Backpacker Reviews "Stranded With a Million Dollars": Week 6

Our millennial heroes get giardia and watch their socks get washed away to sea.

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Welcome to our Week 6 recap, devoted fans! Our favorite crack TV show aired on Tuesday, so let’s (A) discuss how these contestants on a similar show were forgotten about and left to eat chicken feed, and (B) review the past episode. Don’t worry, MTV survivalists, we would never forget about you! Let’s begin. (Spoilers ahead.)

We left off last episode with Cody feeling extra salty after Team Spend Money dropped $32,000 on burgers and pizza. We’re now 18 days stranded with a current prize total of $229,750 to be split among 6 remaining contestants. It’s been 4 days since the group buy, which means it’s been 4 days since the campers have eaten.

“Tough money to spend,” Alex concedes, “but we may need it to survive.”

Um, hold up. As some of our faithful readers (you like us! You really like us!) pointed out this past week: If rice ($4,000 for a sack) has always been an option, why are the campers dropping $30K every few days on burgers and hoagies? If we were the BCS, we’d drop each of their rankings right now. Oh, wait. . . This is our blog, we’ll do what we wantAlex, Alonzo, Eilish, and Gina each drop 2 points on the sur-thrival scale.

“I’ll spend $3,000 if it means I win $100,000 at the end,” Alex adds between mouthfuls of masticated cow.

“Mmmhmm,” Eilish chimes in.

Both lose another point.

Cut to Gina: “The hardest part about being out here is everything. I hate being smelly, I hate being hairy, I hate not having makeup on. And the journeys are getting harder and harder, and they’re just so annoying.” We’d drop her points right now, but we all know she’s in last place, so let’s move on.

Eilish and Gina are sitting in the tent having a heart to heart about the difference between real friends and party friends, which is kind of touching, but kind of sad. “I think I’ve had more conversations with you than with my party friends,” Gina confesses.

But before we can shed a tear, the iPad dings. It’s time for a fastpacking adventure to the Camp #6 and then next $100,000, or whatever remains of it after Team Spend Money’s all-you-can-eat binge at the next group buy. The survivalists have 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there, but looks like we have a new twist: There’s a fork in the trail.

“To the left is a shorter-distance hike over difficult terrain. To the right is an easier hike, but it covers more ground. You may split up at this section and go your separate ways. No matter the direction you take, all of you still must arrive within the time limit or you’ll lose the $100,000 stash.”

Before we dissect strategy, let’s talk about the routes. Option A (2 miles, “to the left”): short climb, intense jungle climb, descent, beach walk. Option B (2.4 miles, “to the right”): short climb, more meandering route with a river crossing, descent, beach walk.

OK, raise your hand if you’d rather cross a mystery river than go on a quick-and-dirty StairMaster climb.

No one? That’s what we thought. Not only is the shorter route easier and less dangerous, but it’s, well, shorter. Case closed.

Strategy: In a real-world situation, we’d obviously advocate for not splitting up, but this isn’t the real world. Team MaCody opts to go whatever way Team Spend Money doesn’t go, providing some convoluted reason about how Gina is more likely to flare out of the game if Makani isn’t present. The real reason is just that Team Spend Money is comprised of insufferable complainers, but that’s neither here nor there.

The fastpacking adventure begins, and we’re given the contestants’ packweights, which is a relief because I’m ready to go with my TI-89.

Alex: Backpack of Money + Machete = 26 lbs. (~16% of bodyweight*)

Alonzo: Tablet + Flare Case = 19 lbs. (~12% of bodyweight)

Cody: Duffel Bag of Money = 42 lbs. (Is that really how much money weighs? Is their prize divided into ones or something?) (~21% of bodyweight)

Eilish: Tent = 8 lbs. (~5% of bodyweight)

Gina: Pot = 6 lbs. (~4% of bodyweight)

Makani: Tent = 8 lbs. (~6% of bodyweight)

*Clears throat.* We here at BACKPACKER strongly believe you can carry roughly a quarter of your bodyweight comfortably, so we don’t expect anyone to complain on this trip. . .

Team MaCody goes with Option A (shorter, StairMaster) and Team Spend Money goes for Option B (longer, mystery river). Cody tells a camera that he and Makani are looking at this fastpacking adventure like a race because he wants dibs on the best campsite when they arrive. And everyone who’s ever backpacked is like this.

Let’s check in on the river-crossing team. We hope you have the ability to pause, rewind, and watch again because Gina falls into the water and it’s wonderful. She screams like an elk looking for love.

There is one quick scene of Cody and Makani pulling themselves out of a ravine with vines, but really that’s all we get because it’s so uneventful. In fact, Team MaCody doesn’t get any airtime until they’re down on the beach trudging through the surf and Cody, who’s wearing the duffel bag of money on his shoulders like Britney wears a snake, falls hard. It’s miraculous he doesn’t break an ankle. But, surprise, he’s OK, and Team MaCody arrives at camp first.

When Team Spend Money inches up to the ocean-crossing section, it’s obviously Gina who has trouble getting across. Best part: Alex, safely across and watching Gina flounder in the knee-deep water, mumbles under his breath, “Unbelievable,” followed not 2 seconds later with an overly enthusiastic, “All right! All together now!” He’s not very good with money, but he’s the world’s okayest trip leader. (He earns a point back.)

Team Spend Money rolls in within the time limit and the new purse is $314,750 (taking away the $15K Alonzo and Alex spent on video messages from home at the last Temptation).

Hearing Alex and Alonzo rationalize where they want to set up camp (spoiler: it’s the least LNT campsite ever) is enough to make any of our devoted readers unsubscribe, so we’ll skip ahead to the part after Eilish fills her water bottle from a spring. In a prophetic admission to the camera, she says she’s not sure what’s upstream, but it’s a gamble she’s willing to take.

If you’ve ever had giardia, your stomach churns as you know what’s about to come. It’s been great knowing you, Eilish. Let us introduce you to the world’s fastest crash diet.

Water sickness is also hitting Alonzo: “I’m not feeling great right now. My stomach is taking over. Something’s going on. And tons and tons of bricks are being thrown at my head at the same time.”

Before he can describe the intricacies of his bowel movements, however, the tablet dings and it’s another group buy, which means it’s another opportunity for Alex to spend money instead of encouraging his money-sucking friends to self-evacuate. The carnage: carrots ($2,000), peanut butter ($7,500), new socks ($2,000; Alonzo left his out to dry and the tide swept them out to sea), and two pizzas ($10,000). That’s another $21,500 down the drain, bringing the revised total to $293,250.

Cody says what we’re all thinking, “They’re not good at rationing food.” Because we all know that as soon as that crate drops, Team Spend Money is going to devour $10,000 worth of pizza, then not eat until the next group buy.

Meanwhile, a medic arrives via helicopter to check on Alonzo. His vitals are generally normal, so he’s basically told: Let the illness run its course or evacuate. Finally, a real temptation in this game: The bird is right there waiting, and though Alonzo’s illness can’t get worse, he takes the bait.

And our hearts shatter, but we do not die. Alonzo lasted 21 days and 7 hours. We take a selfie in his honor. 

Alonzo wasn’t our favorite on this show, but his departure is still an atomic wedgie to Team Spend Money, which is now down to Alex, Eilish, and Gina. Though they still have a narrow majority for buying, it’s a pretty pitiful alliance. #sorrynotsorry, Alex.

After lots of tears, it’s Eilish who is starting to feel sick, so it’s no surprise that she’s picked for the Temptation. She chooses Alex, and the two head off into the monsoon for a beach party. Kind of lame circumstances for a Temptation, but Eilish selects the $5,000 option, mostly because she wants the pitcher of water.

BUT IT’S POURING. Seriously, it’s like the Perfect Storm outside. All they need to do is dig a hole in the sand, line it with the tarp, and, like, one millisecond later, they’d have a pitcher-full of fresh water. These people! Smh.

The $5,000 water doesn’t help. As we soon learn, Eilish has appendicitis and pretty much no will to go on. The medic makes a midnight call and away she goes. We are thankful for another excuse to take a selfie.

Eilish survived 22 days and 17 hours.

Which means. . . the Allies liberate Paris, the German kids bust down the Berlin Wall, and we have a 2-on-2 game. With a stalemate, there can be no crazy buying and actual survival skills are about to be rewarded.

“It will be interesting not controlling the group buy,” Alex muses.

“How are we going to get food or anything?” Gina adds.

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

Alex: 4 (He no longer has majority, the PIN to MTV’s ATM, his bff, or his will to go on.)

Cody: 10 (The playing field is even, and don’t think we didn’t notice the little gem at the end where he offered to move Team MaCody’s tent and sleeping pads out into the sun to air out and dry—and not be washed out to sea.)

Gina: 1 (She’s been the worst survivalist every week and now she doesn’t even have her bff.)

Natalie “Makani”: 10 (Her best line this episode: “Seeing the medic, I realize it was a lot more serious. I do hope that whatever Alonzo has . . . is contagious. And hopefully their whole tent gets it.”)

Alonzo: 0

Ashley: 0

Bria: 0

Chris: 0

Eilish: 0

Michael: 0

Tune in next week; the seventh 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.

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