the history channel Only season nine episode eight opens with six survivors left in the desert of Labrador. By the time the episode ends, two more contestants have run out. One survivor is forced to leave the game due to medical issues, and the other has multiple injuries and is physically unable to continue on his own.
Episode eight, “Gut Feeling”, checks in with all six contestants and advances the season from Day 42 to the morning of Day 46.
Karie Lee, 57, Sandpoint, ID
Day 42: Karie explains that her teeth are turning black because of the cast iron pot she is using to cook berries. Her fruit skin absorbs the iron and her teeth are changing color. She uses horsetail to create a tooth powder, hoping that she will help. She does, and she’s all smiles as she goes muskrat hunting.
Karie spends a bit of time trying to figure out how to hunt in the water without losing her arrow and comes up with a workable solution. She bites an arrow to her floating line so she can retrieve it and a muskrat. Karie is itching to eat, but a stationary camera shows a muskrat nearby in the water as she pays no attention. (Show the hands of viewers who, like me, yelled at the screen to look up!) Fortunately, she finally notices the animal. Unfortunately, she dives before she can fire.
He returns to his shelter without food. Karie won’t give up on the muskrats, but she failed on her first hunt.
Karie reminds viewers that her goal if she wins is to build a wilderness school on land she recently purchased.
Day 43: Karie sings a song she wrote about the area. (The contestants have been singing more than usual this season, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing!) She finishes and turns her attention back to surviving, focusing again on getting a muskrat.
Karie finds a good spot on the shore and waits for any movement. Bubbles appear and she waits patiently for whatever is about to emerge. A muskrat washes up on shore and Karie shoots it. The arrow hits the target and she crawls towards the muskrat while she warns him not to go back in the water and bite her.
Karie uses her knife to finish him off and lifts her prey. She is excited for dinner, she hopes it tastes good and thanks the animal for her life as she strokes the soft fur.
Back at camp, he roasts the muskrat and says that it tastes a lot like beaver. (A pound of muskrat has nearly 800 calories.) As he eats, the snow begins to fall.
Karie spent her entire life preparing for this adventure.
Day 44: Karie celebrates Halloween by dressing up as a muskrat, complete with goggles made from muskrat pelvic bone. (Why the glasses? No idea.) Ella has created a puppet out of muskrat skin and puts on a little show, confirming that the contestants are, in fact, losing their minds.
Tom, age 34, Earlysville, VA
Day 43: Tom had a nasty fall on day 42 and wakes up on day 43 still in a lot of pain. His back hurts and he had a sleepless night because he couldn’t get comfortable. Tom worries that if he falls again, he could cause serious damage.
He’s lost 38 pounds since day one, but if he gets beaver, he’ll have a full belly and be able to rest his back for a few days. Tom has realized that the challenge isn’t about trapping or hunting, it’s about him; he tries to face the demons of him.
Tom goes downstairs early in the morning to look for a beaver, but has no luck. Back at his shelter, he boils Icelandic moss, which is rich in calcium, iodine, and potassium. He has only had lichens and blackberries in the last three days. If he doesn’t get real food, he’ll soon be in trouble.
Although he really should be resting to heal his back, he works to get clay to seal the gaps in his fireplace. And of course she takes another fall. Tom goes down hard and it’s obvious that he should give up. This last fall injures his back and knee.
Tom grabs his first aid kit and wraps his swollen knee. He believes that if he had food, he would be able to hold out. But as it is, he can’t even manage to collect firewood.
A Whiskey Jack perches in a nearby tree as Tom makes the tapping call. He says that the area is amazing and that it has touched parts of him that he didn’t even know existed. He’s not done in his heart and mind, but his body is bruised and he needs to go.
Tom thanks Labrador and everything he gave him. “I hope to take the lessons I learned and bring them home to make more of my dreams come true,” says Tom. His father taught him a lot and was a great inspiration, and he wishes he was still alive to see him take on this challenge.
Adam, 36, Fayetteville, AR
Day 43: Adam prepares his costume since tomorrow is Halloween. He loves making his own costumes and this year he has created a grouse costume, complete with beak and feathered headdress. The bill is made of canvas covered with carbon soot, and Adam seems very impressed with its creativity.
Adam uses the wooden spring to make insulated shutters for his window to keep out the wind. His carpentry skills are impressive and the shutters look professionally done.
Day 44: Adam plays both the role of the owner of the house and that of trick or treating when it comes to Halloween. He asks and answers questions and offers berries as a gift. Trick-or-treating Adam taunts homeowner Adam that another house gave him bear meat and warns Adam that he is going to be put on eggs. (Adam has quite an imagination.)
“Does this all make me sound totally crazy?” Adam asks. Yes, Adam, it does.
Day 45: Adam wakes up feeling really homesick and thinks he needs to stay busy to combat it.
He finds a new river to fish in and is excited about the new possibilities it opens up. He then heads into the woods and sees a hare about 20 feet away, killing it with her first shot. He is a huge hare and plans to cook rabbit stew.
Later that night, he eats his first wild hare. Snowshoe hares can contain over 800 calories, making it an important meal for Adam. “Today was a caloric gamble that really paid off,” says Adam, adding that it has been one of the busiest days of the challenge.
Jessie, age 49, Pagosa Springs, CO
Day 43: Jessie continues to work at the Hodge Podge Lodge a month and a half after the challenge. She suffers from an upset stomach and burps while working. She has been feeling dizzy for a few days, but she needs to check the rabbit fur and finish the walls with moss.
Jessie has no idea why she is burping so much.
A short time later, the Hodge Podge Lodge is officially finished! Jessie realizes that she spent too much time in her shelter and has lost 45 pounds since day 1.
He feels nauseous when he goes out to check his traps and worries that he might have giardia. However, she does not have any other symptoms apart from stomach pain. Ella Jessie thinks she might be feeling the effects of hunger.
None of his traps have anything in them.
Day 44: It is night and Jessie is still sick. She continues to feel nauseous and doesn’t even feel like drinking water.
She gets sick and vomits inside the Hodge Podge Lodge. Jessie explains that she rarely vomits, so she worries that she drank water she shouldn’t or that she has too much acid in her system.
Jessie decides to have some charcoal to help her stomach before trying to drink water. She tastes like eating mud, but she feels better after a while. She reminds herself that she must have faith that things will get better and she just needs to get over the suffering.
Day 45: Jessie feels miserable again as she prepares for the night. Her stomach is so empty that she now believes that she is feeling sick because of her acid reflux. She consumes more charcoal but it doesn’t help, and she throws up a couple of times.
At 11:48 he wakes up and vomits again. (I’m surprised she was able to sleep given how loud her stomach growls.) This time she just threw up water and now she has a headache from dehydration.
She refuses to give up and insists that she will have to be medically removed. She is not going to give up.
Day 46: Jessie did not confirm her medical check-up and a security team immediately set out to check on her. She’s in bed when they arrive and says that she’s fine, but if she gets up, she’ll throw up. Jessie explains that she can’t keep water down and that she has thrown up nine or ten times.
Jessie doesn’t want to give up at all, but her condition makes it impossible for her to stay in the competition. Medical staff believe she has severe inflammation of the lining of her stomach and must be treated before it causes life-threatening damage to her.
Jessie has been medically removed from the competition and realizes that she spent too much time and energy at the Hodge Podge Lodge instead of getting food. If she had tried to connect more with nature, she would have lasted longer.
Jessie is determined to spend more time on her spiritual growth instead of devoting herself to the whetstone in the future.
Teimojin, 31 years old, Montreal, Canada
Day 43: Teimojin raises his second squirrel, but he is not done hunting for the day. He is focusing on land animals and has been hearing a lot of noise.
A grouse catches his eye and heads off to follow the sound. He kills the bird with his first shot and returns to his shelter. Teimojin explains that to shoot a grouse, you need to aim, look 45 degrees away so you’re not looking at the bird, and then shoot. Apparently, the bird will think that you are not paying attention to it. (Are birds really that smart?)
Day 44: On Halloween, Teimojin talks about Samhain (the Gaelic harvest festival) and how it’s considered a good time to reach people beyond the grave. Each contestant received diamond willow fungus which he uses to stain, and Teimojin burns it as he says thanks to his ancestors.
Juan Pablo, 30 years old, Pinawa, CAN
Day 43: The weather is turning cold and Juan will focus on fishing for now. The fish seem to have moved away from the shore where the temperature is warmer and Juan thinks that he needs to extend his dock. But is it worth the energy and calories expended?
In the end, Juan decides it’s worth it and gets to work, hoping he won’t regret it.
Juan Pablo wants to be the first non-white to win Only. “As a Latino, I don’t want to be just a person that you just add because of diversity. I don’t want to be an ornament,” says Juan.
He finishes expanding his dock and the effort is immediately rewarded with a small fish. He collects a few more brook trout and is grateful for his catch.
Night falls and he cooks the fish, but curiously, he is not hungry. He eats what he can, but he feels that his stomach doesn’t want food; he can’t believe he doesn’t want to eat. A few hours go by and he doesn’t want to force himself, but he needs the calories.
Juan is worried that he will get sick and throw up if he eats.