Race to Survive: New Zealand Episode 8 Recap: Rules Weren’t Meant To Be Broken

Corry Jones holding his head and looking over a cliff on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Daniel Allen/USA Network via Getty Images

As reality TV fans, we’ve all experienced an uncountable amount of shocking, on-screen moments. Villains have been unmasked. Marriages have been upended. Backs have been stabbed. It’s what we expect from this genre. However what went down on the latest episode of Race to Survive: New Zealand takes the trophy for one of the wildest things we’ve seen this year.

In Race to Survive: New Zealand Episode 8, “A Rule Was Broken,” four teams crossed Race 4’s finish line. However, the producers interrupted their Survival Camp celebrations with a shocking announcement. A team violated the rules, leading to a surprising disqualification that totally upended the competition. Let’s get into it.

Race 4, Day 2

Paulina and Creighton looking at a map on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network

The episode picked up at the start of Race 4, Day 2. Four of the five remaining teams were still on the course, waiting to bushwhack their way to the finish line. Meanwhile, the Smokejumpers were already chilling at Survival Camp. They navigated through the nighttime to make it to a first-place finish, so they were just chilling and snacking on the kiwi fruit they earned as their first-place perk.

The Divorcees and the River Guides were tied for second place. After spending the entire competition in first place, you could tell that the River Guides were feeling a little salty about sitting in second. They quickly took off into the forest, reluctant to get too close to their competition.

A few minutes later, they had a change of heart. They realized that navigating a mazelike forest would be easier with four people navigating. Swallow that pride, Corry and Oliver.

Eventually, the foursome crossed the finish line, and they did it together, tying for 2nd place. We don’t always see teamwork like this on Race to Survive, and we surely didn’t expect to see it between these two teams. Creighton said it felt like a “fellowship.” It certainly looked that way, too.

Elsewhere in New Zealand, the Oil Riggers were comfortably at the back of the pack, intentionally taking their time through the course to avoid injury. So far, that tactic seemed to be working. The worst thing they were dealing with was a stubbed toe. That’s not too bad considering people have exited the race with concussions and swollen ankles.

The Hunters bow out

Ryan and Bronsen walking down a hlll on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network

Father and son-in-law duo, Ryan and Bronsen, started Race 4, Day 2 off on a completely different note from the rest of the teams. After battling knee pain for the majority of the season, Ryan made the emotional decision that their time in New Zealand should come to an end.

This decision came just in the nick of time. The camera zoomed in on his knee, and it literally looked like a grapefruit. He also said his wrist started acting up too, which made him concerned for his career. He’s a “hunting guide,” and you can’t do that professionally with injured joints from a reality TV show.

The Hunters gave the signal to the producers, and a helicopter came to take them away to safety after racing 100 miles through the New Zealand wilderness. Like most of the eliminations on this show, it didn’t really seem like a defeat. They made it this far, and that’s worth celebrating.

In an emotional interview, the duo reflected on the importance of exiting the race when they did, and the special bond they’ll share forever after the experience.

“We weren’t brought out here for money. We were brought out to learn what the true meaning of life is,” Ryan explained, before returning home to his career of killing animals for sport.

The Wolf and the sheep

Nik and Kennedy on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network

Speaking of killing animals, the Oil Riggers came across a major discovery during their snail-like journey through the racecourse. They knew they were in last place, but when they stumbled upon a huge flock of sheep, they recognized a huge opportunity. Instead of trying to push ahead and get in front of the next team, they decided to take some time to hunt down a sheep. Food is fuel, and in a race like this, that’s just as important as pace.

We certainly don’t recommend trying this at home, but Kennedy and Nik sat on the hillside and strategized their attack on the sheep. Nik distracted them by running in one direction, and then Kennedy swooped in like someone out of an action movie. She chased down the slowest sheep, tackled it, and slit its throat.

This sheep was just the latest victim of the Race to Survive contestants. First, a goose had her eggs stolen. Then, they started going after the eels. In a previous race, Creighton wiped out an entire family of hedgehogs.

If you’re an animal in New Zealand, you should be terrified. However, the Oil Riggers felt like they just conquered the world. They basically harvested a year’s supply of mutton.

After butchering the lamb, the Oil Riggers pressed forward towards the End Crate, with not much hope of having a medallion waiting for them. After being in last place for the whole race and then spending hours making lamb chops, how could there be a medallion left for them?

Well, strange things happened in New Zealand, and there sure was a medallion waiting for them after all. A producer showed up and flipped the game upside down with some shocking news about one of the teams.

Dismissed and disqualified

Oliver and Corry walking away from a helicopter on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network

We’re still over here trying to scrape our jaws off the floor from the information that the producers shared with the group. They came over and announced that the River Guides, Oliver and Corry were disqualified from the race, effective immediately, because of a violation of a major rule.

We knew this moment was coming because the trailers teased it, but who would have predicted that the first-place finishers would be the ones facing disqualification? How could that happen? Apparently, Corry ate something he shouldn’t have.

It seemed like the show intentionally tried to avoid the grisly details, but they’ve mentioned weka birds multiple times throughout the show. They made a point to tell us in previous episodes that they were off-limits. You can’t hunt them or eat them, but they’ve been scurrying around survival camp all season long. We’ve seen them causing chaos and tempting everyone with their big juicy bodies. In Episode 4, Corry joked that they looked like they would make a good sandwich.

Although they never outright said that Corry ate a weka bird, it certainly seemed like that’s what they were implying. Perhaps they kept the details vague because there’s a hefty fine for killing one of these birdies.

“So, I made a mistake. It was shortsighted. It was foolish, but the competition is very real and the difficulty of this is real. Survival in the bush of New Zealand isn’t easy,” Corry explained.

“We did have strategies in place for the racing, but we didn’t prepare for the hunger,” he continued.

Ultimately, Corry admitted that his instincts took over. He knew he was breaking a rule, but in his mind, eating seemed more important. Perhaps he didn’t think he would get caught amid the rest of the bloodshed happening on the course? Either way, he offered a heartfelt apology before he and Oliver made their exit.

“What I did disrespected New Zealand, and I’m sorry,” Corry told the cameras.

And then there were three

Racers running along a coast on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network

The Hunters, the River Guides, and the Smokejumpers have been the frontrunners throughout this entire competition. With two of them eliminated in one swoop, this game just changed dramatically. Suddenly, we had our final three, and everyone felt confused.

Technically, there should have been one more race to determine who would go into the finale. Instead, the Divorcees, the Oil Riggers, and the Smokejumpers automatically survived their way to the final gauntlet to determine who would take home the $500,000.

At Survival Camp, the emotions were all over the place. The Oil Riggers felt relieved to still compete and were riding high on the fact that they had a whole sheep to fuel them through the final race. The Smokejumpers were also feeling positive because their biggest competition had been eliminated. They’re the team to beat, and they know it.

Meanwhile, the Divorcees were in a good place emotionally, but perhaps not in the best spot for the race. In a heartfelt conversation, they talked about how the pressure of the race helped heal some of the trauma from their divorce.

To be clear, it doesn’t sound like they’re getting back together anytime soon, but they’re not enemies either. That’s worth celebrating, even if they didn’t have much food to eat at Survival Camp.

At the end of Episode 8, our final three prepared for the grand finale of Race to Survive: New Zealand. Of course, it’s bringing them their biggest twist yet. It’s a time trial, and they’ll have to navigate part of the course without their partner. As if this show wasn’t dangerous enough, now they’re going to send them into the jungle alone? Thankfully, there’s an end in sight for this complicated race and a $500,000 check waiting for whoever crosses the finish line first.

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