Backpacker Reviews "Stranded With a Million Dollars": Week 7

Our millennial heroes try to starve each other out and party on a yacht.
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Our millennial heroes try to starve each other out and party on a yacht.
stranded reality show

The claws are out this week on our favorite reality TV show, and all the drama has our millennial hearts going pitter-patter with excitement. (Haven't kept up? Catch up on past recaps, refresh your memory on last week’s explosive episode, and brace yourself for spoilers). Week 7 recap comin’ atcha.

When we meet our 4 remaining survivalists, we’re 24 days stranded with a purse of $288,250, or roughly $72,063 per contestant. The kids are at very different places emotionally: Cody and Makani are like Tommy and the boys driving down the field in the fourth quarter, which kind of makes Alex and Gina like Matty Ice and the Falcons watching their title hopes/ appendixes disintegrate before their eyes with something resembling inevitability.

“No Eilish, no Alonzo. I feel like we’ve got to do twice the work now without them,” Alex laments to Gina, proving not only that he’s good at math, but also that he’s still the world’s okayest trip leader. His team’s mantra to this point has been to buy more stuff, though, so without the majority alliance, he’s probably underselling what’s to come.

Gina has her limitations,” Alex adds, noting that his packweight is sure to increase on the journeys to come. Not including water, the millennials hefted 109 lbs. in their fastpacking adventure last week. This week, that number will increase some, but, once again, we have no idea how much dolla bills weigh, so let’s just assume they will have to divide 130 lbs. among four people. Thus far, Gina has been good for about 6 lbs., which means more than 40 lbs. are in store for Alex, Cody, and Makani.

That’s about what Cody carried last time, but is sure to be a shocking increase for Alex and Makani, who each propose to finally crest (and in Makani’s case, shoot past) 25% of their bodyweight. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Cut to a fabulous montage of Gina’s many falls over the last 24 days.

Team Makody starts counting their future winnings, Alex devises a plan to form a pact with Cody, Makani is randomly eating a watermelon, and before we can wrap our heads around what’s happening, the tablet dings.

The trip to Campsite #7 and $100,000 looks to be about 1.5 miles along the coast with some highly anticipated water crossings. The team has just 90 minutes to complete it, which is totally doable, but 2 hours less than they were given for the same distance in in episode 1. Cut to Gina, whose look we can only describe as panic.

“I hate being in the water because I can’t swim,” she says to a camera. “I’d rather be on the beach, with a margarita, not drowning myself.”

The mystery weight of money shall be further debated because the team divides 111 lbs. (just 2 more lbs. than last time):

Alex: Backpack of Money = 25 lbs. (~15% of bodyweight*)

Gina: Pot + Tent = 14 lbs. (~9% of bodyweight)

Makani: Tent + Flare Case = 27 lbs. (~19% of bodyweight)

Cody: Duffle of Money = 45 lbs. (~22% of bodyweight)

Hot takes: Sad as it is, Gina and Cody are probably carrying the right amounts, given each one's respective mental fortitude. Everyone should be able to go up to 25% comfortably, but without a backpack and proper attitude, that can be tough. (Remember what it was like moving old-school TVs before the days of flat screens? Our fingers have never truly recovered.) We wish Alex could have manipulated a way to affix Makani’s tent to his backpack, but the prospect of Team Spend Money helping Team Makody is kind of like Pepsi offering a few billion to Coke, so we get it.

But a few things before we check in on Gina’s watery journey:

(1) Why is Alex carrying less weight than he carried last week?

(2) Where did the machete go?

(3) Who gets to wear Alonzo’s fresh $2,000 socks?

OK, so the journey is actually pretty ridiculous: The contestants are wading through the ocean, neck-deep, in places. The surf is blasting them into jagged sea stacks, and it looks miserable. They opt to swim through deeper water, rather than tiptoe across ankle-breakers in the shallows, which, honestly, we think is the right choice, MINUS THE FACT THAT GINA CAN’T SWIM.

In a rare moment of vulnerability, our favorite sur-thrivalist concedes, “I don’t want you to be here, Gina. I don’t want you to be in this game. But I also don’t want you to die.” #tinglyfeelings

She doesn’t, and the group makes it to camp barely within the time limit for another $100,000, bringing their total to $388,250.

Alex and Cody go off to sit by the water for a heart to heart, aka Alex trying to figure out how to get food now that he can’t buy pizza and burgers every few days. He proposes: “Would you take me on your Temptation if I got rid of Gina?” (Cody is the only contestant to not have received one yet, so he’s all but guaranteed the next $15,000 AYCE buffet.) Alex’s hangriness having reached new heights, he tells the camera that he wouldn’t actually push Gina out because “she’s pivotal.” OK

Next morning, Cody turns Alex down, professing his loyalty to Makani, and we swoon. What a guy.

He tells Alex there will be no more money spent at the group buys, not even on peanut butter. It’s now a game of who can wait out the others.

Just kidding! It’s a game of who can steal enough to survive. Scorned, Alex scampers back off to camp to eat Team Makody’s peanut butter and one of their carrots. In a sense, we feel betrayed. Alex may not be the best backpacker out there, but he’s been the most consistently loyal and honest and now, suddenly, he’s stealing food and throwing his allies under the bus.

The iPad dings and it’s a group buy. Team Makody is lobbying for a $25,000 backpack, while Gina is lobbying for more peanut butter. When no one bites, she announces that if she doesn’t get PB, she won’t carry anything on the next journey. It sounds pretty strategic, until Cody says, “Not going to carry a thing? So pretty similar to what you’ve been doing?”

Before we divulge what happens, we’d like to take the opportunity to tell you what WE would do if we were Team Makody (perks of writing your own blog): We would refuse Gina her peanut butter, and at the next fastpacking trip, we’d ditch her. No doubt she’d self-evacuate without someone holding her hand.

The group vetoes the peanut butter (good call) and approves the backpack (probably a good call).

At some point, Alex and Gina—now wise to the ways of waterborne illness—are boiling water on an open fire. (As a bonus, we see Gina the Team Player adding sticks, too.) Because they’re hangry, they decide they’re no longer sharing water with Cody and Makani. So when Cody goes to fill his bottle with boiling water, Alex—instead of saying, “Hey, man, we boiled that for ourselves, why don’t you boil your own?”—says, “I’m not lying to you, that never boiled.”

We’ll spare you the following argument, but suffice to say, it’s petty.

The tablet dings for Cody’s Temptation, and he and Makani catch a dinghy ride to a catamaran party. They splurge on the $15,000 option, which not only includes a gourmet picnic, but an overnight stay on the yacht and breakfast the following morning.

Meanwhile, a teary Alex confesses to Gina that he’s “not sure (he) can make it to the end with (Gina).” He’s a wet, weepy mess, and can’t stand the thought of 13 more days. Alex isn’t our favorite contestant, but we feel for the guy/ wonder why he isn’t taking this opportunity to steal whatever’s left of Cody and Makani’s peanut butter.

Flash to Team Makody, where the two front-runners are clean, full, boozed-up, and smiling big on the boat, enjoying Fiji’s—well, MTV’s—spoils. They start scheming to steal the stockpot, which would prevent Alex and Gina from drinking water, which seems like it shouldn’t be allowed, but that’s neither here nor there.

“All I wanted was peanut butter, and these b****es got a freaking boat with food, what the f***?” Gina bemoans. It’s kind of ironic, given that she spent $15,000 on burgers less than 3 days stranded, but, flavor of the episode, that’s neither here nor there.

In the second-ever challenge on the show (we don’t really understand when or why these happen), the group has the opportunity to win back some money. In 17 minutes, they—as a group—can collect as many cash boxes as they can. There are two $5,000 boxes in the shallow surf, one $15,000 box high in a tree, one $20,000 box a little ways into the ocean, and one $30,000 box deep in the ocean.

Everyone begins brainstorming how to get our non-swimming friend, Gina, out to sea, and, without a plan, they determine that it’s possible to get the $30,000 box. Gina almost drowns (again), Cody helps her along (again), Alex tells her he’s proud of her (again), and we hope this episode inspires any of our readers who were thinking of trying out for season 2 to first learn how to doggy-paddle.

They race to shore with two minutes to spare, yank the $15,000 box from the tree, and add a hot $45,000 to the prize pool.

But before everyone can celebrate, Team Makody guns for the stockpot. And then, bam, THE DRAMA WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR. “We’re playing hardball, Alex,” Cody says as he shoulders the backpack and Makani clutches the pot, “you’re not touching anything in this bag, you’re not touching the pot. Good luck. Checkmate.” And then he stole all of the presents in Whoville and tossed them from Mt. Crumpit.

The only thing worse? Another week ’til episode 8.

Current rankings
(Reminder: the scale is 1-10, where 1 is “just barely surviving” and 10 is “totally sur-thriving”):

Alex: 2 (He has no food, he has no water, his pets’ heads are falling off.)

Cody: 10 (Power play. This is Team Makody’s game now.)

Gina: 1 (She has literally nothing except an eyebrow pencil.)

Natalie “Makani”: 10 (Yup.)

Alonzo: 0

Ashley: 0

Bria: 0

Chris: 0

Eilish: 0

Michael: 0

Tune in next week; the eighth episode will air on Tuesday night at 10 p.m ET/PT. Follow up on our Stranded With a Million Dollars review page to read our next recap on Wednesday.

* Don’t judge us by how much we’re assuming each contestant weighs.