Welcome again to the insane realm of Frozen Planet II, the place the outrageous cruelty of nature vies with the dazzling great thing about our world in a psychopathic danse-macabre – all completely choreographed within the identify of television.
The second episode of the brand new sequence takes the viewer on a bipolar odyssey – no pun meant – during which the BBC’s conventional anthropomorphic strategy is ratcheted as much as the intense, increase our sympathies for sure animals, solely to tear them limb from bloody limb moments later.
Would you like the little polar bear cubs to stay or die, you ask your self manically because the blood-soaked head and chest of a cannibalistic alpha male bear roars into view.
If you need them to stay, then maybe they need to have slaughtered “one in all cutest animals on the planet”, as one cameraman describes a fluffy child harp seal. Or maybe you’d desire watching their mom (the bears’, that’s, not the cameraman’s) go into battle with different bears so as to rip aside the stays of a walrus.
What’s worse is that you could’t flip away and console your self with the truth that these cruel gorefests are nothing to do with you, thanks very a lot. At each alternative, Sir David Attenborough is there, forlornly offering the incontrovertible proof that you simply, we, all of us humans, are exacerbating the horror by overheating our planet.
Each additional tiny increment of extra world common temperature rise we trigger is seemingly pitting increasingly more species in opposition to one another.
We witness a pod of ruthless killer whales goal a bunch of bowhead whales – which Sir David tells us are solely minding their very own enterprise on vacation at a “spa” the place they’re socialising and cleansing their pores and skin.
The killer whales goal a younger whale and spend an hour ramming it at excessive pace, finally drowning it, earlier than consuming simply its tongue. The chaser: extra bowheads are falling prey to killer whales yearly, because the climate crisis causes the barrier of ice separating the 2 species to soften earlier and earlier within the season. It’s us once more.
However the programme is certainly not all doom and gloom – these are merely the properties of the sunshine during which humanity should now survey our planet.
We will rejoice – bitterly – as two grownup polar bears, apparently unknown to 1 one other, have an opportunity encounter on the ice, and frolic ecstatically about their frosty wilderness – “dancing on ice, apparently only for the enjoyment of it”, as Sir David places it.
“Polar bears thrive right now of 12 months [spring] because of the large platform of ice from which they’ll hunt,” he provides.
Later within the programme – and the calendar 12 months – the ice is gone, and there’s no thriving to be performed anyplace.
“Temperatures within the Arctic are actually rising sooner than ever earlier than, creating storms which break up the ice floes earlier every spring,” Sir David warns us, proper after we’ve witnessed an impossibly stunning child seal be taught to swim, then been left to fend for himself by his mom simply 12 days after being born.
“Harp seal pups are being tipped into freezing waters earlier than they’re able to endure lengthy intervals at sea,” he says. “In some pupping areas, nearly none survive.”
In one other gruesomely engrossing sequence, the digicam takes us proper as much as the heaving snout of an overheating walrus rising from the seaweed.
Wanting like an enormous locomotive scrotum with lengthy curving tusks, we’re handled to the unforgettable sight of a thick mucus of foaming snot which bubbles out over their whiskers as they pant within the sunshine. It sounds unimaginable. You nearly cease respiratory in order to keep away from the scent which your tv may emit. Then we take a look on the different finish. A messy anus erupts with a comedy fart – proper into the face of one other tusked ballbag.
It’s a stunning, appalling, bombastic nightmare. And that’s earlier than extra hungry polar bears flip as much as actually crank up the bloody wretchedness of all of it.
As our personal society seems to be shedding the inspiration of its stability, the programme not solely reveals the large injury we’re doing to the world round us but additionally lets us glimpse the anarchic hell during which many species stay – the brutish state of nature which functioning societies have helped us escape.
‘Frozen Planet II’ is on BBC One