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Man Vs. Wild Season 4: China Recap

Posted on 01/13/2010 by Gina in Man Vs Wild

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Man Vs. Wild Season 4


by Vin Convertito 


Bear Grylls, survival enthusiast, puts his title back on the line as he goes up against the treacherous mountains and jungles of southern China. His ultimate goal is to venture through the wild so that he may reach the safety that the coastline will provide. As if the challenge posed by this remote section of China was not enough, Bear decides to take on the terrain in the wake of a devastating typhoon. 


This episode begins with Bear walking the streets of China, nonchalantly discussing how a major typhoon has just wreaked havoc on the area. But Bear welcomes the dangers that await him in the dense jungle, and to get there, Bear opts to hitch a ride on the side of a passing military jeep. Adventure beckons and on the way there, even his mode of transportation is anything but safe. 


Bear releases his hold of the vehicle only after it has traveled far, far away from the village and he hits the ground ready “to survive the aftermath of a tropical storm” in the “remote mountain ranges of the south.” After surveying the area, Bear gives a little history of the land and brings to our attention the raging river down below. Apparently the river’s elevation has become 20 feet higher throughout the day as a result of the typhoon. Bear sees this as an opportunity to travel quicker than the land would allow and plunges himself into the rapidly moving waters. 


How does Bear remove himself from this deadly scenario once he decides he has been taken a good distance into his journey? The answer comes in the form of a vine that is conveniently dangling some 80 feet. While climbing up towards some very welcomed uncertainty, Bear reminds his audience that it is even more important to use your leg strength than it is to use your upper body muscles. Once Bear is safely situated on top of the cliff, he lets us know that his plan is to enter the “tiger infested jungles!”


But before Bear can worry about tigers, it is time for one of many interesting snacks to be had. In the spirit of Steve Irwin, Bear stumbles upon a healthy congregation of weaver ants and he starts explaining how these tiny insects spend their time on the large leaves as a sort of “bio control” and how their larvae is a great source of protein. For those of you who can stomach the most unappetizing of Fear Factor challenges, this scene is chock full of images of man eating bugs and more bugs. But not for money, folks; this is for survival.


And there is no time for a post-meal nap as Bear is once more on the move. The ever-observant Bear suspiciously reports, “ahead of me the ground starts to rise sharply.” But what would appear to be a dead-end for most serves as another launching pad of opportunity for Bear; a lot of time can be saved if he crosses the gorge ahead of him. Bear conveniently notices an outstretched, cable-like vine reaching across the gorge. Not even half-way across, Bear admits, “This monkey-climb is tough on the shoulders.” The spirit of Steve Irwin returns as Bear teaches us that monkeys perform a similar stunt to win over the opposite sex. However impressive his exhibition, there were no signs of Bear getting the girl. But that doesn’t deter Bear from barreling ahead as he spies “a deceptively fast-flowing river” that is also “deceptively wide” for him to cross. 


“Fighting the current and dodging debris is exhausting,” exclaims Bear, witnessing the typhoon’s power. Luckily a log floats by which

Bear uses as a raft to remain afloat. Hunger calls and Bear searches through the largest number of unexplored cave systems in the world for some bats to eat. Yes, bats. The 50 million year old species are very edible despite the fact that they are carriers of rabies. Bear shows us how to catch the bats and cook them over a fire before skinning and eating them; “Tastes like something that’s been living in a dark, dank cave for a long time, but it’s warming.” Well, Bear, if you say so…


As night begins to fall, shelter is a must and Bear decides that a hammock can easily be constructed from sturdy bamboo; sleeping on the ground would attract too many unwanted guests. Using a rock and a knife, Bear gives a step-by-step guide and it actually seems feasible; “All I need to do now is weave some vines to make the netting.” Even during his few hours of sleep, Bear is catching breakfast. It turns out that the traps he set the night before captured a small rodent. And what did you do last night, MacGyver?!


To wash down the “overrated” taste of rat brain, Bear uses a makeshift straw, once again using bamboo, and he drinks from the knot hole of a nearby tree. The rain water was presumably fresh and certainly needed as Bear has been pushing himself to the limit.   But unbeknownst to Bear, his adventure is soon to conclude. After one more death-defying descent from a conveniently located vine, Bear is forced to let go and drop into the mighty river. It is here that a passing boat will spare Bear from the mountains and jungles and deliver him to the well-sought after coast. And as the camera man is left in the river filming the opportune rescue, we hear Bear’s final thoughts; “China has shown me its wild side… but for now, I’m just glad to be going home.”



Man Vs. Wild airs Wednesdays at 9pm ET on Discovery.


(Image courtesy of Discovery)


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