On Wednesday night’s episode of Darkness, three men braved snakes, hallucinations and treacherous topography to escape a Missouri cave — all while being unable to see. (Contestants are filmed with infrared cameras that emit no light visible to the human eye. When they say Darkness, they mean it.)
It wasn’t for the faint of heart: at one point, the men crawled on their hands and knees through a tunnel that was inhabited by hundreds of snakes. “Horrifying” seems too mild of a word for it.
On Thursday night’s episode, the show will challenge its first woman — and she seems perfect for the adventure. Bambi Tran, a Navy Survival School Instructor from Massachusetts, went through the harrowing experience.
“It sounded interesting,” Tran, 30, tells PEOPLE. “I wanted to see what it would be like. I figured that Discovery wouldn’t let me die in a cave. They might let me get hurt, but I would probably survive it. So why not? And it took everything that I have.”
But Tran also had an ulterior motive for trying Darkness: to make her better at her job. “As a survival school instructor, I had to utilize all parts of my course. I can’t talk about all of it, but I really did have to push myself and draw on a lot of different skills that I’m teaching others. I think it’ll help me be a better instructor.”
Tran, whose Discovery bio calls her a “badass Asian chick,” said that she lost all track of time while in the cave, and prematurely thought the experience was almost over at one point. “I was sure it was Day 6,” she said. “We were packing, ready to go. And the producers finally said, ‘Sorry, it’s not Day 6.’”
“I had to apologize to the producers for things I said to them,” she laughs. “I mean, I was really mean to them. They’re not supposed to talk to us in the cave — they can see us in their night vision — and I said all sorts of awful things to them.”
So would Tran ever go back into the cave for round two? “Ha! No,” she says. “Glad I did it. Glad I accomplished it. Glad I had the experience. But I never want to do it again. Never.”