Kicking & Screaming Episode 8 recap: ‘Survival of the Fittest’

The Kicking & Screaming premise was tantalizingly simple: Pair 10 of America’s most hardcore survivalists with 10 “total divas.” Toss that tumultuous 20 into the wild and see what happens.

Well, what happened was the one Scoutmaster in the group made it all the way to the end, besting seven other survivalists, many of whom are seasoned military veterans.

I initially planned to cover Eagle Scout Terry Fossum and his partner Natalie, a pink-and-blue-haired professional gamer, until the two were off the show. That day never came. Natalie and Terry, using skills of leadership and teamwork he learned in Scouting, coalesced into a team and reached the season finale.

They enter the final episode as one of three remaining teams. That means a 33.3 percent shot at the big prize: $500,000.

Start a fire and get ready for your complete recap of Kicking & Screaming Episode 8: “Survival of the Fittest.”

Note: The show is rated TV-14, so parents are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended.

Spoilers follow. 

A three-for-all

Let’s reintroduce you to the final three:

  • Terry, an Eagle Scout and Scoutmaster, and Natalie, a professional gamer
  • Brady, a former Marine, and Claire, a former Miss Wyoming
  • Ben, an Air Force specialist, and Juliana, a model

Host Hannah Simone congratulates the remaining teams. “You must be so proud of yourselves right now,” she says.

“I’m proud of my partner,” Terry says, deflecting credit.

“Aww,” Natalie says.

Today’s challenge has the highest stakes yet. The winner doesn’t get to gorge themselves at a buffet or select a team to send to an elimination challenge. The two winners move on to a head-to-head battle. The loser goes home — a whisper short of the finish line.

You could forgive Terry for feeling like he’s on a high school basketball team playing against the Golden State Warriors.

“We’re the underdog,” he says. “Going up against Ben, the Air Force survival instructor, and Brady, the special ops Marine sniper. But that’s all right, you know, underdogs are known for fighting. And we’ll keep on fighting.”

The challenge goes like this: Crack some coconuts, and use the water inside to fill a tube that will float a key to the surface. That key will unlock a two-man saw the pairs will use to cut down a coconut tree stump.

As the tree falls, it will raise a flag. First two teams to raise the flag advance to the final showdown.

Claire says she’s never touched a saw in her life, meaning there’s going to be a learning curve here. Later, she goes one step further in her confession.

“I’ve never even seen a saw in my life,” she says. “Yeah, so, the struggle is real.”

Brady and Claire find a very efficient system for draining the coconuts. They crack them right above the tube so no water is wasted. Consequently, their tube fills up quickly. They’re the first to get their key and can begin sawing.

Terry and Natalie are next.

Any Scout knows you need a rhythm to use a two-handed saw. You might say there’s a push and a pull to it.

“We’ve got this,” Terry says, “because we use two-handed saws in the Boy Scouts.”

While the saws for the other two teams keep bending and becoming dislodged from their grooves, Terry and Natalie continue a smooth, steady cutting motion.

And then: timber! Terry and Natalie are first to topple their tree. They’re moving to the final two.

Brady and Claire finish second. Ben and Juliana, who had become close friends with Terry and Natalie during the show, are gone.

Actually, it is a picnic

Hannah tells the two remaining teams that they’ll be going separate directions for the day, with each team given a picnic and time to reflect on their journey.

After a stop at a stunning waterfall, Terry and Natalie dine on sandwiches, cheese, grapes and extra sandwiches. Food has been scarce throughout the competition, so this is necessary fuel.

With full bellies, Terry and Natalie look back.

Natalie, who hadn’t spent much time outdoors before the show, has learned a lot from the man she calls her “jungle dad.”

“Being here I’ve gotten sad, but you’ve always been there to back me up and make me feel happy again,” she says.

“You know I’m giving you a hug, right?” Terry says. “I’m so proud of you.”

This is for $500,000

“Going into this final challenge, which team can bring it back together?” Terry asks. “Focus what little remaining energy they have and be ready to go.”

Cold and exhausted, Terry and Natalie have little left in their tanks. He asks if she wants to practice making fire in case that’s part of the final challenge.

Maybe later, Natalie says.

Their opponents, meanwhile, have successfully started a fire mere feet away. They’re ready.

At the challenge, Hannah asks the competitors whom they’d help with their share of the $500,000.

“It’s been my life goal to be able to inspire more people,” Terry says. “This would give me the opportunity to be able to reach out to more people, and that means the world to me.”

Here’s how the final challenge will work: The survival experts, Terry and Brady, have been teaching outdoor skills to their partners throughout. Now those one-time novices will put those skills to the test.

“So, this challenge will begin with your survivalists stranded on a raft and depending on you,” Hannah says.

The challenge involves a rather complicated obstacle course, but I’ll do my best to explain.

The novice must dig up a handle and reel in her partner who’s sitting on the raft. Together they will use part of that raft to knock down a bunch of spears. The survivalist will use those spears to hit a target, releasing a piece of flint. Next, the novice must start a fire using that flint. The fire will light a torch that’s used to set a cauldron ablaze. First team to light its cauldron wins $500,000.

Did you follow all that? Ready … go!

Frantic digging. Frenzied cranking. Rapid raft disassembling.

Spears are knocked from their perches high above. Knots are untied. Spears are aimed and thrown.

Through each step of the way, Terry and Natalie are a step behind.

But then the two novices reach the fire-building portion and are neck and neck. At this point, it’s looking like whichever team can create fire first will win.

Terry can’t help with his hands, but he does use his voice to encourage Natalie and offer helpful tips.

“On the dry part,” he says. “Use the blade, use the blade!”

“And we. Have. Fire,” Hannah says. “Terry and Natalie running to the cauldron. … Can they keep their flame alight?”

And then:

“We have fire, and we have a winner!” Hannah says. “Terry and Natalie, the comeback kids!”

Terry, now $250,000 richer, is stunned.

“There’s no way in the world this was gonna happen,” Terry says. “And it just happened.”

Stray observations

  • Terry, the fashion icon: This is the first time I noticed that Terry wears a World Crest patch on his green pants. Nice detail.
  • Terry, the meteorologist: When the clouds portended a storm, it was Terry who warned the rest of the group (and the film crew) that it was probably time to take shelter.
  • Terry, the hero: When the storm caused the days-old shelter to collapse, Terry and Brady held it up so that Natalie and Claire could crawl out. Then all four rebuilt the roof so they could sleep.
  • Terry, the champion: Seriously, a big congrats to Terry and Natalie on their win. Terry, you represented Scouting well. Kudos!

Bonus: Boy Scout interviews Terry, his Scoutmaster

Joshua is from Troop 400 in Washington state, and Terry was his Scoutmaster. The young man got to interview Terry at the beginning of the season. Here’s that two-part interview below.

10 Comments

  1. I spoke with Terry a few weeks back. From Terry (knowing who won by that time, of course), “I don’t know how prayer works retroactively when the retroactive part has already actually happened, but pray I do well and represent the Boy Scouts of America well.” I guess those prayers worked out?? LOL! So, @Bryan, how do we get this guy to Jamboree? Who better to be on his “Scouts are AWESOME Victory Lap” than 35,000 – 45,000 of his best Scout Friends?? Can we make that happen?

  2. I had the privilege of watching last night with Terry and a bunch of his supporters. He said the saw actually broke on them several times, and you don’t see it, but they had to repair the saw so they could continue.

Join the conversation