No matter how hard I try, I just can't find a way to kill Bear Grylls.

This, I imagine, will be the universal experience of anyone who watches (or more accurately, plays) the plucky British survivalist's new interactive pick-a-path Netflix series "You vs. Wild".

It's like the first time you played Nintendo, killing off Mario just to see him briefly ascend toward heaven before plummeting straight to hell. Or putting your Sims in the swimming pool and taking away the ladder to watch them die a slow, hypothermic death. It's just human nature, you know?

When we join him, Grylls is already on a seaplane, flying into the jungle to rescue an aid worker friend of his who's got lost. He screams at us above the noise of the propellers that he's only got room in his pack for a grappling hook or a slingshot. Which one do we want him to take?


Mate, just take both. Surely the slingshot will fit in one of your 17 cargo pant pockets. Explaining this to him is not an option, so we non-committally click on "grappling hook".

"You want me to take the grappling hook?" Grylls shouts. "Okay!"

This could not be further from Netflix's first foray into interactive TV, the labyrinthine choose-your-own-adventure of "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch". "You vs. Wild" feels more like a CD-Rom that probably came bundled with Windows 98.

Barely one branch into the decision tree, our goal has become clear. The only satisfying way to end this experience is to kill Bear Grylls. An opportunity soon arises to feed him to a crocodile.

Bear Grylls strikes again in You vs. Wild.
Bear Grylls strikes again in You vs. Wild.

"Try and sneak past it," we goad him. "You want me to try and sneak past it," he repeats sceptically, then starts fashioning a makeshift snorkel out of a bit of bamboo. Stop stalling mate, just get in the water.

The croc isn't fooled for a second. As he tries to stealthily snorkel past it, we cut to a high aerial shot, and there's an unconvincing CGI kerfuffle in the water. Surely this is the end for old Bear.

We cut back to find him cradling the croc in his arms, his smug face telling us he knows exactly what we're trying to do to him. A red mist descends. When he gets swept out to sea, we can't click "swim back to shore against the current" fast enough.

Flailing helplessly in the water, Grylls is soon so exhausted that he has no choice but to surrender himself to the ocean. Which duly washes him up on a conveniently-placed island. He catches his breath, lectures us on why you should never try to swim against the current (trust us mate, we know), then cheerfully starts building a fire to alert his rescuers.


He is, you quickly realise, completely unkillable. Which is probably for the best when you also realise that actually, "You vs. Wild" is probably meant to be for children.

LOWDOWN: You vs Wild (Netflix)