Many of the folks at Camp Victory yearn for thin, but for some, their quest for completeness exists well beyond the struggle to take in fewer calories or get through another grueling physical activity. They’ve come to camp seeking something else: love, respect, understanding, friendship, validation, escape, or togetherness. But the road to finding themselves isn’t always bump free, and tonight’s “Spirit Quest” took many campers out of their comfort zones and forced them to confront some underlying issue (or person) they’ve been dealing with all summer (or all year, or all their life).

Doctor Rand says when one is in a comfort zone “nothing changes.” But the outline for getting people to change isn’t something that’s printed out and faxed to a Spirit Quest leader. It has to come from within. So sending the main core of campers out on a quest under the guidance of a very shaky George and a fiercely persistent Poppy at first seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

What we got from “Spirit Quest” was a decidedly intimate view of the main Huge players. This inner glimpse either helped confirm things we already pretty much knew, or helped formulate a view of how some people’s pasts are effecting their present. The Becca/Chloe dissolved friendship from the year before has been alluded to, but not given much substance until we saw in very quick, but well done, flashback how the two were close friends only a year before.

But alas people change and while Becca remains the same frightened shy girl afraid of her own shadow, Chloe is no longer her geeky companion. She’s realized popularity comes at the cost of looking and acting the part. But it doesn’t mean Chloe has completely chosen the dark side. She still remembers Becca’s spirit name (Running Turtle) and even in that little admission I thought there existed hope for the show’s primary villain. But we do see the root of all her evil: boys.

And we saw a side of Alistair that we’ve only had short peeks of up until this point. He’s hidden behind the face of quirky and overly odd, but in actuality he’s a smart kid who recognizes a true idiot when he sees one. Giving Trent the very unmagic mushroom confirms proof positive that while Alistair understands he has some issues, Trent is the one who is really a tortured soul. Because Alistair has a very clear self perspective, but just can’t grasp why others don’t understand him. Trent on the other hand is just flapping in the breeze, unsure of really where he belongs.

Funny enough, the show’s two strongest characters (outside of Doctor Rand) took over the weakest part of the episode. Amber and Will’s venture off into the wilderness gave us much of the same between these two. Read: endless bickering. And it also opened up the brutally inevitable George/Amber romance which I was praying the show avoided.

While the characters of Huge looked inward for some guidance, the show itself has definitely entered its comfort zone. Tonight’s episode explored a great deal without having to venture around camp looking for the story. Instead, the characters’ interactions and insecurities led a very strong hour. And I don’t know if the campers gained any more clarity, but their stories most definitely did.

Other thoughts:

- The writers couldn’t have set it up anymore that some campers would get lost. Compasses? Buddy systems? I’m on to you Huge writers.

- Could have done without the “George sees the spirit wolf” aspect even though he did channel a little Jack Torrance at a couple of different points during the episode.

- Best line of the show: “Athena, toss me the bug spray.”

- The more Salty the better as far as I’m concerned, love that guy

- Nice dose of religion without being overly preachy. And I was encouraged that the end of the episode didn’t hold some greater, deeper speech from each camper. That seemed like where we were headed. Instead we got an open-ended finish that reflected the unstructured Spirit Quest itself.

- Now we know Poppy was a camper too. Is there a reason she doesn’t tell the other girls this?

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