‘Stranded With a Million Dollars’ Recap Episode 9: Thrive Nugget

Look, it’s Mr. Thrive MTV

Despite what Juliet would say about it, names matter. The convention by which we as a society choose to classify objects, our experiences, each other—all play a role in our relationships to those objects. To those experiences. To each other. And that is why “Thrive Nugget” is the nastiest, low down, gritty, and grimy name for an episode in all of television history. Because “thrive nugget” in the context of this episode is a literal piece of crap purposely put into an adversary’s drinking water with the hopes of poisoning them out of a game. To quote Onyx, “that is wilder than the shit from the tundra. Shiftee.” 

This week, the endless pettiness on the pettiest television show since Tom Petty and Lori Petty guest starred on Petticoat Junction continued. Gina and Alex refused to help carry the flare case on the journey which they knew would result in an automatic loss of $100,000. Alex and Gina already burned over $64,000 out of spite so what’re another few stacks in the scheme of things? All said, they’ve spent, lost, destroyed a total of $432,000. Which is hilarious. Like I found out how hard it is to type and laugh because every time I think about how much money that is, and how it’s gone to waste on a combination of personal hatred and oversized hamburgers I crack up like Alabama Worley after she gets thrown through a shower by James Gandolfini and then screams at him about how ridiculous he looks. And even though that is a lot of money, it’s still somehow not enough money because I wish harder than a Carl Thomas song that they spent all of the money. 

Alex, Gina, Cody, and Makani casually make their way to the next campsite because what is the rush, they already don’t get this $100,000. But upon arriving, they learn that it is actually worse than just not getting the dough. Since they left the case behind, they lose it. No flares, no phone. Which means if they want to quit, they can’t flare out. Now they have to build a fire that is at least five feet high. Okay, a couple episodes ago, Cody’s pre-thrive nugget thrive brother, Chris, flared out in the middle of a monsoon and they made him wait through the night before they sent the helicopter to get him. And all he had to do was shoot a flare in the sky and wait. There is no way anyone would have been able to build a fire in that rain. And five feet high? That’s a rager. That’s some Wicker Man construct the form of a human out of straw, get Nic Cage in there with some Duraflame logs, light the gold Zippo, and *blows on fingers* “like that he’s gone.”

Second, they lose the phone. So no more group buys. NO MORE GROUP BUYS. Alex and Gina burned the 60K to try and convince Cody and Makani to buy them peanut butter. Well, they now have no ability to buy anything. Both sides left on this island are falling victim to that old saying “don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” except they’re doing it in such an extreme way it’s like when Garfield cuts a slice of lasagna and then takes the whole rest of the tray and leaves the one piece. These people are cutting off their face and throwing the nose into the ocean. So even if Cody or Makani leave for whatever reason, nobody can buy anything new. The group buy is over, long live the group buy.

After making camp, Makani misplaces their bag of tinder. Alex finds it and takes it. Cody blames Makani for losing it even though they look like they’re surrounded by piles of tinder and literally have nothing to do all day but go out and collect some sticks for twelve hours. I keep hearing how hard the downtime is with nothing to do. I’d make that island my own version of Tinder, except instead of swiping left and right on dates, I’d spend six hours picking up sticks to fashion into little The Blair Witch Project idols to hang from the trees and ward off peanut butter thieves and then burn when I need more tinder. Cody yells at Makani because Cody is the type of person who will come up with the idea to shit in someone’s water supply to get them out of a game. Makani did it, too so she’s just as implicated but I don’t think she came up with the idea. 

Makani gets the temptation this week and brings Cody. They eat a huge meal and then Cody does his “thrive nugget” thing to the water source. It seems like Alex realizes something is off, which is maybe the greatest thing he’s done this whole game. I seriously do not have confidence that I would be able to tell that somebody has defiled my drinking water. I also know that I wouldn’t make it a week into this game because when I get a little bit hungry, like lunch being later than one p.m., i lay down on the ground and my body starts to decompose like that sped-up shot of the fox getting eaten by maggots in the opening credits of True Blood. 

The plan backfires in that nobody dies from the infected water. And they complete the trek to the last campsite, making it by four seconds. Which means they get another 100k, which means they’re that much farther from having zero dollars at the end of this. Which is next week. So plenty of time for Cody and Makani to go around shitting themselves to victory. It may not be a pretty way to win but it’s disgusting, too!

‘Stranded With a Million Dollars’ Recap Episode 9: Thrive Nugget