By Elaine James
The Messengers were faced with death during Wednesday′s fifth installment of THE MESSENGERS. The six remaining contestants visit the LA County Coroner′s Office and were led on a tour revealing what happens to the unknown deceased who have no one to claim or identify them.
The group saw the crypt where forensic scientists attempt to identify the men and women lying within the morgue. While faced with hundreds of unclaimed bodies, the contestants wondered about the stories behind each person. After witnessing the work of the coroner who tries to record what is known about the deceased, the contestants traveled to the LA County Cemetery to track these unclaimed dead to their final resting place.
The contestants met Reverend Phil Manly, who conducts an annual ceremony for the burial of the 1,916 John and Jane Does. The bodies are cremated and buried together in mass graves with a simple grave marker indicating the year they were interred.
The messengers then realize that though the bodies are unclaimed and forgotten, each of them had a story and a life and are somebody special. The contestants are informed that their assignment will be a eulogy for one of these unknown and unclaimed men and women.
This was the turning point for the contestants. Weeded down with only the best of the best remaining, all six gave powerfully touching speeches. But one of them had to go. While both Iman and Robert were in the bottom two, both gave very moving speeches and it came down to who had the least number of votes. Robert Rutherford, the minister from Georgia was sent home to his 11 children. The panelists stated that he was as polished as ever, the other speeches were just better.
The foundation of each episode, airing Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. EST, is a field trip designed to give the speakers a profound learning experience - the opportunity to live life by walking in someone else′s shoes. At the end of each trip, the group is given the speaking topics and will appear before a studio audience. At the conclusion of the series, one speaker will be crowned THE MESSENGER and will be awarded a publishing deal and the opportunity to host their own TLC special.