Race to Survive: New Zealand Episode 2 Recap: Bacon, Eggs, and Tears

Heather and Emilio from Race to Survive: New Zealand doing a high five with excited expressions on their face.
Photo Credit: Tim Williams/USA Network via Getty Images

Buckle up, adrenaline junkies. Race to Survive: New Zealand came through with a brand-new episode, and we saw our first team get eliminated.

In the Race to Survive premiere, we met nine teams brave (and crazy) enough to subject themselves to a 40-day, 150-mile race with no food, no shelter, and worst of all, no bathrooms. They kicked off the first race, challenged to a course consisting of rocky rivers, steep chasms, and winding forest paths.

By the end of Episode 1, three teams pushed to the front of the pack, while a few others struggled to stay out of last place. This week, all of the racers miraculously made it to Survival Camp in one piece, but one team just didn’t quite make it there fast enough. Here’s what happened in Race to Survive New Zealand, Episode 2, “Packrafts, Portages, and Pain” and how everyone finished the first leg of the race.

Teamwork prevails at the front of the pack

Steffen Jean-Pierre and Mikhail Martin climbing across rocks on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Tim Williams/USA Network

The unique thing about Race to Survive is how much team dynamics influence the gameplay. Some teams bring sheer physical prowess while others bring outdoorsmanship. Regardless of what they bring to the race, they’re all just humans trying to survive, and the way they interact with their teammates has an impact on the outcome of the game. In Episode 2, those unique team dynamics became more and more clear.

For instance, the River Guides were in lock-step with each other throughout the entire episode. They’re besties, and when they had a chance to strategize their way down the river, they did so effortlessly and gained a huge lead.

The Hunters, Ryan, and Bronsen, also seem to be working together effortlessly. Part of that is probably because Bronsen has a deep responsibility to not disappoint his father-in-law. There’s a marriage on the line, for crying out loud!

Bickering on the racecourse

Heather and Emilio on Race to Survive: New Zealand carrying a raft
Photo Credit: Tim Williams/USA Network

The Divorcees, Paulina, and Creighton, were clearly having a hard time in Race 1 because they couldn’t agree on anything. Paulina tried to attribute it to the fact that she’s more “emotional” and he’s more “logical.” Opposites attract, but she said their relationship took that concept too far. You can see just how much it’s impacting their adventure on RTS.

For example, Creighton wanted a food crate, but Paulina didn’t. Creighton wanted to forage for some goose eggs. Paulina didn’t. But, what’s hilarious to watch as a viewer is that they’re both right sometimes, and they complement each other on the course. This week, Creighton was right about the goose eggs, and they ended up having a huge helping of scrambled eggs for dinner.

Heather and Emilio, the Rhode Island “gym rats,” also have a unique dynamic that has been revealed by the pressure of the race. The two workout buddies bicker like siblings, but somehow, that seems to help them move faster down the course. At one point in the episode, Heather struggles with the idea of jumping off a cliff into some mysterious waters. You can’t blame her for not wanting to jump off a cliff. That’s called having common sense. Still, Emilio was at the bottom of the cliff cheering on his “psycho sister.”

Heather eventually jumped, and we learned that this whole race had a much bigger meaning for her. She revealed that her doctors discovered early stages of breast cancer, so she had to undergo multiple surgeries. She added a whole new element of “survival” to Race to Survive.

The perks of finishing first

Spencer "Corry" Jones and Oliver Dev posing in their cast pictures for Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Patrik Giardino/USA Network

At the end of Race 1, Day 2, three teams made it to Survival Camp: The River Guides, The Hunters, and The Smokejumpers. In this race, finishing first meant getting your hands on some much-needed perks to make Survival Camp a little bit less horrible. They had the option to choose between a hammock, a fishing kit, three pounds of bacon, or a firestarting kit. Decisions, decisions.

The River Guides got there first, and they took a moment to decide which perk to choose. Bacon would give them instant gratification, but they settled with the fishing set, hoping it would help them secure food for the long haul. They’re always thinking strategy.

The Hunters made it to Survival Camp in second place and of course, they chose the bacon as their perk. That seemed very on-brand for them and honestly, have you ever seen someone that excited about bacon? You could see the joy in their eyes as they crisped it up at their campsite and you could almost smell it through the screen.

Then, the Smokejumpers made it to the camp just right after the Hunters, and they were so bummed that they missed out on their chance for bacon. Begrudgingly, they took the hammock. They just had to lay there while the aroma of crispy bacon taunted their noses.

Race 1, Day 3

Steffen Jean-Pierre and Mikhail Martin on Race to Survive New Zealand
Photo Credit: Tim Williams/USA Network

On the final day of Race 1, the remaining six teams made their push to the finish line. Some of them had empty stomachs, while others were feeling homesick, like Jeff the Ultramarathoner who teared up talking about his daughters at home cheering him on.

Kennedy from the Oil Rigger team also had a vulnerable moment on Day 3 where she opened up about her relationship with her mom, or lack thereof. However, she didn’t want to cry on camera because she didn’t want to come off as a “sissy bitch,” so we’ll move past that scene too!

Elsewhere on the course, the Divorcees managed to bicker their way to the finish line, full of their goose eggs. At Survival Camp, they ended up getting stuck with the firestarter kit, which they weren’t too thrilled about. They said it was “huge and heavy.” plus, they already had one. Obviously, bacon would have been better. It would have gone perfectly with those goose eggs.

The Cool Moms, Rhandi and Ashley also made it to Survival Camp on Day 3. They missed out on getting perks from the End Crate, but they didn’t care. They were proud of themselves for finishing and after setting up camp, Ashley took a few seconds to apply a fresh set of eyelashes. Sometimes, it’s the little things.

Kennedy and Nik, the Canadian Oilriggers struggled their way to Survival Camp in seventh place. They tumbled down the rapids and then thought that carrying their boat around the river would be easier. That it ended up being ten times harder. Although they were physically exhausted, they were in good spirits when they finally made it to Survival Camp. Nik celebrated their finish by snacking on a honeybee. According to him, you just rip the stinger out, and it tastes like honey! Please don’t do this, we need the bees to be our friends.

A fight to the finish

Heather from Race to Survive: New Zealand climbing up the side of a rock
Photo Credit: Tim Williams/USA Network

At the end of Day 3, it came down to The Rhode Islanders and the Brooklyn Climbers battling to stay in the game. They were both trucking it down the river in 8th and 9th place, and it genuinely seemed like it could go in any direction.

The Brooklyn Climbers had the lead, but they were also running on an empty stomach. They didn’t get any food caches throughout the entire race, so they were basically starving. On the other hand, The Rhode Islanders had strength on their side, with their food cache calories fueling their fight down the river.

As they paddled for their lives, the Rhode Islanders could see the Brooklynites ahead of them. They were so close to catching up to them, and their spirits never wavered. But, the Brooklynites got to the End Crate first.

Emilio and Heather from Rhode Island showed up in ninth place, so they were the first team eliminated on Race to Survive: New Zealand. However, it didn’t feel like a defeat. All of the other teams rallied around them, and they celebrated the fact that they made it to the finish line of such an intense race.

“We didn’t give up. We didn’t stop once,” Heather said before hugging Emilio.

After a brief, teary celebration with the other racers, a helicopter descended on the racecourse and took Heather and Emilo back to civilization. Meanwhile, the rest of the racers prepped for Race 2, with all of them still in the running for the $500,000 grand prize.

Here’s a quick look at how everyone finished Race 1.

  1. The River Guides, Oliver, and Corry
  2. The Hunters, Bronsen, and Ryan
  3. The Smokejumpers, Ethan and Tyrie
  4. The Divorcees, Creighton, and Paulina
  5. The Ultramarathoners, Jeff, and Coree
  6. The Cool Moms, Rhandi, and Ashley
  7. The Oil Riggers, Nik, and Kennedy
  8. The Brooklyn Climbers, Mikhail, and Steffen
  9. ELIMINATED — The Rhode Islanders, Emilio, and Heather

Race to Survive: New Zealand continues on USA Network, Monday nights at 11/10c.