Recap: Naked and Afraid “The Darkest Hour” Season 5, Episode 3

Naked and Afraid “The Darkest Hour”

This week we’re heading back to Namibia, an area we last visited in Season 3. Africa is home to the “Big 5” predators: Cape buffalo, African lion, Black rhino, nocturnal leopard and African elephant. This time, we’ll be spending time in the Zamvezi Region, in the country’s northeast panhandle, where our survivalists may also encounter hippopotamus, which kill 4000 people each year.

Naked and Afraid “The Darkest Hour”Joe Brandl
Age: 55 years old
Occupation: Professional Hide Tanner & Survival Instructor
Current Residence: Dubois, Wyoming
Relationship Status: Newly Married
Survival Skills: Knots/Lashings, Shelters, Adaptability
Starting PSR: 7.1 out of 10.0

Joe has seemingly spent most of his life preparing for this experience. He is a hunter, fisherman, trapper, can build shelters, a woodcarver, and scout leader.

He also has a college degree in Natural Recourses. Wildlife Management and has learned the way that early peoples lived and survived in Wyoming; included hunting buffalo off horseback with weapons like the bow and the spear.

Joe is also proud to be the oldest Naked and Afraid participant at the age 55 and says that his ideal partner is “positive, a hard worker and has a sense of humor.”

Naked and Afraid “The Darkest Hour”Andrea Lopez
Age: 29 years old
Occupation: Personal Trainer
Current Residence: Moab, Utah
Survival Skills: Hunting, Fishing, Camping, Shelter Construction, Water Purification, Bow Drill, Cordage, Weaving, Snare Construction, Certified EMT, Combat/Tactical Survival
PSR: 6.6 out of 10.0

Andrea grew up with a deep love for the outdoors. Camping, hunting and fishing were a few of her childhood passions. She is looking forward to testing her mental strength in the 21-day challenge.

Andrea isn’t worried about forging an attraction with her partner: “#1 I’m gay; #2, we’re out in the middle of the jungle trying to survive.”

In addition to a cooking pot, they each have brought a single survival item: Andrea has a fire starter, Joe brought a hunting knife.

Day 1
Joe and Andrea hike along a hippo trail and by mid-afternoon, they find a nice tree to use as their camp. They find a large source of water, fill their pot and Andrea makes fire in a matter of seconds. With water bubbling away, a cozy fire, and the beginnings of a shelter, Joe and Andrea are giddy with the ease of their adventure. You might as well celebrate the highs, because the lows, they are a comin’.

That night, they hear the sounds of hippos, their camp is visited by a massive beast. Andrea bravely heads out of the shelter to spy on the hippo that she estimates is as close as ten feet away! The curious brute destroys one of the field cameras that Naked and Afraid have set up around camp. But thankfully the only think that Andrea suffer from is lack of sleep.

Day 2
Andrea jokes that since she and Joe can’t eat the big 5, they’re hunting what they’ve dubbed “Africa’s Little 5”: Minnows, Chameleons, Grubs, Snails and Birds. Andrea finds two juicy grubs and Joe confidently pops his into his mouth and dubs it “Grubb-licious.” Andrea manages to choke hers down.

Andrea and Joe rub hot ash and sand on their bodies to try to stave off the relentless ants. Andrea is a little uncomfortable with Joe rubbing

Day 3
Joe and Andrea find a sausage tree, which is a gourmet meal for elephants, but it’s poisonous to people. Joe makes lots of penis jokes and they seem pretty excited to

Day 4

Naked and Afraid “The Darkest Hour”
Voila! Clothes!

Andrea wants clothes. She and Joe sit down to enjoy the fine art of weaving. Before long, Andrea has a rudimentary top and he has a petite penis cover that still requires lots of blurring.

Andrea reveals to Joe that she’s a lesbian and Joe, despite his conservative morals, accepts his partner. And he jokes, “My fiancé is going, ‘yay!’” Joe is glad that his partner trusts him enough to tell him this detail of her personal life.

Naked and Afraid “The Darkest Hour”
Small moments of everyday life can turn into life’s big moments if you’re open and listening.

Then Andrea shares emotional details behind her decision to leave the police force. You can tell that Joe is incredibly touched that his partner trusts him enough to share this sensitive info with him. The look on his face shows what a loving person he is. He adores his partner! They’re a great team.

Day 7
After a week in the wild, Joe and Andrea have only eaten a single grub for protein. While Andrea makes a fish basket, Joe hunts for snails in the local waterhole. They work well together even when they’re apart!  And when Joe uncovers a trove of snails, they enjoy an escargot lunch.

Andrea and Joe make and ill-advised trip to the water hole after dark and Joe hears a big hippo near him. He has to sneak out of danger!

Day 9
Andrea reveals she hasn’t pooped since she’s been on her African adventure. Yuck. Joe catches a chameleon and they eat it for lunch. “Maybe I can finally poop and not feel like crap,” Andrea jokes.

Day 10-13
No poop.

Day 14
Joe finds an egg on the ground and Andrea hopes that a bite of scrambled eggs will make her poop. No luck.

That night, a chilly Joe wakes up to add another log to the embers and accidentally sets their shelter on fire! Thankfully, Andrea wakes up and they both get out safely, but they leave behind Andrea’s fire starter, which was given to her by her beloved grandfather.

Naked and Afraid “The Darkest Hour”They watch their shelter burn in an embrace that is for warmth as much as its for strength. Joe uses some of the last embers to builds a fire and starts fashioning a new shelter. Bravo to him — for moving forward putting his nose to the grindstone and building again.

Day 15
Andrea almost looks catatonic. The fire brings up dramatic memories of a time that Andrea and her partner ran into a burning building in an attempt to save a man. Joe gives comfort to his partner but she’s still in

Day 16
The dup are tired and hungry. They’ve caught small stuff, now they want to make something bigger. Joe starts making a birdcage to catch the ground-dwelling births they’ve dubbed “Franklins.”

Day 17
The fish basket is empty. The bird traps are empty. Their bellies are empty.

Day 20
Still hungry, and still no poop. Andrea has been really down i nthe dumps ever since the fire. But maybe she’s so down because she’s so plugged up.

Joe heads out to check out his bird trap. While he’s approaching, one of God’s dumbest feathered friends animals prances in and Joe gets to watch his trap go down! He prances over like an excited child, uttering “Bird, bird, bird!” Joe grabs the big-eyed bird that looks like it just stepped off of Sesame Street and calls to his partner. Her spirits are immediately elevated and after giving thanks for the bird’s sacrifice, Joe kills it.

The magnitude of the moment isn’t lost on Andrea: “That completes our little 5; I feel so successful right now.”

Joe processes and cooks the bird, and their bodies are rejuvenated by the meal. “This is definitely the champion of the Little 5,” says Andrea as she nibbles on a “Franklin” leg.

Day 21
Joe and Andrea wake to a stunning sunrise. The morning glow on their faces looks like spiritual food that will fuel them through their arduous extraction.

Joe and Andrea make a raft of reeds to travel them through the hippo-infested water. As they row on their sweet little raft, they’re stalked by hippos.

They eventually have to abandon their raft and wade through a game trail. Before long, they hear the sweet, sweet sound of an approaching boat. Andrea is so excited that I was surprised she didn’t potty on herself right then.

After thanking each other for being awesome, Joe reveals “I asked for two things in a partner: someone who will work hard, and someone with a soul.”

Andrea is thrilled with the experience and hopes that this accomplishment will help her deal with the PTSD that has tormented her since she witnessed trauma as a police officer. Joe and Andrea seem like they’ll be friends for life. They seem like good friends for each other.

After 21 days,
Joe lost 21 pounds and his PSR rose from 7.1 to 8.0 out of 10.0.

Andrea only lost 7.5 pounds (a number skewed by lack of bowel movement) and her PSR rose from 6.6 to 7.5 out of 10.0.

Two days later, Andrea was home in Utah and she finally pooped. Yay! See, Naked and Afraid isn’t that crappy.



  1. A well done adventure, and Joe showed that old guys still got it. And Congrats to Andrea she really showed some spunk and determination. The bird they showed going into the trap wasn’t a franklin though

    • I noticed the bird that went into that cage was not the bird that they showed them eating. The bird in the cage had a all black head. The one they ate had a sprinkled black and white head. It looked like a wild chicken.

      • We all know by now that the show is so fake. What a coincidence that they trapped the bird just as Joe was standing there looking at the cage and just in time before evac day. Do you really think Laura got that caiman in XL, not even.

      • Have you ever noticed that NO ONE has ever crashed on Day 21; no matter what they have to go through, they always make it to their pickup point. Is it adrenelin that keeps them going or does the show just want to show they have yet another couple make it to Day 21. Andrea and Joe were great; however, we didn’t really need to hear her daily “I haven’t pooped yet” comments.

  2. Andrea Lopez totally amazed me in this episode. I have never experienced someone who is so real. She brought Joe to tears. This was by far the best episode of your show as of yet or of any reality-based show out there. Congratulations.

    • She and Joe both brought tears to our eyes. My wife and I were amazed at how caring both were towards each other and how genuine both were. Andrea was just great, she had too much heart and compassion to continue in Law Enforcement. This is the first of all of the episodes of N&A (and we’ve seen them all) in which we were just delighted at every turn. We’ll not forget these two soon, what a breath of fresh air.

  3. The Darkest Hour with Joe & Andrea has by far been my favorite. They had a true caring connection for one another. It literally brought me to tears. I hope they stay in touch with each other! Congratulations Joe & Andrea, you both are true inspirations!!!

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