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'Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls' Review: 'The Mountain Will Give You Strength'

Christopher Monigle Christopher Monigle
July 30th, 2013 10:05am EDT

Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls

Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls isn't a surprising series. The obstacle, food, shelter routine results in repeats. Teams that do well each week continue to do well while teams that don't continue to not perform well. The successful teams get frustrated. The less successful teams hang their heads and hope no one notices their hung head or their poor performance. Bear continues to give the teams disgusting survival food such as maggots and worms that don't reluctantly eat. One team enjoys the feast pit for winning the survival test each episode. The feast pit is now so uninteresting to watch that I didn't even notice it this week (or maybe the editor decided not to show it). The one surprising aspect of the series thus far has been the shocking non-elimination of Robin and Wilson every single week.

Robin and Wilson would've drowned in an actual survival situation in last week's episode, but Bear kept them around because he didn't like Alicia's attitude. The one team that wouldn't get out alive survived elimination because they smiled and ate their food like they were told. Robin's effort in "The Mountain Will Give You Strength" is admirable--she even gets an aside in which she details her personal battle against obesity and how her trip up the waterfall is a sign she's fighting and fighting. Wilson just lags behind and doesn't get an aside explaining why he's struggling; he's a middle aged man who probably tired after a long's day journey. Bear's been lenient on effort and positive will-power, though he acknowledges Wilson's dragging others down. Jeff and his partner basically blamed Wilson for losing the survival test. I haven't figured out Bear's evaluations yet.

Mama Donna and Canden went home this week mostly because of Mama Donna's struggles mentally and physically. The duck eggs seemed to crush poor Mama Donna. Bear didn't think her daughter could keep her mother going and so he sent them packing. Mama Donna seemed to struggle as much as Wilson throughout the obstacles and subsequent hike to camp. Mama Donna and Canden, at least, boiled the eggs. Sure, they didn't eat the boiled duckling inside the egg, but the editing suggested Robin and Wilson stood by and watched Austin and Jim figure out shelter. I don't think Wilson spoke more than seven sentences in the entire episode, whereas Mama Donna seemed to undergo the same sort of thing Alicia experienced in last week's episode, or Esmerelda before Alicia.

Bear repeats, "the wild is revealing," at every elimination round. I would like it if Bear threw in a reference to Charles Darwin since Get Out Alive is sort of like watching the survival of the fittest. I mean, it's a stretch for me to write considering the continued survival of Wilson and Robin, but those who get down in the wild and feel hopeless, helpless and sad, feel that way because of the wild. I wonder about an alternate version of Get Out Alive wherein Bear follows ten teams as they try to live like Henry David Thoreau did at Walden pond, which would transform Get Out Alive into a sort of commentary about preserving nature. I don't know.

Get Out Alive's also developed this trend of showing women breaking down and losing their whatever-you-want-to-call-it. I don't trust the editing at all. I think viewers are getting 20%-30% of what actually happened (though it is probably LESS). Bear's eliminated the last three teams because a woman can't keep it together. Meanwhile, the men's edit are great. They're eating ducklings, maggots, carrying two heavy bags--you know, just being MEN. It could be a coincidence that the last three teams (heck, the first team eliminated had TWO women) had women struggling with her situation. I don't know what it means or if it means anything. I'm just observing a developing trend. Madeline and Louie done well since the beginning of the series, though.

Amazingly, though, after four episodes, Robin and Wilson continue to play for the big money. I'm going to start rooting for them because I never expected them to get this far. Through four episodes, I think Jeff and his partner are the favorites.

Photo Credits: © NBCUniversal, Inc


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