Recap: Naked and Afraid XL Episode 5: “Rock Bottom”

Naked and Afraid XL Episode 5 Kellie Freeze

Last week’s episode ended on the cliffhanger of a young inyala caught in a snare and the survivalists scampering and screaming around and across the lake. In my head, I heard the theme song to Benny Hill. Of course, by the time the buffoon brigade arrived, the inyala had snapped the branch and skittered back into the brush.

This week, I am in Los Angeles at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. The TCA meets twice each year and the broadcast and cable networks present their new series. It’s several weeks filled with panels, interviews, cocktail parties and lots of bacon. I’m here for the last 9 days of the tour, I’m watching this episode of Naked and Afraid XL in my hotel room and without my trusty sidekick and remote control holder, my husband Scott. We’ll see how this goes…

Day 22
After the snare snaffoo, Darrin reminds the group that he’s a master hunter. Again. Ryan rolls his eyes and can’t wait to see Darrin put some meat where his mouth is.

Naked and Afraid XL Episode 5
Darrin’s hair is so messy that a bird has built a nest in it. Discovery

Day 23
In the morning, Jake proposes moving camp. Darrin wants to return to his old camp to hunt, and he and Steven decide to do on a multi-day hunting trip and return to the large group on Day 25. But before they leave camp, Darrin and Steven prepare their weapons and Darrin’s also added a feather to his hair which has moved beyond the greasy stage and is heading into dreadlock territory. As the two hopeful hunters leave camp, Chief Jake bestows this word of blessing: “May your spear kill everything it touches.”

But the folks left behind aren’t going to sit on their butts and wait for Darrin and Steven to return hoisting huge sides of meat. Jake is back on the net and some of the women harvest cattail tubers. Ryan’s on snare duty. But Jake’s net is empty, because he’s fishing from the exact same area where everyone always fishes. And Ryan sets snares in the exact same area that he always sets snares. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, is it not?

Back at Darrin and Kim’s initial camp in the Tsonga basin, Steven is excited to see large numbers of large game. He and Darrin choose blinds across the watering hole from each other and settle in an wait. And wait. And wait. Steven tries throwing the atlatl, and Darrin gets a few shots off with his bow, but the only thing they catch is sunburn.

Naked and Afraid XL Episode 5Back at Camp Colossus, Ryan has lost his mind. He’s built himself a ridiculous headdress out of horns that is almost as asinine as Darrin’s feather.

After an unsuccessful day with the Atlatl, Steven asks Darrin to use use the bow on the next day’s hunt. Darrin refuses. because even if it’s not his, it’s his. Because it’s Kim’s. And Darrin has claimed Kim.

That night, the tension in the men’s camp is heightened by two lions who stalk them all night long. Steven sets the recorder for posterity and “in case we get our faces eaten off.”

Day 24
Back in the Swati Valley, Tawny, Stacey, Alyssa and Kim sit around looking like dirty skeletons, while and Ryan and Phaedra check out the porcupine den that was Clarence’s undoing. But now it seems that the den has been taken over by a warthog, which is a much bigger (and less pokey) meal. But after sealing up den exits and filling it with lots of smoke, it’s evident that Pumbaa isn’t home. Phaedra and Ryan think that their group may have exhausted the resources of the camp and the mumblings to leave the Swati Valley grow.

Steven is still pissed that Darrin won’t share the bow and decides to take drastic measures. His new desperate plan is to simply smash a passing animal with a rock and tackle it. Steven is quick, but he’s not impala quick. And he’s barefoot, so he runs gingerly. After the hilarious fail, Steven wants to stay and hunt for another day. Darrin wants to return to the group because they’d but Darrin is a man of his word and returns to the larger group.

Day 25
Darrin leaves Steven and returns to the large group. Steven stays behind — with the bow! — and looks forward to a big day of hunting. Poor Darrin is going to be turning right around, because the group wants to move to the Tsonga Basin. But before he makes the return trip, he throws Steven under the bus by telling the group that Steven called them “lazy.” Jake takes the comment personally, because he is the opposite of lazy. Do you remember Steven calling the group Lazy? I don’t have the benefit of a DVR in my hotel room; I hope that someone can help clarify.

Steven’s gleeful alone time is disrupted when a herd of massive Cape buffalo visit the watering hole. The massive beasts can weight up to one ton and kill over 200 people per year. I think a Cape buffalo was the bad guy in the latest Kung Fu Panda movie.

The group’s XLR has fallen from 7.6 to 6.4 out of 10. Other than the tubers (which they haven’t talked about since they picked them), they haven’t eaten in three days. So shouldn’t the score dip more? On the other hand, It seems like Tick Bite Fever isn’t part of this weeks conversation, which is a good thing.

Naked and Afraid XL Episode 5
All hail Chief Jake — keeper of peace, doer of things, earner of respect and stealer of hearts.

Back to our solo-hunter who runs the risk of becoming a Steve-kebob. Eventually the beasts move on just as the large group arrives. Jake appoints himself the team’s mouthpiece and heads over to set Steven straight on not returning to camp and for calling his teammates lazy. But Steven insists that he didn’t use those words to describe everyone. He calls Darrin a liar and then storms off spend time alone to clear his head. Darrin warns, “He knows that a loner out here is a dead man.”

I was so confused about what was said by Steven that I called Scottie for clarification. Even with the use of a DVR, Scott was unclear of exactly what was said. I think that the producers of Naked and Afraid and N&A XL (A production company called Renegade 83) may have employed the technique of making a “FrankenBite.” When you make a FrankenBite, you take a quote out of context, chop it up, remove words and alter it in such a way that the quote used is dramatically different from what was originally said or intended.

Scott says that Steven used both the words “Lazy” and “Laziness,” but Scott felt that the words were aimed at Darrin and not at the group. And it’s not like the camera guys are going to let the survivalists watch the raw footage, so Darrin basically wanted to stir up trouble.

And why did Darrin leave to return to camp at 6:30am? He and Steven could have hunted in the morning and headed back to camp later in the day. That way, both men could have gotten what they wanted. It’s called compromise gents.

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 4 “Too Many Chiefs”
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


  1. It bothers me that when the pop up version of this episode aired, it was revealed that Phaedra had been providing those cattail tubers since they arrived. She’d been providing a consistent source of starch for the group and they barely mention it in this one episode halfway through the season because it’s not as sexy as stabbing a lizard in the face.

    So frustrating. I wish they would do a better job of showing what the members are doing.

    • I agree completely, Tessa! I dislike the amount of information that is withheld from the initial broadcast to only be briefly mentioned later. They’re not adding new info, they’re changing the narrative!

  2. It’s funny how the viewers keep throwing Darrin under the bus. Steven straight up called them lazy for sitting around fishing all day. Darrin being the antisocial misfit doesn’t have the ability to explain it to them. Although at one point makes the attempt, and when they others repeatedly start asking him if Steven called them lazy he gives up and says yes because it is as close to the truth as they were giving him a chance to say.

    And no survivalist in their right mind would give Steven the only hunting weapon they have willingly after he showed such brazen disregard for safety, strategy, and preparedness. Steven chose not to craft the spearhead correctly because his ego couldn’t take Darrin’s advice. He also chose not to make extras. He also waited until three weeks had passed and there was a large group of weakened starved people to feed before even started making his atlatl, then talked crap about how he could use it and didn’t need the bow. After his poorly constructed weapon breaks, decides to take Darrin’s. And after arguing Darrin gives it up after essentially being threatened. And the guy still couldn’t bag an animal.

    Yet some how this is OK and makes Darrin the bad guy?? What world do people live in where this is good, beneficial behavior? It was a step away from mania, egotistical narcissism at its finest. Look beyond Darrin’s social ineptitude and see Steven for what he really is, a foolish inept ego-maniacal narcissist. Now he did have a fairly positive attitude after the fact, other than saying he wanted to knock out Darrin’s teeth. For nothing more than calling Steven out on his bull and telling the truth.

    • Darrin did lie to the group. He said that Steven called them lazy which is a lie. Steven called Darrin Lazy and seems to me he is. Yes, Steven hasn’t brought dinner to the table yet, but at least he has tried. Cannot say the same for Darrin who sits around all day talking about how great a hunter he is… Prove it Darrin. I agree Darrin is anti-social and doesn’t know how to relate to people. Hem suffers from rejection. People reject him while he causes them to reject him. Seems to me that Darrin is jealous of Steven. Why? I don’t know. Maybe he thinks the girls give Steven more attention. Steven does have a personality while Darrin does not. You can see that Darrin is not one bit jealous of Jake who seems to be the leader of the group and why is this? Well, Jake being gay causes no threat to Darrin with the women. Steven however does, at least in Darrin’s mind. To sum it up: This season is horrible. All seasons they mostly just lay around and wait for day 21 to arrive, but this season they lay so much and moan and whine that I get depressed, lol…Get up and do SOMETHING please….

  3. Hello Kellie, will you be doing another forum for Dual Survival; I hope so. Alll of us, even those who say they’re not going to watch it, WILL watch it and we can all get together again and voice our gripes and comments and are looking forward to seeing these two bellowing, howling nitwits take on their own challenge; hope you do. Thanks, Laura.

    • Seems Steven’s friends spend all their time trying to prove negatives which is impossible. Let’s look at what Steven, Ryan, Darrin and the Jake crew have accomplished (positives). Steven has run 20 feet and hacked at a monitor lizard caught in Ryan’s snare. What else? Nothing! Ryan snared a monitor lizard and made a ludicrous hat. What else? Nothing. Darrin shot and killed a monitor lizard and showed them how to make bone spear points and haft them. What else? nothing. Jake and the women have caught a few small fish and scavenged a dead nayala antelope, picked berries cattail roots and edible leaves. What else? Nothing except puking around camp.
      Expert survivalists???? Hardly.

      • It’s almost annoying to be forced to agree with somebody so often. That said J.C. your last is the most poignant comment yet. This has been a very sad group considering the innate talent of most of them. Very sad indeed.

      • Oh you have so nailed it! No one could have said it better. I was just thinking about how none of them seem to be doing anything let alone as a group of survivalists. Didn’t ancient tribes hunt as groups, not as one or two people expecting to nap something as fast as an impala? I’m no historian but I don’t think they are mimicking the hunter gatherers we used to be.

    • Yes Kellie; as Laurajane says, we are in desperate need of your recap of the upcoming appearance of the “Frick and Frack” Comedy Team (E.J. and Jeff) on Dual Survival Aug. 14.

  4. Sad isn’t it??? We have 4 males left and the only one acting like a man is the gay guy, Jake. The other 3 (Ryan, Darrin and Steven) are engaging in childish, disruptive ego driven “pissing contests” to be “top dog.”
    The women should spank them and send them to bed without dinner. oops! There is no dinner for anyone.

  5. Several people have commented that Darrin is “threatened” by Steven’s awesome presence. Danged right he is! Darrin spoke to Steven about an impulsive fool who runs out of the blind after plains game with a rock; thereby spooking all the game away so nobody gets a shot. That is definitely threatening to their (the group) welfare
    Steven ridicules Darrin’s marksmanship; forgetting that at the first camp he missed an antelope by four feet high from 25 feet with his atlatl. Then at Tsonga basin Steven missed from 30 feet so badly he broke his dart point on a nearby tree limb. Steven says “If I had a compound bow, I could fill a trophy (ego) room.” Sorry bub, you don’t have a compound bow, or a rifle.
    Darrin needs to stop talking to the camera about his superior indigenous living skills and show and do it! Everyone is hungry, showtime is now! Results are all that counts. I saw a movie in which Eli Wallach said to the dying guy he had just shot “if you are going to shoot, don’t talk shoot.” Unrelated but applicable.

    • Actually Wallach said “If your are going to shoot, shoot don’t talk” a little different but point made.

      • I finally got to watch the show last night and thought that Steven/Stephen was nuts to go running crazy like he did to hit an animal with a rock, duh? And Darrin/Darren/Darin is starting to look a little nuts himself. As for Ryan, he’s already lost it and may be the one on the stretcher we see leaving camp at the end of the show cause of a complete mental breakdown. C’mon, the horns on his head? Check out their eyes; either it’s starvation, frustration or what but the guys, except for Superhomo Jake, look a bit way out there. Maybe they’re finding some hallucinogenic plants; does marijuana grow wild in Africa, maybe a little peyote? 🙂

        The women are becoming nothing but a blur; still can’t tell them apart except for everyone’s love child Kim, and Stacey. Stacey was sure a lot nicer in her first episode.

        • Laurajane. Ryan is clearly suffering from PTSD. His “self cure” has not worked. Hence the constant reliance and mention of his military experience. Unfortunately for him and those around him, he does not know he s still afflicted.

  6. I had to rewatch the last episode of Naked and Afraid since I was little foggy on what Steven had said to Darren about calling rest of the group lazy.

    I just confirmed 100% that Steven didn’t make the remark about anyone. Darren twisted his words around and put words in Steven’s mouth. What Steven said was… Darren’s decision to wanting to go back without food on the plate was being lazy. He was basically calling Darren lazy if anything. I think Steven was extremely frustrated since he wasn’t given a chance to try the bow and arrows from the location he was at since he felt like he’s missed so many opportunities. Darren must have been frustrated as well, extremely tired and hungry… But it really wasn’t fair to stab anyone’s back like that. I hope Steven’s situation gets better with the group on next episode. He really didn’t deserve that 🙁

    • Agreed. Although words could of been said off camera/screen. But regardless of what truly happened, Darrin looked like a child by tattle tailing to the group making someone else look bad. Maybe he was just venting, but at some point you just gotta take a deep breath and let that stuff go. I am enjoying the show, hope they catch something soon!

      • Awesman. At last a sensible remark and the right words. Tattle tail! Seems to me a real man would not injure another by repeating something said in the heat of the moment. That was what I thought also. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Hello Everybody

    Greetings from Reykjavik, Iceland!

    I just crawled out of a volcano, soaking wet, with my wife and daughter (son stayed home to work – he’s the only smart one.) and am safe and dry back in the Airb&b we’ve rented here.

    I’ve read Kellie’s review, and all of your comments, and have to say it sounds like a nothing show this week… So, I guess I didn’t miss much. So easy on Kellie; sounds like the poor girl didn’t have much to report.

    Monday night I actually had a dream/nightmare I was reading/writing comments here on Kellie’s blog. LOL! Guilty as charged…

    How did Kim look?

  8. AlK. Buried somewhere, you asked for suggestions on what to use for cutting saplings in the backyard. I suggest a hatchet or an ax. Get them from a hardware store and you have a chance of getting hard steel. Machetes are usually made of soft steel and are thin bladed. If you must have a machete get it at Wal-Mart (about $8). When the cutting edge bends, Hammer it flat again on your vise”s anvil, sharpen it with a file or stone (rock) and back to work you go. The same with your SOG machete. All that SOG stuff is appearance junk and not real tools.

    • I have a nice hatchet, but it is heavy solid steel. Also a cute folding backpack saw which is awesome. What concerns me is that you see these people on N & A each getting to bring one blade (isn’t it usually a machete?), & they expect it to last. They use them to cut trees for shelter building. Aren’t there high end tools that are indestructible (or something close to that..)? KenO weigh in also please??

      • I don’t know about the others but when I go camping for extending periods I bring my personal knife, which I use for food, whittling shavings and fine work; my Hudson’s Bay axe for hewing and splitting firewood and my wooden bow saw for fairly heavy work. I made the bow saw myself and use blades that I purchased from a web site. The saw breaks down and is easy to pack. If I had to make do with one edge tool I would likely choose a heavy bladed short machete with a toothed back. Most of them are pretty cheap as J.C. has pointed out but then again you’re only going to be out there for say 21 days and if you’re careful you can make it last for 40…..but good luck. Everybody should be able to carry a blade/tool for heavy work and one for light work. I wouldn’t want to dress out a fish with a hatchet.

      • There are always “high end” tools. Who knows you might even be able to acquire a “super duper crusher knife” for only $300.

        • It’s very interesting that all of the N&A participants appear to believe that knives have both an uncanny ability to be adept at any application as well as to stay sharp forever as no one every brings a stone. Amazing….I have several high end, hand made, powdered steel, Damascus blades. They don’t leave my kitchen of course but I regularly sharpen them (Japanese wet stones). They are Japanese Chefs knives and are like razorblades with handles. I wouldn’t think of using them on anything but helpless vegetables. I think of my camp knives the same way, wouldn’t think of hacking down a tree with my machete as it’s for whacking brush, nor would I whack brush with my axe or knife. Trying to pick a multi-functional knife/machete for felling trees is a fools errand. However you could conceivably use one of those short machete’s with the saw back to do an awful lot of tasks if you don’t push it. But no stone? Please. I don’t sharpen my chef’s knives every time I used them but I do use a knife steel every time and I sharpen at least once a month or as needed. Maybe Ginsu makes a camp knife?

          • Amen KenO. I keep my kitchenware and all my knives so sharp the wife is afraid to use them. She has a cheap set she sharpens with a motorized knife sharpener. I like to cut my vegetables not mash them.

          • J.C. I keep my blades so sharp that when you hold them up and breathe upon them they cut the little microbes in half and fall on either side going “eek””eek”.

          • KenO. BTW, I saw an ad a couple of months back selling obsidian surgeons scalpels. supposedly they are much sharper than surgical steel scalpels. The claim was that they will cut through a single cell without otherwise damaging it.

    • Al K. More knives. The single most useful knife I have is a Buck Knife with 3 inch blade. If I were in a survival situation, and allowed a “one and only” I would choose it. I could make other tools with it: spears, bows, arrows atlatl, and other fine skilled tasks. It is not a chopping tool and all the chopping we see on N&A is largely unnecessary. Cody Lundin used a Mora Knife with a 3-4 inch blade in all his appearances. He let Teti do all the chopping. Smart fellow that Cody.

      • I love Cody’s perspective. He’s never used anything but a MoraKnife in all his years, pretty cool and it would likely be my choice as well. I certainly wouldn’t use a military style “fighting” knife as there is no “fighting” Mother nature and none of the Animals have fighting knives either.

        • KenO. I noticed that after the first Rambo movie where he had a military style fighting knife; suddenly, there was a plethora of them on the market with compasses in the handle, hollow handles (not even full tang) for matches, fish hooks, etc. They were all worthless as knives. A couple of them were given to me and I used them for digging and cultivating in the flower beds and fought off those fierce grubs, tomato bugs and cutworms. Stop laughing!

          • Yeah, I know, they were and are cheap as dirt right now. Pretty useless unless you’re going to show one to an assailant an hope they are struck dumb by their appearance, can’t fight, and then run. They might, however, be useful in a fight against potatoes.

      • Thank you, JC. Both of you guys just laid it all out clear. I do of course have a short blade on my belt, the hatchet & folding saw. Also a multitool. The SOG machete is the type you described, with serrated blade on back. I did find when I experimented with the different tools (when cutting those saplings) that the saw was best choice. The hatchet worked well for stripping branches after. I guess the answers you both provided is that there is no 1 tool to do every task out there- a smart survivalist would have options. Thanx again

  9. Darrin’s a moron. He was just afraid Steven would kill something with the bow, making him look bad, or why would he say something like that about Steven to the group, even if it were true, which I doubt. He’s obviously more concerned about looking good than getting food for the group, (which should obviously be his top priority). And Jake is a good leader, but what’s he talking about when he says group bow? Is the whole group gonna pull the bow string and launch an arrow when opportunity knocks? Someone has to shoot that bow. That doesn’t mean it should be Steven, but I think Steven was just being fair, and acting in the group’s best interests by staying behind and demanding the bow stay with him. Darrin is all talk and no action, and it’s brutally obvious to me he just wanted to bully Steven. I hope he doesn’t get the best of him with his cowardly BS, because despite Steven’s lack of success thus far hunting, I think he means well.

    • Humm. You have established you dislike Darrin quite well. The balance of your message is to deceive and obfuscate. Only Steven knows what he “meant.” I am not a mind reader, nor is it useful to suppose what they mean. Their actions tell what the do and nothing else. I see no evidence of Darrin bullying anyone. Excuses for failure that blame others is self pity and lying to yourself.

    • Um, Luke if Steven couldn’t kill anything with an atlatl, perhaps the most intuitive longer range weapon ever introduced by man, he likely couldn’t do it with a long bow regardless of how good he’s supposed to be with a compound bow. To think of Darrin as being a moron is ludicrous as he’s incredibly adept in the wild which makes it incredible that he still hasn’t “made meat” on this episode.

Comments are closed.