'Castaways' premiere: Robbie Gibbons and Kenzi Whittington find each other, only for her to later abandon him
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/08/2018
Castaways, a new survival-themed reality series, premiered with the first three days of 12 diverse strangers' experience being abandoned in the South Pacific during Tuesday night's episode on ABC.
"Our need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food and water," the show quoted Matthew Lieberman, Ph. D.
Castaways is designed to test the human need for companionship, according to ABC, as 12 people are shipwrecked on a string of deserted islands in the South Pacific without knowledge of when they will be rescued.
Among washed-up luggage, scattered resources, and abandoned structures, the castaways are lost and alone, and they must fend for themselves -- or attempt to find companionship.
Throughout each cast member's journey on the show, documentary-style footage flashes back in order to share with viewers his or her story and the struggles they left behind at home.
The only way the castaways can leave the remote islands is by persevering long enough for the rescue team to arrive or by simply quitting the show.
Six of the strangers are Angel Alvarenga, a 20-year-old from Chatsworth, CA; Terry Allen, a 62-year-old from Agoura, CA; Eric Brown, a 31-year-old from Glendale, CA; Sawyer Brown, a 30-year-old from Willseyville, NY; Tim Burke, a 50-year-old from Plant City, FL; and Robbie Gibbons, a 42-year-old from Birmingham, AL.
The rest of the cast members are Reshanna Hearvy, a 24-year-old from New York, NY; Matt Jaskol, a 32-year-old from Las Vegas, NV; Krichelle Kerbow, a 25-year-old from Haiku, HI; Richard Rogers, a 35-year-old from Sequim, WA; Kenzi Whittington, a 24-year-old from Nashville, TN; and Tracee Wnetrzak, a 41-year-old from Quartz Hill, CA.
On the first day at 7:45AM, Robbie washed up to shore, followed by Krichelle, Angel, Richard, Terry, Sawyer, Tim, Tracee, Reshanna, Matt, Eric, and Kenzi.
Robbie revealed he has a very "safe life." His family means the world to him, but when he's alone, life is not easy. He has an "addictive personality," but it's not to drugs or alcohol -- it's to food. Once he puts his children to bed, he turns to food and does not stop eating until he feels guilty. At 390 pounds, Robbie fears he might die.
On the beach, Robbie found a journal from a man in love in someone's backpack. It belonged to Eric, whose biggest fear is dying alone. Eric served in the military for about seven years and learned a lot of things about life and duty, but transitioning into his life back home was tough, and he lost himself.
However, Eric met a woman who made him feel like he could do anything, and she turned his world around. Eric was desperate to find some company on the islands.
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Kenzi then found Robbie's bag that was filled with snacks and a harmonica. Given she's a singer herself, Kenzi was thrilled to have come across a musical instrument. She wasn't sure how long she'd last alone, so she took off looking for somebody.
Meanwhile, Robbie attempted to swim from one island to another using a makeshift raft in order to find another person. The journey wasn't easy, however, as Robbie got caught in a riptide and nearly gave up.
Once Robbie made it to the new beach, he discovered a hut and it seemed someone was living there.
Richard was then shown finding Kenzi's bag. Richard trapped a huge crab in the sand with a snare trap he set but only managed to get one claw to eat, and he called the conditions harsh.
On Day 2 at 6:06AM, Kenzi decided she needed to make a better shelter, while Matt was situated on an old fishing dock that wasn't connected to land. Matt stumbled across a couple cans of sardines and tomato soup, but that was it. He was grateful to have shelter, but he found a bag without much resource.
Matt learned to make fire in damp situations by burning a person's journal that was in Spanish, and that journal belonged to Angel, who's originally from Honduras. Angel had a tough time living away from his family, especially his brother, who had been shot and robbed in his home country.
Robbie and Kenzi made some major progress, as they ended up finding each other and engaged in conversation.
Around this same time, Eric found a woman's bag, but it wasn't much help to him given there was hair detangler in it. The bag belonged to Krichelle, who lived off the grid in the jungle in Hawaii. If she stayed in Hawaii for her family, she feared she'd never be able to fulfill her dreams and her family would suffocate her.
Krichelle then found Terry's backpack and learned the woman's parents weren't doing well. Terry acts as the caregiver for her mother, who has dementia, and life has become increasingly more hard.
Terry, however, didn't mind being alone on the island, and she was convinced she'd be fine by herself.
Meanwhile, Sawyer set up bottles to lead someone to his position. He did not want to be alone.
Viewers then learned Reshanna lives in a shelter at home, Tracee is the caretaker of four generations of family and she's simply exhausted, and Robbie was adopted as a young boy.
Due to a fear of abandonment, Robbie promised Kenzie that he wasn't going to leave her, but Kenzi feared not doing things for herself. Kenzi described herself as an extremely independent woman, and while "two brains are better than one," he would cut into her resources.
On Day 3 at 10:23AM, Kenzi took off to explore the island, but it seemed like she had no intention of returning to her shared shelter with Robbie. She admitted she had a trust issue because she didn't know Robbie.
"I am choosing to be selfish," said Kenzi, who had been criticized by an ex-boyfriend for only caring about herself and always making herself the priority. "I'm going to take this time to work on myself and do my own thing."
Robbie vented about how it hurt to be abandoned again, especially since things on the island were only going to get tougher.
"Here I am by myself. Those two days with someone else just made it easier. I don't know if I can do this alone," Robbie vented.