Every episode of “Naked and Afraid” is tough, but this week's may be the most hellacious I remember seeing that didn't involve a medical intervention. The worst part, though, is that so many of the obstacles Jeff and Eva face are of their own making. Actually, most of them are of Jeff's making, but we'll get into that in a moment.
Jeff and Eva are not what you would call a natural pairing. Jeff is a devout Mormon from Idaho and loves to climb stuff. He's also a hunter and feels animals are meant to be “used.” He wants to fight Mother Nature and beat her.
Eva, on the other hand, wants to go to a commune with Mother Nature and feed her cookies. This is going to be awesome!
When they both prepare to meet in their resplendent nakedness, Jeff worries he's going to have to let his new pal down easy. He's married! And totally delusional about how attractive his pasty butt really is.
Eva somehow manages to restrain herself from jumping Jeff's bones and engages in a civil conversation with the guy. They compare survival items — Eva brought a big knife and Jeff brought fire starter. Jeff is immediately put off by Eva's love of nature. Darn tree hugger!
Time for scores! Jeff's PSR is 7.0 and Eva's PSR is 7.2. Take that, Jeff!
Eva gets a sign that Jeff is wackado when he decides he wants greenery to make a sunscreen “scarf.” This means carrying around a bunch of tree branches which offer all the shade of a coat hangar. Eva thinks he's all kinds of nuts. Things are looking up!
It isn't long before the odd couple starts facing the fact they have very, very different perspectives on life, survival and pretty much everything. Eva can't believe he's going to rape and pillage the landscape by taking a bird's nest to start a fire! Jeff is okay with raping the landscape if it means not freezing to death and thinks Eva is an idiot, but he leaves the bird's nest. Pssst, Eva? Dumb move you will soon regret.
That night, it's icy cold for our naked adventurers, but God forbid (literally) Jeff do anything to alleviate that problem. He wants to cuddle, but he's a married man! His wife won't let him cuddle! So he prays instead. Eva just wants to be warm, and thinks, again, that Jeff is an idiot. I think his wife might be the bigger idiot, because apparently she'd rather have her new husband freeze to death than accidentally touch the loins of a naked, dirty woman who finds her husband borderline repellant.
Next it's Eva's turn to be an idiot. Even though they have an amazing cave complete with running water for a shelter, she doesn't want Jeff to kill the black widows nesting there. They're her friends! Murdering little innocent spiders that might kill her is bad karma! Jeff thinks Eva is an idiot. Even though these two really are plagued by thoughts that the other is a total dunderhead, to their credit, they remain calm and don't roll their eyes once. It's pretty amazing, really.
Jeff tries to start a fire, which is the key to warmth and clean water, but nothing works. Gee, maybe you should have gotten those damn bird's nests, Eva!
Eva kills a snake, and they're so excited — though Eva is slightly sarcastic when Jeff tells her he'll “let her” make the first cut. “Feminists bug me,” Jeff grumbles.
Still, Eva lets Jeff talk her into cooking the snake into a hardened, inedible mess. I think even Jeff can agree that this point he's the bigger idiot — and we're not even two weeks in yet.
By day 13, Jeff and Eva have had the caloric equivalent of half an apple. Eva can feel her heart beating in her neck. She needs water, STAT. Jeff guides her back to the cave and they vow not to leave without proper hydration.
The next day, Jeff finally catches the lizard that has been taunting him. He actually bites its head off to kill it. Eva might have wanted the head, Jeff. That wasn't nice, dude.
On day 17, Jeff prays for food — and they actually stumble across another snake! For some reason they decide to smoke it in an elaborate hut-like structure. Can't they just put it on sticks and put it directly in the fire and eat immediately? No, they must smoke the snake all night, because of course no one will fall asleep, allowing a fire to engulf the cage and destroy their only food (unless you count a lizard) in more than two weeks!
Hey, guess what? Yeah, snake is kind of destroyed, and this is apparently Jeff's fault. Eva doesn't rip into him one bit. They just focus on salvaging what they can. This is the moment when any sane person would be tapping out. They're both starving, it's taken 17 days to find even two sources of food (both of which are destroyed) and their bodies are eating themselves. Watching the fire tear through their cave, all I can think is, you're tapping out, right?
No, they're entirely grossed out picking through the guts of the snake — then realize the snake was pregnant and had great, globby egg-like things in her stomach. They eat! This is a miracle (at least Jeff thinks it's pretty close), and I will say Eva has completely reversed herself on the “hug all of Mother Nature's creatures” thing. After a scorpion scrambled across her back, she was more than happy to kill spiders, kill animals, kill ANYTHING that might be edible. Extreme hunger does that, I suspect.
Finally, it's day 21 — time to head to the extraction point! Jeff feels like he understands people who are different than him now. Eva understands snakes takes taste good. Everybody wins!
They manage to climb the not-insubstantial cliff face to build a fire to alert their captors, I mean the TV crew, they're ready to go. I'm amazed these two made it to the end and didn't get into a nasty fight, blame one another for their stupid decisions, or just tap out. As horrible as this must have been for them (two snakes destroyed!), Jeff and Eva absolutely proved they're made out of incredibly tough stuff.
Oh, and they're made out of less of that tough stuff. Over three weeks Jeff lost 31 pounds and Eva lost 23. This is the worst diet plan ever, but it's really effective.
Back at home, Jeff ate hamburgers and prepared for another solo adventure (this time with clothing) and Eva returned home to her dogs and decided she wants to learn to hunt. So, this odd couple influenced one another in all sorts of unexpected ways.
Time for new scores! Jeff moves up to a 7.3, while Eva gets a 7.4. Both scores richly deserved, if you ask me.
Were you surprised Jeff's wife wouldn't let him cuddle for warmth? What did you think of Eva's decision to kill the black widows? What did you think of their snake handling?