‘Naked and Afraid’ to ‘The Walking Dead,’ it’s all about the eats on Survival Sunday

Fans of survivor-themed reality shows know that any competitor worth his or her salt must quickly and constantly secure the basics of sustainability if they expect to, well, survive: shelter, fire, water and food. And on tonight’s rundown of shows, that last category didn’t disappoint.

On Naked and Afraid: Castaways, Bulent has for several episodes been obsessed with snaring a wily pig he’s aptly named Houdini using aircraft wire scavenged from a wrecked plane. So much so that he previously let his teammates Na’im and Kerra strike out from camp in search of better conditions, effectively breaking up the trio. So when members of another team stumble upon Bulent, they’re not only surprised to find him living solo but stunned to see him smoking and jerkying little Houdini’s ham hocks. Bulent, never a people person from the get-go, announces that he is not pleased to have human visitors, but eventually he breaks down and invites them to cool their heels and enjoy a hunk of pork … even if it is starting to spoil due to lack of cooking heat. Hey, when you’re throwing an impromptu BBQ on a deserted island, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Vegan Merissa was very upset with the fish-eaters on Survive the Raft. (Discovery)

Vegan Merissa was very upset with the fish-eaters on Survive the Raft. (Discovery)

Over on Survive the Raft, the living conditions are markedly better than on the island (these people have actual mattresses, a kitchen and barbeques) but eating can be a challenge, and rafters are often seen fishing for their suppers. And that’s a problem for Merrissa, the uptight, oft-whining, frequently crying young woman who is also vegan — and expects others to, if not also be vegan, then at least to not eat meat or catch it or prepare it within eyeshot. A few episodes ago, she nearly had an emotional breakdown when a fellow raftee showed up with a couple of live hens for dinner (they ultimately got a reprieve). Tonight, the carnivores were really testing Merrissa’s fortitude by gutting, fileting and cooking fish. “I woke up to the sound of a fish being killed on the deck, and it was, like, violent soundind,” she said. “I’m not the on who decided to wake up the boat with a little death, the literal thing that upseats me the most in the entire world,” she said. “I turn ever f–king corner and it’s just like, oh there’s a body, there’s a body, there’s a body.”

It’s definitely adding to the tension. “The fishing thing is absolutely ridiculous,” said an annoyed Jimmy. “We’re on a huge raft in the middle of the ocean… we’re surviving. I understand that you don’t eat fish, or that you’re vegan. But there’s eight other people that do.”

There's a new kind of zombie in town in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. (AMC)

There’s a new kind of zombie in town in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. (AMC)

Finally, staying on the “you’ve gotta eat to survive” theme, on the new spinoff series The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon – hey, surviving the zombie apocalypse counts as a survival show – the main character may be familiar but the France setting is brand new, and the new mutated zombies Dixon encounters are, as well. In France they’re called “burners,” and that’s because their blood and their touch to the human skin burns on contact like acid being poured. So in other words, these reanimated dead people who survive by eating human flesh have their own built-in cooking mechanism to make that meal even more satisfying.

And after one left a zombie-sized hand print on Daryl’s arm he learned that he had a wound from a brûlant (the French word for burner) and that “cauterization is the best way to prevent the spread.” Yikes.

Naked and Afraid and Survive the Raft air Sundays on Discovery; The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon airs Sundays on AMC.

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