Reality television shows are the kind of ones that let the audience know about the man or woman in the show who is a regular worker, but this time he or she managed to get onto the show, trying to prove an ordinary person can be an extraordinary person too. There are sentiments, drama, anger, and all the emotions you could possibly expect. The reality show came across as a boon for television until it took over the OTT space as well. The whole point of a reality show is to end at a point where the audience will have to wait another night or week to know what happened to the said person in the last episode. The binging of reality shows on OTT platforms comes across as very long and tedious if each episode is a god-awful hour long. “The Law of the Jungle,” directed by Juan Carlos Durán Crane, is a Mexican original Spanish-language reality show that has men and women from all walks of life living in the wilderness and facing challenges to make sure they win the final jackpot money, which is around 2 million pesos.
‘The Law Of The Jungle’ Season 1: Recap
“The Law of the Jungle” Season 1 begins with the participants being introduced to each other and kept in pairs for the night. The whole point of this exercise is to make sure the participants get along. The next day, the 12 participants can join the bandwagon and become a part of the show, which is going to take place inside the jungle. Two groups of six people are formed. The orange and blue teams are formed right at the beginning. All of them are informed of the prize money that one of them will win at the end of this season. Even though it is an adventure-based show that runs on the tasks done by two groups, the catch here is that at many points, any of the participants will be given extra money as an incentive to get them to betray their teams. Each of them is handed a device on which they receive communication, sometimes to the entire group about a task, while some receive offer messages discreetly.
The first episode of “The Law of the Jungle” is all about getting to know each other and understanding that, apart from the prize money, each team member will be offered money to sabotage their tasks. This comes across as a shock to members of the blue team because it is one of their members who was offered to make sure their team loses the task. The blue team does end up losing, but the said member of the blue team, Layla Neri, was the one to be approached, but she declined. Since the blue team lost the first task, their member was pushed to the purge round for the final elimination from their team. The elimination of Sandy Padilla comes as a rude shock to everyone in the game because that’s when they realize the nature of this show, which is that one of them could be voted off and will be out of the game if they lose the elimination round.
Fabian was the one who got eliminated from the second episode. He was chosen by the blue team, keeping in mind his physical strength, which might become problematic for the blue team in the upcoming tasks. All the tasks up until the sixth episode had the two teams working on themselves and making sure they were defeating the other team. By eliminating almost four of them from the blue team, the remaining members of the blue team were merged with the orange team for the final task, which was again a group task.
In these eight episodic “adventurous reality television show,” each episode had members getting eliminated from each team, which reduced the number of members in the game to single digits. Cesar got eliminated in the third episode when he took money from the game runners to betray his blue team. Caesar was very honest about this confession, though his members were not very emotional because the blue team was betrayed not just by his action but by his admission of wanting money over the team he was a part of before he was ousted. Zoe Joffre was the one who was eliminated by the end of episode four, and the biggest elimination happened in episode five when John Guts, the team leader of the blue team, went out, which came again as a shock to his team.
In “The Law of the Jungle” Episode 6, the two remaining members of the blue team merged with the orange team to form one large orange team. The elimination this time included everyone voting for someone as their rival and hoping they wouldn’t become the biggest obstacle. Paola gets eliminated in the seventh. The ultimate finale episode had the remaining group decide if they wanted the prize to be divided amongst each other or if they would choose to purge so that one person is eliminated and the one who wins will make sure to take the entire money with them. The group chose not to opt for a purge, and from then on, it was easy for the group to decide if the money must be divided. The orange team finally decides to equally split the prize money if they finish the tasks assigned on time. “The Law of the Jungle” ends with the remaining orange team winning the task, and along with that, they finally decide to split the prize money allocated. The money that will be split will come to an amount they did not expect, but since they have worked with the group for a while since the competition began, it seems selfish for all of them to take home one big amount. The team has now become like a family, and they intend to split the money that they have earned through their hard work and strength.
Is The Show Any Good?
“The Law of the Jungle” begins with all of them—men and women—being brought to the middle of the jungle and being kept there in pairs in the hope that they will get along with each other. Leslie Gallardo, Adrián Andrés, Fabian Camberos, John Guts, Zoe Joffre, Paola Michelle, Cesar Morales, Layla Neri, Sandy Padilla, Bruce Santillan, Gina Torres, and Josue Villanueva come together from a not-so-good financial background, and their entire agenda is to win the jackpot money awaiting one of them, if any of them manages to win each challenge and reach the finale. Each participant has their own ideas and goals of what to do with the money they will win by the end, so the journey begins for them with the first task and leads each one of them towards another task. The twelve of them are divided into two groups for the tasks assigned to them. They are the blue team and the orange team—the people who had started to know each other on the first night are surprisingly put in the opposite teams, and now they will have to compete from here.
Something like Hogwarts: once they are in the team, they cannot move to another team. With the groups being established and the rules being set, all of them are ready to face the challenges meant for them in the middle of the jungle. All the tasks are meant for them, but they must depend upon their natural surroundings. Not one task involves any sort of technology. The players will have to climb, walk, waddle, swim, and run to make sure the tasks are finished. Each team is assigned a task meant to be dealt with as a group. The winning team will get the chance to vote for those players on the other team that they think pose a threat. And in between, each member of the team is provided with monetary incentives by the game runner, but in return, the said person will have to sabotage the game for their team in some way.
As the players maneuver through these tasks and accept or decline offers, the teams start losing people one by one due to elimination. The elimination round requires the three people from the losing team who were voted out to be removed by the winning team. Those three are pitted against each other in another round of elimination, and by the end of that task, a player must go home. Surrounded by nature, these tasks had the players having to struggle with a wood fire to make food for themselves, devoid of any of the edibles that they used to have daily outside of the game they joined, and making sure they lived and experienced the jungle life. All the players are given offers to check if they will be willing to betray their team for the money, which will be deducted from the final winning amount, and upon their elimination, they will win a cash amount upon completion of the task. This presents the people who accept the offers as people who were selfish enough to put their needs above the team. The said person would live with the fact that he or she betrayed the team for the money and walked away with it without any remorse or regret. Who would win the challenge, or would the rules of the game change by the end of it? Will the single individual prize money change from a single person winning the cash prize to a group prize where the winning amount will be divided equally amongst the winning contestants? Watch this over-the-top reality TV show, which is anything but reality, about why the contestants would willingly get themselves into a game that was not planned well and where the ending of the show went from being individualistic to being unnecessarily melodramatic. The ending of this show is reminiscent of an overt display of theatrics just to cater to the audience.
The reality television show is designed in such a way that, at many points, the challenges might come across as something the participant is facing as scripted. This is an open secret. Keeping that in mind, the makers here have put across such an ostentatious display of hamming things up under the guise of the participants barely managing to survive through the jungle, which is nothing less than far-fetched even for a reality television show. The drama in the form of participants not trusting their teammates comes out as a sham because the trust factor is at the core of any team-based reality show. “The Law of the Jungle” hardly delved deep into other conflicts because the only conflict that could be bothering the two groups is the money factor that is being offered by the game runners and the trust that the participants either have or don’t have in each other. As the show was nearing its climax, it was obvious there wouldn’t be one winner of the game.
“The Law of the Jungle” has been scripted poorly because it is easily understood that the show does not go beyond eight episodes, and the ending of the show was reduced to something different, which was declared as diagonally opposite to what was claimed at the beginning of the show. I’m not sure how the participants, in the end, agreed to the change of how and to whom the winning amount will be given. The direction and camerawork are basic, and in many places, one can notice the participants crossing the line and not following the rules. Such shots were not even removed from the edits. The discussion on who is betraying who and the participants being honest about their need for money comes across as a façade. The same participants who talk about wanting to betray the team for money at crucial points change their minds; this shows that the writing of the show about the said participants comes across as very contradictory at many points, almost through every episode.
The length of the episode is too long as well; for a reality show that is based only on the tasks assigned to the contestants, it should have been kept to 30 to 35 minutes of running time. Fifty minutes of running time for each episode is a bit much, and the show gets tiring very quickly. The participants, once they talk about themselves, get into a pit where they beat around the bush of speaking about wanting to be selfish and putting money over the team. This point was used and overused. There is no new conflict being used, and all of them seemed too cliched. The point of a reality show is to bring in conflicts in various forms; that is where the engagement game becomes strong, but the writers only focused on the conflict of everyone wanting money for the same reason, which was duplicated just as a crowd is duplicated using CGI for a film. The point of the show is to let audiences know who is the strongest of the lot, mentally and physically; there is not much time dedicated to understanding any of the participants. Most of the episode got drowned in unnecessary trash talk between the teammates, making people think all of them are selfish, but ultimately, they chose the team over their selfish monetary needs. There seems to be zero chemistry between any of the teammates for any of them to consider the team over themselves. All of this comes across as lacking structure and having bad direction. The whole show is supposed to be set in the dense forest area of Mexico, but at no point does the atmosphere seem like there are dense trees and nature surrounding them. The participants, too, do not seem like they have lived in the forest, for they all look healthy and hearty with the kind of food they are consuming.
“The Law of the Jungle” is trying too hard to be taken seriously, but as a viewer, the show cannot be taken seriously at all. With a limited number of episodes and no engagement introduced at any point, along with the change in the number of winners that will take home the prize money, it is infuriating that there is no basic structure to the entire show. “The Law of the Jungle” is made haphazardly, and it ended in a way that frustrated the viewers. The reality show is made just for the sake of making it, which does not make sense, especially for a streaming giant like Netflix. There is a reason why many action-adventure shows have worked in the past. There is a story behind every contest, and it is told in the right manner. There is also a conflict that emerges from such shows, and how it is dealt with is what makes them stand out from the other shows. “The Law of the Jungle” goes all-inclusive with the casting of the participants, but that alone will not keep the show afloat. There is no reason to know why this show was greenlit or how different it is from the usual reality television shows that we watch. As mentioned above, a television-based reality show has the audience waiting for a night or a week, but binging a reality show in one day or night could wear out the audience. There is no novelty attached to it anymore if it comes up in the OTT space. “The Law of the Jungle” is highly unwatchable because it does not stick to one basic quality that every adventure-based reality show carries, keeping the audience hooked till the end.