|Stampede! Wake up Earl! Wake up! Get outta the way! Stampede!
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Ghost Dance is the sixth episode in Tremors: The Series. After three spelunkers are found dead, the town suspects it's a ghost. But when Cletus shows up, they find out it's something far more serious.
In Universe Perspective
From the Survival Journal of Burt Gummer:
In the old mine shaft just outside of town, Rosalita and her hired hand Harlow found a cave explorer whose arm had been shriveled dry by a glowing green cloud. When they told the rest of us about it, my neighbors all immediately jumped to the conclusion that we had a ghost on our hands. I knew better.
Fact: Ghosts don't exist. Fact: There was almost certainly an abandoned, top-secret, underground government lab near there. Put those facts together and it's pretty obvious that the green mist killing people in the mine had to be a government project run amok.
As usual, everyone said I was crazy.
Then Agent Twitchell showed up. Our friendly government toady was supposed to investigate the mine for what his superiors called a "methane leak." (I believed that story just as much as I believe in ghosts.) Tyler and I went with him. We found no methane, just two more dead people whose bodies had been drained dry — an air shaft leading to the aforementioned "nonexistent" government lab.
Then the glowing green mist cornered us. Playing a hunch — based on the available evidence — I saved us by emptying my canteen onto the ground nearby. The mist sucked up the liquid the same way it had drained its victims dry.
We escaped back to town, where a couple of real spooks arrived: two EPA agents named Fallon and Wilhelm. They wouldn't tell us anything, so Tyler and I secretly followed them to the mine. The mist had come outside and gotten bigger. The spooks sprayed it with an antibacterial agent, but it barreled ahead and killed Wilhelm.
Fallon hightailed it out of there. Tyler and I roadblocked him and demanded he give us information instead of excuses. Since we already knew the mist was a water-devouring bacteria developed by the government, Fallon stopped denying it. He confessed that the mist must've gotten loose in the abandoned lab and mutated by rubbing shoulders with its top-secret chemical neighbors.
Now the big green gasball was heading straight for us. To the thirsty cloud, Perfection's giant water tank smelled like a feast.
Have I ever mentioned that Uncle Sam is a blockhead? To stop the bacteria, the government decided to napalm our entire town. How exactly did these rocket scientists plan to explain why they used a napalm strike to fix a "methane leak"? This is our tax dollars at work. Be afraid, be very afraid.
We were about to lose Perfection. Obviously, it was up to us to come up with a solution that was cheap, sane and crafted from handy spare parts and common household items.
So, with some duct tape, an old industrial wet vacuum and my truck, we built a machine that would suck the bacteria into an airtight container helpfully provided by Fallon, who still didn't really believe our plan would work, even though he hoped it would.
Jodi and Rosalita enlisted El Blanco to stall the National Guard troops coming to evacuate us. That gave Tyler just enough time for some extreme housecleaning. After the wetvac sucked up all the bacteria, the government slapped a "methane" label on the canister and drove off with it into the sunset.
And now life is back to we passes for normal in Perfection. It might not always be safe or fun, but it beats fighting traffic and paying five dollars for "gourmet" coffee.
Rosalita and Harlowe find a man with a severely dried out arm and face in an abandoned silver mine close to her property. While Harlowe goes for help, the man tells Rosalita about being attacked by a ghost. Burt and Tyler go to investigate the mine and find two other people, practically mummified. When Twitchell arrives to investigate the mine, he tells them that the first victim died on the way to the hospital and that the death was a result of "dehydration caused by probable exposure to heated methane gas". Burt and Tyler insist on going with Twitchell to the mine and they encounter the cloud again, only just managing to escape by discovering the cloud will be drawn to anything that has water in it (including humans!).
Shortly after this discovery is made, a pair of EPA agents show up and order the residents of Perfection to stay away from the mine. Burt and Tyler witness one of the agents get killed by the "ghost" and when they interrogate the survivor, they learn that the cloud is actually a genetically engineered bacteria and also that it mutated somehow. Suspecting Mixmaster is responsible for the mutation, they bring in Cletus Poffenberger to verify their theory. As the new form of the bacteria is impervious to all forms of containment, the EPA agent orders the nearest Air Force base to burn Perfection to the ground with a wide area napalm bombing run. Burt, Tyler and Cletus manage to trap the bacteria cloud in a toxic waste container while Rosalita and Jodi stall the National Guard with the "help" of El Blanco. Cletus warns the residents that its not over: as a result of the gas cloud, the valley is now infected with Mixmaster and more creatures will arise from it.
- The cave where the spelunkers die is the same as the cave where silver was mined in Tremors 4.
- This episode helps expand the Tremors' universe beyond the Graboids as the sole monsters. (Had the show been given a longer run, there would have been more unique mutations from Mixmaster.)