Recap: Naked and Afraid XL Episode 7, “The Sickness”

Naked and Afraid XL Episode 7
Phaedra please to remain on Naked and Afraid XL.

Last week, we listened to Ryan vomit in stereo. And in the tease for this week, when Ryan said he was in “9 out of 10 pain,” I thought I saw the door of his shelter opening. An uninvited guest? His teammates? A lion?!? Tonight, Naked and Afraid XL Episode 7, opens to the sounds of a female in the same excruciating pain.

An ominous black screen informs viewers, “The following events take place over a 24 hour period.” My blood runs ice-cold.

Day 29
Ryan is sick. Very, very sick. He’s in so much pain that he relents and calls the medic. Fearful that he’s suffering from internal bleeding or kidney disease, the medical team evacuates him. If you had asked me to pick a survivalist least likely to leave Naked and Afraid XL, Ryan would have been at the top of my list. But then again, he did leave his group and try to survive solo, so I guess the odds of him getting eaten by a lion were significantly increased.

Naked and Afraid XL Episode 7
Ryan recorded his illness and it reminded by of the time I saw The Blair Witch Project. I wonder if I won’t sleep for 2 weeks this time too.

In the Tsonga Basin, the large group is preparing to hike to the Mkuza River and meet up with Ryan. This migration has been a long time coming, and Steven and Phaedra are still disappointed and resentful that Ryan left the group to have his solo experience.

The group finds the same Wollecaper (I have no idea how to spell this) fruit that Ryan ate on his own trek. And they pick a load of the sweet and sour fruit. Stacey remembers how the wild cucumber made her sick, refuses to eat the foreign fruit.

They also find the head of the monitor lizard that Ryan killed. They know they’re following his tracks and they hope that they’re close to the river. And when you’re close to the river, you’re close to lots of prey… and predators. Massive lion tracks and the dying sounds of a warthog remind them that they’re in perpetual danger. South Africa is no joke.

Jake and Steven scout for a good place to camp, while the rest of the group sits along the river and eat fruit. Darrin figures, “It’s one of those risk and reward situations; we either have nothing, or we have something.” Jake and Steven find and kill a puff adder, which is a snake that is no joke, but still – it’s a kill, so this location is looking better already. Then find Ryan’s camp. We know that it’ll be empty, but the two men are puzzled. Ryan’s blade and gear are there and he’s not, and it’s the heat of the day, when Ryan would normally be resting. The watch his diary cam and see his struggles the night before.

Naked and Afraid XL EPisode 7
That moment when you realize that you ate what Ryan ate…

And in a moment of gut-wrenching clarity, Jake realizes — it’s the fruit. He takes off at a sprint to the group yelling, “Don’t eat the fruit!!” He tells them what was on the video and as expected, everyone starts feeling nauseous. If you were one of the survivalists, would you force yourself to empty your stomach?

Poisonous fruit aside, they still have a shelter to build. Darrin feels strongly about not building camp along the river, so he and Kim head out to look for a better place. While they’re gone, the rest of the group starts boiling water, cooking the snake and collecting wood. But Jake vomits and lies down to rest while Phaedra and Stacey watch Ryan’s intense video.

Darrin and Kim think that Ryan’s shelter has the potential to be a great starting point for their group, and propose building there. And Darrin notes that Ryan’s lizard is woefully undercooked. They return to the group to share their findings and ideas.

Everyone but Jake eats snake meat, and is glad for the protein. But I wonder how many people will be throwing up their meals later.

Jake gets sick again and his face is as green as I’ve ever seen. It is cartoon green. He’s too sick to help the group, and Phaedra stays with him. It isn’t long before she’s sick too, and it’s the same panicked writhing as Ryan experienced. A producer of the show calls in a medic for Phaedra; she’s desperate to stay, but they want to move her to the safety of Bush Camp for an IV and observation.

Over in the new group camp, Darrin puts himself in charge of building the new shelter. Alyssa rolls her eyes at Darrin’s self-appointed chiefdom and self-importance. But everyone just keeps working. This isn’t the time for a power struggle, this is the time for desperate work.

They see medics removing someone on a stretcher and are shocked that it’s Phaedra when Jake staggers up to the group. Kim sums it up best, “What the F@#$ is happening?”

Up in bush camp, the medics give Phaedra an IV and painkillers and vow to watch her for a few hours before deciding if they need to evacuate her to a hospital. Back in the group camp, Jake can no longer take the pain and a medic is called for him too. The medical team thinks that Jake, Phaedra (and Ryan) may be suffering from gastritis from eating fruit infected by the saliva or feces from monkeys or bats. Eew. When Jake and Phaedra’s cots are set next to each other, they grasp hands. They’re both in agony; but they still reach out comfort each other. I love them!

Naked and Afraid XL Episode 7
My mom always told me that we wash our fruit in case a monkey pooped on it. I always thought she was kidding … turns out she was dead right.

The strange part of this illness is that others who have eaten the same fruit may be okay, as long as the fruit that they’ve eaten is clean. We’ll have to see if anyone else gets sick. Back in the ever-shrinking large group, Stacey is very proud of herself for not eating any of the fruit. But I bet she’s going to find herself in serious Florence Nightingale territory if she has to nurse the rest of the group back to health.

I wonder: are the producers not immediately evacuating Jake and Phaedra because they want to limit the number of tap outs? It wouldn’t be good TV if three (or more!) of the strongest people tapped out within a few hours. They may also have the benefit of insight into Ryan’s illness to know that this is something that can be treated in the bush. Or is this an action fueled by cost-cutting? … Hospitals aren’t cheap…

As the sun sets, we check-in on our sick survivalists. Jake and Phaedra are getting the luxury of cots and pillows and hydration, so if they can control the pain, this may not be all bad…

In the wild, the group has worked tirelessly to build their shelter. This seems to be the closest they’ve been to apex predators in this experience. But the massive task has been slowed by worry for their teammates and their own roiling tummies.

Naked and Afraid XL Episode 7
Let’s take a moment to give props to the medical crew of Naked and Afraid XL. They’ve earned it.

In the field hospital, Jake is able to rest, but Phaedra’s pain only gets worse. The series EP, Steve Rankin, makes the tough decision to evacuate her to the hospital. She’s devastated to be leaving Jake, but her life has to come before her pride.

Back in the large group, Kim starts to feel sick and the group calls for the medic. Her screams sound like labor contractions, and that’s not how you want to feel when you’re surrounded by lions. The medics come and recommend immediate evacuation for Kim. It’s especially tense because it’s dark, and Kim is loud. If I was a hungry lion, I’d be interested in what was going on. They load Kim into Phaedra’s ambulance and both women are taken to the hospital. And Jake’s not out of the woods either; he’s still in excruciating pain.

In the group camp, Alyssa, Kim, Steven and Darrin know hungry beasts are actively stalking them. And hopefully, their fragile and hastily made shelter can protect them.

By the looks of next week’s previews, the lions become even more relentless. And Jake is noticeably absent from the clips. :,-(

I hate to take any pleasure in the pain of others, but was the most exciting episode of Naked and Afraid I’ve ever seen! And I’m exhausted and terrified and can’t wait for next week. Do you think that everyone else is out of the woods? Is Jake’s absence from the preview clips foreshadowing, or clever editing? Is anyone hungry for some monkey poop fruit?

A note of little importance.
The XLR of the group falls from 5.9 to 3.9 out of 10.0.
Here’s my thought on the matter of XLRs…


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 6 “Deadly Consequences”
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


  1. I thought Phaedra was really quite unfair talking shit about Ryan when he tried to offer suggestions and would venture out early in the morning (coolest part of the day) and then Darrin who contributed even less than Phaedra was dissing him and wouldn’t let anyone use his bow. Phaedra did not pull her weight at all. Stacey’s tirade against Clarence was totally uncool

  2. I thought Phaedra was really quite unfair talking shit about Ryan when he tried to offer suggestions and would venture out early in the morning (coolest part of the day) and then Darrin who contributed even less than Phaedra was dissing him and wouldn’t let anyone use his bow. Phaedra did not pull her weight at all.

  3. KenO. Real stuff. Yesterday, I drove across Phoenix to Cabela’s. Bought a Cold Steel 5′ blowgun and 100 spear point darts. Works great and is an entirely intuitive weapon. Tried three shots and nailed a styrofoam cup every time in my 25′ long garage. Outside at 5:30AM and got three pigeons of the large group that congregates on my roof every AM. The two Harris hawks that roost in the two foot diameter mesquite tree over my backyard fence, swooped in and got two of them before they hit the ground (I lost 2 darts). Using plastic gloves (pigeons here are often infected) I removed my dart and tossed third pigeon toward tree and soon hawks picked it up too, while I sat on the patio and had my coffee. I do not fire my pellet rifle upward because a chance miss would send a pellet into the void. Pigeons are real pests here due to the adjacent golf course. They even try to nest in nooks and crannies of my patio cover. I see why blowguns are called “The breath of death.” Now, where do I get curare?

    • I hate to say “I told you so” but, I told you so (I actually don’t even hate it). Amazing weapon eh? I’ll bet the first hit was exhilarating, just an unbelievable “did I just do that”? moment. Nicely done my friend, nicely done. In the Amazon they make em 8′-10′ long, just think how accurate those babies are. Um, curare I’ve heard is available, just don’t know where. If you can get it that makes your kit better than any gun on the market at fairly close range and completely silent.
      I haven’t watched the latest episode of the inept survivors nor the continuing episode of the “Stupids” but breakfast isn’t for another hour yet.

  4. KEN/JC- I don’t know if you guys like fictional novels (& if so, what genres appeal to you), but there’s this guy named Joe R. Lansdale (from Nagadoches,TX.) who is well worth checking out. His “Hap & Leonard” series is priceless trash (in a good way!). Then there are stand alone novels like “The Bottoms” that rival the best of Southern Gothic classics. I work part time proofreading & copyediting detective novels, & he is a favorite of many published authors in the genre & beyond. Unique, & way over the top!

  5. KELLIE:
    May I pick your brain for a moment?
    1. how many shows do you review weekly?
    2. do you get to choose what you review?
    3. is channelguidemag your only client?
    4. is there anything that you would watch regularly whether you got paid or not?
    5. are you interested in politix/current events (to the point that you would care to write about it)

    • Jesus Al, nosey much? Go to the main page of this section and look on the right. There are a list of DC bloggers and Kellie’s name is there. It lists all the shows she reviews. Good luck.

  6. Tools. Hands, wrists and brains are man’s greatest tools plus, they are attached and always with us. Using these everything else needed to survive can be fabricated and/or gathered from nature. Of course, unused tools are of no consequence.

    • Don’t forget the big toes, unless crawling is appealing to you.. I once fell from a waterfall 15 feet, & landed flat on my feet, thank God. But you wouldn’t want to be in that situation (25 miles backcountry). Hands & knees is slow business!

        • I was also trying to make a point, but apologize if it came off as flippant. I tend to joke about things, in order to save my sanity. Feet are important for walking, & toes are necessary for balance. All your points are well taken, as always. PEACE, MAN..

  7. Ken, Al. I do not think Darrin will make it to extraction. His eyes are glassy looking as if he is in pain but is “toughing it out.”

    • Interesting observation, brother. I hadn’t noticed that, but must admit that he hasn’t lived up to my perceived potential and doesn’t look quite right lately (in some vague & previously undefined way). I want to think that his problems are mostly social. If he were alone maybe things would be different? (perhaps he is jealous/hurt over Kim & RWB’s cyber relationship..)

      • I was wrong, all 4 of them made it. Darrin mention he would black out when he stood which accounts for the glassy eyed look.

    • I agree J.C. Darrin has had that 1,000 yard stare for the last two episodes. He might be in starvation paralysis or just simply zoned out. I keep wondering when someone is going to find some jungle Ganja! ;-).

  8. HEADS UP!!- the reunion show is on this coming Wednesday!
    SOME QUESTIONS: Every N&A episode (including XL) credits a Michael Brown. Who is he? Also, besides him every XL show credits Jake Nodar & Carrie Booze! We all know that Jake is their darling (mark my words- he will be back for extraction; they show clips of him getting up out of his hospital bed & fussing about..). Why Carrie is listed is beyond my comprehension- it makes me wonder again what her intentions were from the beginning (possibly just to get her 15 minutes to promote her modeling career, or she has some connection with DC)(possibly she is sleeping with a producer or 2?). Lastly, the description for the uncensored version of last week’s episode refers to the fruit as “contaminated”. This reinforces my belief that the monkeys pissed or pooped on it to mark their territory. How would you feel if these ugly humans moved in on your territory & ate the few resources that you have available? Monkeys are not Christians, & turn the other cheek is not in their vocabulary! The survivalists should have known better. I wouldn’t be surprised if later tonite we find that 10 days, plus extraction can be summarized in one episode because everybody gets sick & is evacuated. Quite an “extraction”, huh?

    • Al. I don’t record anything but when Carrie tapped out I recall an uncensored extra show with a pop up note that said the Producers had talked Carrie into doing the XL2 show. As far as straight information we only get bits and pieces of the truth. What did I expect from the show? I expected to see men and women with nothing adapt, cooperate and learn to prosper in an unknown environment. I consider no clothing or footwear as having nothing; no matter how many knives or other tools they have. If the men had been given a large scarf and the women two scarves they could have dispensed with the accursed “pixelating.” Also give them a pair of heavy leather sandals like the Masai wear.

      • And why Carrie, out of all possible female choices? She is both one of the top 5 worst companions ever, & one of the top 5 most attractive ones as well. Definitely sleeping with someone!

  9. JC- How about “The Hilarious Misadventures of Mutt & Jeff” as a subtitle for this season of Dual Survival? I like it alot (& it just came to me out of the blue while writing Kellie, after a week of trying to come up with nicknames to no avail). So I guess that makes EJ a mutt. I can live with that- he does have that stray dog kind of look to him lately..

  10. KELLIE-
    Would you please consider covering Dual Survival (at least until the next season of N&A starts)? The 1st episode aired this past week & is still in rotation, so you could easily backtrack. Alot of us here watch it, & I can pretty much guarantee you a very lively (& perhaps hilarious) discussion will ensue! Also, it will allow you the opportunity to fully unleash your inner sarcasm..THANX,AL

  11. I want to send a big thank you out to Kellie (& the rest of you too) for a very civil,funny,educational & even personal experience of sharing thoughts & ideas over the last couple of months or so. I feel like some of us are becoming good friends as well, & if we lived near each other would be hanging out (& going on adventures/camping too.) PEACE TO YOU ALL!!!

  12. KenO. If Jake is allowed to come back after being evacuated overnight, we will know for certain the entire show was faked.

    • Don’t we know that already? Four people getting sick on the same episode is now considered “action”? This is the lamest group of participants yet. They never figured out how to work together on anything until they were almost done. How is this going to end? They had another 10 days to go before extraction and we get one episode to watch that? Or did the rest of them get sick as well or in their great wisdom “Metal Flowers” called the game…..

      • KenO. There were too many talented people in this group who have done nothing that we can see. What we do see is Jake mugging and lecturing to the camera constantly, with winks. Was this a set up like Croatia where they were told “You can’t kill anything or cut down anything” but viewers were not told this? Were the XL2 survivalists told BTW “here is your script?” The only thing that set N&A apart from the other DC fake reality shows was that it was semi-real. Have the Producers and MF made fools of us all? If the public realizes this and says “drop dead” they are DEAD.
        The show “Black Gold” was entirely fake and died quickly. I worked 6 months as a roughneck on a drilling rig and it was just hard and sometimes dangerous work due to accidents. Anyway, my suspicious nature has been activated about N&A and if Jake returns it will be confirmed that they have made fools of us and the “survivalists.”

        • One VERY positive thing about this season compared with the last one: The girls are nice to each other, & to everybody else as well. When I reflect back on last year, this is a very major improvement. Getting along is perhaps the most important survival skill. Now they need to work on all the others, though.. (really, wouldn’t you say that overall the men were extreme failures in their roles of hunters & providers.

      • I think the remaining 4 will make it to the end, (Jake’s on the ropes, I don’t know what to say about him.) but this episode is all falling action. The climax was the Big Sick Day. And I’m sure that it was planned, as much as this group was set up to fail. This XL2 was brutal. It was a beatdown. This year’s cast makes last year’s look like World Beaters. As socially tough as last year’s group was, 8 people finished strong (and you’ve got to credit Jeff for bagging the meat they needed down the stretch). This year’s group of 4 or 5 are going to dribble across the finish line.

        • Once a person is extracted for medical reasons and given IV’s full of nutritious fluid, water, a nice cozy bed to rest in, he should not be allowed to return to the group. It puts him way ahead of the others as far as starving and dehydrating through the remaining 10 days.

          I know the producers completely scout the area before the survivalists (?) are dropped off to find the dangers. Remember the one producer who was bitten by a poisonous snake and had his foot ripped apart? Why didn’t the producers warn these people of the poison fruit tree; that’s just cruel UNLESS it was all staged for drama and they actually weren’t sick, just pretending.

          I’ve asked this before but didn’t get any response. Are the survivalists only able to go a certain distance before setting up camp and then, when famished and dry, have to make it to extraction? Why can’t they hike as close to extraction point as they can get while still healthy? That would make sense and then they wouldn’t have to hike the rest of the way in emaciated conditions.

          • Laurajane. I didn’t answer these question because I don’t know a truthful answer.

          • LJ- the fruit was not poisonous. The people who got sick did so because they ate pieces that had their skins ripped, or ones that were already laying on the ground. You know that monkees pee on them, right? Rinsing them in the river, & washing their hands would have saved them all. And the jury is still out whether Ryan got sick because of his undercooked lizard. These people are not very smart- a 5 year old knows to wash his hands before eating!

        • Rwb. You are “double dribbling” again. They finished “strong” last year because the bitch pack was given an obviously faked kill of a baby caiman. They were out on their feet and could barely stand without dizziness.

          • Point taken, but 8 of them did finish. And they would have finished without the baby caiman. So maybe production will throw this year’s group a bone. Maybe they should after what they put them through. I still believe this wasn’t a fair challenge.

          • What I mean by “finished strong” is the fact that last year’s group built a raft, crossed a river and swam a lake to extraction. No easy task after a 40-day challenge. I can’t see this group doing that. But what was the reason they all had to head to the river? We don’t even know what the extraction challenge is and they’re going to cover 10 days & extraction in a one hour show. If the group was going to raft down the river, that would be a major action scene, and we would have seen it in upcoming previews. Maybe after Big Sick Day they decided they had to change the script.

        • I don’t think it’s coincidence that everyone meets at the lake by Day 21 or whatever. They’re probably told to do so by production, just make it look plausible. They’re probably told to work it out for a couple weeks, then move it on toward the river, or some destination that has to do with meeting the extraction point. I don’t think it was planned that they eat the poison fruit, but it work in nicely with the “script” as major action since they never contributed anything in the way of capturing a large animal. On Big Sick Day, half the group tapped-out, and it was indeed the climax of the show. Sunday night’s show will be all falling action to the extraction, where they will stage a We-made-it Hugfest.

          Sadly without Kim, ’cause who’s more hugable than her?

        • We all kept watching like we do when a movie has the potential to be good only to find out it never does. Naked and Afraid Lite as well as Naked and Afraid XL are both, sadly, hoaxes on it’s viewers. We all hoped to learn things about survival but all we learned was, as usual, everything is a scam. From the phony title, I mean “Naked and Afraid” when they might as well be wearing shirts and shorts since they ARE wearing digital shirts and shorts. What’s the point? Then they intentionally drop them in an area that is so depleted of resources that they can’t possible make a go of it. They only get to the end because of endurance starvation not because they were successful hunters/trappers/fishers or foragers. Miserably sad, hardly worth the lost time watching the episodes. I know I sound disgruntled but so what, they take us for morons when the plant their sappy chosen ones and then their sappy chosen ones don’t make it either. Jesus, washing your food is survival 101… bad is that? Might as well just drink any water you find without bothering to filter it either.

    • JC- I wouldn’t say faked just on that account. Instead, it speaks loudly to all our suspicions that DC/Metal Flowers clearly plays favorites, & the show is semi scripted. Now that I think about it, that is faking it so you are right..

  13. General question just for fun. If you had to sit next to one of these guys for an 8-hour plane flight, who would it be?

    a.) Darrin Reay

    b.) Shane Lewis

      • Me too, but mostly because he will be quiet alot of the time (I like to read & snooze on flights). Also, Shane is almost 7 feet tall. Unless we were in first class, it would probably be very uncomfortable for him & me..

  14. I watched the replay of Episode 7 again last night, and it doesn’t seem like anything improves for this woe some lot. (I saw a clip of them throwing sticks at animals again.) Gratefully, this is the final episode. If this show were a lame race horse, they would have shot it by now.

    • Rwb, I watched it last night for the first time and I was wondering about Darrin and Kim. I thought they were a couple; however, when Kim was writhing in pain, where was Darrin? I couldn’t tell cause it was dark but it seemed he was just lying down instead of sitting there holding her in his arms til the medics came. Is that was happened?

      As for a plane companion, I like quiet people sitting next to me and that would be Darrin. Shane is a non-stop talker bullshitter. He’d make me want to push out the emergency door and jump out.

      • Hi LJ. Yeah, you bring up an interesting point that I hadn’t thought of. I didn’t see Darrin around, either. I don’t think they had a falling out. They went camp scouting together just hours before. Darrin’s very knowledgeable about survival, but too weird socially.

        I think I’d rather sit next to Shane, because if I didn’t, he’d probably break me in half! LOL!

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