I’m back from sunny L.A. and the semi-annual meeting of the Television Critics Association. It’s a wonderful, but exhausting marathon of meetings and interviews as each network presents its new fall programming. And for the members of the TCA, it’s a great time to see colleagues and meet network publicists face to face. And go to parties. So many parties! (also, so many parties 😫.)
And best of all, I’m home with my treasured children, my wonderful dog Buster, and my trusty remote-handler, my awesome husband Scottie. Yay!!! I was only gone for 9 days and I had the ability to Skype; I can’t imagine how the participants on Naked and Afraid deal with the emotional strain of missing their families.
Last week, the Tsonga Basin revealed itself as exhausted of resources. And Darrin and Steven called each other liars after an unsuccessful hunt in the Swati Valley. Even the nicest people bear their fangs when they become hangry. And these folks are very, very, very hangry. It looks like it’ may be time to move along to another location.
Ryan is taking his regular walk to explore and hunt and has decided it’s time for him to make a change. A solo change. He says that he has come to South Africa for other reasons than sitting in the group’s shelter. It’s a not-so-subtle dig at the other members of the group, but he says, “I’m out here to thrive, I’m not out here to survive.” Thrive is his word; it’s even tattooed on his shoulders. Someone could make a drinking game out of the number of time that Ryan says “thrive” and we’d get very tipsy.
Back in the Basin, Ryan tells the group that he thinks they should explore some of the dens he’s found early in the morning. Good idea, Ryan, you’ve been wanting to hunt in the early morning for a few weeks. But we know you’re gonna break your plans in a minute.
Steven catches a turtle in the casting net. Hooray! Someone finally catches food! But the group seems less than thrilled, which frosts me. Are they still mad at him for Darrin’s lies? At this point, you should be carrying Steven (and the turtle) atop your shoulders like a conquering hero. Anyone with food is my new best friend.
Stacey is given the task of cooking the meal, but the group’s many cooks all have opinions on how it should be done. Perhaps they should head out and find more food to add to the turtle stew.
And when the meal is cooked, Stacey, gets upset that the group yells at her for screeching across the watering hole. I feel you Stacey. This morning, I got yelled at by one of my sons for scaring him when I announced down the basement stairs that breakfast was ready. I’m a bellower too. “Today sucks,” she cries. Tawny takes her for a walk to ease her frustrations. The two have bonded over their status as single moms; and Tawny is able to calm down her new BFF. “She’s a righteous girl,” says Stacey.
Ryan reposes on the river’s edge and basically calls everyone lazy.
While the group eats turtle stew, Ryan hells them that he’s decided to leave the group and go on a walkabout. He’s going to leave in the morning and take the smallest pot and Angel’s fire starter and meet up with them in a few days at the river.
The rest of the group is pissed and thinks that what he’s doing is selfish. And dangerous. And they murder him with their eyes. So I make it look like they’re The Brady Bunch.
Ryan leaves at dawn. “I’m actually scared s@#$less,” he says, “but this is going to be awesome.” Now our large group is an octet.
Did anyone else notice that when Alyssa said she was feeling dizzy, Darrin was staring directly at her breasts with a smile on his face? I laughed so hard that I cackled! It turns out that he was experiencing a black out, but still … it was a lol moment for me.
While Ryan is walking, he finds some kinds of wild fruit that he thinks tastes like ice cream. I like ice cream that tastes like fruit! He still has enough strength that he can climb the tree and knock the fruit from its high perch.
Drama-rama. When Tawny stands up, she feels light-headed. And when she walks over to use bathroom, she falls down into a ravine and gets hurt. It’s too bad that she was allowed to walk solo, because she’s hit her head and has pain in her side. Obviously, she needs to be rushed to the hospital. Poor dear. Stacey is devastated to see her friend evacuated. “She’s the one I wanted to sit next to on the airplane,” she cries.
Ryan finds a Rock Monitor lizard in a tiny tree. It’s a little guy, but he’s made of meat. Ryan can’t believe his luck and says, “I needed this release and this solo journey.”
Back in the basin, spirits are low. The group has lost two people in one day, but they want to make one last push for protein. Alyssa has the idea of funneling animals into the snares and runs point and it’s great to see her take a position of leadership. They move their snares to a central trail and block all routes away from the snares. (If you watch the clip on the Discovery website, it is very poorly bleeped. Unfortunately, I was watching that clip with my children and they heard some very choice words. Sorry kids.) Alyssa sees a buck nyala, but when they scare it into a snare, it breaks right through.
I like the idea of spooking the animal into the snare, but there must have been a better way to accomplish this. By scaring the animal instead, of gently annoying it along the path of their choosing, the allowed the beast to hit the snares at full speed. And I’m sure it headed back to its nyala friends to warn them about the danger at the watering hole, and the loud humans who are camping there. “Hopefully the river will be a little kinder to us,” The group says.
It seems like last week’s drama between Darrin and Steven has blown over. It’s hard to be angry at the people struggling by your side when someone else has betrayed and left the group.
Ryan arrives at the river and is greeted by zebra, giraffes and water buffaloes. Over the strains of deep cuts from the Lion King soundtrack, Ryan gushes, “It looks like a freaking zoo!” Ryan makes camp near a rock wall, throws up a quick shelter, makes himself a fire, boils water and eats a delicious dinner of fruit and lizard. “I’m on top of the world!” he announces to the river. But he’s not alone in his newfound paradise. He finds fresh lion tracks near his shelter and the creature’s paws are larger than his hands.
It’s time for something that makes no sense, the XLR!!
The loss of Ryan and Tawny, and the failure of the group hunt, drops the group’s score from 6.4 to 5.9 out of 10.0.
Ryan’s solo score improves from 6.4 to 7.5, which is hilarious — because one of the three criteria for the XLR measurement is “teamwork.” I didn’t see much teamwork when he bailed on his team. Thoughts?
That night, Ryan sees the constellation Orion in the sky and he explains that it’s “My constellation” and has served as his lucky talisman. He reveals that when he was in Afghanistan, he used the sight of constellation to calm himself. I’m glad that he’s having a good solo experience, but it is still selfish move. If this was a true survival experience, it would be a death sentence for Ryan and possibly his teammates.
That night, Ryan feels ill effects from something he’s eaten. While he vomits (loudly!) inside his shelter, we hear the roars of lions. He’s sweating and swearing and moaning. And he’s alone.
Cut to black.
Next week, it looks like the puke party continues and more than Ryan is invited.
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- Fire Starter -(Learned in Episode 6)
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 5 “Rock Bottom”
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