First, a quick refresher.
Dual Survival takes two survivalists from completely different backgrounds and places them in a scenario where a less experienced individual either did not make it out alive, or simply didn’t have the ideal outcome. (I’m still not one hundred percent sure if all of the scenarios involved straight fatalities) In most cases, the survivalists only have the resources that the people in that scenario had with them, which may or may not include a knife, or tools that can be used to make fire.
I also have to correct a mistake I made in a previous post. Originally, I thought that Cody Lundin’s original partner was Joe Teti, when in fact he began the series with Dave Canterbury. But in both cases, Joe and Dave had the military background, whereas Cody Lundin and later Matt Graham utilized more traditional survival methods.
I say traditional, because I personally find the word “primitive” to be as disrespectful and misleading as the word “hippie”. And before anyone accuses me of being overly PC, keep in mind that people with a military background have been the subject of just as much labeling and misguided judgments as people who make a habit of living off the grid. I try to show respect to everyone’s way of life as much as possible, especially when I feel that there is something we can learn from them.
This takes me to the two newest survivors to host the series: Bill McConnelly and Grady Powell. Unfortunately, I missed the first episode, due to previous commitments, but I was able to watch a rerun this afternoon. I have to say that I was not disappointed.
My original apprehension had more to do with the advertising. I was afraid that the show’s potential entertainment factor was being played up when they used the term “hippie” to describe Bill and his approach to survival.
It’s true that Bill is definitely the more emotionally driven of the two survivors. He appreciates nature, but respects her deadly force. He treats small victories like major wins, which I can definitely appreciate. More the point, his confidence is what led him to using a single match to make certain that a cave found on a volcanic mountain was not full of CO2.
This was the first major difference that came up between Bill and Special Forces Operative Grady Powell. It was a legitimate concern, as they were still on a mountain that was freezing cold and they were losing daylight. There’s no point in spending the night in a cave when there’s a chance that you won’t wake up the next morning. So Bill convinced Grady that it was better to err on the side of caution, by at least making sure the air inside the cave wasn’t deadly. His gambit was made on the confidence that he could start a fire, even in the extremely wet environment.
Later, towards the end of the episode, the men both made separate attempts to get a fire going. First, Bill tried to cash in on his promise by crafting a bow drill with the resources he found to no avail. Then Grady tried to use the lithium battery from a cellphone, which was included in the backpack they found at the beginning of the scenario, and this was slightly closer to the goal, but no cigar was to be found.
The episode ended on a cliff hanger. Will these men survive the night? Will they tap out?
More to the point, what do I think of this early episode of the new series?
Well, it’s definitely a major difference when I’m starting with two completely different people. The main downside of watching a series that has been running for almost ten years, is that you watch the reruns with the two older guys and after awhile, you take them for granted. Even though Cody and Dave, Joe and Cody, Joe and Matt had different backgrounds and survival skills, the episodes I wound up catching were usually very late in the game and by this time, both survivalists had a better understanding of each other’s skills.
Now, not only are we meeting Grady and Bill for the first time, but they’re also just now meeting each other. And this trust is put to the test a number of times in this one episode, not just with the fire. Just as Grady was putting his life into Bill’s hand by trusting that he could get a fire going, Bill also had to place his trust in Grady when it came to rappelling down a slippery cliff with the rope that was also in the same backpack as the cellphone. Being someone who has always had to rely on his own skills, it was a learning curve for Bill to trust someone that he had to convince to trust him many hours earlier.
Similarly, Grady is having to adjust to someone who is not as methodical and by-the-numbers as a man with military training. This is something else I can relate to, as I’m often forced to interact with people who might have (by my standards) an unusual approach to doing things. I also have an unusual way of looking at the world and how it works, that probably irks others, but like Grady, there is a point when you have to accept that this is what you have to work with.
Was Bill wrong to take such a major risk with their lives? The shoe is on both feet, because even Grady didn’t take into account the CO2 gas in that cavern. But I said it once, or twice, in my previous reviews that you can never be 100% certain that your plan will work out. There will always be that unaccountable %1 that you can only hope will not be the thing that takes you completely out of the game.
The major difference between two people who have no clue what they’re doing and two people who have the training is knowledge and experience. Bill wasn’t simply imagining that he knew what he was doing. He was 99% sure of his skills and that %1 is what got them both at the end of the next day.
But now the die have been cast once more and there will be a new episode that continues the scenario. I will look forward to it with anticipation and optimism as well as to many more episodes featuring these men and their skills.