History Channel’s -The Selection: Evolution 4 Recap

Evolution 4: Weeding out the Weak

When I saw the preview for episode 4 I knew this was going to be a tough one for the candidates. 14 candidates remain as we start episode 4, mid-season for the 8 part series. By now they have proven that they are physically able to move on, but are they mentally capable of moving farther into the show?

At the start of the episode they are taught some basic concealment skills for tonight’s evolution. Basically they are given 4 hours to create a place of concealment in the hopes that the instructors do not find them. They are divided into 4 teams;

  • Team 1 – Candidates 12,19,28
  • Team 2 – Candidates 3,14,15,17
  • Team 3 – Candidates 6,11,20,27
  • Team 4 – Candidates 2,7,22

The Selection - search

At 0200 of day 5 the search begins for the teams. The instructors have 3 hours to find them. After about 90 minutes, Team 3 is the first team found, followed by team 1 and team 2. Team 4 manages to stay concealed until 3 minutes remain. And that was only because the instructor walked on the head of one of the candidates. Very good job of concealment on their part.

The candidates are then handcuffed with zip-ties and have a blackout goggle placed on their heads preventing them for seeing anything, It is at this point during the instructor recap that they state that they think # 20 will be the first to break as the move into what can best be described as the “torture” segment.

The Selection - Praying

The candidates are brought as a group into a “resistance lab” where they are subjected to a number of different types of “torture.” This is where the “psych ops” begin on the candidates. They are subjected to being placed in a small box for long periods of time, having ice cold water poured over them, subject to “repetitive noises” (such as a crying baby), being moved into uncomfortable positions and being told to hold that position, and as #11 experienced, having electric sparks fly near your head. All of this going on while being “blind” , your hands are tied by zip-ties and the candidates are starting to feel the effects of sleep and food deprivation. This is also where the candidates start to drop, beginning with #20 (as predicted by the instructors) followed by #27 and #22. While they are physically able to do what is expected, they just don’t have the mental strength to go on.

The Selection - In The Box

Nine hours into the lab # 28 quits leaving 9 candidates. Into the 10th hour we lose another candidate leaving us with 8 remaining candidates remaining; candidates # 2, 3, 6, 11, 12, 15, 17 & 19. By this time they been in the “resistance lab” for 11 hours, and have gone 36 hours with no sleep. If you have ever gone without sleep, you know that one becomes irritable and unable to think clearly. And not having a sense of time (or sight) adds to the difficulty of the evolution.

They are finally freed from the handcuff and have the goggles removed by the instructors. They have completed this evolution. The instructors give them praise for completing this grueling segment and are told to eat and rest because as one instructor stated, “Now that we have cut the weak, we need to start cutting the strong.”

So we have 8 remaining candidates at the halfway point. Interesting to note that according to the shows beginning screenshots 80% of candidates fail special ops training. Based on that figure, we could expect to see 6 candidates to complete the show. With only 2 candidates needing to drop to make that percentage, and only half way through the 8 episodes, one can’t help but wonder if more than 80% will fail. Only time will tell.

Of the remaining 8 candidates, 4 of them come from OCR backgrounds; #6, #11, #12 and #19 . Way to rep the sport guys. And for you GORUCK fans, we have 6 GRT’s still in the running; #2, #3, #6, #11, #15 & #17

Read recaps of other episodes here:

Watch the episodes here.

All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks

Ryan Kent

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Episode 215 – Today’s show is a conversation with Ryan Kent. Matt and Ryan dig in and discuss what Ryan has been up to since their last chat back in early 2015 including:

  • What he can tell us (so far) about History Channel’s The Selection.
  • Ending 2016 strong
  • His experience on the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge
  • What his goals are for 2017

Todays Podcast is sponsored by:

MudGear – Order now for free shipping in the United States on all products.

Show Notes:

Running Bear with lyrics (Now you know the words!)

A clip from Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge of Ryan and his team.

The Selection Cast Bios

Listen using the player below or the iTunes/Stitcher links at the top of this page. 

History Channel’s – The Selection: Evolution 1 Recap

The Selection - Opening

Evolution 1: Dip In the Fire

The premise of History Channel’s “The Selection” is simple; place men and women, known as candidates, with no military background, and have them endure the same or similar training that US Special Forces go through and see how they do. There are no awards, prizes, medals (or for the GRT’s reading this, patches) given to the winner(s) of the challenge. It is an exercise that pushes the limits of the mind and body.

As someone that grew up in the military, as well a vet and GORUCK GRT, I am aware of the different aspects of military training having witnessed and experienced some of it myself. I have the utmost regards for those that have endured the training required to become a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger or Green Beret. I know my limits and this show far exceeds those.

The Selection Squats

So at this point you might be wondering, “What does this have to do with OCR’s?” In regards to the shows premise, not a damn thing.

There is nothing in the OCR world that can prepare you for this…

Not Spartan Hurricane Heats, not World’s Toughest Mudder, Nothing.

Oh those events may give you a taste but cannot mentally or physically prepare you for what awaits. But in regards to the candidates themselves, (all participants on the show are referred to as candidates and are given a number, not a name) The Selection does have some ties to OCR:

  • #7  is Justin Dieter, came in 2nd to Junyong Pak in the first two World’s Toughest Mudders back in 2011 and 2012
  • #11 is a co-founder of Obstacle Racing Media, and former GORUCK employee, Christian Griffith
  • #12 is Ryan Kent, a current member of the Spartan Race Pro Team
  • #13 is McCauley Kraker, a former Spartan Pro Team member and ORM contributor.
  • #19 is Logan Nagle, who recently completed 75 miles in last month’s World’s Toughest Mudder

The Selection - Night Log

Before the shows airing, I became aware of the negative comments being posted on the History Channel Facebook Page for The Selection and honestly was quite bothered by all the disparaging comments being made about the people that were on the show. Especially in light of the fact that the show had not aired yet publicly. Most bothersome was the comments made by active and former military regarding the show and the participants. I would think that they would welcome the opportunity for civilians to experience a bit of military life and perhaps gain a better understanding of what it takes in regards to being Special Ops. But I digress…

For those of you that have done a GORUCK Tough or Heavy, the opening episode may remind you of the Welcome Party that usually starts these events.  But unlike a GORUCK event, you are not punished and pushed in the way seen on the show. But much like the welcome party, it is during this time you start to see the candidates drop out. Within the first 10 minutes of the show, we see the first drop-out. While there is the essence of team building and support, this all comes down to the individual.

Now many of us have our reasons for doing OCR’s and GORUCKs and one the best aspects of the show is the “interrogation” scenes in which the candidates are asked, “Why are you here?” The reasons why some of these people are here are inspiring. It adds a layer of vulnerability to these people that the audience can relate to. I think we can all, as OCR racers, relate to what drives these people to want to do this.

The Selection - Interrogation

During one scene of the show, the instructors made it clear to all the candidates that nutrition and fluid intake are vital. Again, we as OCR’s racers are familiar with the pitfalls of not keeping on top of both before, during, and after an event. Kudos to the instructors for making this a high priority.

Also of interest are the scenes in which the instructors talk about the individual candidates. This allows for you the audience member to develop a “bond” as it were with a candidate that you may be rooting for. In regards to Christian and Ryan, both of them receive positive comments from the instructors. It was during this sequence that the best line of the episode was given when discussing Christian, “#11 looks like a hipster Jesus.” If you know Christian, you will understand.


Christian Griffith – The Hipster Jesus?

By the end of the 1st episode, 5 candidates have turned in their patches, #1, #5, #16, #21 and #24, leaving 25 candidates (17% drop on day 1). I was really impressed by candidate # 30. He was giving 100% on the log when the rest of his team was not and did not let his small stature reduce his perseverance. Looking forward to seeing how far he goes. Candidates #7, #11, #12, #13 and #19 are still there and gave a good showing in the first episode. Ryan, #12 was picked as a team leader early in the episode and did a great job leading and motivating the rest of the candidates. And the instructors had high praise for Christian, #11.

Overall, I felt the episode was a good introduction to both the premise and the candidates. The instructors were fair but firm in the treatment of the candidates and appeared to be honest in regards to “weeding out” those that can’t cut it. They went looking for weak links and pounced when one appeared. The first episode set the stage for the remaining 7 episodes in regards to expectations of the instructors. Some of the candidate’s right from the start made you wonder, WTF? (Pink haired candidate #1 pops to the forefront.) Is this truly a military show? No! It has to market itself to the masses and honestly most people don’t want to see what really happens, but it does give a good representation of the training as well as the mental and physical endurance that Special Forces operatives go through.

Read recaps of other episodes here:

Watch the episodes here.

All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks