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Outlast Episode 5 Recap: Burn it To The Ground

Would you let someone die to win $1 million?

At least one team would on Outlast, Netflix’s gripping reality competition show set in the Alaskan frontier. When we last left off, ALPHA member Justin snuck across the river and stole DELTA’s sleeping bags, with the blessing of his increasingly maniacal teammates Jill and Amber.

It’s a nasty, kick-‘em-when-they’re-down kind of move. Dawn and Joel, DELTA’s last two players, just got ghosted by their former teammate Paul, who defected to CHARLIE. Now, somehow, they’re going to have to survive the night without freezing to death. It’ll get down to 25 degrees and they are 25 pounds lighter than when they arrived in Alaska. They have zero body fat.

With nothing but a tarp to keep them warm, Dawn and Joel heat up stones in their fire and place them under their bellies. They can’t stop shivering but they make it until the morning. “I feel like we’ve won,” Dawn says.

“Why don’t you just kill ‘em,” BRAVO’s Brian says totally disgusted of ALPHA. The teams share the same side of the riverbank. “They turned into Satan. Two weeks in the wilderness did that to them. I could never do that to another human.”

Brian’s equally disgusted teammate Javier remarks that if ALPHA is that evil here, they’re probably like that in real life. He also panics that the teams on the other side of the river will think he had something to do with the stolen sleeping bags. “Guilt by association.”

Brian decides he can’t be a part of “this circus of cruelty,” sneaks off and fires his flare, which signifies he’s given up and will leave the game. Amber and Jill can’t contain their glee that someone unexpectedly on their side of the river has quit. They were sure it would be Dawn and Joel first. 

Javier gets a helicopter drop with a note from Brian apologizing for ghosting and giving up on him but explains that he couldn’t play the game in good conscience, and that his exit was a sacrifice and a protest to show that there are good people in the world. ”I’ll no longer be a contestant of dishonor,” he writes.

Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Javier is pissed. “He left in a shitty way. The way you show them is you fight the good fight and make sure those bastards don’t win.”

Javier whisper yells across the river to Dawn and Joel that they should team up now. Javier is alone and the rules state you must play and win as a team in order to win the $1 million prize pool. Javier has supplies, tools, and enough sleeping bags for all. Dawn and Joel agree to join him, and say they’ll make it over to camp BRAVO in a day or two. 

Well, on this show, a day or two is an eternity and a lot can happen. In the meantime, Jill goes bow hunting for protein and bumps into new CHARLIE member Paul, also out trying to score some deer. They discuss ALPHA and CHARLIE teaming up to oust Javier, Dawn and Joel.

It’s on. The line in the proverbial sand has been drawn. Outlast is now a show about good versus evil.

Paul is impressed with Jill. She’s a competitor like himself and a true survivalist. She slings an arrow through a squirrel but cries over killing it. “I respect the life I took,” she explains as she skins the animal, careful not to penetrate the bowels or bladder, which will contaminate the meat. “The hunger pains have set in hard. If I want to win the game I’m gonna have to do all the hard stuff.”

She’s the only one ever doing anything periodt on her team. Justin and Amber continue to ride her coattails. They get their first red meat of the challenge, thanks to Jill, a rotisserie of squirrel heart, lungs and liver.

Over their organ meat buffet, ALPHA talks about targeting their new neighbors when they join Javier. They plot to take his tools. Duh. On Day 18, as soon as Javier goes to the river to help his new teammates make the crossing, Amber and Jill waltz over to camp BRAVO and destroy/steal anything not nailed down. 

While the foxes are in the henhouse. Javier spots them and runs back to his ransacked camp. “You can’t beat us fair and square, you have to cheat and steal to win!” he screams.

“I’m playing the game!” Jill retorts.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?!” 

“There is no law here.”

It’s getting dark out here and that doesn’t mean the night sky. Amber destroys Javier’s raft and says icily, “See you at the finish line, you weak-ass motherfucker.”

Courtesy of Netflix © 2023


Joel and Dawn finally make it across the river, but camp BRAVO is decimated. Their will to continue the game is destroyed too. “This is not the game we signed up to play,” they say, adding that they’re basically up against criminals.

“They win if we quit,” Javier pleads.

Joel and Dawn take out their flare games and shoot them into the sky. “Screw them if you get a chance,” Dawn says. And with that, DELTA is officially dunzo.

Javier is devastated. “It’s totally personal now,” he says, calling ALPHA sociopaths and demons. “I can’t let the bullies win.” His only option is to go across the river to camp CHARLIE and beg them to let him join their team. He has one day to convince them. Otherwise, he and team BRAVO are done, too.

Before Javier goes on his next mission, he decides to leave a message for his “sociopath” and “demon” neighbors Jill and Amber. He takes a log out of his fire and torches his own camp. “I’m not gonna let those idiots live there,” he says with crazy eye as BRAVO goes up in flames. “I’m burning it all down.”

You can’t help but root for the good guys at this point on Outlast, which is basically Javier and maybe Angie, who is on team CHARLIE and was barely on this episode. Jill and Amber are growing closer every day as mentor-mentee, but not in a Yoda/Luke kind of way. More like Charles Manson/Squeaky Fromme.

Everyone’s a little nuts and unpredictable, even nice guy Javier. It’s not surprising since they’re all starving, freezing and exhausted. But that’s the true test of character — when you’re at your lowest point, do you become a hero or a zero?

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