Big Brother 23 has only just started, but I feel like I have lived through a battle zone. The first week usually has people beginning to meet, make foolish final twos, and starting alliances. Very rarely in Big Brother’s history (or since I began watching in season 8) has an HoH on week one set out to make a name for himself and turn the first week into week five or six. Unfortunately, Frenchie wanted to be the best player of all time and made some of the dumbest moves in week one.
So what did Frenchie do wrong? I mean, every Head of House gets a case of HoH-itis, but Frenchie’s was over the top. So to help future players, let’s use Frenchie’s reign (of terror) to figure out what not to do.
Number One: Never make a blanket promise of immunity. Let me define this better. Never make a blanket promise if it includes all women and minorities (or People of Color). Usually, by making this promise, you cut your potential nominees by half, if not by more. In this case, over three-quarters of the house would not have been on the block. Frenchie stood no chance with nominees, and he should have been smart enough to know it. He should have had a second plan for what to do if his plan failed.
Number Two: Never state your ideas on nominees to a wide assortment of people (in other words, the house). By giving the blanket “I’m not nominating a woman or a POC,” Frenchie set himself to be manipulated if anyone was smart. In this case, good old Brent stepped in and decided to play Frenchie’s second in command. It didn’t matter to Brent who Frenchie put up as long as it wasn’t him. Frenchie was already limited to two or three people by day two, and his big mouth had sunk his HoH.
Number Three: If you are playing in teams, consult said team. Frenchie was captain of a team of four. The only one of the four that he talked to was Derek Frazier (Derek F.), and Derek F. was kept out of the loop on many issues. The girls didn’t know anything until after Frenchie and Brent had made decisions and brought it to the “Slaughter House” (who didn’t contribute either). It’s best to trust your team instead of a member of the opposition, Frenchie.
Number Four: Know your second-in-command’s capability. Brent got in Frenchie’s ear and just wouldn’t let up. Then, in the end, he couldn’t live up to his promises. Brent lost the HoH to probably one of three people Frenchie wouldn’t want to see at the top of the food chain. If you need a second, go for one like Frankie Grande, who listens and reports.
Number Five: If creating an alliance, be aware of the size. Also, in the case of a big alliance, it’s best to know more about your alliance and what they can contribute or who else they are working with before you do so. Include women and POCs as they can feel out their allies. If it’s all talk, what good is an alliance? If you won’t listen, then it’s on you.
Number Six: If you want to listen to conversations, develop relationships. Listening at doors in the BB house is always noticed, which means that you are a known snoop. Again Derek saw Frankie’s value and had him as a source.
Number Seven: Don’t make promises you won’t keep! You made a blanket statement about nominees, then couldn’t keep it. Frenchie, the audience, and live feeders saw what happened. We know that you outsmarted yourself on day one. You wanted to be known as a man of your word only to show you were a liar.
Number Eight: Everyone wants a final two because this is Big Brother. You need to be sitting in the chairs at the end of the show with someone you can beat. You made so many final twos, Frenchie that it came back to bite you. Of course, if you could be trusted, everyone would have been of the “ride and die” school with you because they could beat you.
Number Nine: If it is teams, work with at least one additional team. Yeah, Frenchie had some members from outside his group, but he never realized that he should have gone with only one additional team. By aligning yourself with another team of four, you would have gotten so much further in the game.
And while I could give more pointers, I am going to end with this.
Number Ten: Never put your eggs in one basket on who you want out. In your case, you targeted Kyland and said Derek X. would be your second target. You never had a target three because everyone else in the house was in one of your alliances or a final two with you. When Derek X. won the Power of Veto and took Kyland off, Frenchie was left with no person to put up. His word became worthless. By commenting who you wouldn’t nominate, having as many side alliances as Frenchie had, you can’t win, and you are sure to be nominated the next week.
I honestly feel that Frenchie, who claims to be a super fan, really is not one. If he were, he’d be aware of how his plan would have failed. Plus, his personality and need to control everything set him up to land on his face. Seeing the result of all this has been entertaining in itself. The man was placed on the block week two and so far has done everything but self-evict. Wait, he even threatened that. Frenchie, if you see this, I’d advise you not to go on Twitter when you get out. You may find people haven’t been as kind as I have tried to be.
Has Big Brother #23 only been on a week? The first week under Frenchie seemed like a mid-season HoH. Frenchie made a promise that no women or minorities would be on the block. Guess what! They were! Not only did Frenchie create the first (and eventually largest of the week) alliance (probably not the largest ever as Frenchie claimed but he didn’t care) but he also had so many side deals and "final" twos that he was aligned with everyone but Derek X. And who created the most havoc for Frenchie? Derek X when he won Power of Veto. Frenchie thought Derek X wouldn’t be able to win but he did. At the POV Ceremony, Frenchie had to put up one final two alliances, Travis, who would go out the door. To add insult to injury, he couldn’t play for Head of Houses (HoH) and his team and his second (in command) Brent (or is it Brett) couldn’t win. So what will happen next? We’re about to see.
Now you must understand that I (finally) got my live feeds (after switching Wi-Fi carriers) but I have been following the plot. I’ll try not to spill anything early. Let’s settle in to watch Frenchie’s downfall.
Thursday’s HoH Aftermath
On last Thursday (July 15th), the HoH was played. Each player lined up at a distance and tried to sink a ball into the shark’s mouth. No two people could play the same number and no one could bank a ball into the mouth. It looked like one of Frenchie’s alliance members, Brent, would win only to lose to one of Frenchie’s nominees (saved by Derek X), Kyland.
In the house after the HoH competition, celebrations starts. Kyland is surprised but very happy. Alyssa survived and she’s going to lay low. All question the two votes for Alyssa (Tiffany and Derek F.). Derek F. did is to be silly. Frenchie asked Tiffany to do it. Frenchie was sworn to silence by Tiffany but she’s sure it will come out.
As Alyssa goes on fact finding, Derek X. is busy relaxing. He saved Kyland so should be good. Christian is trying to help Alyssa (possible showmance) discover the votes that were done for her. Claire celebrates as Kyland was on a team making her safe and no slop or punishments. Kyland and Xavier think Tiffany did one of the Alyssa votes but can they prove it? Of course not unless Frenchie tells. Later in the gym, Frenchie talks to Brent and Whitney. Tiffany is there and finds Frenchie going back on the deal. She’s got proof that Frenchie will "run his mouth." Frenchie promises if nominated to leave the house with dignity. Tiffany of course talks to Kyland about Frenchie in regard to loyalty. Tiffany doesn’t want a Frenchie’s HoH part two (maybe you should worry about Brett). Kyland is on to it. Cristian has told him about some things he found out last week. The trust factor is gone in regard to Frenchie and it’s not only with Kyland.
The HoH reveals occurs and everyone is anxious to see what Kyland gets. He has three pictures from home and a letter from his mom. He starts to read but is emotional and Tiffany does the honors. His mom celebrate Kyland’s birthday (last week). Later in the bedroom, Tiffany breaks down because she is away from her son. It’s part of her strategy though. Tiffany is also very much aware that Frenchie needs to go because he spies and creates chaos. Azah, who is on the Frenchie’s original team, is confused.
Friday, July 16th
The Wildcard Comp is to be played. Kyland’s team cannot play. If the other three teams can’t decide who to play, it will be by a draw. Frenchie (Jokers) wants to be the player because it will secure his safety. The Aces decide that Sarah Beth will play. The Kings leave it up to fate and that person is Brent. Brent is glad because he may need it. Costumes are given for "a wild night out on the town."
Kyland talks to Frenchie who wants to set himself up for safety. Excuse me, but from what I see it looks like Frenchie tried to run Kyland’s HoH. Frenchie even admits he knows people are telling Kyland to put Frenchie up. Frenchie is seeing red flags that he’s in danger and he’s mad. Wow! Frenchie even mentions the Slaughter House (a Frenchie alliance) is done. The rest of the members are scrambling and now everyone knows about it. When Whitney tries to talk to Frenchie, his excuse is he doesn’t want drama (really, week one was nothing but drama). Whitney is trying not "to go off on" Frenchie who is nothing but a loose cannon. Brent tries to calm Frenchie down but Frenchie says he "doesn’t have the numbers." Brent wants to keep the alliance together but I think there’s no way the Slaughter House alliance can survive.
The competition, Splat, has the three contestants dressed up in evening clothes. They will be shown paintings then asked questions about each painting. First one who gets three correct wins. Sarah Beth wins the first and get splashed with paint. As the game goes forward, both Brent and Frenchie score points but Sarah Beth gets the necessary three points. Sarah Beth hates the slime but loves the points. Winning the comp, Sarah Beth has control. Brent is happy that Frenchie did not win. Frenchie meanwhile knows he is in trouble.
The prize for this competition is the guarantee of safety as long as Sarah Beth will move to Kyland’s team. While Whitney hopes Sarah Beth will chose to change with her, Sarah Beth decides to remain where she is. There will be no replacement and no one but Kyland’s team is safe from eviction.
Next up is nominations. Kyland meets with each house guests for their thoughts. Tiffany tells Kyland that Frenchie, Brent and Whitney are the three headed monster in the house. She points out with that group gone, they will last longer. Kylnd hears Frenchie from all (even Brent and Whitney). Kyland wasn’t happy with Britini’s answers and finds her only loyal to the Team Jokers.
At the Nominations Ceremonies, Kyland has nominated Frenchie and Britini. Frenchie is told that his nomination because Kyland has learned that Frenchie isn’t loyal. Britini is only loyal to her team mate. Frenchie is also too dangerous to keep around. Frenchie says he isn’t going to quit now and he’s going to win the veto. Britini remains loyal to his team mate. Brent admits they want Frenchie out and the house will be fine.
So tune in Wednesday to find out who wins. I know, the game has already been played but will not spoil it. Here’s the questions for Wednesday:
How much drama will Frenchie cause because of his nomination?
Will Frenchie win the POV?
Will he be saved?
Which alliances survive as the Slaughter House and Butchers fall?
I’ll be back Wednesday.
We are now beginning episode twenty one of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and the title of tonight's episode is "Old Wharf's Tale." Unlike some weeks, we have some clue what that refers to since last week's tease for tonight's episode seemed to show the team discovering an old wharf in the waters off of the island.
The tease for the episode is the typical mix of scenes that are likely to be misdirects or things that don't actually happen in this episode. It's also the exact same tease that ended last week's episode. The possible discovery of a wharf buried in the waters near Samuel Ball's property, some details about the long metal bar discovered in the swamp in last week's episode and some sort of coin which might possibly be gold.
It is, as the show is fond of saying, the beginning of a new day on Oak Island. Rick Lagina is joining the efforts at the cobblestone pathway that leads out of the swamp. The team is working to uncover as much as the pathway as they can before winter sets in. They also are searching for more evidence that will help them date the construction of the road and/or give them a sense of why it was constructed. As he digs, Rick discovers several shards of pottery and besides the fact the pottery seems to be from the late 1700s period, the pottery has also been badly burned, which fits in with other evidence they have previously discovered.
Later that day, Oak Island historian Charles Barkhouse, David Fornetti and treasure hunter Dan Henskee travel to the home of blacksmithing expert Carmen Legge. They have brought along the burnt iron rod found a week ago in the swamp and hope he can provide some information about it. Legge doesn't have much information about how it was used, but he thinks it could date back to the 1600's. Although he does speculate that it could have something to do with anchoring ships.
Later that afternoon, Marty Lagina's son Alex arrives at the foundation of late 18th-century Oak Island landowner Samuel Ball. This is the site where archaeologists Laird Niven and Liz Michaels continue their excavation hoping to find clues that might help to explain how Ball, a simple cabbage farmer and former slave, mysteriously became a very wealthy man by the early 19th century. Alex is tasked with sifting through the dirt excavated from inside the foundation and besides a great number of shards of pottery, he discovers what appears to be a coin of some kind.
A summer rainstorm temporarily halts work at both the foundation site and the swamp, so the team gathers at the Oak Island Research Center to more closely examine the coin found by Alex. Under a microscope, they are able to make out faint anchors and a rope design around the edges. Based on that, Gary Drayton suspects its the button from a military officer. And further research shows it's a British naval button, dating from the years 1804-1825, solidly within the timeframe Samuel Ball would have lived at the site. Ball did fight with the British military during the American Revolution, but was not known to have a connection to the British Navy. Which once again leaves the team with more unanswered questions.
The following morning, Gary Drayton and David Fornetti join Rick Lagina and archaeologists Dr, Aaron Taylor and Miriam Amirault at the site of the excavations in the swamp area. As they metal detect, they find a small ox shoe nail, which was used to attach a horseshoe to the bottom of an ox's foot. Which is another piece of evidence that points towards teams of oxen being used to haul something heavy across the swamp.
Later that afternoon, at the Oak Island Research Center, a man named Stuart Wentzell meets with Rick Lagina and members of the team. He is a local treasure hunter who worked for the late Oak Island treasure hunter John Blankenship back in the 1970s. Wentzell tells the team that when he was working with Dan Blackenship, he discovered the remnants of two wharves located off the beach near the location where Samuel Ball lived. The team is intrigued by the news and decide to take a boat out and see if they can find the evidence.
After some searching, the diver finds clear evidence of two wharves, one much larger than the second and extending almost 100 feet into Mahone Bay. The evidence of a second, smaller wharf leads to speculation from the team that it might have some connection to man named Captain James Anderson, who lived on the property next to Samuel Ball's. And apparently, they became friends. Anderson was a well-known pirate and was notorious for having taken a ship reportedly containing some amount of riches with him when he defected from the American side to the British during the American Revolution.
So the clues continue to mount that something of profound importance took place centuries ago on Oak Island. But the team still seems no closer to defining what might have happened and whether or not treasure remains to be discovered on Oak Island.
The tease for next week shows several mysterious discoveries in the swamp area and on the beach that lead various members of the team to get excited. And apparently some testing is done in the one of the holes that has been dug in the money pit area that reveals the presence of silver?
Until next week....
We are now beginning episode twenty two of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and while the episode titles for the show tend to be very literal, I'm not sure what to make of tonight's title: "Be There Or T-Square." It would be fun to think the title means Mr. T will make an appearance, but that seems unlikely.
The tease for the episode is the typical mix of scenes that are likely to be misdirects or things that don't actually happen in this episode. We see some excited unveiling of a core sample from the swamp area, Craig Tester telling the team some sample has been identified as being from the "pre-searcher" era, the discovery of a very burned large iron bar that someone says "has to be from a ship" and the discovery of what appears to be a large wooden beam in the middle of the swamp area.
It is, as the show is fond of saying, the beginning of a new day on Oak Island. Rick Lagina, along with Oak Island historians Doug Crowell and Charles Barkhouse are calling Marty Lagina to update him on a potentially important discovery made the previous day in the are known as the swamp. Sure, it it's that significant, you'd think that might have called him the evening before, but hey, TV. They let him know that a piece of polished wood that appears to be part of a ship's railing was discovered 8-10 feet down in the mud. And there appears to be some sort of wooden object buried at a similar level. So the plan is to try and uncover the object, which everyone hopes - but is afraid to say - might be a boat.
But as is always the case with Oak Island, nothing comes easily. While the day is clear, it rained heavily the night before. Forcing the team to bring in a large pump they hope will remove enough water to allow them to continue to dig. So as the water drops, metal detection expert Gary Drayton will inspect the buckets of mud for items of interest. The team is able to dig down enough to uncover one long wooden beam, but so much water is pouring into the hole that it is impossible to keep the hole clear or continue working. Rick Lagina is forced to conclude that they will have to suspend work on the area until next spring. Then they can create a cofferdam consisting of large steel sheets that will wall off the area and keep out the water. That is similar to the wall that was built several seasons ago in Smith's Cove.
On the western end of the island, Charles Barkhouse and Scott Barlow join archaeologists Laird Niven and Liz Michaels at the 18th-century stone foundation that used to be part of the home owned by Samuel Ball. He came to Oak Island in 1787 and raised cabbages. But somehow during his time on the island, he managed to become one of the wealthiest people in the area, eventually buying a number of lots on Oak Island as well as several on the mainland. Leading some people to suspect that he might have found at least some of the Oak Island treasure. Laird discovers a large metal hinge that could have come off of a door or perhaps a chest of some kind. He also uncovers wooden boards and it's not clear if they are from a door or were just discarded there for some reason.
Later near the eastern edge of the swamp, Rick Lagina, along with geoscientists Dr. Ian Spooner and Dr. Aaron Taylor and other members of the team are now focusing their attention on the long stone pathway that has been uncovered in the swamp. As Gary Drayton examines the spoils pile from the dig, he spots a wooden object of interest. It's a smooth wooden T-shaped object and based on the title of the episode. my guess is that this is the "t-square."
Later that afternoon at the Oak Island Research Center, Marty Lagina meets with Doug Crowell and Gary Drayton to inspect the new find. Crowell tells them that after some research, be believes it is a stone mason's tool.
The following morning, Rick, Marty, Craig and members of the team assemble at the War Room. They have arranged to meet with Oak Island theorist Phillip Stevenson via a video conference. Like the 100 or so people who have come before him, this guy has a theory which he believes might explain what went on at Oak Island several hundred years ago. He explains that a relative was a member of the Freemasons and that when he died 25 years ago, the family discovered a piece of paper hidden in the pocket of his Freemason robes. The writing on the paper included a number of strange symbols, along with some words written in English. He tells the team that he believes he has cracked the cipher on the paper and that the symbols translated into a series of navigational instructions. He also says he believes that religious items were transported to Oak Island by members of the Knights Templar and that he can now identify the location on the island where the objects are buried.
While this sounds like another one of those goofball theories that frequently pop up on the show, it is interesting to note the location Stevenson identifies is close to location of interest once identified in a survey conducted in the 1980s. But until now, the site has never been the subject of a dedicated search.
These "expert" suggestions are usually put on the back burner by the team, but the next day they are out drilling at the spot suggested by Stevenson. Which makes me suspect this spot might have already been on the radar and action planned even before his call. Regardless, they drill down to the target depth of 40 feet and don't find anything. Surprisingly, Marty Lagina says in an interview that he believes the clues were deciphered brilliantly by Stevenson, but that the path started at what is referred to in the cipher as the "alter." And he's not convinced Stevenson had the correct starting point.
The next morning at the Eastern edge of the swamp, Gary Drayton and David Fornetti continue to examine the area around the stone pathway. They find what appears to be a broken ringbolt but unlike earlier discoveries, this one is perhaps three feet long and twisted in several directions. Rick Lagina suggests that David Fornetti take it to archaeologist Dr. Alex Taylor for his opinion. His first comment is that the bar is covered on charcoal, which means it must have been exposed to high levels of heat for an extended period. He suspects that the bar was likely part of some wooden structure, perhaps part of a ship.
Later that evening, the team gathers in the War Room to hear the results of a highly anticipated scientific report from Craig Tester about the mysterious wooden t-shaped object that was found in the swamp. The tests show the tool is likely from a time period ranging from 1632 to 1668. That is more than 160 years before the discovery of the money pit. Marty Lagina does bring up the obvious fact that while the tool might have been made in that time period, it could have still be in use 20 or 30 years after its construction.
But that still dates to well before the discovery of the money pit and it falls into a time period where the team has found other ship and construction-related items. So what was going on at Oak Island in the mid-1600s?
That's it for this week and the previews show what appears to be the discovery of the remnants of a large wharf in the waters near Samuel Ball's house. And someone on the team seems to have found a gold coin.
See you next week!
We are now beginning episode twenty of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and not to be spoiling any discoveries this week, but the title of this episode is "Fire In The Hole" I know that the episode titles for the show tend to be very literal. But I am assuming there won't be an actual fire in a hole at some point in this hour.
The episode uncharacteristically begins in the War Room, where the team is hearing an update from Rick on the progress in the swamp. The latest estimate on the length of the stone path that has been uncovered so far is 460 feet. He also tells the team about the mysterious foundation that had been discovered along the path the previous day. And the fact that the foundation seems to have some sort of unexplained voids large enough for someone to stick their arm completely inside.
One theory about the foundation revolves around a farmer named Anthony Graves. His house and farm were originally located not far from the site of the foundation. Graves had purchased most of Oak Island in 1857. And while he was never known to have conducted any treasure hunts on the island, local shop owners on the mainland reported at the time that he sometimes purchased goods using old Spanish silver and gold coins. So could Graves have discovered some of the Oak Island treasure and then hidden it in the walls of this newly discovered foundation?
Later that morning, near the swamp, archeologist Miriam Amirault and Rick and Marty's nephew, David Fornetti, continue investigating the mysterious stone foundation. As they dig, David finds charcoal mixed in with some of the stone foundation wall. The location of the charcoal and the look of the surrounding soil suggests either it was the result of the building burning down or perhaps it was the location of a large hearth. But the confusing thing is that if was the site of continued burning, then where are any of the remnants of what we burned. There are no artifacts, which is confusing to the scientists.
Meanwhile, about 50 yards to the south, project manager Scott Barlow, metal detection expert Gary Drayton and heavy equipment operator Billy Gerhardt are searching the stone pathway for valuable objects and artifacts. They uncover a few pieces of wood that were placed under the stone pathway, presumably to keep the stones from sinking into the mud. With any luck, a carbon dating of the wood might lead to a more precise estimate of when the stone pathway was constructed.
At the same time, drilling continues at the so-called "money pit" area. The team is still chasing the tunnel they discovered at the 86-90 foot level and the next hole will hopefully continue their streak of hits. This hole is named CD-7 and it is just east of their previous holes. Charles Barkhouse and Terry Matheson continue to examine the soil in the core borings for any wood or evidence of human activity. But they've reached 91 feet and there is nothing to report.
Later that afternoon on Lot 26, metal detection expert Gary Drayton along with treasure hunter Michael John are investigating an area near the foundation that used to belong to Samuel Ball. They are hoping to find more clues about how the 19th-century landowner mysteriously became one of the wealthiest men in Nova Scotia. The first discovery is a very small ox shoe, which appears to be quite old.
Back in the war room, Craig Tester and Marty Lagina are trying to decide what to do next with the drilling operation. They could backtrack and try and find the buried tunnel again. But Craig suggests maybe drilling one of the sites found on the Berringer survey. Paperwork had been found by a historian that showed a company named Berringer had conducted a survey about 30 years ago that examined the ground with low-frequency radio waves. The survey found four spots in the Smith's Cove and money pit area that suggested they might include non-ferris metals - which could be gold or silver. Given the short amount of time left in the season before winter comes, Marty agrees that drilling at one of the Berringer holes might be the best move at this point.
Later that afternoon, Jack Begley and Charles Barkhouse have traveled 50 miles away from Oak Island to the farm run by blacksmithing expert Carmen Legge, who has proven in the past to be very good at identifying and dating objects found by the team on Oak Island. They brought the small shoe found the day before on Lot 26. Legge identifies the shoe as being Scottish and dates to between 1610 and the 1740s.
Back at the site of the stone pathway in the swamp area, archeologist Miriam Amirault discovers shards of brightly colored hand-painted pottery near the pathway. It's more evidence of human activity, but as is always the case on Oak Island, it provides more questions than answers.
Later that day, the team gathers in the War Room to hear from Craig Tester, who has the results of testing done on the pieces of hand-cut wood found underneath parts of the stone pathway in the swamp. The first piece dates from 1489 to 1654. That dates back to as much as 300 years before the discovery of the money pit.
And that's the end of this episode, which was a bit of a letdown after several weeks of big finds. But I'm sure the tease for next week's episode will be filled with optimism.
The tease shows Gary Drayton finding some object he thinks looks "military." And there is a discovery made somewhere - maybe the swamp? - that Carmen Legge dates back to the 1400s.
See you next week.
We are now beginning episode nineteen of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and not to be spoiling any discoveries this week, but the title of this episode is "A Loose Cannonball." So I predict a cannonball might be found on the island. And maybe it will be loose?
The top of the show tease shows a big piece of iron being found that may be related somehow to tunneling. There's speculation that the stone road might be angling towards the so-called "eye of the swamp," what looks like a small cannonball is found in the spoils pile and Rick Lagina discovers a mysterious hole that might be hiding something "treasure." Okay, it probably isn't, but it makes for a good tease.
Rick Lagina meets with archaeologists Dr. Aaron Taylor and Miriam Amirault, who are continuing to excavate the mysterious stone road in the swamp. Taylor believes the road may be splitting into two different directions, one leading to the money pit area and the other towards an unknown destination. On a complete side note, have you noticed that since she first began appearing on the show, Miriam Amirault has been slowly upgrading her look? Her hair is longer now and blonde and she is definitely becoming the Lara Craft of Oak Island.
Over the past few weeks the team has found a number of items on or near the stone pathway, including multiple shards of pottery and large iron ringbolts that might have been used to help anchor a sailing vessel. They also found several pieces of wooden keg barrel that might date back as far as the 15th century.
As the team works to uncover more of the road, Aaron discovers rows of stones piled on top of each other along one edge of the road. They were obviously placed there for a reason and he tells Rick and the rest of the group that it somewhat looks like what you would expect to see in a cellar wall. But if the wall is some remnant of an old building, why is it located so close to the stone road and what might have been stored there. "It's a mystery," admits Rick. "And I don't need any more mysteries."
While members of the team continue their investigation in the swamp, in the money pit area, geologist Terry Matheson and Oak Island historian Charlies Barkhouse continue overseeing a core drilling operation that is trying to follow the path of a mysterious tunnel they have discovered. The tunnel is located at a depth of about 90 feet and wood from what appears to be the tunnel walls has been carbon dated to as early as 1648, nearly 150 years before the original money pit was discovered. The current bore hole uncovers wood at a depth of about 88 feet, making it the sixth successive hole where they have uncovered wood at the same depth. Rick tells them to keep drilling holes in hopes of discovering where this tunnel might lead.
Meanwhile, back in the swamp, Rick Lagina has invited geoscientist Dr. Ian Spooner to investigate the possible stone wall structure. Spooner also believes it could be a structure wall and deserves added attention. But at the same time, Aaron's work seems to show that one branch of the stone pathway is turning towards the so-called "eye of the swamp." It was in that area that last year the team discovered a mysterious circular stone feature made of boulders as well as evidence of back-filled shaft.
The next day, Rick and Marty Lagina, as well as various members of the team have gathered in the war room for a video conference with author and Oak Island theorist James McQuston. These types of calls tend to lead to some very unlikely speculation, but they are always interesting to hear. McQuston previously presented a theory that a 17th-century Scottish order with direct ties to the Knights Templar - known as Knights Baronet - were connected to the Oak Island mystery, he now has a new theory. He has recently discovered new details about how he believes a large treasure came to be buried on Oak Island.
McQuston spins a complex tale that I won't get into here, other than to say that it involves a bunch of vague connections to the Freemasons and members of the Plymouth Colony in what is now Massachusetts. It's an interesting theory, but that appears to be all that is. He doesn't have any real documentation of his theories, other than a lot of "well, it could have happened this way" speculation.
Later that afternoon, metal detection expert Gary Drayton along with Rick and Marty's nephew David Fornetti join the excavations of the stone pathway at the swamp and to search through some of the spoil piles from the digs so far. Gary's first find is deep in the wall of a trench and it is a heavy iron caster wheel - the type that would be used on a cart in a long tunnel.
As that works continues, members of the team examine spoils from the dig of hole E-5.25 on a wash table. The first thing they discover is possible coconut fiber, which does not exist in nature anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Cotton fiber had previously been discovered in mass amounts in Smiths Cove during an 1850 search and it was thought to have been used as a filtering agent for the legendary Money Pit flood tunnels as well as in the Money Pit itself. The team also discovers a small round iron ball which appears to be a cannonball.
Marty Lagina and archaeologist Dr. Aaron Taylor arrive at the wash table to examine the cannonball. He decides to have Gary Drayton and island archaeologist Laird Niven examine the find. Drayton says it is a dress stone or gun stone and that he has found similar items during searches in the U.K. He believes it's old and is the type of projectile that was used in cannons before the days of the iron cannonballs. So it's likely very old. But then why is is on Oak Island?
Back in the swamp, the excavation continues on the stone pathway. The focus is on the area that appears to be part of a cellar and the first discovery is made by Miriam, who finds a small shard of ceramic earthenware. Not long after, someone discovers what appears to be some small cavity in the ground. Miriam speculates that the area could be the remnants of Anthony Grave's root cellar, which opens up a lot of possibilities. In 1857, a farmer named Anthony Graves purchased most of Oak Island from the estate of John Smith, one of the three young men who made the original money pit discovery. Graves has always been a subject of speculation from Oak Island treasure hunters, because at the time, he was rumored to have sometimes bought items on the mainland using Spanish coins made of both silver and gold.
The episode awkwardly ends with Rick speculating about whether or not something might be in the newly discovered void or in one of the walls of the cellar. Which is a pretty anti-climactic end of the hour.
The tease for next week's episode is short and to the point. There are lots of exclamations of "wow, look at that" and "that is cool," although it's not clear what was discovered. So the search for Oak Island treasure - like the search for Bigfoot - appears to be a slow-moving, never ending road of discovery.
It's time for another episode of Debris and while we might not be the biggest group of viewers on television, we are certainly getting a wild ride this season.
Tonight's episode is entitled "In Universe" and it starts on a farm. It's raining and a man in an office-type area is working when he hears a wind begin to blow. The wind blows out the fire in his stove and then he begins to cough violently. He seems to recover, but he can hear other farmworkers outside beginning to cough. It is pouring rain, but he goes out to investigate and doesn't see anyone else. But the rain seems to have done something to his corn field. The corn is dying, but some sort of buds seem to be growing on the withered stalks. He walks through the field and when he gets to the far edge he notices the rain ends at the edge of his field. On the other side, it's clear and sunny. But when he walks into the sun, he begins to cough again and collapses on the ground as some sort of infection/creepy rash spreads across his face.
Bryan and Finola are on the road. Bryan comes back to their parked car from a convenience store sporting flashy sunglasses and slurping on an Icee. He also forgot to bring Finola's water. They're on their way to Maxwell, Nebraska and they're chasing the latest debris sighting. According to reports, the debris landed at 2:45 am and 15 minutes later, the rain began. It's still raining, although only in an area about 1/4 of a mile across. Finola says it's been classified as a "level 3," whatever that means.
As a side note, can I mention that an unsettling number of these debris sightings seem to be happening in rural places? I suppose from a budgetary and writing standpoint, it's easier to have a debris event take place somewhere that is relatively deserted. But still, it would be interesting to see them try and smooth over a debris event that took out an artisanal coffee shop in Brooklyn
When Bryan and Finola arrive, they learn three people have died. All three left the area where it was raining. Investigators believe there are about 30 migrant workers living on the farm who are still inside the rain zone. The three dead men seemed to have died from some sort of type of asphyxiation. Whatever they were breathing killed them and damaged their lungs. But why hasn't it affected the people inside the rain and why isn't it now affecting the investigation team?
Bryan and Finola walk towards the rain dressed in what look to be surplus astronaut suits from adult space camp. They slowly make their way through the corn field and the stalks are now randomly sporting bright blue flowers. They find the migrant workers inside a large building used to grow plants. The workers tell them they woke up in the morning coughing and feeling sick. But that has passed and now they feel okay, although they are obviously scared. But one woman asks Bryan and Finola if they had seen her 8-year-old son Arturo. The mother says he was very scared when everything started and although some of the group tried to find him, they didn't have any luck.
The group also tells Bryan that some of them woke up last night when they heard the wind and some mysterious rustling. They then heard a loud boom and when some of the workers tried to leave, their cars wouldn't start. The workers that tried to leave the rain zone died, which leads Finola to suspect that the workers bodies have been changed in a way that makes normal air poisonous. Bryan goes to search the fields for debris while Finola sends in teams to retrieve and quarantine the workers and search for the missing boy.
Bryan finds a large, jagged piece of debris buried in a clearing in the field. He also spots the missing boy as well as a group of dead workers scattered near some tractors. He returns Arturo to his mother but there still aren't any answers to what might be going on with the debris.
Back in Langley, Virginia, Maddox is at home doing exercises with his son Dario. It isn't clear what the problem might be with his son, but Dario is struggling to remember left from right and appears to have trouble thinking clearly. He stops when a phone rings and while it appears at first to be his phone, it turns out to be his wife's. The person hangs up and she walks in as he's staring at the phone. She tells him that she wouldn't answer his phone and when he says "It was an unknown caller, it was weird, she tells him that "not everything is a conspiracy." Which makes me think that the phone call was probably one that she was trying to hide. Their interaction also illustrates that their marriage isn't ideal at the moment.
At the farm, Finola has to deal with a young man who drove around the roadblocks and showed up near the farm trying to get into the zone. He tells her he has family living on the farm and demands to know what is going on. His name is Efrain Munoz and he is the distribution manager for the farm. He was traveling for several days and is worried about. He's worried about his brother's wife and children, and it happens to be Arturo and his mother. Efraim tells Finola his brother died about a year ago.
Later, Finola is dictating her report and says that samples of plants from the zone aren't showing signs of photosynthesis. Instead, they are doing a similar process that creates chlorine instead of oxygen. The atmosphere in the zone is nearly 45% chlorine with almost no oxygen. That suggests that the piece of debris might be creating a chlorine-based ecology, essentially terraforming that half mile of land. But if the people inside the zone can no longer breathe oxygen, what happens when the team removes the debris? But that's a problem for later. A more pressing issue is that the storm is growing and it might be time to evacuate the county.
A bit desperate to understand what is happening, Finola convinces Efrain to give some blood. She is hoping that by comparing his DNA to his nephew's, she can figure out how the rain is altering the bodies of the people trapped inside the zone. Bryan and Finola then put their suits back on and go into the zone to get a sample of Arturo's blood. In order to relax him, Bryan gives Arturo his flashy sunglasses. He tells Arturo they are the "glasses of a king and kings aren't afraid, they rule."
A guy named Beck from Emergency Containment arrives at the farm and tells Bryan and Finola that he is there to retrieve the debris and turn it off as quickly as possible, The zone has just spread another 200 yards and the danger is immediate for everyone. But if the debris is turned off, what will happen to the farm workers? Finola wants to find a way to save them, but Bryan tells her that he understands her feelings. But they can't wait to take action and if they don't do something quickly, many more people could be in danger.
Finola is struggling to find an answer, but the lab results only make things worse. The bodies of the people inside the zone have been permanently altered and one of the scientists at the mobile lab tells her that the science to reverse the condition is so outside the current scientific understanding that a solution could be decades away. I'm assuming the show will figure out a way to save the workers, but there aren't any easy answers that I can see.
At the debris site, Bryan is helping Beck shut down the energy from the debris. Beck asks Bryan "Do you ever think of Julian?" Bryan tells him that it's hard not to do that and that "things were a lot simpler then." We don't know who Julian is, but I suspect this is part of the backstory Bryan has been keeping from Finola. Bryan asks Beck why he's bringing up Julian. Beck tells him that people say Finola has heart. He reminds Bryan that Julian had heart as well and that was what got him killed. Bryan responds that Julian went out the way that he wanted to and that he was a hero. "That's easy for you to say," says Beck. "But I'm the one who had to tell his wife." Bryan asks Beck what point he is trying to make by bringing up all of this now. "Just be careful," warns Beck. "Don't let her bring you down."
Back at the lab, Finola suddenly remembers something and asks the scientist if she remembers debris piece 489. The scientist warns Finola she may be reaching and that while that particular debris piece did undergo extensive testing, it's never been tested on humans. Finola insists that it is worth a try and that she had heard they were considering testing the effects from debris piece 489 on terminal cancer patients. Finola then finds Bryan and tells him that debris piece 489 is one that was found several years previously in the Rockies. It places organisms in suspended animation and could be used to place the farm workers in suspended animation until scientists can figure out a cure. He resists the idea, but she tells him that Maddox has already approved the idea and the piece is headed to the site.
Finola then tells Bryan that she is going to tell Efrain what is happening and when he asks why she would do that, she explains that she believes everyone has the right to know what happened to the ones they love. Oooo subtext about her father and the things she doesn't know about his current state of being not dead. "That is not our job," he reminds her. "We are supposed to be blips in these peoples lives. Not memories." Ultimately, she decides not to tell Efrain anything other than his family is okay and that he will be tested and then sent back to the city. He begs her to let him see them one last time, but she walks out of the room.
Debris piece 489 arrives at the site the following morning but before anything can happen, Finola receives a call from her boss at MI-6. She's told that her father may be alive, news that Bryan and the Americans already knew. There are reports that a man who matches the description of Finola's father is being held by Influx, but there aren't a lot of details. Given that Finola sat her dead father's bedside at the morgue, she doesn't believe it. But given everything else she's seen, could it be true? But as shocking to Finola is the news that the Americans had known for a long time and that Bryan had been hiding the truth for her. Finola is also warned not to let Bryan and the Americans know that she and the British have learned the truth about her father.
This secret is the part of the show I've liked least so far. It was predictable and of course it was going to come out and impact the relationship between Finola and Bryan. In a show with so many unexpected twists, the handling of this secret was a misstep.
After she learns the truth, Finola finds Efrain and tells him the truth. When he asks her why she is doing that, she tells him that she would want to know so that she could make her own decision. She frees Efrain and he runs into the rain so he can stay with his family as they go into suspended animation. The agents wheel debris piece 489 into the building with the farm workers and when it is powered up it puts them all into what looks like a shiny, glittering shell of suspended animation. Once that happens, the team turns off the piece of debris in the field and the rain clears away from the farm.
Back at the mobile base, Bryan asks Finola why she let Efrain join his family in suspended animation. "I don't think you'll ever understand," she tells him and walks away.
Next week's episode is entitled "Earthshine," and official logline is "INFLUX steps out from the shadows, weaponizing the debris in a terrifying experiment. Finola struggles to keep her newfound knowledge from affecting her work."
See you then!
We are now beginning episode thirteen of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and not to be underselling any possible discovery this week, but the title of this episode is "The Fellowship Of The Ringbolt." Instead of something more treasure-like such as "The Fellowship Of The Massive Chests Of Pirate Gold."
As always, the tease at the top of the episode sounds promising. A couple of things are uncovered in the swamp by metal detection expert Gary Drayton, including what I assume is the "ringbolt" mentioned in the episode title as well as the lock for what is later described as belonging to a "large box or chest." And apparently they discover more wood in one of the money pit drill holes. And awaaaaay we go.....
At the start of "another exciting day on Oak Island," Rick Lagina is showing Tom Nolan the team's progress so far in the swamp. They have uncovered what appears to be two massive stone roads in the Southeast corner of the triangle-shaped swamp. One of which may be leading directly to the original money pit treasure shaft. Tom Nolan is also a landowner on Oak Island, but he is also the son of the late treasure hunter Fred Nolan, who spent nearly 50 years trying to find treasure on the island. He was convinced there was something of value in the swamp, but son Tom admits that his dad probably wasn't expecting to find stone roads.
The team has brought in archaeologist Dr. Aaron Taylor to oversee the excavations in the swamp. He tells Rick Lagina and Tom Nolan that his best guess is that the stone road was built and used as a way to transport some sort of containers or other large items to the uplands are where the money pit is located. He also has found small bits of coal mixed in with the stone road and some areas appear to be supported by wood stakes or timbers.
Later that afternoon, Rick Lagina and members of the team are in the War Room to discuss a piece of metal that was discovered recently in the digs of the money pit. They are receiving a report from Dr. Christa Brosseau, who has been able to shed some light on the age of the item. The item was found in the borehole known as C-9 and it was found with a number of pieces of wood. The hope is that it can be dated accurately enough to show it might be part of the so-called "Tupper Shaft." The shaft is named for Adam Tupper a member of the Trurow Company, who constructed a shaft in 1850 just ten feet NW of the original money pit.
Her tests have determined the square nail was made after 1840. So while it doesn't prove they've found the Tupper Shaft, it certainly is a promising sign. Although, pretty much every episode has one or two promising yet not quite definitive moments.
Back at the money pit the next morning, Oak Island Project Manager Scott Barlow, geologist Terry Matheson and surveyor Steve Guptill are supervising the team's core hole drilling operation in borehole CD-8.5. They are hoping to confirm that they have located the Tupper Shaft. When they pull up a core that runs from only 18-28 feet down, it includes a significant amount of stacked lumber. It certainly appears to be a slice of a wall of some kind.
Later that day, Oak Island historian Doug Crowell and Scott Barlow travel 50 miles from Oak Island to meet with blacksmithing expert Carmen Legge. They brought the item which appears to be some sort of a latch that was found by Gary Drayton on Lot 13. Legge says it appears to a higher end double-bolted lock, used to secure a large box or trunk. (Cue narrator: "A large box? Like the boxes that might have been used by the Knights Templar?")
Later that afternoon, Scott Barlow joins Rick Lagina and geoscientist Dr. Ian Spooner at the dig in the swamp area. They are continuing to uncover the mysterious stone road and they find a number of pieces of wood buried under the road and intertwined with the stone. Which is good news, since they can carbon date the wood and hopefully put some sort of specific construction date to the project.
The following morning, Craig Testor, along with metal detection expert Gary Drayton, join the excavations in the swamp. As Drayton examines the dirt that is being uncovered, he discovers what appears to an old lock.
The next day, Marty Lagina and his son Alex arrive at the old homestead of Samuel Ball, who owned Lot 25 from the late 18th Century to the mid-19th Century. Laird Niven has been supervising an excavation of the site once owned by one of Oak Island's most controversial figures. Born a slave on a plantation in South Carolina in 1765. He escaped at age 11 and made his way north. He eventually won his freedom when he joined the British military forces during the American Revolution. After the war was over, he traveled to Nova Scotia, where he bought a lot on Oak Island for a reported eight pounds.
Although Ball was known to be a simple cabbage farmer, he somehow managed to become one of the wealthiest people in the province. He ended up owning 36 acres on Oak Island and several more on the mainland. Leaving people to wonder if he found some or all of the Oak Island treasure.
The Ball homestead has been designated a protected historical site by the Canadian government and Niven has obtained a special permit to dig at the location. The excavation is in its very early stages, but Niven has discovered a number of expensive pottery shards that date back to Samuel Ball's lifetime.
Meanwhile, back at the swamp, members of the team are continuing to work and determine where the stone road is headed. And as they search, Gary Drayton discovers some mysterious piece of winding iron. It could be a decorative handle or perhaps even a bracelet. And a bit later, Drayton uncovers a large hand-forged ringbolt. The ringbolt discovery is interesting, because when Fred Nolan was surveying the island during his searches in the 1960s, he discovered three large boulders near the edge of the swamp that large ringbolts driven into them. At the time, he believed someone had used the ringbolts to anchor a ship that had entered the swamp area back when it held more water.
Craig Testor, Rick Lagina and other members of the team arrive at the swamp to see the ringbolt. Laird Niven suspects it can easily be dated back to the 18th Century, which certainly fits into at least one of timelines for treasure being deposited on the island.
But with that, the episode ends and there are no teases for next week's episode. So let's meet here again next Tuesday?