‘Running Wild’ Recap: Jesse Tyler Ferguson Eats Alien Meat in the Alps

RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS -- "Jesse Tyler Ferguson" Episode 202 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bear Grylls, Jesse Tyler Ferguson -- (Photo by: Mark Challender/NBC)
(Photo: Mark Challender/NBC)

You know there’s always been one nagging question I’ve had about Running Wild with Bear Grylls. I mean, I know there’s got to be at least one camera person out there with Bear and whoever, that’s not a mystery. And I know there has to be some access to medical personnel or equipment, because when a falling boulder crushes a beloved 90s sitcom actress’ head one day, and that will happen, the crew can’t just be left out to dry. But the one mystery that still baffled me, the one that until now, until this very episode starring accomplished stage actor, Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, was this: where does everybody poop? A diet consisting of “that thing we found in the river” mixed with “some stuff we scraped off a rock” doesn’t exactly mean you can hold it for 48 hours.

Apparently the answer is you do your business in a snow fort high in the the Italian Alps. Fool-proof plan. That clears that up, then.

But yes, Jesse Tyler Ferguson! The Italian Alps! Bear lets us know that Mr. Tyler Ferguson requested Bear “push him right out of his comfort zone.” Bear then flies in riding a helicopter apparently nicknamed “His Comfort Zone,” and off we go.

Here are the most pivotal moments of Bear Grylls and Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s journey along Italy’s South Tyrol.

  • Now, before Bear and Jesse even meet, the producers ask Mr. Tyler Ferguson the incredibly specific question “What do you think Vinnie Mancuso’s reaction was to the chance Modern Family wins Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy for the sixth straight year?”
Jesse 1
Correct answer, Mr. Tyler Ferguson.
  • This is of course followed up by Bear telling a delightful anecdote about the nickname the local village-people have given to his thighs.
Jesse 2
Correct nickname, local village-people.
  • But yes, eventually Bear gets Jesse up into a helicopter, where Bear gets straight to work on his horrifying scare tactics by letting Jesse know that avalanches are basically the only thing these mountains know how to do. Then he hands Jesse some dynamite, which is equally as terrifying. The dynamite is for a purpose that I know probably makes sense if you’re a highly trained outdoorsman robot, I get it, but it just sounds sort of backwards to me. “One of the first things we’re going to do is trigger, intentionally, some avalanches….to hopefully minimize the avalanche risk,” Bear says.
Jesse 3
“Next we’re going to cover ourselves in bacon…”
Jesse 3b
“…to hopefully minimize the risk of wolf attacks.”
  • We get to our first rappelling portion of the evening, because Running Wild without at least three rappelling portions is more like Running Mild, amirite? (I’m…i’m so sorry). But, yeah, anyway this was so much more satisfying to watch than last week with Kate Hudson, who took to rappelling down cliff faces like it was her job, even having the gall to call it “fun!” Jesse Tyler Ferguson did things the right way.
Jesse 5
Yes, struggle for my amusement.
  • The route these two are taking is something called a Via Ferrata, which translates roughly to “the silver dental floss on the side of a mountain that you grip desperately in your cold hands to keep from plummeting to your death.” Jesse, of course, mishears it as Sofia Vergara. Bear Grylls ingrains himself even further into my heart by being aggressively unaware of who Sofia Vergara is.
Jesse 7
Sofia Gidarra for Running Wild Season 3, please.
  • While settling down for a rest over hot chocolate and frozen bread, Bear and Jesse get into a genuinely touching conversation about Jesse’s struggles as a art-leaning, unathletic kid, that was tempered somewhat by Bear’s struggles to understand what it’s like to be bad at sports.
Jesse 8
“Does not compute. Bungee jumping. Rope climbing. Alligator wrestling.”
  • However, we finally get to a bit of serious talk that Bear can relate to.
Jesse 9
“WAIT. Go back to the part about lighting fires.”
  • Bear and Jesse finally come across some dinner. Bear says it’s a mountain goat frozen in the snow, but I’m pretty sure that’s the arm of the Wampa from Star Wars.
Jesse 13
Seriously, for comparison.
  • When night falls, Bear and Jesse pass the time in a hole they dug in the snow, eating half-boiled Wampa meat, which I can’t imagine is safe. They do have some great conversation on Jesse’s marriage, and even date the episode by commenting on the fact that gay marriage isn’t legal in all 50 states. It’s lovely stuff, followed by the next morning where we learn Bear Grylls calls taking a shit in an igloo “doing your number twos.”
Jesse 18
  • The last thing our two adventurers have to do for the trek is get down a pretty steep decline and waterfall. To make sure they are secure, Bear ties a line to what I can only call a glorified, rapidly melting icicle. “It’ll hold,” he blatantly lies. And it’s funny, because Jesse is clearly uncomfortable, and Bear keeps casually saying things like “Wow, it’s really all melting” and “Well, my hands are definitely losing feeling.” As the one person in the duo that ISN’T the trained professional, that is not what I’d want to hear.
Jesse 19b
“Oh dear, Jesse, it appears I’ve just gone blind.”
  • Despite the melting snow and Bear essentially not having hands, they do make it to the bottom. They have 15 minutes to the helicopter extraction point. I know the stakes on this show aren’t nearly as high as they seem, but wouldn’t it be funny if it took them 20 minutes to get there and the helicopter had just left.
Jesse 20
“Well…we still have plenty of Wampa left.”
  • BUT, the helicopter is there, and Bear and Jesse fly off into the sunset, with the last shot we see proving two things. 1) Jesse Tyler Ferguson is more resilient then he seems and 2) Bear Grylls’ selfie game is on point.
Jesse 21

Next week on Running Wild with Bear Grylls we have Kate Winslet. Bear, as a survival expert in all scenarios, hopefully takes some time to point out that there was totally room for two on that door.

‘Running Wild’ Recap: Jesse Tyler Ferguson Eats Alien Meat in the Alps