Season 4 of Dual Survival started last Wednesday, with part 1 of “No End in Sight”. Part 2 is being shown tonight.
And meanwhile, the demonization of Cody Lundin, as Discovery tries to whitewash firing him, continues.
Part 2 of “No End in Sight” airs tonight. Here’s the official description:
Deep in the Sri Lankan jungle, Cody Lundin becomes proficient with an ancient fire piston, Joe Teti encounters an elephant that tries to push him off a cliff, and they both must cross a lake that is filled with crocodiles.
And now my thoughts on part 1.
As I mentioned, Discovery is starting the demonization of Cody. They started the show with the beginning of this clip. This was also show in the middle of the show as they came back from a break. First, there are some words on the screen:
Teamwork in the wild is a matter of life and death. As of December 2013, one member of Dual Survival is no longer on the show.
Then we get a scene, in Norway I’m pretty sure, where Joe and Cody are looking for shelter.
Here’s the conversation (debleeped by me).
Joe: You’ve got to pray you find us shelter, because you’re not going to make it out of here and I’ve got to carry you out.
Cody: I teach winter survival—you don’t. I’ve trained for this and I know what the fuck I’m doing. Look where you’re proposing we stay.
Joe: My fucking life is being compromised.
Cody: Fuck you, Joe.
And then words on the screen again:
What follows are the episodes leading up to this event as they were originally produced.
You can see that they are trying to portray Cody as not a team player.
I do not think it shows what they think it shows.
To me, it shows Joe being utterly arrogant in his ignorance (and we see that a lot from Joe, up to an including the piss-drinking scenario at Atacama). Don’t get me wrong—Joe seems to be a nice-enough guy, though I do find his intensity a bit off-putting.
But he even admits on his facebook page that he doesn’t have survival training. Here is what he says:
Discovery brought me into the show not because I am some high speed primitive survival “expert” (which I am not nor have I ever hinted to the fact I am), but because of my experiences and views based on my special operations background and survival skills I have obtained over the years.
To me, teamwork is listening to the experts. Teamwork is not bullheadedly making claims when you have to know you don’t know what you are talking about. Yes, his fucking life is being compromised: by himself.
I bet he never would have gotten away with such crap when he was in the Marines or the Army (or when he was a contractor in Iraq or Afghanistan).
So, the scenario for “No End in Sight” is getting stranded in the southern mangrove swamps of Sri Lanka due to a puncture in an inflatable boat.
Of course, Cody is barefoot as always (at least when the temperatures cooperate). Here they are when they’ve hit just slightly higher, and drier, ground.
This is really rough terrain. It’s thick jungle. But the challenge is not from being barefooted; it’s from the jungle itself. The jungle floor actually looks pretty inviting (keeping in mind that this is a barefooting blog).
Survival-wise, they do show us a couple of the standard “tricks”. Cody shows how to split a single match. (For some reason, the little tin of matches only comes with the one match.)
Well, we know the reason: television. That’s the way the scenario is set up, just so we can watch Cody split the match. Some day I’d like to see a set-up where they’re really, realistically, supplied with a whole container of matches (like what I carry). Cody also shows how to make charcloth (always a good thing to know, and maybe catching a few new viewers who didn’t know about it).
One thing I thought funny: at one point they are climbing a bit and Joe asks, “Need a hand?” Cody’s reply is, “No, I’ve got several”. I heard that as meaning that his feet were also counting as hands, because in those climbing situations, bare feet really do work better. You’ve got your toes!
Later on, Joe catches a large mud crab, after having made a crab-trap basket. (That was pretty impressive; I wonder how long it took to make. Actually, given the fact that there is crew all around, and they’re on a tight shooting schedule, I wonder if he actually was the one who made it—after all, they are only “demonstrating” survival, not really living it.)
As they did with the rattlesnake in Into the Frying Pan, there is talk about how they cannot eat the protein until they have water. I still think Cody has misinterpreted what this means. Here’s the conversation:
Joe: Let’s take this thing back and cook this thing up. I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry.
Cody: Yeah. But without the water, protein’s the last thing we want because it uses most of the metabolic water to digest.
Metabolic water is the water produced as a food source is digested. Protein produces less water than fat or carbs, but it still produces water (and not that much less than carbs, either). The thing about burning protein is that it leaves behind nitrogen, which has to be excreted as the urea in urine. Thus, eating protein has a slight diuretic effect. But overall, in mammals, it is mostly neutral with regards to water.
So my understanding of it is that they could have gone ahead and eaten the crab right then for the energy and still waited to get their water when they could.
By they way, I’m also surprised they worked so hard to get the crab out of the basket without trying to just put a sturdy stick in there for the crab to grab, and then lift it out. I’m not saying that would have worked, but shouldn’t they have tried?
There was also a short interlude in which they had to remove a bunch of leeches from Joe. Frankly, leeches are particularly disgusting. They are even moreso since they inject an anti-coagulant, so even when you get them off, you keep bleeding.
And why, Joe wanted to know, wasn’t Cody having trouble with the leeches? Well, as you can see from this picture, a lot of Joe’s leeches were attaching underneath his pants, where he couldn’t see them unless he stopped and pulled up his pants legs. With Cody being barefooted and barelegged, he can easily see them and remove them almost immediately. (Note: this also applies to ticks in the American northeast.)
And then there was the cobra. This illustrates yet again Joe’s disdain for knowing what he is talking about. Cody, who knows these things, is saying that the proper technique is to stay perfectly still. This will let the snake back down from feeling threatened, and eventually leave. (By the way, I’m also wondering about the cameraman getting this shot. Just how much were things simply set-up?)
Here’s part of the conversation:
Cody: You’re moving.
Joe: Cody, shut up.
Cody: Don’t move. These things track off movement.
Joe: Well, you know what? This is exactly why I made this dam thing. [A propeller spear, from the propeller that was on the boat.]
Cody, listen to me very carefully. I’m not sitting here all damn day. We’re either killing this thing or moving out. Period. End of story.
This cobra is kicking my fight-or-flight instinct. I am flat-ass on the “X”, and my training says take this thing out right now.
There is just so much wrong with this.
First, since he obviously doesn’t know enough about cobras to know not to move, why would there be any reassurance that he will know what the cobra would do as he approached it to try to kill it? Cobras are fast and they are agile. What is he going to do if it evades the propeller? (Besides die, I mean.)
Second, I would hate to have been in his military unit. Imagine a scenario in which your force is obviously outgunned by a passing enemy convoy, so you’re only option is to lie low and wait for them to pass by. Good ol’ Joe, though, says the convoy is kicking his fight-or-flight instincts, so he’s going to attack them anyways.
Yes, that is the equivalent of what he is doing with the cobra.
The conversation ends with
Joe: Cody’s saying to freeze and not move and it’s going to go away. I’m going to give this thing about 30 seconds to do something and then I’m going to act.
So, what did the cobra do? It backed down and left, just as Cody said.
The lack of teamwork here was being shown by Joe, not Cody.
But he is getting to act all macho, and that seems to be what really turns on the producers of the show. They’re trying to turn this into a Bear Grylls on steroids type of show, and Cody knows quite well that that is not the real way to survive.
You don’t climb up steep rocks if you can find a way around. You don’t jump off cliffs into water if you really don’t need to. Cody wants to demonstrate the kind of survival tactics that can let an old, fat, arthritic man survive just as well as a macho man.
But I guess that’s just not considered good television.
We got a few more macho scenes when Joe climbed a steep cliff face (and, in fact, the show left us with a literal cliff-hanger when Joe tries to come back down). There was another scene in which Joe and Cody start to take refuge under a rock overhang with a crevasse leading back into the dark.
Now to me, the first thing I’d do is be very careful about that crevasse, but neither Joe nor Cody seem to think that might be a danger. Until they spot a cat track, and then hear a roar. At which point they beat a hasty retreat. But somehow, Joe isn’t using his propeller spear as “force protection”. Heck, he’s not even holding it between himself and the cat, let along removing the threat.
Anyways, tonight we get to see how things end up in Sri Lanka.
Cody’s still on; I’m still watching.