Stranded with a Million Dollars contestant Alex Apple is writing about each episode of the MTV reality competition for reality blurred. If you have any questions for him, comment below or send them via this form.
The penultimate episode of Stranded with a Million Dollars season one provided the most vile example yet of how contentious life has been on the island between the final four competitors.
The surprises keep coming in a show that has been full of them, yet some things remain the same.
Namely, none of the four remaining cast members will give up easily.
Camp nine provides
At one point in the episode, I discuss with Gina that we’ve only had one sizable meal in seven days. Aside from that, I’ve caught shrimp barehanded, found a small amount of cassava that we rationed, and eaten some cassava leaves.
Hunger was certainly starting to set in for Gina and me.
The journey to camp nine was a particularly long one, and for the first time, we arrived as the sun had already set behind the ocean. We quickly set up our tent, and I did a brief walk around camp, getting acquainted with whatever it was bright enough to still see.
To the left of our tent behind some barren banana trees, we found a pineapple—a key discovery when every ounce of food is precious.
Roughly 48 hours later, I went looking for more water sources (after a sneaking suspicion that water—which turned from clear to green—was no longer good to drink). Down the beach, I found a papaya tree which had not yet shed its fruit. By shaking the base, I was able to secure five or six papayas for me and Gina—a move that I knew at the time could keep us in the game a few days further.
Two cyclones hit the island just a matter of days before the show started filming, so the banana and papaya trees had largely shed their fruit, making finding food even more challenging.
I blew it
Given that food is a precious commodity, choking the challenge was quite a disappointment. The challenge was to carry fire through the water and light a fire back on the beach.
I knew that the husks of palm trees would stay lit for hours. At earlier camps, I’d considered carrying fire on the journeys using the palm husks.
In my haste to win the challenge, I did not hold the husk in the fire long enough, and it lost heat by the time we returned to the beach. We had the best supplies and game plan, but I blew the chance at the win.
The funniest part of last night’s episode
It started with our opponents intentionally dropping their feces in the water supply in hopes that Gina and I would drink it, catch infectious disease, flare, go to the hospital, and potentially suffer long-term health consequences.
For the first time in the game, two people are trying to force illness on other cast members. That part is not funny to me, but it speaks to what some people will do to gain an advantage.
Consider the evolution of Makani. At camp two, she could not even stand a group buy because people were arguing. She went to go sit in a river and cry, aghast that the rest of us were on the show to play a game and not just have a nice time living in a jungle. Clearly not one to hold tightly to convictions, she decides just over three weeks later that exposing an opponent to infectious disease is the best route.
I get it. Some people believe we were tough on Cody and Makani when they had no alliance, social game or power. If you think forcing disease on someone is the appropriate response to that, then line up in their ever-dwindling cheering squad.
Alas, the funniest part of last night’s episode was Cody and Makani’s belief that I was drinking salt water. As I told Gina in the episode, there is fresh water that comes up through the sand when the tide recedes. The water is purified by the sand, and thus, good to drink. It takes all of two minutes to find one of these streams of fresh water, and there are probably dozens on most beaches.
You would need a lot of poop to spread it over the entire beach.
“I even prayed for Cody and Makani”
I was glad that the edit included my saying to Gina that when I prayed, I prayed for our opponents as well.
Most people, religious or otherwise, subscribe to a set of values and try their best not to deviate from them. Even in a high intensity game, I tried to use the lessons my faith has taught me. Granted, I fall short of the standard I would like to attain day after day, but that is part of growth in life. When you fail, you grow.
If a guy named Jesus could pray for his enemies while on a cross at Calvary, I can certainly try to follow the same standard. I believe that even if I was not religious, I would find a lesson in that. Prayer helped me keep the game in perspective. I never took any aspect of the game personally. It is, after all, just a competition.
Now, let’s get to some questions.
Questions and answers about Stranded’s rules, food, and more
Anonymous wrote: Re: Cody’s crap: Please tell me they kicked him off the show for that move! And please tell me neither you nor Gina ingested anything. That should be treated as a physical assault and the perpetrator removed… Or sued! Love watching you two!”
Well, anonymous. It’s the first attempt to force sickness or physical ruin on someone. It’s a move that not many people would make, but there are few structured rules in the show.
As you saw last night, neither I nor Gina immediately got sick from drinking from the water source. I’m glad you’re enjoying the show.
Otis asked: “Hey Alex where would I go to apply to be on the show?”
Hey Otis. At this point, I have not heard one way or another if there will be a season two. I’m not really sure how all of that gets decided, but I’d keep your eye on the MTV website. I honestly could not even tell you what website I was on when I saw the original casting call. If you message me on Instagram, I can explain further.
Ansley wrote: “It was interesting to hear that you and Gina roasted cassava and ate cassava leaves once the others started to try to starve you out. My question is, doesn’t cassava have to be boiled? That would seem to mean that you need the pot. Rooting for you!”
Ansley, thanks for the question. I wrote in last week’s article what Gina and I ate after our opponents stole the pot and tried to starve us out. As for the cassava you ask about, it’s a root—akin to a potato—but you’re able to roast it. The key is to cook it enough where you’re not ingesting a starch bomb. Other vegetables would have to be boiled, like taro, but cassava is thinner and can be roasted.
I was able to harvest several pieces of cassava at camp nine that Gina and I began to ration. Even the smallest meals help when you’re as hungry as we were. With the limited supplies we had, however, roasting was still a challenge.
Tiffany asked: “so Alex are you the powerful heroic reality TV mastermind or are you the noble righteous martyr? you can’t seem to make up your mind. you pretend like you aren’t affected by any of cody’s moves because you’re the biggest genius to grace our screens and always three steps ahead but whine and pass the blame when it’s convenient.”
You tell me. I could honestly care less which one you pick.
If you’re discussing whether or not I foresaw most of Cody’s moves, the answer is yes. He telegraphed his strategy from day one. The move that was a total blindside was Makani’s taking the tent. She went from crying in a river because the game was too vicious to very strategic really quickly. Of course, I should still be giving Alonzo a hard time for putting down the tent bag. SMH, as they say.
To me, it was just a game. I laugh when people get really worked up.
Robert asked: “Burning the money just to prove a point was stupid. What are the rules in this game, though? How can one group refuse to let another group use certain items? Why was Alex allowed to destroy the money?
What was stupid was letting us follow through with burning money when, our opponents could have bought us something — as we did for them. That decision would have saved them $40,000.
As I verbalized during the eighth episode, burning the money was unfortunate and not something I wanted to do. However, once you put your cards out there. You have to follow through or lose all leverage. The predicament we presented to our opponents was basically this: give us $2, or we will take $6. Neither is a good option for them, but their response ended up costing them — and all of us — money.
You said before, “In regards to the tent, you could not destroy a purchased item while someone was in it or using it. Slashing or stealing tents was essentially against the rules.”
Why is stealing tents against the rules but stealing peanut butter is allowed?
[Also:] please clear these confusions up for me. Group buys must be majority. The items are dropped off to the entire tribe in a box. Who gets access to those items? Is it whoever grabs it first? There never seemed to be a race to get items out of the supply box.
1) Does the tent, pot, machete, etc. belong to whoever comes into possession of it and they can keep exclusive use of it or share it as they see fit until they leave it unattended and someone else steals it?
2) If so, what about food group buys? It doesn’t seem like there is a race to open the dropped box. Is it really whoever grabs the pizza first, gets possession of it? Why didn’t Cody/Makani ever eat pizza?
3) If you are using an item, can you destroy it? e.g. When they were away, why not gain possession of their tent and then destroy it?
4) I assume there were times where this assumed “possession” rule was halted, for example if you are going on a temptation or challenge, you are still able to maintain possession of your items.
Please clarify how this works. Thanks!”
Bruce, thanks for writing in. There are two simple rules. The rest is left to the cast’s own whims and reactions.
- Majority rules at a group buy (i.e. can’t purchase anything that a majority does not vote for).
- You cannot physically touch, push or endanger another cast member to use or destroy an item. If no one is around it, use it or destroy it as you please. Furthermore, you could not steal an item while others were on a temptation.
Those were the basic rules, so other than that, you’re merely seeing authentic reality of how we all reacted. It’s one of the best parts about the show (that it delivers more authentic “reality” television). Crew members are not around nearly as much as other shows, and the people playing the game are not constrained by a copious amount of rules.