, conflicts ensue. And if you’ve seen how large komodo dragons are, these conflicts are a lot more serious than a bench-clearing “brawl” in baseball. In this particular episode, the two dragons are sizing each other up. Trying to see who is bigger because if one is bigger, the smaller one will bow out, leaving the bigger one to mate with the female. As fate would have it, the two dragons are the same size. On one hand, a fight isn’t worth it in the sense that there are hella dragons on this island and even if they don’t get this female, there are plenty of other females out here so whatevs. But, you see, it’s not about this female, it’s about the principle. It’s about someone brazenly entering your territory without any repercussions. And so, with a impudent flick of the tail, the fight begins.

From the island of Komodo we go to the island of Madagascar where lemurs dominate the environment. Because of Madagascar’s size and they’re ability to survive in any environment, lemurs are everywhere. And their adaptability is rightly praised by Attenborough. Praise that does not extend to the sea iguanas.

In order to get you hyped for Planet Earth 2 the producers released a special clip of an iguana evading tons of snakes.

It’s an astonishing escape. Several times it seems like the iguana is going to die only to escape to safety. So amazing was this clip that one of the producers said it was the best thing they did for Planet Earth 2. But that producer was not David Attenborough. And even though everyone else on the planet is impressed with those sea iguanas, Attenborough is a man who stands on his own two feet and doesn’t care what the majority thinks. So what does he say after the iguana dodges over 60 snakes including several who nearly constrict him to death? “Although sea iguanas are great swimmers, they can’t cross open oceans.” Boom, bitch.

David Attenborough don’t give a fuck about no iguanas. He might as well have said, “Fuck your bitch and the clique you claim.” I’ve never seen Attenborough throw so much shade but I like this Attenborough. He’s clearly at that stage in his life where he stopped giving a fuck. And I’m here for it.

I was a little surprised he didn’t exercise that same pettiness towards the albatross. The albatross is most famous for being a word in the oft-used phrase, “An albatross around my neck.” But Planet Earth 2 tries to change the narrative around the albatross by rebranding it as the Jorah Mormont of the animal kingdom. These birds are hopeless romantics. Unwilling to mate with anyone other than their true love, just like Jorah Mormont. Jorah could sleep with a number of women in Game of Thrones but his heart is set on Daenerys. Jorah is a skilled combatant and in that world, it goes a long way towards securing the affections of a woman but that doesn’t matter to Jorah because none of those women are Daenerys. Similiarly, the albatross only cares for one and is even willing to miss out on mating season just for her. Look, I don’t wanna tell albatrosses what to do but I think there is something to be said for “not putting all your eggs in one basket.”

Planet Earth is usually just a nature documentary. None of that, “this is the destruction humans cause” crap or “here’s how global warming has ruined the polar ice caps” nonsense. But occasionally they can’t help themselves and in this episode the “March of the Crabs” was their opportunity.

The “march of the crabs” is one of the most spectacular events in the world but lately there has been a dark side to the march. Humans have brought these ants to the island and these ants have been destroying the crabs as they make their march to the water where they go to mate. Because of these ants killing the crabs, less crabs have been mating meaning the crab population is declining. Yes, Planet Earth is right that it’s humans fault this is occurring but can you please not mention it during the show. I’m super high and I don’t wanna feel bad when I’m high AF. Thanks.

We end the episode with the penguins. And while this is a different look at penguins than before, it’s still penguins and therefore, fuck off. I’m so over penguins. There’s no need for them at all. It’s always the same shit. They care for their child; they mate for life; they waddle. Just stop it. Enough is enough. They’re all millions of animals, all hoping for their chance to feature on Planet Earth. Let’s give them a chance.

Overall though, great episode and I can’t wait for next week.