By Mandi Bierly
Updated April 30, 2014 at 09:55 PM EDT

Did you get queasy watching this week’s storm-filled episode of Deadliest Catch? You are not alone.

The hour showed the fleet battling winds strong enough — and waves high enough — to ultimately make the captains shut down fishing. At one point, the Northwestern lost the only forward-facing light it had working and the deck went dark. I talked anxiously to my TV: “Are guys still out there?” Big waves are dangerous when you can see them coming. And when you can’t? It reminded me of something exec producer Thom Beers once told me about why TV viewers were drawn to the Bering Sea in the first place: “The show looked different than any other show on television…. You’ve got those bright yellow sodium lights that are just poppin’ on the orange and yellow slickers that the fishermen are wearing. The light tapers off, and it goes into this black, black ocean, the darkest of all abysses. When people were tuning in, they said, ‘Woah, what’s this?’ It tapped into that primal instinct of fight or flight.” Watch the “Lights out” clip below.

People think fans tune in to Deadliest Catch hoping to see someone get hurt. They don’t. No one wanted Edgar “I’m gettin’ too old for this s—” Hansen or Jake Anderson — who climbed the 64-foot mast in 55 mph winds to check the bulb — to fall.

Fans watch to see the crew weather what turned out to be a six-hour repair (and to wonder how the cameraman does it).

As Edgar said afterward, pointing to the wave below, “You grow up your whole life thinking monsters are tall tales. Seem pretty real to me.”

Deadliest Catch

  • TV Show
  • 15
  • Discovery Channel