"Jungle Terminator," the second episode of "River Monsters" Season Six aired on Animal Planet on Sunday night. It certainly showcased Jeremy Wade's other area of expertise aside from fishing: sociology. As the storyline involved the devastating effects of an encounter with an electric eel, Wade went in pursuit of a very isolated tribe of Amazon Indians called the Matis who are known to be immune to the power of the electric eel and even use it for food. This episode was especially culturally educational.
The electric eel is very dangerous and even deadly. According to National Geographic, they can discharge electricity at five times the amount of an American wall socket. Repeated exposure can cause a person’s heart or breathing to stop, but deaths are rare and usually involve a drowning after being shocked. Extreme angler Jeremy Wade was quite fascinated with stories he had heard of the Matis and their ability to remain unaffected.
It was a long and dangerous journey to reach the Matis, and Wade was visibly apprehensive and unable to sleep along the way. The isolated tribes of the Amazon are not always so glad to see strangers. Finding this Indian tribe who had a secret for remaining immune to electric eels was no easy feat. “River Monsters’” brave host was doing the work of a sociologist as he allowed the viewers to catch a glimpse of a people and a culture rarely seen where the men have big tusks inserted in their nostrils!
There was an almost comical recurring scene through the part of the show when Wade was fishing with the Matis fisherman in an odd little flat boat. The camera kept panning to a woman dressed in what appeared to be American clothing, probably the wife of the fisherman. She was sitting there precariously at the side of the boat holding a rather large infant watching everything with obvious curiosity.
Another candid glimpse into the Matis Indian tribe was provided during the ceremony where the fishermen were being "immunized" against the electric eels. The application of some kind of poison with a hot stick into the upper arm was actually reminiscent of a traditional inoculation. The show left the viewer to try to solve the mystery of how and why by themselves.