The South African television show “Dam” has an unnerving narrative technique. Dreams are very skillfully meshed with reality. So it becomes very difficult to differentiate between what is really happening and what is being manufactured by the fertile unconscious minds of the characters. Like every other episode of the Showmax show, the fourth episode also begins with a strange dream sequence. Yolanda (played by Leah Vivier) dreams about having sex with Max (Gerald Steyn), but only his eyelids are stitched, and she is not quite human. Obviously, it is enigmatic and confounding. Added to this, the recent deaths caused by the creature that resides in the water of the dam intensify the confusion in the minds of the viewers.
If you go back to the previous episode, you will recall the strange attacks that had been stealing the lives of the local residents, Danie and Gus, who probably were involved in raping Yola in the name of the sacred ritual that needed to be performed during the Spring Festival. Everyone in the town seems to believe that it is a crocodile, but the local wildlife expert, Anton, seems to believe that it is the work of a Nile River monitor. Honestly, no one knows who or what is causing these vengeful, bloody attacks near the important water sources in the town specially in the areas adjacent to the dam. It is in this episode that Gus’s disfigured dead body is discovered, and the dead body lying under the glistening sun on the beach of the reservoir only seems like a scene of horror visualized in broad daylight, with the guts hanging out of the body; it surely will leave you disturbed.
In the previous episode, Dirk (Francis Choulder), the local police supremo, had discovered a gang-rider’s jacket that belonged to Themba (Pallance Dladla), in which Max had planted underwear. Dirk inferred that the piece of undergarment must have belonged to Yolanda, which in turn implied that it was Themba who had kidnapped Yola during the spring festival. Since Themba’s jacket was found in a small hut near the river, Dirk asked Sienna (played by Natasha Loring) and Yola to accompany him to that hut. The hut belonged to the local bartender, Charlton (Marvin-Lee Beukes). He used it for growing and selling marijuana to the local residents at Fischerhaven. Moreover, his sister Clara (Tarryn Wyngaard) was institutionalized in the local mental asylum in order to make her forget about the physical violence that she had been subjected to during the previous year’s Spring Festival. Charlton was unaware of the fact that his sister had actually been raped in the name of fertility rites.
Rudy (Laudo Liebenberg), Max’s brother and now the head of the town council after the death of Jacob Fischer, had promised to take full financial responsibility for Clara’s treatment, if Charlton lied to the police that the hut belonged to Themba. In reality, Themba was turning out to be a problem for Rudy since Sienna, who had power of attorney over Yola’s land, had promised to return Themba’s ancestral land to its rightful owner in Yola’s absence. This was an impediment in Rudy’s path, who wanted to excavate the land adjacent to the river for alluvial diamonds. Taking Charlton’s testimony against Themba into consideration and relying on the evidence found in the hut full of ‘dagga,” the police accused Themba, the only indigenous black man in the entire narrative, of being responsible for abducting Yolanda. Themba wanted to run away, but he felt that if he did so, he would be doing great injustice to his ancestors. He wanted Yola and Charlton to testify and clear his name from this mess. But unfortunately, he gets arrested and locked up behind bars in episode 4.
In the meantime, Lindiwe (played by Faniswa Yisa), Themba’s aunt, is seen getting really disturbed as she watches police cars scouting and patrolling through her neighborhood. She senses some sort of danger. She runs out of her house to warn her neighbors about some impending danger. The moment she rushes into her house, she finds her daughter Simphiwe’s yellow raincoat hanging on the back door. Qaqamba (Thembisa Mdoda) is shocked to see water dripping from the yellow raincoat when she comes in to inform Lindiwe that Themba has been arrested. Lindiwe believes that her daughter’s yellow raincoat definitely wants to tell them something; therefore, it keeps reappearing every time they want to get rid of it. On hearing about Themba’s arrest, Lindiwe insists that they should go and talk to Yola. Only Yola’s words about Themba’s innocence can free him from jail.
Yola, on the other hand, still does not remember anything about what happened to her during the months she went missing. She seems to be amidst her own people, yet she is lost in her own thoughts almost all the time. Sienna takes Yola to the town, as she has to visit the local drugstore. In the previous episode, we learned that Sienna was expecting a child, though she was unaware of the child’s paternity. But with everything going on around her and her unstable relationship status, Sienna does not want to give birth to this child. In fact, she says that the baby is eating her from within. She forges the local doctor’s signature and goes to the drugstore to get a medicine that would cause an abortion. Annie, the drugstore owner, who is also Max and Rudy’s mother, notices a forgery and refuses to sell her the pills. She is afraid that Sienna might be aborting Rudy’s child without his permission. She then goes on to judge Sienna for having multiple affairs and sleeping with half the men in the town.
Meanwhile, Yola, who had been left behind by Sienna in their pickup truck, wanders into a town hall meeting where the important members of the town council have gathered to discuss what they should do to get rid of the creature that is threatening human lives and the lives of their livestock. The young guns, including Max, want to launch a hunting party to kill this crocodile. Their toxic masculinity and the urge to dominate nature are very well highlighted in the way they speak about sniffing out this crocodile and murdering it brutally. The local psychiatrist, Dr. Nel, opines that the attacks conducted by this creature seem almost personal. Taking a cue from that, Dora (Antoinette Louw) declares that it is the Mamalambo that is hunting for blood. Mamalambo was a mythical creature around which the story of the town’s foundation was built. It was believed that one of Yola’s forefathers, who built Fischerhaven, had wandered into this part of the Eastern Cape. He was badly struck with malaria and other maladies.
The daughter of the local chief had taken him to her cave and nursed him back to life. In return, this forefather impregnated the tribal Princess and later left her for the first European woman who came to the Eastern Cape. Her relationship with a European man drove the Princess out of town, and she lost her child in a miscarriage too. It is believed that the nearby river was formed by her tears. The people of Fisherhaven mythicized her as the spirit of Mamalambo, who swore that she would hunt for the blood of Jacob Fischer. Although everyone respected Dora’s view, they thought the return of a mythical spirit was too irrational for the councilmen to believe. When Dora learned from Annie that Sienna was pregnant, she worked out that Mamalambo must be on the hunt for Sienna’s child, or, in other words, for Jacob’s blood. It was, therefore, important for Sienna to have the child so that it could be offered to Mamalambo to satisfy her thirst. Annie plays a master trick here to convince Sienna to give birth to her child. She informs Dirk that Sienna is pregnant, which makes him propose marriage. Sienna refuses to marry him. She asks Qaqamba if there are any indigenous recipes that can help her abort the child. Qaqamba gives a recipe, and Sienna brews a drink after procuring the herbs. On the other hand, Lindiwe convinces Yola to go and speak to Themba. Yola and Themba have the sweetest and most romantic conversation possible across the bars of the small prison cell. Themba might be the biggest green flag that every single woman keeps on searching for.
After the short conversation, Yola declares to Sienna that she is positive that Themba is not the culprit. Sienna, too, took a look at the underwear the police discovered from the hut and said that it still reeked of detergent and must have been planted to frame Themba. Rudy promises to free Themba of all his charges only if he gives the land to him. Themba gave in to the proposal and was finally let go. When all these things were happening, Yola was seen wandering off to the riverbed. Towards the end of the episode, Anton, the local wildlife expert, is seen being attacked by an unknown entity. The episode ends with Yola waking up next to a riverbed stained with blood. It leaves us wondering if she has anything to do with the spirit of Mamalambo. Themba, after being released from prison, wants to visit the dam to apologize to his grandfather for not being able to protect their ancestral land. The moment he steps into the dam water, he is pulled into the depths of the water, leaving us wondering what happens next in the show. Will Yola finally emerge as the vengeful Mamalambo? Will Themba be able to fight for his rights? What happens to Sienna and her unborn child? For answers, we shall have to tune in to the next episode of “Dam.” Showmax releases new episodes of this series every Thursday.