In our recap of Discovery’s survival series Tethered episode 3, titled “Bayou Breakdown,” we go to Louisiana’s alligator filled bayou where we meet Rob Greenfield and Kevin Dutoit.
We learn Rob biked 2,000 miles to Louisiana— barefoot — before even starting the journey. We figure Kevin probably flew first class. Rob’s first to arrive at the destination. Rob took one look at Kevin in his preppy-boy attire (yes, he had a sweater neatly tied around his neck) and knew he was in trouble. Kevin took one look at Rob and felt relief. Kevin, however, reassures Rob that he’s not a quitter and he is relentless when it comes to what he wants in his life. OK, so maybe this duo could possible work …
Meet “Rob Greenfield”
Resides: Wisconsin native who now lives in San Diego, Calif.
Occupation: He does adventures and environmental activist campaigns
Starting attitude: He does “things that inspire people to live a happier healthy life.”
According to Rob: “I’m an extremely free spirit. Quite a minimalist. Focusing on the simple things in life — like food, air, water, things like that, so getting along with someone who is extremely materialistic could be pretty challenging.”
Why do this? Opportunity to work with someone completely different and take a new challenge.
Meet “Kevin Du Toit ”
Resides: Orange County, California, originally from South Africa. Has an adorable accent.
Occupation: Luxury real estate agent.
Starting Attitude/ character read: Came to the United States with nothing — two suitcases and like $20 in his pocket and now he has everything, including a Porsche convertible and a stunning wife. “I’m living the dream.”
According to Kevin: “I can’t stand bugs and creepy crawlies.” He’s a total city slicker.
Why do this? “I’m doing this for my family. I’m going to look good for my boys, who look up to me. It’s easy to go to my 9 to 5 job, but to take myself out of that situation and experience what the Forefathers of America went through, at the end of the day I know that I can do this.”
THE CHALLENGE: Rob and Kevin will face an 11-day trek across 37 miles of neck-deep swampland facing off against the sweltering heat, alligators and snakes, all while locked together by a four-foot tether. (Now wait a minute– didn’t Willow and Keith, and Henry and Laura have 6 feet between them? Looks like the tether just got shorter).
Rob and Kevin get to select three survival items from a crate that includes a variety of items. Rob picks the parang, matches and a water purifier. Kevin almost immediately is struggling – it’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit – they travel 1 mile over three hours. Nightfall sets in and the mosquitoes are beyond intense – they’re being attacked. (Viewers are even itchy watching this). Rob and Kevin cover themselves in wet mud to shield them from the bugs. A fire helps smoke the bugs out. Once the bugs are under control, it’s on to the next problem — potential dehydration. They haven’t drank a thing for 12 hours. Oh wait, Kevin has an idea. He thinks he should drink his urine. Rob lets him. Viewers dry heave, so does Kevin. Rob decides to use a shoe to collect swamp water and purify it with the purifying stuff they grabbed out of the crate. Seriously, like he couldn’t have mentioned that five minutes ago. Kevin actually has a bigger boot and they use his boot instead of Rob’s shoe. Kevin warns Rob that he doesn’t see himself doing this for another eight days. That’s a problem.
It’s so hot — 101 degrees to be exact. Still no food. Rob thinks Kevin is far over his head and he’s right. Rob takes charge of their search for food scouting for turtles, snakes and frogs, while dragging Kevin behind. Rob spots a turtle and, of course, knows how to safely capture and cook it. He instructs Kevin on not grabbing the front part of its shell, instead you we learn that you grab a turtle by it’s tail. Mission accomplished. They head back to camp where Rob starts to butcher the turtle. The camera spares no expense and shows us all the bloody butchering. Rob takes out the heart. Oh look, it’s still beating. Maybe they should eat. According to Rob that was some long-ago custom. But hey, Kevin will drink his urine but he’s not touching the still beating heart and takes a polite pass. Kevin pops it in his mouth like a piece of popcorn. NO!!! Dude, you did not just do that. Ugh, I’m sick. Even more so after Rob claims it tastes good. The lack of protein is making Kevin irrational and he has a bit of a fit over collecting more firewood. Rob’s able to calm him and have him wait until the turtle’s done cooking.
Kevin is having a meltdown. He’s crying and makes a self-confessional. It’s the second straight sleepless night. “I don’t like this at all. … It doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t know how to cope with all the stress of this environment. I’m just so tired. And I just want to give up all the time. … I don’t want to be here.”
I don’t blame him. This bayou is harsh.
Rob says this is by far one of the hardest and most challenging things he’s ever done, but claims his biggest challenge is managing Kevin — he’s clearly holding him back. Rob asks Kevin to give it another day. They have 32 more miles and 8 days to get there.
Still 101 degrees. “I hate this frickin’ place,” Kevin says. “I’m a highly intelligent person and I feel stupid out here.” Rob keeps Kevin motivated by finding more food. This time it’s grubs. As Kevin eats the grub it explodes in his mouth, he cringes and powers through. Rob and Kevin catch a second wind and pick up 8 miles on day 4, finding much of their success out of the swamp on dry land. They get a good night sleep on open grassland, where the sun keeps the mosquitoes away.
So far they’ve made 20 miles. Things are actually looking good until they hit a patch of water that is a definite alligator breeding ground – you can actually see the gators moving around. While you think there’s no way Kevin’s going to cross this thing, he surprises and says: “Let’s do it.” Immediately they see ripples in the water and start to freak. Kevin wants out now. Rob wants to keep crossing claiming there’s no other way around. Kevin reminds Rob that he has a wife and two kids. “Just trust me for three minutes,” Rob asks. Cameras pan to the alligators swimming close. Rob’s panicky but he pushes through. [We’re proud of you man — that took courage! I didn’t think Kevin could do it.] Bad news is that they are only half way through their journey and it’s day 6. They start digging for crawfish and collect quite a bag, but they stumble on what they think is an alligator. Rob helps pull a freaking-out Kevin out of the water. The species turns out to be this humongous alligator snapper. This beautiful guy is like 100 years old or something, Rob tells. “I don’t want to kill something that ancient.” They have a close call with a gator and it completely rattles Kevin. Kevin is having a hard time coping. “I’m just done,” Kevin says. Rob plays the kid card to try and convince him to stay, asking him what would his kids think if he just quits now. It’s too late. “It’s game over. You need to get me the hell out of here NOW.”
Game over, indeed. Kevin is handed the keys to unlock his tether. He gives Rob a hug, tells him he “loves him” and frees himself.
They ended 17 miles short of their extraction point.
“This is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I would have liked to have finished. But again, this whole entire thing was about teamwork and partnership, and for the most part I feel like it was a huge success. I’m proud of Kevin and I’m proud of myself,” Rob shares.
“I don’t feel a failure,” Kevin says. “I feel I’ve accomplished so much, and learned so much and saw so much. I swam with alligators. I ate crayfish. I ate slugs. On top of it I drank my own pee — that was foul.” Yeah, it was.
The episode ends by fast forwarding a month after their tethering, showing how the experience changed Kevin’s life. Kevin shows that ometimes it’s not about reaching the finish line, it’s just about the journey.