Bear took Michelle Rodriguez to the Nevada Desert, home of red cliffs, slot canyons, and desert heat. I spent some time driving in and out of Nevada and, later, spending the day in Las Vegas—a city I once swore to never visit. I had to choose between Phoenix and Vegas. I chose Vegas. I spent a couple hours wandering The Strip, out of place, hungry, unsure of what to do and where to go. My flight didn’t leave until 10:50pm. The Strip smelt of mildew and sunscreen. I decided to leave The Strip after several hours of aimlessly wandering in casinos, sitting in sports books, and walking in the 115 degree heat in a black Flyers t-shirt and jeans. Visiting nature spots when I leave the comforts of home brings me more joy than tourist areas. Before I left Nevada, I drove to see the red rocks on the outskirts of Vegas. Anyway, I wrote about the highlights of the episode. I don't review the episodes.
-Bear and Michelle Rodriguez, star of LOST and some car movies, skydived down to the desert. Bear pushed her out, because he disliked Ana Lucia. No, he didn’t. I mean, he pushed her out of the plane, but not because he can’t separate Michelle Rodriguez from a character she played nine years ago. Bear thought something bad happened to Michelle, but nothing bad happened. Well, she landed badly. Actually, NBC editing made it seem she landed badly. Bear ran across the desert and found a happy, jokey Michelle Rodriguez.
-The soft profile stuff began as soon as they started hiking the red cliffs. Bear seems to approach scary situations like dentists or doctors. Dentists and doctors will distract the patient by talking to them about the patient’s lives, occupation, while he or she and the nurses or dental assistants prepare the knockout stuff and surgical equipment. Bear may not be a budding Entertainment Weekly writer. He may talk to celebrities about their lives to distract them from him preparing rope, which they’ll use to repel down a steep cliffside.
-Surprise, surprise: Bear and Michelle repelled down a cliffside. Bear switched things around. He went first. Michelle watched him with an expression of trepidation. Michelle shared more of her life after she successfully repelled. She talked about her first acting job in Girlfight, why it appealed to her, and then her and Bear began traversing the slot canyons.
-They made it through the slot canyons. At camp, Bear cooked mouse stew. Michelle Rodriguez contributed her urine for the broth. Bear put a hammock bed for her. They chatted more, while he cooked, about losing loved ones. Bear said, “There’s no manual for that.” Bear told her about four fellow climbers who died during his Everest climb. Michelle wondered what life’s all about. I’d tell her to read Anton Chekhov. The comedy came during dinner. Bear said the mouse stew was the worst thing he ate, worse than raw goat testicles and camel intestinal fluid. I watched Bear eat all sorts of bugs, animal organs, and animals over the last eight years. Mouse stew, Bear? Yeah, I guess so.
-The next day they needed to reach the extraction point. They ascended a steep rock with a 300-foot incline. They climbed through wind. The climb tests upper body strength. I would not complete the ascent. Bear and Michelle did, because they’re badasses. Michelle reflected on the catharsis natures brings to a person. She said it’s nice to get away from people, and that she needs to get out more. Indeed, Michelle. Bear thought he saw a different side of Michelle that most people don’t see. I’d agree. People see essentially nothing of the ‘real’ person they see interviewed by late night hosts. William Gass wrote, in a review of Leon Edel’s 4th volume of his Henry James biography,
“Henry James could not fail to see here another instance of a parallel he had drawn several times already, and was to draw again, to draw out even to infinity in The Sacred Fount: the ultimate worthlessness of the social exchanges he regularly participated in, the weak and unreal interest of people in one another, the guarded, protective nature of their social speech, and the greed of the novelist for the same material—the need in that role to reach through and beyond all tea-talk to the selves it hid, to whatever real life moved like the mole was believed …”