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Outlast From Netflix Begins: Here’s What We Thought of Ep 1

The first episode of Netflix’s extreme new reality competition show, about sixteen survivalists dumped into the Alaskan wilderness, starts off with a bang. Literally. One contestant, Andrea, shoots her flare gun after just one day, which signals to producers that she officially gives up and wants the hell out. Another contestant, Amber, casually mentions that her boyfriend once shot her in the face with a .22. “That’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me,” she deadpans.

Welcome to Outlast. Where the environment is brutal and the lone wolves playing the game are hard as nails. But are they tough enough to stay alive in one of the most punishing environments on planet earth? That’s the million-dollar question.

Outlast. (L to R) Paul Preece and Nick Lueker Episode 1 of Outlast. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

When the cast of characters first meet each other on a flood plain, a bag of basic supplies — a hatchet knife, tarp, wool blanket, flashlight, bow, medical kit, flint, two tin cups, a map and bear spray —is parachuted down from a helicopter.

They also receive their mission: The survivalists must outlast each other in the Alaskan wilderness. But there’s a catch, of course. To win, they must be part of a team. They can switch teams at any time. The only way out of the game is to quit by shooting their flare gun or be medically evacuated. Last team standing shares the $1 million prize pool.

They are instructed to create teams of four and they gather in a flash, without rhyme or reason. “There’s a lot of judging books by the cover here,” Brian says.

ALPHA team end ups as Amber, who also happens to be a recovering heroin addict, a “Jack of all trades” named Jill, a handlebar-mustached fella named Justin and Lee. 

BRAVO is Corey, a crunchy hottie with gorgeous eyes, Javier, an annoying know-it-all, an old dude named Brian, who already comes off as a little sexist, and Tim.

CHARLIE consists of Andrea, beard-braided Seth, Texas National Guard vet Angie and wrestling coach Nick. Nick and Angie instantly can’t stand each other. “I don’t like people who don’t pull their own weight,” he sneers. Angie’s certain he doesn’t respect females. “Thank God there’s another woman on the team,” she says.

DELTA calls themselves the “leftovers,” because no one picks them, so they are stuck with each other. Dawn, Joel, Jordan and Paul.

Outlast. (L to R) Jill Ashock and Amber Asay in Episode 1 of Outlast. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Sunset is rapidly approaching, there are only 45 minutes of daylight left, so the teams go their separate ways to find suitable camps to build shelter for the night. That’s when the night critters and the Type A personalities come out. We see who emerges as leaders (Nick), followers (Tim), whiners (nobody would dare yet), and pains in the ass (Javier).

As the temperatures drop into the 30s, freezing windy drizzle starts. A voiceover narrator mentions that the contestants don’t know that this part of the Alaskan jungle gets 60 inches of rainfall per year and it’s possible that it can pour nonstop for days on end. “Even most callous person is gonna struggle,” Justin predicts. 

Three of the teams are able to build proper shelter out of fallen trees and evergreen leaves, but ALPHA’s disastrous outdoor boudoir is on uneven wet ground and everyone in the group blames Jill. In general, everyone and everything is soaked like a sponge, so starting and maintaining a fire seems impossible. Two teams brilliantly figure out to use the dry cotton balls from the medical kit.

That’s the fun part of the show, so far. All the contestants have vast knowledge in different areas of survivalism, and it’s cool to see them bring out their bags of tricks.

After a frigid, sleepless night spooning with strangers and fending off brown bears (the area has 2.5 per square mile), Corey states the obvious, “It was really roughing it.” The first night was a real eye opener and shit got real, real fast. “Worst night of sleep I ever had,” adds ol’ man Brian, who had to get up three times to pee in the elements.

Outlast. Brian Kahrs in Episode 1 of Outlast. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

In the morning, all the teams’ first priority is finding not-poisonous food and clean drinking water. The crucial “Rule of 3” is explained: You can go three days without water and three weeks without food until you die. They’ve already gone 24 without both. A couple teams find a small river. 

BRAVO, which couldn’t make a fire, is hungry and thirsty, and has super low morale. They look for berries, small crabs, seaweed, mussels and bottom feeders to snack on. Javier explains you should kiss the fish you find in the water. If your lips go numb, throw it back and don’t eat it. That’s how you can tell if it’ll kill you. He may be annoying, but he knows what he’s talking about. “I’m surprised at the lack of experience,” he complains about his competitors.

Team CHARLIE finds a pond, but Nick explains that still water is dangerous because it fosters bacteria, while faster moving water, like a waterfall, is more likely to be safe. Everyone is alarmed when Andrea drinks the possibly dangerous still-water anyway.

DELTA might have been the outcasts, but they turn out to be most stable and well-rounded so far. Their skills complement each other perfectly. Paul is a hunter, Dawn knows a lot about finding food, Joel is an engineer, and Jordan is former military. “Haha, everyone else,” he laughs like Nelson from The Simpsons. “That bit you in the ass.” 

The other three teams are already struggling with big egos clashing and/or lone wolf syndrome. Everybody thinks they know the most, and nobody really wants to rely on anyone. Justin wants to be more solitary, while Nick and Javier both hint that switching teams is never far from mind. Nick goes on a rant about how he doesn’t respect people he has to carry. 

In fact, he, and nobody else on CHARLIE, bats an eye when Andrea, who drank the questionable water, starts vomiting so much, she quits the game and is the first to shoot off her flare. Nobody cares. Buh bye. “Quitters are just the worst,” Nick says. “You quit one time on me I know what type of person you are. Just miserable.” 

After the first episode, ones to watch include Justin, Javier, Angie and Joel from the underdog DELTAS. He says his superpower is camaraderie and working on a team, hopefully that will come in handy.

But our money’s on Nick. He’s got the knowledge, the mental and physical toughness — not to mention the giant ego and questionable morals. If Outcast goes all Apocalypse Nowish, you could easily see him ending up with a few heads on a pike. We can’t wait. We love the smell of bear scat in the morning.

Check out this clip from Outlast, episode one

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  1. I can’t believe Andrea drank that water….. I’m glad she quit otherwise she might have killed herself some other way.

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