Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Is 13 days: 1/3 done of the 40-day experience? Or 2/3 of the ordeal left to go? I’d like to think that I’d be an optimist and congratulate myself for finishing 1/3 of something unpleasant, but in reality, after nearly two weeks in the South African sun, I wouldn’t know the date, or my name.
We start this week in Tsonga Basin, where is Kim is suffering from Tick Bite Fever.
“How ya doin’, Hon?” her partner Darrin asks. Kim hasn’t eaten in almost a week, which is slowing her recovery. Darrin vows to hunt and feed his partner, subjecting himself to the day’s punishing heat. In this Naked and Afraid experience, Darrin is opening up about his First Nations ancestry, which is really intriguing. He says that he’s far more than a survivalist because this is his history; living close to the land is his way of life.
The large group in the Swati Valley have big plans for the day.
Phaedra’s is going to fish, Alyssa wants to set snares and Jake wants to use a net to catch minnows. But by mid-day, they haven’t caught anything and regroup at the campsite. Tawny feels like she has the flu and fears that she also has Tick Bite Fever. Which is not to be confused with Cat Scratch Fever. The rest of the large group wonders who’s the next to fall…
The men of Pondo Ravine aren’t sleeping either. South Africa is a noisy place at night. While Angel and Steven rest during the hot part of the day, Ryan heads down to his blind to see if any critters come for a drink. He sees a monitor lizard and pulls a sneak attack with the net that he tied on Day 2. Whatever this technique is called, snare, snag, trip-up, it is great! It is much easier to catch quick animals if you can figure you a way to slow them down and give your wily — but slow — human-ness a fighting chance. His partners run down with their knives and deliver the fatal blow.
While the men eat, they share their life stories. Angel tells how his difficult upbringing has turned him into the father he never had. That night, Angel talks directly to the camera, and shares a message of love to his family. Ruh-roh, Whenever N&A participants start talking about their families, it’s a sign that their head isn’t in the game. C’mon dude, snap out of it! Angel is a mellow dude, but he was pretty focused and ballsy in his appearance on Naked and Afraid. I don’t like to see his emptions getting the best of him and his talents wasted. I want to see him build some of his awesome traps; sitting around is boring anyway! Clubbing a wildebeest with a massive rock would be gnarly! (Angel once made a massive figure-4/deadfall trap that may or may not have winged an alligator)
Kim hasn’t eaten in 9 days and is feeling terrible, but stays busy be weaving a fish basket. While Darrin is hunting, he starts feeling nauseous and heads back to camp.
In the Swati Valley, Phaedra and Stacy find a large kill near their shelter. They’re freaked out that an African leopard may still be nearby, but the prospect of meat is too tempting to pass up. They grab the rest of their crew and head back for the kill. Alyssa is so starving that she says it smells, “Disgusting … and delicious.”
They drag the animal away from their camp and process it. But not only are they excited at the prospect of meat; Jake is excited to have a hide to make into shoes.
And we get to remember this bloody handful of meat for all time…
After boiling the meat, they give it a tentative taste. It is disgusting and rancid. But Jake encourages his partners to eat it: it’s meat and calories. And they really can’t afford to be picky. And while the meat may be stinky, boiling should have killed any gross germs. I think that everything eaten on Naked an Afraid should be boiled. You don’t lose any of the meat’s mass due to burning/charring/fluid loss form grilling, and you can ensure that the contents will get cooked all the way through. Alyssa giggles that it tastes like diarrhea. Okay, Alyssa, you little weirdo. 😖 The group knows that the animal that lost its meal is probably mad and can smell that they’ve eaten well; so it’s gonna be a loooong night. But a night with a full belly.
Ryan is up with the pounding Pondo sun, but his partners are still sleeping. His plan is to use the precious morning hours to look for warthog dens. He comes upon a herd of wildebeest, but they see him and scatter. Ryan is frustrated because if his partners were there to help him, they might have been able to stalk and bring down the bigger game.
He heads back to the shelter and tells Steven and Angel how frustrated he is. It doesn’t go well. All three men are great survivalists, but Ryan wants his partners to share his drive. I’m not a fan of the whole, “We’re on a reality show and I need to have a long, sit-down talk with you.” It rarely works, because one person has had a chance to think about what they want to say and the pother person/people haven’t, so they get defensive. Here’s what I would have done:
Kellie (as Ryan): “Hey partners, I saw some meaty critters over yonder. It looks like they move near our camp really early in the morning. (Strokes magnificent beard) Tomorrow at daybreak, let’s head down there and see if we can try that hunting technique that Steven mentioned.
Steven: That’s the best idea I’ve ever heard!
Angel: I’m in!
Steven: Wake me at sunrise!
Angel: Ryan (but really me), you are the real angel of this team.
See how much better that went? No finger pointing. No long, drawn out discussions, because I hate long, beat-the-horse discussions. Even a plan that acknowledges somebody else’s ideas. Perfection — if I do say so myself.
Well, I can’t wait to see how the fellas get over this feud, but first, let’s check in on the peeps in Tsonga Basin.
Kim is upright (yay!) and she and Darrin check her fish trap. It’s empty. (boo!) Kim is discouraged, but Darrin tries to keep his teammate’s spirits up. Later he heads out on a hunt. Darrin would rather hunt for small stuff, but hasn’t seen any sights of any rodents (because — rat kabobs), and hadn’t planned on trying to bring down big game on his own. It may be time for D-Ran to set his sights higher on the food chain.
Pondo Ravine-loving Ryan has woven his 100 lb. fishing line into a snare with 700 lbs. of capacity. Steven is in the blind by himself and is a kid in a candy store. When talking about his outspoken partner Ryan, Steven admits, “He’s got a hundred skills, but so have I.”
That night, Angel keeps watch and talks to the camera again. He says he misses his family and without them, he feels like a tree that is being hacked down little by little. It’s poetic, and sad. He and the rest of the men are kept awake by strange whooping noises coming from just outside their camp. They never identify what the sound is, but I’m dying of curiosity. (My guess is zebra. BTW, I have a friend from South Africa and the way she says zebra is beyond adorable. I say “zēē-brŭh,” she says “zĕh-Brăh” I would says it that way too, but I’d be afraid some well-meaning person would correct me.)
Swati Valley. Tawny still feels like junk, but her fever has finally broken. Jake wants to go on a scouting trip to see if he can find other people, so Alyssa and Phaedra go with him, and Stacey stays with Tawny.
Whilst on their roundabout, Phaedra, Alyssa and Jake (or PAJ) hear/see a panther. We don’t see the actual leopard; instead, we see beautiful stock footage shots. Like this one. We eventually see it running away. The camera work looks like footage from The Blair Witch Project. Lots of shakiness, but not a lot of substance. Meh.
The men of Pondo are fighting. So their useless score dips from 7.2 to 6.5 out of 10. I guess the monitor lizard that they caught means nothing.
The Swati snatched a kill from an apex predator, but their useless number still falls from 8.1 to 7.7 out of 10.0
The Tsonga twosome’s randomly generated numbers change from 6.6 to 5.9 out of 10.0.
And all of them give absolutely zero f@#ks, because it’s like telling me I have 23 out of a possible 1000 jitterbugs. If it’s a random measurement, it doesn’t matter.
Inter-cut with many stock footage shots, Angel decides to tap out. So many stock footage shots! The shots are beautiful, but for all I know, they could have been taken at the San Diego Zoo. Angel wants to be a great father more than he wants to be a great survivalist. It’s a bit out of left field, but after we picked apart the cast photo, I know that he’d be one of the early ones to tap out. (Clarence, Carrie and Angel were totally PhotoShopped into the image).
Angel’s Pondo partners are stunned and know that they’ve lost their buffering middle-man. Gosh I hope that they continue to butt heads!
Jake, Phaedra and Alyssa arrive atop a ridge and yell into the abyss. Who will hear Jake’s dulcet calls? We’ll have to find out next week.
Next week’s scenes seem to show that everyone is in the same group and suddenly, “there’s a lot of chiefs.” Grammar notwithstanding, I can’t wait!
Primitive Survival Item. Each survivalist brought a blade each trio was given a cooking pot, and each of the dozen survivalists was allowed to bring one primitive survival item. I’m keeping track here:
Jake- Spool of wire (Learned in personal interview)
Stacey- Fishing hook and line (Learned in Episode 1)
Clarence- Unknown -left in Episode 2
Alyssa- Fire Starter (Learned in Preview Episode)
Tawny- Casting Net (Learned in Episode 2)
Kim- Bow & Arrow (Learned in Episode 1)
Carrie- Unknown -left in Episode 1
Darrin- Buck Skin (Learned in Preview Episode)
Angel- Unknown -left in Episode 3
Steven- Sling shot (Learned in Preview Episode)
Ryan- Spool of 100-lb. Fishing Line (Learned in Episode 1)
More Naked and Afraid XL
Recap: Naked and Afraid XL Episode 2 “Man on Fire”
Recap: Naked and Afraid XL Episode 1 “Lions at the Gate”
Naked and Afraid XL Season 2 preview
Interview With Jake Nodar
Jake Nodar’s 4 butt-kicking survival tips