It’s Day 7 at Foa Foa, and Jaison is upset about some of the things that Ben said at the last Tribal Council, given that Ben is a giant racist and all. Jaison tells Mick that Ben absolutely has to be the next person to go home, and that, yes; it’s completely personal for him. “Ben is a mental plague on this tribe,” Jaison says, winning points for eschewing the usual “cancer” comparisons that the less intelligent have overused in prior seasons.
Meanwhile, Russell corners Natalie (the taller blonde girl), asking her who should be going next. She hems and haws for what seems like hours, refusing to name anyone. “No one here is playing the game but me!” Russell declares, apparently not noticing that almost everyone is playing the game, save for this one stupid blonde girl. “This is the worst group of people, and I might be the best!” he says, again with no evidence to support it. Also, aren’t we forgetting Ulong? I would love it if Russell’s plan to eliminate the rest of his tribe as quickly as possible results in him being the only person left, and then he is immediately dispatched by the other team. It’ll be just like the Palau season, except it will happen to someone who sucks.
Over at the fire pit, Ben tries to show Liz and Mick how to start a fire. Mick has a bit of trouble getting one started as Ben looks on condescendingly. After Ben gets sick of watching them, telling us that the tribe would “die without his help” he proceeds to tell Liz that no woman on the tribe is going to be able to start a fire, because they aren’t strong enough and their hands are too small. So, now he’s both racist and a chauvinist, for those of you keeping score at home. Who is left to offend and stereotype? He’s going to have to turn to members of the animal kingdom soon. “That bear is a terrible driver! Hey, why don’t we get that possum some watermelon?”
After a hilarious sequence in which Ben tells everyone about his pooping habits, Russell points out that the tide maybe just might be turning against Ben, just a little. He says that Ben is good for challenges, and that Russell himself wants to keep Ben around, so he’s not going anywhere for the time being. What Russell wants, Russell gets! As long as what Russell wants is not an extra couple of inches, that is.
Over at that other tribe that we never see anymore, some people whose names I have forgotten because we never see them do yoga together while Shambo watches, incredulous. “I feel alienated from my tribe,” she says, although it’s clearly not because they’re excluding her but more because she’s separating herself from them. “I’m here to be the provider, and fish,” she continues, despite the fact that she not only caught no fish last episode, but also ruined the fishing gear. It may be time to try a different tack, there, Provider. She talks like they have all these chores to do, even though they’re plainly living pretty cush lives over at Galu. “Screw yoga, man!” she says. Yes, the problem is plainly yoga, given that you keep winning over and over again. How dare they attempt to center themselves when you could be wasting time in an entirely different unproductive way, like catching no fish? IDIOTS!
Back at Foa Foa, Russell tells Ben that Ashley was trying to get rid of him instead of Betsy, and that she’s becoming a threat. Ben predictably flips out. “I plant a little seed in their head, and it’s called a ‘Russell Seed’, and they make it so easy for me,” Russell brags. You know what? I really, really don’t need to hear about your seed.
So then Ben goes directly to Ashley and confronts her, telling her that she stabbed him in the back. She’s all “Um, I was playing the game? Is that not allowed?” and she wants to know who you found out from, and Ben says one of the most hilarious things ever uttered on this show: “I’m not going to tell you, but it wasn’t Russell!” What is he, five? Is it possible to be any more transparent? I will tell you that I have never more people on a single tribe who think that they’re super smart, but are mostly dumb and/or lucky.
We watch Galu receive the treemail for the challenge, which gives the editors an excuse to actually show them for a brief moment. The remaining contestants also get their swimsuits, so we get the hotties on this tribe model everything briefly, including Shambo, who is psyched to have her jogging bra. The editors insert a little mean “boing” sound to indicate that Shambo is less attractive than the other women. You know what, show? Leave that shit to Big Brother, please.
Challenge time! There’s one challenge for both reward and immunity again. I can’t say that I hate them for doing this, because it gives us an opportunity to get to know the eighteen million people that are still left on this show. Or rather, it would if we weren’t spending the extra time listening to Russell prattle on for a bazillion years about stupid bullshit. Anyway, the reward is comfort, which includes the normal pillows and blankets, but also some candles (?). Two teams of two people from each tribe will swim out to retrieve four crates. There is a “battle zone” in the middle, and defenders from the other tribe can stall you there by taking you down. Yeah, this seems like a good idea after the tripping and hacking that took place last week.
Once all four crates have been collected, they have to be stacked in such a way as to show four different colors on each side. The first team to do this wins the reward and immunity. When the challenge begins, there is…more tackling (macro!) except this time it is in the water. The challenge rapidly devolves into an attempt to drag yourself out of the battle zone so that people can stop choking you and holding you underwater. Ben, who is supposed to be defending, gets completely smoked by the guys from Galu, providing almost no protection whatsoever. This allows Galu to build up a substantial lead which they do not relinquish. This gives them ample time to solve the puzzle, and they win the challenge yet again. In short, Ben almost exclusively costs Foa Foa this challenge.
As a result, The Russell Who Does Not Suck is faced with another decision: he can trade the comfort reward for some survival gear. He unwisely chooses the comfort reward almost immediately, stating that while he’s a “function guy”, this is a “comfort group” he’s leading. He also gets to send someone over to Foa Foa again, and he sends Shambo this time. I kind of wish he had sent Yasmin again, just to watch her destroy Ben for his comments at the last Tribal Council.
Shambo turns the charm on immediately when she arrives at Foa Foa, hugging everyone and just being genuinely warm. When she gives Jaison a hug, she calls him “brother”, which is both hilarious and inappropriate, given what’s been going on with this tribe. She tells the members of Foa Foa that she doesn’t get along with the others on her own tribe at all, and that they’re all doing fruity yoga and whatnot. She opens the clue for the idol and is super excited about finding it while Russell looks on with a smirk. He yaps some more about how he’s already found the idol through sheer intelligence. Can we please just go like two minutes without hearing from him?
Over at Galu, The Russell Who Does Not Suck tells says his inclination was to take the camping stuff, but that he wanted to “take care of my women” with the blankets. It’s frankly a bit condescending, and doesn’t really come across like I’m thinking he wants it to. John (who?) points out that the comfort isn’t really relevant without the tarp that they could have had, because the first time it rains, all that stuff is going to be soaked and useless. He is not wrong, but most of the people on this show are soaked and useless anyway, so what’s the difference?
Back over at Foa Foa, Jaison tells everyone that he emphatically wants Ben to be voted out. “If Ben doesn’t go home, than I’m leaving too,” Jaison says. “I have no intention of actually quitting, but at this point I’ll do just about anything to get rid of him. His racist comments are entirely too much.” But being an insane racist is just part of being an outlaw! Don’t these people understand? Outlaw!
Russ tells Mick and Liz that Ashley is going to be leaving. Mick wants to know who’s on board with this plan, and Russell says it’ll be the three of them and Ben, which is enough. Mick resists a bit, telling Russell that Ben is a huge liability around camp, and Russell promises that Ben can go next time after Ashley.
Russell worries that not getting rid of Ben is going to make Mick worried about his loyalties, so he shows him the idol. I love how Russell’s first reaction to anyone’s resistance is to either vote them out or show them the idol. It seems that if you meet certain height and strength requirements, and are male, you get one, and if you’re female, you get the other. Try to guess which is which! “I was born to play this game,” Russell says. There are many things Russell was born to do, including to function as a lesson for little kids about the importance of oral hygiene, but I’m not sure this is one of them. Yet.
Now it’s day 8 at Foa Foa, and Shambo shows some of the girls a few tricks to make camp life a little easier. She uses this as an excuse to poke around their camp a little to look for the idol, and she actually gets right down in the spot where the idol once was, but we all know it’s not there anymore, and is hidden somewhere in the nether regions of Russell’s boxer briefs.
Russell sees an opportunity to use the newfound knowledge the girls have to keep Ben around. He first tries to argue to Jaison and Mick that they need Ben for the challenges, but Jaison shuts that shit down right quick: “Name one thing he’s done in a challenge.” Jaison says matter of factly. Because there is no answer to that question, Russell just stands there quietly, having been painted into a corner by someone he perceives to be dumber than he is.
Russell then starts to argue that the girls are going to band together and “gang up on them”, but Jaison shuts that down too, mostly because he can count: “You’re trying to tell me that your only concern is that it we’ll have to take on the girls three on three?” Pesky arithmetic! I am willing to wager that this is not the first time that Russell has been foiled by math.
Having rightly shut Russell the hell down, Jaison strikes the final blow: “If you want discord at camp because of a guy who does nothing at challenges, and provides very little at camp, then you go right ahead.” Russell tells us that he wants to keep Ben around, but he also wants to make sure that everyone trusts him. So, his genius maneuver here is…to be outmaneuvered by someone more intelligent than him. Way to go!
Tribal Council. When Probst asks Jaison how Shambo has been to have around camp, he tells Probst that she was delightful, and that he’d very much like to trade her for Ben, who is terrible. Probst then asks Ben who he’s voting out, and Ben tells everyone that he’s voting for Ashley, since he thinks that she’s the weakest link. Ashley says that it doesn’t make sense to eliminate her when she’s performing well in the challenges (which she is), especially when there’s someone so negative walking around camp all the time. Ben finally says that he’s not a negative force, he just reacts to the way others treat him, “If you come at me nice and sweet, than I’ll be nice and sweet.” However, if you come at him negatively, he will respond in kind, especially if you are a woman. Or black.
Jaison has had enough, and he starts to mount his case against Jaison, pointing out that he’s screaming constantly and putting everyone in a bad mood. When Ben tries to ask Natalie (who’s sitting directly between the two of them) for backup, Jaison points out that putting someone else on the spot is what a bully does. Ben starts yelling about how useful he is, and Jaison cuts him off, shouting “Oh my god, I’m an outlaw! I miss tackles because I got splashed in the face with water! I’m so tough!” The whole time, Natalie sits between them looking like the most uncomfortable person ever. So, so awesome.
Probst asks for Russell’s opinion (WHY?) and Russell replies that he thinks it wasn’t the challenge so much as the fact that “Ben said some negative things that…might have been racial.” Jaison’s all “Might have?” because, duh.
Probst asks Jaison if there’s a way the wound can be healed in the name of keeping the tribe strong, because Probst is always in favor of keeping males around when possible. Jaison tells him that no amount of money is worth watching someone make racist comments, particularly the “ghetto trash” statements. Ben’s like “What did I say? She’s from the ghetto, and she is trashy, so it was just a statement of fact. It wasn’t racist.”
Jaison actually says, “Seriously?” because, seriously? And he points out that even if Ben thought it wasn’t racist, he should at least have some awareness of how it, you know, sounds. “If you’re not sensitive to history, than maybe Yasmin’s right and you really are ignorant.” Served!
Time to vote! We see Ashley vote for Ben and Ben vote for Ashley but that’s it. When the votes are read, the first one is for Ashley and the rest are for Ben, so that will do it for our marginally racist outlaw friend. Bye, jerk!
Obviously, this was all part of Russell’s plan, which he will tell us at length next week. Can’t wait to recap that!