It’s the season finale of Naked and Afraid, and I feel like this season is limping to the finish line. I’ve been underwhelmed by some of this season’s participants and I think that like me, Discovery is just trying to get this season done so we can regroup and look forward to Naked and Afraid XL.
This week we’re heaving back to Namibia, a country we’ve visited with Luke and Lindsay and Andrea and Joe. Discovery didn’t release any clips or pictures for this episode, so I’ll be scrambling to find images that I can use.
Age: 28 years old
Occupation: Rock Climbing Guide
Current Residence: Ellensburg, Washington
Relationship Status: In A Relationship (for 5 Years)
Survival Skills: Ethnology of Hunter/Gatherer Cultures, Zoology, Tropical Ecology, Botany
Don is a first-generation American and was born in Oklahoma City’s Little Saigon. His parents were refugees of the Vietnam War, and the stories of his parent’s harrowing escape from Vietnam are some of this earliest education in survival. Don’s older brothers introduced him to rick climbing and camping, and he continued his education in college, where he studied ecology and field biology. I think that Don’s vast knowledge of botany should serve him well, as well as the bravery that seems an inherent quality. I love that Don’s intro video showed how intensely Don prepared for Namibia by studying the area’s plants.
Initial Primitive Survival Rating (PSR) 6.0 out of 10.0
Age: 23 years old
Occupation: Rental Agent, Climbing Gym Instructor
Current Residence: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Relationship Status: In A Relationship
Survival Skills: Shelter Building, Forest/Plant Identification, Trapping, Hunting
Holly is from Wasilla, Alaska and she grew up hiking, climbing and rafting and became interested in survival at a young age. She learned how to identify harmful and beneficial plants and animals, how to build shelters in both an arctic and vegetative environments, and how to trap and hunt. Holly is an avid rock climber; and will enter the police academy this fall.
Initial Primitive Survival Rating (PSR) 6.2 out of 10.0
From the looks of things around camp, it appears that Don and Holly’s primitive survival items are a cooking pot, a crazy knife that has both an axe blade and a cutting edge, and a fire starter. In addition, Don is wearing his glasses, which may be useful if there are problems with the fire starter.
This week, our survival location is Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. It’s home to lions, gibbons, alligators, and hippos; and can be scorching hot during the day and frigidly cold at night. But on the upside, the area has plenty of water.
Holly makes the ill-advised decision to drink directly from their water source using a water lily as a straw. She claims that the lily filters out pathogens. It seems impatient to me, because although he waits until sundown to make a fire, Don succeeds in making fire and I’d much rather be thirsty that sick. That night, Holly vomits several times and I cross off “lily straw” as a viable survival nugget that I’ve learned from Naked and Afraid.
Don wakes up and is chipper, while Holly is nauseous. Don’s worried about his partner and to lift her spirits, he finds the Marula tree, which grows fruit that is a favorite food of elephants and baboons. Don tries some of the tasty fruit and brings some back for his partner. Holly thinks the vitamin-rich fruit is gross, which makes Don do a triple take. And when she tells her partner that she’s going to tap out, I think Don’s eyes are going to pop out of his head! Is this woman serious?!? She’s been in Africa for less than 24 hours! She can’t give up; she’s not even dirty yet! Don desperately tries to keep her head in the game, but her mind is made up.
After Holly leaves, Don has a long and lonely night. Don hasn’t made shelter yet, and has bedded down in a pile of grass.
In the morning, Don reveals that the night before he had heard lions calling to each other and heard hippos much closer. If I were in a nice, strong shelter the sounds would have been an amazing thrill; but if I was lying in a pile of grass like Don, I would have soiled myself.
A producer alerts Don that because his partner left so early, he will be given a new partner. And because he’ll have a new partner, it will reset his 21-day survival experience. Don agrees without a moment’s hesitation. This is the first time that Naked and Afraid has had a survivalist start the experience over. I wonder — how many days would you have to be into an experience before you just say, “Nah, I’ll go it alone.” I think I could restart on Day 2 or 3, but no more than that. By day 4 I’d be into a groove.
His partner is Amber Hargrove, who we met saw in the Florida everglades! She’s an Army instructor who tried to bully her partner into hunting for crocodiles before tapping out before the end of the 21 days. Amber’s partner Ryan Holt was one of my favorite N&A participants and was recently announced as a member of this season’s Naked and Afraid XL cast. I wonder if Don was taken back to base camp for a few days while Amber was flown to location.
Her PSR is the same as it was when she left Florida: 7.4
Day 1 (take 2!)
Amber is she’s strong and confident and immediately starts ordering Don around. Because Don’s first camp has essence of Holly in it, she wants to start anew. Amber enjoys Don’s marula fruit, but really wants meat. That night, Amber’s tummy hurts and she experiences diarrhea.
Don scolds his partner for leaving her poop around camp. Amber isn’t thrilled to be told what to do. Too bad Amber, you can’t leave your poop lying around and not expect your partner to say something; that’s just gross.
Don wants to build a better shelter so asks his partner to help him collect palms, but Amber refuses. She’d rather stay close to camp and collect wood. I think that Amber is reluctant to fall into the role of “helper” because as a military instructor, she’s used to having people follow her orders. I would have through after her humiliating failure in Florida, that she would have learned humility.
When Don and Amber leave camp to cut palms, monkeys sneak into their shelter and poach their fruit. “We’re gonna die,” Amber shrugs.
Amber teaches her partner to make a spear and they try to spearfish. I can’t believe it took Amber a full week to teach anything remotely useful to her partner. She was griping about food on day 1, and this looks like the first time they’ve for any other food than fruit.
That night, Amber feels a rush of pain to her breast.
Amber thinks that she may have ruptured her breast implant. I didn’t think that it was possible. But my bosoms are God-given; so I really can’t comment on implant care and maintenance. But please, dear readers, feel free to comment below!
With rain on the horizon, Don encourages Amber and her wounded chest to help fortify the shelter. And then they squabble over who should carry a heavier load of cuttings. Don thinks that she’s stronger and can carry a heavy load, and Amber tells him that as the man, it’s his duty to carry more. Both Don and Amber show themselves as asses here; if they are partners, they should shoulder the burden equally.
Amber is still in pain. And she ends her time in Africa. Don doesn’t understand what he’s doing wrong to drive away his partners. I don’t think it’s you, Don. I think that you were set up with the wrong women. If Don had a partner like Eva, he would have been able to learn a lot.
“My biggest obstacles have been trying to keep naked women in Africa,” ponders Don. It like that this guy still has his sense of humor. That night, Don spends his night sitting by the fire, knowing that his precious fire is the only think keeping the predators away and him in the game.
Don is desperate for food, so he fashions fish trap using knowledge he gleaned from a Boy Scout handbook. It looks pretty good! This gives me hope as a fan of Naked and Afraid. I was not raised surviving outdoors. My family doesn’t camp. However, my dad is a former Green Beret who instilled common sense in his daughters. And I am a voracious reader. And I watch a lot of Naked and Afraid. So maybe one day I’ll be a part of the show.
Don’s fish trap is empty. I keep wondering when Don is going to find a “pity snake” near his shelter.
Don’s fish trap is empty… again and to add insult to injury, a major storm is about to unload on his head. He tries to stay warm and dry, but he knows that he’s becoming hypothermic.
In the midst of a commercial, we catch up with Amber at home in Colorado. She has a painful bosom bruise, and thinks that her injury may require surgery. But I think it’s totally fishy that she’s already been home for a week and doesn’t have a more exact medical diagnosis than a bruise.
After the commercial break, I can’t believe that Don has survived the night!! He was thin when he began his 21-day survival experience, but not he looks absolutely skeletal. And though he has no energy, he still gets up to do his chores. Sadly, his fish trap is empty again.
Despite the emotional toil of losing his partner (twice!) and his lack of food, Don is remarkably optimistic and grateful. He marvels, “The weather is so related to emotion here!” and finds himself awestruck by the beauty of his unforgiving home. He’s driven to tears by how untapped and magnificent Namibia is. As if the gods hear him, two small fish swim in to his trap and Don is overjoyed by the small meal.
Don’s extraction has two choices: A shorter route through pools that may contain predators, or a longer way that avoids the wet threats. Fearless Don decides that faster is better and wades through the water. While he walks, Discovery treats us to shots of vicious animals. I’m sure they exist in Namibia, but I doubt that hyenas are licking their chops as Don walks through a swampy pool.
Over the course of 23 days, Don lost 14 pounds. I know this doesn’t seem like a lot, but he probably only weighed 120 pounds at the start.
Don’s PSR rose from 6.0 to 7.5 out of 10.0
This episode, we learned the final three contestants of this summer’s Naked and Afraid XL.
Stacey from Croatia, who had to tap out after suffering a painful butt burn. I am glad that she’ll get another chance.
Oh lord, it’s Clarence. I guess you get what you wish for, because last week I wished for a wild card. And here he is!
Jake Nodar the horse trainer. I missed Jake’s episode due to travel with my family, but he is a confident survivalist and he’ll bring a lot of personality to the season.