Naked and Afraid XL Episode 4 is the halfway point of the 40-day South African experience. So are they half-dead? Half-starved? Half-crazy? Or a little each??
At the end of last week’s episode Jake, Phaedra and Alyssa went on a scouting mission to look for more people. We last saw Jake atop a cliff calling into the abyss and now we see that Kim and Darrin are the recipients of his calls. Kim happily welcomes them with lots of naked hugs. It looks like she has a colorful bracelet, where did it come from? Darrin seems a little apprehensive to join a larger group, he works better alone and knows that each kill will have to be spread among more mouths.
Jake, Alyssa and Phaedra welcome Kim and Darrin to join them, so they do. Kim puts on a Pharrell Williams-sized hat and seems instantly happier to have more people to talk to.
Back at camp, Tawny and Stacey — the self-named “blond-terage” gather firewood while Tawny recovers from Tick Bite Fever. Hey-Tawny has a bracelet too! What gives?!? She and Stacey find a bizarre wild cucumber and gobble it up, without waiting for their teammates. Later on, both women get sick so either their empty bellies were unhappy to be eating such acidic fruit, or it was a little bit of Karma.
The Pondo group is down to two men who don’t really seem like they care for each other. Ryan doesn’t think that Steven can handle the job of fire watching. Ryan is a moron and condescending in his dismissal of Steven’s skills; there are so many creaks, groans and growls around camp that even I could watch the fire.
Now Phaedra has Tick Bite Fever. And while the narrator describes the disease’s symptoms, we are treated to extreme close-ups of many, many ticks. I feel itchy and hope I never find anything that looks like that anywhere on my body.
Over in Pondo, Ryan still doesn’t trust Steven, so he heads to the highest point to look for the smoke of another group’s campfire. But first he finds an aloe plant, which will soothe his sunburnt skin and provide nourishment — the insides of the plant are edible.
Jake is determined to get food for his team and heads down to cast the net. Phaedra says what we’re all thinking; Jake is shouldering the load without bitching about it. He just gets things done. She wishes that she could help him and I wish someone, anyone would help him. Jake catches a fish and gives it to Kim and Darrin who haven’t eaten in 11 days. They look like children on Christmas morning.
He humbly says, “The joy that I just got from giving those two a fish, was more joy than I’d ever experienced actually eating a fish.” Some Naked aand Afraid fans don’t share my love for Jake, but This is why he is awesome; he is tireless, he is humble, he is hella skilled, (he is hot), and he is 100% unselfish.
While the mega group watches Kim and Darrin eat, Steven and Ryan are on the long, hot trek to join them. And while they’re walking, Steven loses Ryan’s precious aloe. Ryan is pissed, but I gotta ask: if your aloe was so precious, why didn’t you carry it?
When Steven and Ryan arrive above the lake, the women get absolutely giddy to hear male voices. They primp, and check each other’s teeth, and greet Ryan and Steven with many, many naked hugs. Alyssa, who previously said that she was glad to be in a group with only women, clings to Ryan as if her life depends on it. Hopefully Jake will finally get the help he needs.
That night, all nine survivalists cram themselves into the shelter that earlier in the day held 5. Stacey reports, “We are all sitting around camp and there are so many testicles in our camp. Everywhere you look there are pinched-off, stretched-out, goofy-looking testicles.”
After a snug night, they adjust the shelter to sleep all nine people. The former-fivesome sees Jake as their leader, but he doesn’t care about leadership as long as the work gets done. Altruism at it’s finest. The best leader is the person who least wants to be one.
A few of the day’s highlights:
The group forms a human bulldozer to widen their shelter.
Kim almost pulls down a tree atop herself.
Poor Phaedra accidentally drinks untreated water and has to force herself to throw it up. The rest of the group feels badly that they sat there and watched as she did it and come up with a labeling system for the water pots.
Ryan sets snares to try and feed the group. Alyssa and Jake also make snares using Jake’s wire and someone else’s paracord. While they work, Ryan offers unsolicited advice and Jake and Alyssa roll their eyes. “Bitch, please,” mutters Jake.
Darrin grabs Kim’s bow & arrow and tries to hunt, but he fears that he larger game has already smelled their large group and has left the area.
After Jake and Alyssa set snares, Ryan comes and reties them. It’s a jerky move. But all will be forgiven if the snares catch something.
That night, a massive storm rolls overhead and dumps rain onto the group. The dirt floor of their open-air shelter quickly turns to mud. Needless to say, the night is long.
Now that we have a nine-person group, Naked and Afraid throws up their hands and basically admits that the PSR rating is a sham. They award the entire Mega Swati Group an XLR of 7.6 out of 10.0. I call this Oprahing: “You get a 7.6! And You get a 7.6; Everybody gets a 7.6!!!”
On a normal episode of Naked and Afraid, this would be the end of the journey, but in an XL adventure, the fun is only half over! Everyone is pretty emotionally spent at this point; they need a big meal to lift their spirits. Usually the Naked and Afraid crew gods gift the famished people when they’re at their lowest with a half-dead snake, so keep your eyes pealed…
As if on cue, Tawny, Steven, Kim and Alyssa watch as a herd of impala walk through their snared area. “They look like cheeseburgers with legs,” says either Alyssa or Kim — two of the funniest people in the group (Jake and Stacey are up there too). Finally, a female impala gets entangled.
And even though at least four people are watching and running around yelling “Snare! Snare! Who has a knife?!? Snare!!,” no one has actually made a single, stealthy step in the direction of the animals until now. Jake decides that it’s faster to swim across the lake than run around the people who are stumbling over themselves and leaps into the water, showing off an incredible swimming stroke.
The episode ends before we see if they’re able to catch the beast (technically, they’ve already caught it, but it sounds gross to say, “stab it until it’s dead.”), but based on the racket they’re making and the clips of next week’s episode, my guess is no.
It’s our first episode where no one tapped out! Yay! So, what do you think of the large group? Safety in numbers? Too many cooks? Many hands? Too soon to tell? What other clichés apply?
Also, tonight was Syfy’s fourth annual Sharknado movie, Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens. One of my coworkers interviewed Cheryl Tiegs and Gary Busey in advance of the fun flick and I overheard Jeff while he was on the phone with Busey. It was — hands down — the most hilarious half of a conversation that I’ve ever witnessed. When he hung up the phone, the entire editorial department broke into applause. In honor of the times when we have a bizarre interview and are still able to polish that turd into a gleaming jewel (Teigs was delightful, Jeff reports), I have created this fun photoshop. And please read Jeff’s article while imagining the human befuddlement that is Gary Busey.
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 snare wire (Learned in personal interview)
Stacey- Fishing hook and line (Learned in Episode 1)
Clarence- Unknown -left in Episode 2
Phaedra- Paracord? (Used in Episode 4)
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 3 “Human Prey”
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