Last week, three brave couples headed into remote locations with limited survival gear for a three-week test of their survival skills and their relationship’s strength. One couple, Matt & Ali called it quits after only three days into their survival adventure in the harsh Mexican jungle. The bugs and the stress were too much for Ali. In Norway, Justin & Jenny are a week into their survival experience and they still haven’t eaten a single bite. In the highland desert of Morocco, Mitchell & Jhoanna have eaten a few small fish, but nothing else. Their biggest obstacle has been the unpredictable weather … and each other.
Even though Matt and Ali tapped out of Mexico, The producers of Men, Women, Wild had another pair ready to step-in and begin their own three week survival experience. Let’s meet them!
Max & Linn
From: Seattle, Washington
Relationship: Dating 1 year
Occupations: Both work in the tech industry
Survival Experience: Linn has backpacked and done wilderness survival all over the world and Max competes in Iron Man competitions and participates in extreme expeditions.
Quote: “I guess you could call us ‘The Replacements’”
The duo are simply adorable; they are as cute as a pair of puppies. Linn’s accent is charming (perhaps German?)
Max and Linn know that since they’re replacing a couple that’s already failed, they’re likely walking into an area with big challenges.
As their delivery boat chugs down a Mexican river, Max turns to Linn and says,
Max: “It takes a tough girl to sign up for this, so thank you.”
Linn: “It doesn’t take a tough girl to sign up, it takes a tough girl to get through it and I haven’t done that yet.”
Max: “That’s true.”
Hey Max, sexist much? It takes a tough anyone to do this experience.
Max admits their relationship has been rocky and their independent natures have led to head butting. This test will either galvanize them as a couple or tear them apart.
Before long, Max & Linn are hacking through the jungle and find Matt & Ali’s hacking trail and then, their shelter. Linn feels like they’re following a ghost, but admire the excellent quality of the shelter. But regardless, she dubs it “the shelter of bad luck.”
Jhoanna is hungry. She and Mitchell fish in the same place they found food before, but that spot is empty, so they head farther up stream. After spying a few fish, they set their nets. Hunger had made them both short-tempered and they bicker and bicker and bicker. Mitchell shoots down all of Jhoanna’s suggestions. He needs to learn to let her have small victories and a say in matters.
Justin & Jenny hate the sun. The constant sunlight is really throwing off their circadian rhythms and it’s making them feel wonky. They haven’t eaten in a week either and are at the “eat or tap-out” stage. While Justin hunts, Jenny, who was a competitive fisherman, makes a primitive fishing pole and wades into the river.
Justin is stalking a grouse and takes a shot, which misses its mark. But what the grouse leaves behind is an even bigger score. The grouses’ ten, tasty eggs! It’s a feast that Justin is excited to present to his wife. They cook the tasty morsels, and save some for later.
Max & Linn are choosing to use the shelter left by Matt & Ali so they can focus on food and fire. Max’s first fire-making attempt fails, and he shows his impatient personality. Level-headed Linn gives Max some space and searches for her own solution to their problem. She finds a termite nest and brings it back, knowing that a chemical in termite dung makes it burn like kerosene. Max is thrilled at Linn’s find and when the fire lights, he gives her all of the credit for their success. I worry that Max is a hyper person who may struggle with the fact that survival is a slow process.
Mitchell is disappointed at the amount of calories he and Jhoanna burned in their fruitless (or fishless) fishing expedition. He’s picking wild watercress, and although the low-cal greens lack protein, they are something to put into their empty bellies. (I feel you team. I know all about filling my gullet with greens to stave off hunger. I’m on a perpetual diet. My lunch today was spinach in a blender with yogurt and frozen fruit. What I really wanted to eat was a hamburger) Even after eating, they are neither full nor nourished. But they’ve got to eat what they can Jhoanna is desperate to fish again, but Mitchell wants to stay out of the mid-day sun. So they bicker some more!
But a thunderstorm comes to force them onto the same page. A common enemy really brings people together. Before long, the valley where their camp is starts to flood.
“I can’t believe this,” mutters Mitchell. “We’ve got flood, thunderstorm, nothing to eat and I’m soaking wet. You wanted survival? We got it now.”
The outfitters huddle under their tiny tarp (seriously, why is it so small?) and once the rain stops, the temperature drops. The weather dips into the thirties and Mitchell spends the chilly night tending the fire.
The rain starts, and the shelter of doom isn’t comfortable. The next morning, Max and Linn look pretty swampy. Max marvels, “I’ve never seen rain this heavy in my life! And I live in Seattle, which is saying a lot.” While re-building their fire, Max feels light-headed and while Lin gets him some water, he reveals that he has super-high metabolism and when he burns through his calories, he crashes. (I wish I had high metabolism. I smell food and I gain weight.) Linn is up for the task and finds a stream full of snails. Even after a small meal, Max is still ravenous.
Justin and Jenny have exhausted the resources in their camp and they decide to pack up and head to another area that appears to have plenty of fish-filled lakes. But to get there, they have to hike over exposed and elevated terrain. And they’ll be leaving behind the firewood-filled forest.
Mitchell and Jhoanna spent a long, chilly and sleepless night hiddled under their tiny tarp. Again, why so small?) “When you have a night where you don’t get a lot of sleep, it’s like Mother Nature is poking fun at you” says Mitchell. Once they’re groggily awake, they notice that the forest over the ride is on fire, likely lit by a lightning strike. They need to make a plan of escape. “Fire can outrun people,” says Mitchell as they pack up camp. Their plan is to stay near the river and then head up into the mountains.
Max is talking into the confession cam about how terrible he feels. “I feel like a complete sissy,” he says. He seems to be experiencing the same mental fatigue as Ali; maybe there’s some bad JuJu in their camp! Linn finds a few gnarly mushrooms and brings them back to camp as Max eats bugs off of termite poop. Lin has had enough of this crappy camp and wants to move.
Justin and Jenny have two bags of supplies, and thus far we’ve seen snowshoes, a fishing pole and a bow. Did they get to bring extra gear because of their wacky climate? I know their bag was larger than the other pairs, but now it seems like they have two bags of stuff! Hopefully they have a gun because their environment also has bear, wolves and male reindeer, which Jenny says are dangerous.
While they’re hiking to their new camp, they have to cross a glacial stream and if they fall in, they’re going to freeze. They cross and only get a little wet, but where they’re heading looks remarkably barren. If they don’t find food, they’re going to be screwed.
Back to the raging inferno. Mitchell and Jhoanna make a desperate, but hunger-slowed escape from the wildfire. When they have to cross the river, the tension is thick as Mitchell yells at Jhoanna for pulling on him, but she’s so tiny, she needs to cling to Mitchell or she’ll float away! Once across the river, they head to a higher elevation. There are fires on their side of the river too, but it luckily starts raining. That’s good for fire exsanguination, but bad for them. They’ve been chilly and now they’re wet. And the higher it gets, the thinner the air gets and greater the risk for a lightning strike. And Jhoanna is simply exhausted. Someone as tiny as her doesn’t have much reserves to pull from.
Are they at their breaking point? Is every team in a perilous situation? Who do you think is most likely to tap out?
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