It’s almost over, we’ve made it to Naked and Afraid XL, Episode 8. Somewhere, what started out as a celebration of our favorite survivalists, has turned into a “warts and all” expose where we realize that our heroes are little more than flawed humans with a very specific set of skills.
We’ve seen strong men and women felled by dehydration, but more surprising, we’ve seen strong people taken down by bullying and mental instability. I didn’t foresee team members turning against and tormenting each other. Did you? It’s disappointing; in the regular two-person 21-day experiences, if you don’t get along with your partner, you’re alone. In N&A XL, people decided that if their partner had “Quirky” the best thing was to cast them out, or better yet, make them quit, because there are plenty of other folks around.
We can blame the actions that we’ve seen on editing, we can blame if on hunger, we can blame it on focusing on “Me” instead of “Team,” but it seems to have damaged the legacies of a few people who were held in high esteem. At least in the opinions of many who’ve been watching Who knows what the participants think?
8 survivalists remain in the 40-day survival challenge.
We get a look back at the highlights and lowlights of the first 5 weeks. It’s amazing to look back at how much weight some of them have lost. Particularly EJ, who started the challenge with extra pounds on his frame.
The highlight and focus of the next few days will be the grueling extraction where the producers of Naked and Afraid will throw every crappy geography at them imaginable.
Jeff predicts, “Only the strong are going to survive until the end.”
Danielle is hoping that she finished the experience over 100 lbs.
Laura and Luke are hunting, but their teammates are lying around. They see a stingray, but aren’t able to catch it. And to add insult to injury, a monkey peed on her from above.
“This is my life,” she laments. “This is more than a little weird.”
On the way back to camp, Luke, whose body is bordering on skeletal, blacks out for a few seconds.
EJ and Jeff are hunting too. They also see a stingray, but their hunt ends successfully. And this time, EJ and Jeff show their food to the six-pack and don’t share. They go to sleep with full bellies.
Jeff and EJ plan their extraction route. Their 5-mile route will take them across piranha lake, across a desert covered with basalt rock, across a larger body of water to an island, which they must cross. EJ and Jeff decide to face the extraction as a team of 2, they don’t want to be burdened by any dead weight.
The other team is planning their extraction too and their jaws hit the floor when EJ and Jeff reveal that they’re attempting extraction as a duo. Eva is insulted that her Madagascar “brother” thinks her team has weak links and Chris is mega-insulted.
That night, EJ’s diary confessional wakes up the other camp, who yell snarkily at him.
Early in the morning EJ and Jeff skip out of camp. The other group is also up and out early.
Jeff and EJ are first to the lake and have to swim 500 yards through piranha, anaconda and caiman-infested water. There’s nothing like a bracing, life-threatening swim to start your morning off right!
Alana isn’t feeling strong at the start of the journey. Their entire team is starting the journey hungry.
Once Jeff and EJ exit the water they have to near a near-vertical climb and I feel sorry for the camera people who got a view of the men’s undercarriage.
Next, they men have to walk 4 miles across hot, volcanic rocks.
90 minutes later, the other group arrives at the lake. Their swim includes a few nibbles from piranhas and then they start across the hot basalt rocks. They’re all feeling like they’re dragging, and they’re roasting alive! I wish Luke had made his team some sweet sandals.
EJ and Jeff find a few barrel cacti and arrive at the Orinoco River. The other group can head their triumphant yells. The men start building a raft. When the others arrive, Eva decides to put the two men to task for abandoning them. She felt insulted and abandoned by her survival brother. But at the end, she says her piece and walks away.
The 6-pack starts building their own raft and Laura, Eva and Luke look for bamboo and find a caiman. They come up with the plan to throw their bags over its head. The caiman skillfully ducks the bags, but can’t outrun Laura’s spear. They enjoy a caiman dinner while Danielle eats cactus. Alana doesn’t want to share with EJ and Jeff, but Eva uses it as a way to drop it off and deliver notice that her team has no weak links. Revenge is a dish consisting of a reptile’s neck and shoulders.
Jeff and EJ have forged “The Columbian Crusher” — a pretty seaworthy-looking boat. EJ shows that just like when he and Laura dominated the Peruvian Amazon in their second N&A appearance, EJ can build boats.
The 6-pack makes a dainty longboard, which takes them only 20 minutes to build. “Work smarter, not harder,” they figure.
The 6-pack launches first — at the river’s narrowest point. Their raft is essentially a kickboard that they’ll push across the swift current.
The men head 1/2 mile upstream and hope to use to current to their advantage. Their vessel has awesome oars and they’re much out of the water, riding atop the current, instead of in it.
The 6-pack sees something freaky in the water with them. Is it an anaconda? A giant caiman? Maybe a school of piranha in a feeding frenzy? Nah, their marine danger are river dolphins. But river dolphins are way freakier looking than Flipper.
The current pushes Jeff and EJ’s boat past the island and Jeff has to dig deep to find the energy to finish. Maybe there’s a little energy reserve down in his diaphragm where he stores his yells.
Once they’re across the river, the six survivalists have to walk across scorching sands and they all suffer with dehydration-fueled cramps. But when they see three rescue boats, they find an untapped resource of energy and run — that’s right — they run to the boats!! Their strides are caiman-fueled!
A half hour later, EJ and Jeff wander out onto the hot sand. And when they see the boats, they too start sprinting.
EJ tearfully admits that he can’t wait to see his family.
Danielle is proud of herself for remaining a vegetarian the entire 40 days.
Luke is proud of himself too.
Once EJ and Jeff arrive on the boat, there are no enemies, and everyone shares big hugs. They’re all family now. A big, awkward family. That hates clothes.
Laura doesn’t seem like she’s ready for her adventure to be over and says, “I would do 40 days again … what the F@#$ is wrong with me?”
Of course, what I’ve been wondering for the last few weeks was how much weight each of the participants have lost …
Danielle 25 pounds
Alana 25 pounds
Laura 38 pounds
Eva 36 pounds
Chris 44 pounds
Luke 43 pounds
Jeff 43 pounds
EJ 73 pounds (Holy cow, EJ! You lost a child!)
EJ Jeff’s score dipped from 8.5 to 8.4 out of 10.0. Not sure why, but I chalk it up to this number being pretend.
Laura, Luke, Danielle, Eva, Laura, Alana their team approach raises their score from 7.1 to 8.3 out of 10.0. But we know that these numbers are fake and these scores are meaningless.
Next week, there’s a reunion special, which is gonna be awesome!! I hope that everyone has had a chance to see how they were portrayed on the show, because I wanna see some fireworks! And if we can’t get fireworks, a few heartfelt apologies would be good too.
Other Naked and Afraid XL recaps
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 8 “40 Days Filth and Fury”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 7 “40 Days Falling Apart”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 6 “40 Days Sacrifice”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 5 “40 Days Death Match”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 4 “40 Days Jungle Rich”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 3 “Snake in the Grass”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 2 “40 Days, No Escape”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 1
Discovery announces new series, Naked and Afraid XL
Naked and Afraid Casting Secrets
How to get on Naked and Afraid
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