Opening Image: They're in the bus, talking about the project and the awesomeness of the new tech they've got.
Theme stated: They're exploring the cave. What do they think they will find? A new way out of it? Fantastic rock formations? Something else? Willis seems to be the most invested here, with the new gadget and all, so maybe have a think about what Willis hopes to get from the adventure.
Set up: They arrive at the cave - be careful in there, it's dangerous! The teams split up and start exploring.
Catalyst: Earthquake! landslide! Now the plan has changed...
Debate: Do they turn back? Explore further? Debate safety vs adventure. This is kind of Willis's party - what does he want to do?
Break into Two: They decide to carry on, using the new tech to help them. This is where our heroes really enter the unknown.
From here, it's just my thoughts on where you might take the story next, OK?
B-story: Here's where Willis and Elisa have some time to explore their skills, attraction (or not!) and what drives them as they're exploring. Maybe something they know/are able to do can help them later?
Fun and Games: Here's where the MacGyvering happens. What do they improvise to help them map the cave, scale a rock face, cross a river etc? How does the new tech help them? Or is it totally useless, and Willis is upset? To cross a fast-moving section of river because they're running out of room to walk on one side, they tie a rope to Mac's backpack and throw it between two stalagmites on the other side. The backpack falls behind the stalagmites and becomes a makeshift grappling hook. Then, they use the rope to help reach the other side of the river without being swept away.
Midpoint: It's all going so well! They're sure they've nearly got out when... Something goes wrong!
Aftershock rattles them
Bad Guys close in: The bad guy here could be the cave itself, with another earthquake, sudden influx of water etc, or it could be actual bad guys using the cave for something nefarious. Either way, something prevents our heroes from getting out or makes them decide to stay and sort the bad things out. Just when they think they've gotten out, they find the fallen tree blocking the exit.
All is lost: Something awful happens that makes our heroes despair. Trapped, seemingly with no escape? Someone badly hurt? Captured by baddies? Something else? Elisa is starting to get hypothermia because of her 2 icy plunges. The other 2 aren't faring so well either, because Styx is cold and they have no way to warm up.
Dark Night of the Soul: Things couldn't get any worse. Now our heroes must pull out their last, best MacGyverism (probably using/repurposing the new tech) in order to escape. Rocket candy
Finale: They use their best idea to escape from the cave/the baddies (if baddies, they have to be vanquished too!). they meet up with the other half of the party, find out what they've been up to all episode, and make good their escape. They hike up the hill and make it to the ranger station at the top.
Final Image: On the bus home, highlighting what our heroes have learned from the experience. Look at the 'theme stated' section - they need to learn what you wanted them to learn in this section. The new tech needs to be included here - it's almost like an extra character in this story! Willis is gonna rebuild it bigger & better and takes the salvaged parts with him.
Mac is in KY with a different team---Willis, a WKU geologist, a WKU student, a Cave Research Foundation speleologist, and a park ranger
They’re mapping a new passage with help from a HORTA, since they’re working on an improved inertial navigation system (INS).
When the flashlights run out, Mac makes light with rocket candy (saltpeter from the walls + Elisa's sugar packets for sweet tea
Someone gets hypothermia after falling into a river. Someone gets broken limb during rockslide.
Somehow, I want them to end up exiting via the River Styx.