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USA Insider Race to Survive: New Zealand

Race to Survive Creator Breaks Down Kennedy & Nik's Big Kill: It "Kept Them Alive"

On the edge of starvation, one Race to Survive: New Zealand team went all-in on a hunt in Episode 8.

By Caitlin Busch
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Where is the limit when you're starving in the wilderness? That's a question Race to Survive: New Zealand competitors Nik Milutinovic and Kennedy Taylor may have answered for themselves in Episode 8. Exhausted and starving after weeks in the wilderness, the pair came across a flock of sheep.

How to Watch

Watch new episodes of Race to Survive: New Zealand Mondays at 11/10c on USA Network

Kennedy, knife in hand, didn't hesitate to throw herself at one of the sheep she and Nik managed to corner and kill it with a slice to the throat.

More on Race to Survive: New Zealand:

How Long Can the Race to Survive Competitors Last Without Food? Science Says...
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Mikhail & Steffen Confirm What Tanked Their Race to Survive: New Zealand Game

Kennedy & Nik Used Every Part of the Sheep

"It’s an intense thing, right?" showrunner Jeff Conroy told USA Insider when asked about the season's most gasp-worthy moment yet. "Bare-hand killing an animal kinda speaks to the level of hunger people are at and what people will do when they’re hungry and it also ... speaks to the idea of – your body becomes like a machine, right? You need fuel to make that machine work, and the reality is, a sheep provides a lot of fuel, right?

"And the one thing I think is really cool about it is that they do fully use every [part] — that sheep was not wasted," he continued. "That sheep kept them alive. That sheep, they used every bit of it. Down to the bone broth soup. I think if you have to kill an animal to eat it to survive, that’s probably the best way to do it, right? Do it in a way that you really respect it by using the whole animal."

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Kennedy's mutton murder isn't the only time throughout the season that competitors successfully captured and killed their food. But it is, far and away, the most visceral. 

Finding the Limit in Race to Survive

Nik Milutinovic and Kennedy Taylor

"I think that’s also what’s really cool about the show is that it pushes a viewer to ask themselves how far they’d go [in the same position]," Conroy said. "If you can get your mindset in there as one of the contestants, you have to wonder, right?"

He cited a moment in Episode 2 in which Mikhail Martin and Steffen Jean-Pierre stumbled on a nest of baby birds and, despite toying with starvation, couldn't bring themselves to eat them.

"The fact is: that’s protein, and the reality is that would’ve probably given [Mikhail and Steffen] a little bit more fuel, but that was the limit of how far they’d go," he said.

Fast forward to Episode 8, and Kennedy and Nik — with several more weeks' worth of time in the New Zealand wilderness under their belts — found an entirely new limit.

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The show, Conroy mused, is a bit of a social experiment.

"That’s the best of a social experiment is to pose questions and get answers and kind of leave the audience wondering where they fit and how they would approach the same problems," he said.

Keep watching new episodes of Race to Survive: New Zealand every Monday on USA Network at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

Catch up on Race to Survive: Alaska on Peacock.