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Directed By:

Mikael Salomon

Written By:

Mike Werb

Original air date:

June 13, 2010

Production code:


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The Griffin Gang

U.S. viewers (in millions)


"Pilot" is the first episode of Unnatural History.
Henry Griffin, a globe-trotting teenager is sent back to the U.S. to have a normal life. However upon arrival he learns of his godfather, Dante Morneau's untimely death and investigates into this.


In the museum at night, Dante Morneau, Henry's godfather, is talking on his cellphone. The person at the other end of the phone call seems to want information that Dante isn't willing to give. Dante then hangs up the phone right before a poison dart is thrown at him and lands on the back of his neck. He feels something prick him but doesn't stop. Dante rushes toward his office, but along the way, he starts having hallucinations. Once in his office, Dante takes the time to see what pricked his neck. He removes the dart from his neck before he collapses on the floor and dies.

Meanwhile in Bhutan, Henry Griffin, a teenager with anthropologist parents, is late for his open-air class in martial arts. He gets there right when his teacher is talking about "sama samadi". Once his teacher finishes his sentence, though, he singles out Henry and says "tardy boys must prove their worthiness". Henry then goes to the front of the class and shows his teacher what he's learned, making punches. Henry makes a mistake and his teacher pushes him back as the punishment.

Afterward, in the same class, moths are released from a basket and the teacher gives his students instructions. They are to use chopsticks to catch the moths. Catch, but do not kill. Henry fails and this and accidentally crushes the moth's thorax. Henry promises his teacher that it won't happen again and his teacher says, "and a promise is just a word when it arrives too late." Henry looks to his right and sees his parents standing a way off on a bridge.

The scene cuts to Henry talking with his parents alone. Henry's mother asks him to take off his robe. Henry does so and reveals scars across his body. He tells his parents that he went looking for those missing hikers and had come across a yeti... okay... so it was a yak... but still...

Because Henry gets into a lot of mischief while his parents aren't around, they're forcing Henry to go live in Washington D.C. with his cousin, Jasper, and uncle, Uncle Bryan. Henry still doesn't want to go, but the fact that his godfather, Dante, is in Washington D.C. convinces him to go. As a departing gift, Henry's parents give him a letter that was written by Dante, welcoming him to America. (They don't know Dante is dead)

Once landing in Washington D.C., Henry is dropped off at the school he will later attend. He tries to get inside, but the doors are locked. Being Henry, he finds a way inside and litterally drops in on Dante's funeral in the auditorium during Sarah Cambell's eulogy. There, he meets Uncle Bryan.

Henry questions his uncle how his godfather died. Uncle Bryan states that his death was caused by a heart attack - completely normal for a man. Henry doesn't believe it.

The next scene is at Uncle Bryan and Jasper's house. Henry and Jasper get reaquainted, since they first met when they were both younger. Henry used to pull a lot of pranks on Jasper. Uncle Bryan comes back to report that they should get ready for bed because school starts tomorrow.

Henry goes to school the next day to Smithson High. Smithson High is a part of the NMC (National Museum Complex) The next class Jasper and Henry have is taught by Julian Morneau - Dante's son. Henry is shocked to hear that Dante's own son is back to work the day after his funeral and believes Julian is a suspect of the murder. Jasper ignores him and sits quietly in his seat. Julian starts off the class with a question, and it's the brilliant Maggie Winnock that answers. The cheetah may be known as the fastest animal alive, but you would be wrong, it's a bird. What bird? Maggie answers with the spine tailed swift. It can reach recorded speeds of up to 106mph. Henry contradicts her saying that the paragrim falcon is the fastest beast alive.

Once the class ends, Maggie confronts Henry proving him wrong. Going off topic, Henry then asks Maggie if she is a vegetarian because she smells of curried tofu scramble. Maggie then walks off suddenly.

After Maggie leaves, Jasper tells Henry about the work study program. Every student at Smithson must intern at the museum once a week. Henry decides to get an intership in the DOUM (Division of Obscure and Unknown Miscellany) rooms. The DOUM rooms are located in the Tesla building where Dante's office was. There, he meets Sarah again because she was Dante's assistant. After Henry gets a tour of the DOUM rooms from his boss Broxton, he is left along. Henry leaves the DOUM rooms and ventures off to Dante's office.

When inside Dante's office, Henry hears footsteps approaching the room. He hides underneath Dante's desk quietly as the person walks in. Henry then sees the blowdart used to kill Dante on the floor. He puts his finger to the dart and then to his lips. Henry must have recognized the taste and realized that hes godfather was poisoned. Henry says this out loud and the person that entered the room tells him to get up from underneath the table. Henry accidentally lets go of the blowdart and it falls through a crack in the floor.

Later, at night, Henry confides in Jasper what he found. Jasper is still skeptical and doesn't believe that Dante was poisoned. Henry keeps trying to tell Jasper that he's known the poison that Dante had. Its from a bird found in New Guinea. The poison makes deadly hallucinations and makes someone die of heartfailure. Henry had come across the same poison and almost died until a local shamen found Henry and gave him the cure - centipede poison neutralizes the bird toxin. Dante, unlike Henry, didn't get the cure in time.

Uncle Bryan calls Jasper down once Henry finishes talking. He tells Jasper that he has a board meeting that night and wants Henry to stay out of trouble. While all this is happening, Jasper sees Henry running across the front lawn without Uncle Bryan noticing. Henry was headed toward the cemetary where they keep Dante's body. Remembering the letter that Dante had wrote to him before he came to America, Henry stumbles upon a clue. His godfather's coffin lays above ground in a mausoleum. Henry opens Dante's coffin and finds some sort of charm that was hanging from Dante's tribal nipple. Jasper finally catches up to Henry in the cemetary and they head back to the house. During the drive, Jasper finally agrees to help Henry try and solve this supposed murder mystery. While in the car, they also find out that the charm also turns into a key and initials are inscribed on it: F.S.

The next day, Henry and Jasper are seen in Julian's classroom. Julian is taking a nap in the teachers lounge and doesn't know they're there. They find no evidence to connect Julian to the killing. They're running out of leads, so they decide to figure out what the charm is. Henry asks Jasper who the smartest person he knows is. Of course, it's Maggie Winnock.

Maggie tells them that the charm is a replica of the USS Alligator, the first submarine built by the Union army during the Civil War. It sunk on its maiden voyage and was rumored to be carrying a million dollars in gold. Maggie then shows Henry and Jasper that she has a charm just like the one they have, except it doesn't turn into a key like theirs.

When Henry and Jasper say bye to Maggie, they walk toward Jasper's car. When they're standing outsid the car discussing what they're going to do next, gun-shots are fired at them by ninjas. Henry tells Jasper to run for cover because the ninjas are after him. They want the charm. After a few minutes, Henry accidentally drops the charm but doesn't stop running. The three ninjas stop chasing Henry and retrieve the charm.

Uncle Bryan questions Henry and Jasper about the bullet holes in the car. He seems to believe their story that they were in front of the library and it was a hit and run. Once Uncle Bryan lets them go from his office, Jasper tells Henry that he doesn't want to invesitage anymore. The masked ninjas have the charm. Henry tells Jasper that they don't. The ninjas have the replica that Maggie gave them. Jasper still won't budge and leaves Henry to solve the mystery for himself.

After classes the next day, Jasper and Henry are walking onto the athletics field. They see Julian Morneau talking to two other teachers. Henry really suspects then that they were the three ninjas that attacked them the other day. Jasper ignores Henry and walks off because he was late to band practice. Henry finds Michael O'Malley a bully, throwing a football aimed at Jasper. Henry quick-thinking takes a spear from Maggie and uses his skills to throw it and push the football out of Jasper's way. Jasper thanks Henry for saving him and he agrees to help Henry again. They then hear the star spangled banner being played by the band and Jasper is reminded of the initials found on the charm. F.S. - Francis Scott Key! Henry realizes then that there is a painting of Francis Scott Key in Dante's office.

At night, Henry and Jasper break in to Dante's office again. They find out the painting is just a painting and they're back to where they started. But then, Henry gets a brilliant idea. They have to look at Dante's office as an archeological site. Jasper says that everything in Dante's office has to do with his career: the history of transportation. Everything except the engraving on the wall behind Dante's desk: The Victor Belongs to the Spoils. Henry notices that spoils is another way of saying treasure. He pushes on one of the letters and it slightly gives way. He concludes that it must be an anagram lock - unsramble the letters to find the password. Jasper states that sometimes the hardest puzzles have the easiest answers. Henry gets an idea. He pushes on the letter O then P then E then N. OPEN.

The part of the wall with the engraving starts to ascend and a hidden passageway is revealed. Henry and Jasper descend into the passageway and pass many alcoves branching off of the main passageway. Henry stops at one particular one stating that this one is different. He smells seawater. Af the end of the alcove, they find the USS Alligator. They find out that Dante must have been working on this excavation for weeks all by himself. While Henry is looking at what Dante already uncovered, Jasper goes inside the submarine and recovers a small chest.


Henry and Jasper bring the chest back to Dante's office and place it onto the desk. Using the key they found, they open the chest to reveal cannonballs. One by one, they remove the cannonballs and find out that the chest is too shallow. They remove the fake bottom to reveal gold coins. Jasper and Henry start to laugh and smile when the criminals are revealed. It's Sarah Cambell and two other unnamed men.

Henry and Jasper start fighting them off. First using the cannonballs to throw at them. The fight ends with Sarah using a blowdart to lauch a dart towards Jasper. Using what he learned in Bhutan, he catches the dart before it reaches Jasper. Henry then flings the dart at Sarah. Sarah starts to hallucinate and Jasper asks if they're going to let her die. Henry states, "we catch, but do not kill." He takes a centipede out of he pocket that he took from the Division of Centipedes and gives Sarah the cure.

The next scene is in Uncle Bryan's office. He's confronting Henry and Jasper about the headlines in the newspapers that day: Civil War Treasure Discovered by the Late Dante Morneau. Anonymous Call Leads to Arrest. Etc. Etc. When they leave Uncle Bryan's office, they see Maggie, who of course, knows they solved the mystery. As a finders fee, Henry gives Jasper a gold coin to rid his car of the bullet holes in his windshield.

Fact CheckEdit

  • What's the World's Fastest Animal? Answer: The spine-tailed swift is the fastest flying bird in the world. But diving peregrine falcons have been clocked at over 275mph.
  • FACT: The cheetah has a top speed of 60mph.
  • Was there a USS Alligator? Answer: YES: The USS Alligator was the Union's first submarine. It was lost at sea during a mission to capture Charleston, SC
  • FACT: The alligator was never loaded with army gold.
  • Do Poisonous Birds Exist? Answer: YES: The Blue-capped Ifrita of Papua New Guinea has toxin-laced feathers. They get their poison from eating toxic beetles.
  • FACT: A golden poison dart frog has enough venom to kill ten men.
  • Are DOUM Rooms Real? Answer: NO: But show creator Mike Werb got the idea for the DOUM Rooms when he visited a natural history museum's storage warehouse.
  • FACT: Some items sit for years or even decades before being catalogued.


Guest Starring


Music making an appearance in this episode:

  • "In The Modern World" - Jesse Malin



  • This is the first and only time that someone in Unnatural History says a mild word (Jasper says crap twice)
  • This episode's name is also known as "The Victor Belongs to the Spoils"
  • A clothing continuity goof occurs when Henry climbs the brick wall during a chase scene. At the beginning of the scene, Henry wears a pair of Converse low top Black Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers (UK plimsolls). When he climbs the brick wall he is no longer wearing Chucks, but a completely different pair of sneakers (UK trainers). Once he reaches the top of the wall and climbs over it, though, he is again wearing Chucks.