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Episode Recap: Beneath the Rock
U.S. Marines face off against an evil entity outside a remote Afghanistan outpost.
When Sergeant Green's U.S. Marine squad rolled into Afghanistan in the summer of 2009, they were heading to an outpost known as Observation Point Rock, aka "OP Rock." One of the squad members, Zolik, noted that the observation post wasn't much more than just a giant rock out in the open ... and thought it had a strange vibe ...
As they rolled up to OP Rock, they noticed that the members of the British squad they were relieving were more than ready to go, as they all looked rough for wear. They were also met by a dog known as Ugly Betty, whom the British commander claimed was an excellent sentry. Corporal Lena, the squad's second in command, took it upon himself to be Betty's caretaker.
As the British soldiers were rolling out, their commander made a point to note to the Marines that if they dug anything up, they should put it back where they found it. The Marines dismissed it as the Brits messing with the new guys.
Later that night, as Lena was staring out over the desert expanse on the lookout for Taliban soldiers, he heard strange sounds coming over the observation post's radio. He checked in with the main base to make sure they hadn't transmitted anything, and they hadn't. He grabbed a fresh battery for the radio and hoped that solved the problem.
Lena noted a few days into the deployment that the British trenches hadn't been dug very deep. Knowing they needed to dig deeper and wider trenches, the squad got to work. As Lena was digging into the rock, he hit metal. He reached into the hole and recovered what looked like an engineering stake. As he brushed it off, he noticed there was Russian lettering on it. As the Russians had been in Afghanistan in the 1980s, it didn't surprise him to find some leftover Russian gear scattered around the military outcrops.
As Wilson dug into the rock, part of the outcrop collapsed under his shovel. Corporal Smith began helping him investigate the small hole, in which they found small pottery shards. Smith kept investigating and eventually pulled out a long bone that Lena recognized as a human femur. Wilson and Lena encouraged Smith to put it back into the grave, and he did.
Lena was troubled, as no matter where they dug in the outcrop, they would inevitably come up with bones.
On another night, as Lena was sleeping, he was awakened by a bloodcurdling scream. Thinking one of his team had been grabbed by Taliban or worse, Lena grabbed his gun and began taking stock of the situation. As Lena was checking over the observation post, he bumped into Wilson, who had also heard the scream. Mott assumed a person had been caught in the razor wire that surrounded the post, but he saw nothing as he scanned the area ... until something moved just outside the perimeter. Wilson and Lena joined Mott, guns at the ready. Lena grabbed the thermal imagers but could only track Ugly Betty in the distance. They eventually chalked it up to late-night fatigue and decided to check it out in the daylight.
The next morning, Lena and Corporal Parker couldn't find tracks for anything. It's like nothing at all had been there.
On another evening's watch, Zolik was getting beaten down by the heat when he suddenly felt a cold chill sweep across him. Out of nowhere, he could feel what he described as a breath on his face as something whispered in his ear in Russian. He chalked it up to being tired ... right up until he heard footsteps above him on the observation post. Thinking it was Smith, Zolik tried to catch him playing a prank, but there was nobody there.
As Zolik scanned the area around the post with thermal imaging, he caught sight of what looked like another soldier with balled fists. Zolik prepared himself to shoot but couldn't until he was absolutely sure it wasn't one of his own men. He lost sight of the figure for a moment, and when he looked back through the imaging scope, the figure was gone.
Zolik was armed to fight the Taliban and occasionally the heat, but how was he supposed to fight spirits? Zolik requested a transfer out of the unit and it was granted.
A few days after Zolik had shipped out, Lena was on the watch and heard Ugly Betty barking. Lena grabbed his night vision goggles and tried to see what she was after ... and soon stopped cold at what looked like a Taliban scout in the distance. Lena knew that his eyes might have been playing tricks on him with that much distance, so he grabbed his thermal imaging and tried again to find the person, who seemed to have disappeared.
Lena switched back to the night vision goggles, and immediately the figure looked as though it had traveled 100 meters closer in seconds ... yet there was still no sign of any body heat signatures on the thermal imaging. Lena went back and forth between the two optics, trying to find the figure.
Soon, Lena felt Sergeant Green's distinctive shoulder tap, and took a deep breath ... but when he turned around, there was nobody there.
How could there have been nothing there if Ugly Betty was still barking at it? Lena realized that Zolik had been right.
Mott was on watch with Smith on another evening when he heard footsteps. When Mott turned, expecting to see Sergeant Green, nothing was there. He dismissed it as loose gravel ... until Ugly Betty began growling. Mott scanned with the thermal optics, though the only heat signatures were the dog and the other Marines. He asked Smith if he'd seen anything, but Smith said he hadn't. Mott tried to shake it off but he soon heard the crunch again and felt something breathe on him. He, too, began to admit that Zolik had been right about the place.
Wilson was on the machine gun post another night when a cold chill hit him and he heard a strange whispering. The whispers grew louder and more distinctly Russian.
Eventually, everyone in the squad experienced similar scenarios. Knowing there was no rational explanation for what they were experiencing, they had to look to the supernatural.
Finally, on the squad's last night on OP Rock, Diggs noted that the radio was once again on the fritz. Two brand new batteries had gone dead in a matter of minutes. Lena put in the final battery but that, too, was dead in a matter of minutes. With no radio, they couldn't call for help.
As Wilson was on watch that night, he was bracing himself for the Russian whispering to commence once more. Out of nowhere, the sound of machine gun fire assaulted his ears. Lena made his way to Wilson in the machine gun nest and discovered that the gun had not fired. Then, out of nowhere, they heard an RPG flying toward them, but nothing hit. They all thought they were being overrun by the Taliban, but nobody could find any sign of enemy soldiers.
Lena later discovered that when the Russians had rolled into the area in the 1980s, they had killed all of the Mujahadeen who'd been using OP Rock as a hideout. When the Taliban had retaken the area, they had ritually executed all of the Russian soldiers. When the Marines had retaken the area, they had buried a number of Taliban soldiers in the ground. That small outpost was really a giant tomb.
As the squad headed out of OP Rock, it felt like Christmas.