After last week’s look at tropical variety of flora, The Green Planet changes its focus this time to the mysterious world of water plants. Across the hour long chapter, the focus skips across the globe, from Southern England to Japan and Colombia, highlighting some of the more unusual and interesting variety of plants, filming how they survive and thrive.
The episode starts off with a look at freshwater torrents. The camera moves breathlessly down this stream, turning across to show the sheer majestic beauty of a massive waterfall.
The Cano Cristales river is where we’re situated, known as the “Orchid of the falls” and it’s easy to see why. Gorgeous pink, candy floss-like plants (Macarenia) are the main focus and this works well to set the tone for the rest of the episode.
From here, we take a look at water lettuces and their unique ability to travel on the water, moving seamlessly across rivers to collect sunlight. Only, they’re not alone. In an absolutely breathtaking sequence, a fight for space and dominance ensues.
Unlike that seen last episode featuring the jungle floor, this battle has a much more devastating effect on the losers. Lettuces are joined by mosaic plants, ludwigi and water hyacinth as they wrestle for power. The real winner here comes late; Giant Water Lilies absolutely dominates.
Through time-lapse technology, we the battle take place in devastating real-time, with plants quite literally squeezed to death. The final shot, as the camera pans up to show a green desert of lily pads, is easily the best moment of the entire episode.
These sequences of plants in large numbers continues in Northern Japan, where a unique breed of Alga plant known as Marimo form balls and collect in their millions.
One of the more interesting and educational sequences here comes from the continued theme of symbiotic relationships between plant and animal. From Bladderworts lying in wait with trap doors for unsuspecting insects, to the infamous Venus Fly Traps, there are a lot of surreal scenes here that really show off just how vicious some of these flowers can be.
A sequence involving David Attenborough explaining how the Fly Trap works is another highlight, using the tip of a paintbrush to explain how these traps count to distinguish their prey.
There are several other eye-opening scenes here too, including an important tidbit at the end on seagrass and how important it is to our ecosystem. Likewise, seeing Piraputanga fish leap out the water to collect low hanging fruit boasts one of the more unusual relationships between animal and plant.
The Diaries section of this episode to close things out is well worth sticking around for. Here, we learn how the battle of the plants was actually filmed, with a house in Devon used in tandem with on-location shots.
It’s crazy to think some of this was filmed in a pool but it’s testament to the amazing camera work we have now in 2022 -as well as highlighting how tricky and unpredictable time-lapse technology can be to use.
The Episode Review
The Green Planet returns this week with another solid episode, albeit one that’s not quite at the same level as last week’s amazing view of the tropical world. Don’t get me wrong, some of the material here is really interesting, and the continued theme of showing the symbiotic relationship between plant and animal is certainly welcome.
In terms of photography and shots, the real stand-out moment here comes from the Battle of the Plants. Seeing how these water lilies dominate, using their bud as a club to decimate the competition is insane and shows the brutality and competition that these plants possess.
With next week’s episode changing focus to seasonal changes and how plants adapt to that, we could well be in store for another excellent episode.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|