Well everybody, B-Side is slightly behind on some of his recaps, and in an effort to make sure he is fresh for all new seasons of The Apprentice and Amazing Race next week, I’ll be doing some guest recapping on Survivor. Last week, La Mina suffered their first lost in an immunity challenge and decided to send home Misty. Now while I would think it would be a good idea to keep a missile engineer who ran marathons around for challenges, some of the La Mina establishment believed that she might be a threat after the merge. You would think that the first tribal council is not the time to be voting off a strong player, but we would soon find out.At the La Mina camp, Sally was experiencing just about the worst feeling you can have on survivor, well at least if you haven’t broken a bone or fallen into a fire. She was the only one in tribal council that didn’t vote for Misty to go home. That means that she was out of the loop and had no allies. It also makes her the obvious target to go home and can leave you feeling isolated. And as if to prove that point, she goes up to some of the guys as they are making fire and sort of sits there saying hello, but nobody says anything to her. I know that these people don’t care that she exists, but the least you could do for her is acknowledge her at camp. You don’t even have to speak, even a simple head nod would do.
Even worse for Sally was that Dan decided that Ruth Marie would be a “perfect fit” to be in his alliance, and he asked her if she wanted to go to the final five. Does anybody have a clue at what “perfect fit” means in this case? I guess you could say that Dan wanted somebody else who was grossly thin so he wouldn’t be the weakest in his alliance. This is clearly an example of an overzealous sidekick (Dan) trying to prove himself to his master (Terry). Dan thinks that if he brings more numbers into their merge, Terry will be proud of him. In reality, there is no reason to add to a final four alliance, especially in Survivor. What were the chances Ruth Marie, who can barely speak for herself, was going to bolt to the other side after the merge and start voting against La Mina? Dan was so proud, saying the alliance was strong and would make it to the merge. Well, no shit, since there is only one person not in the alliance, the entire alliance will probably make it. All of that dried-up food and drinking your recycled pee must do something to your brain.
Over at Casaya, winning the challenge didn’t really lighten the mood at camp. OK, it sort of mellowed, but that was because Shane wasn’t spending time on that proctologist thinking log of his. With nothing crawling up his but, he wasn’t screaming at everybody, although there was plenty to scream about. Aras, Shane, and Bruce were busy collecting several pounds of snails so they could go home, cook them, and have a nice meal. The problem was that everybody else at camp was either sleeping or doing yoga, and they even let the fire go out. This lack of effort upsets Aras enough that he decides to call a team meeting to discuss all of the laziness around camp.
Courtney is the first female amputee to be on Survivor
These sorts of team meetings almost never succeed because almost everybody has worked hard at least once, and if you say “You never do any work”, they come back by saying “Oh yeah, what about that one time I got the coconuts? Remember the coconuts? You ate one! remember?” or something like that. At Casaya, it would never work because Courtney is insane, and not the lovable, goofy, I wore my scoutmaster uniform to the show type of insane that we learn to love from people like Lil. It was all kind of pointless argument, except I do kind of like what Cirie was doing. She knows that she is next, and although she wasn’t actively scheming, she at least realizes that all of the fighting is going to help her, so maybe she can think of a way to help herself down the line. It’s too bad that she isn’t trying to get Bruce or Bobby to help her break up Shane, Aras, Danielle and Courtney.
The reward challenge once again had the survivors in the water. They had to complete a puzzle made of six triangular pieces. Each piece had a symbol on each side. After jumping in the water and unhooking the pieces, they would have to pull the pieces inside of the puzzle boundary, and then arrange the pieces so any side that was touching would have matching symbols. I always complain about how unnecessarily complex these challenges are, not to mention how repetitive, but I have noticed that the challenge writers have been doing a very good job the last couple of seasons of designing challenges that have led to very close finishes. This one was very similar, as both teams were able to retrieve all of their pieces within minutes of each other. It was an exciting challenge, and not just because it was close. Cirie was chosen to sit out, meaning we would not have to worry about one of those basketballs she hides in her swimsuit comes flying out and blinding us. In the end, it was Casaya that solved their puzzle first, meaning that they would win the reward, and choose a player to send back to Exile Island.
What was the reward? A chance for a little product placement! Charmin was the sponsor, and since they are all about toilet paper, they donated a nice outhouse to Casaya. This outhouse was special, however, because it had a toilet seat. Yes, nothing like a smooth wooden toilet seat to make you forget about the six-foot tapeworm [not ringworm, thanks Pandora] that just left your body. Then again, there was plenty of soft Charmin to keep you fresh as well. Attached to the outhouse was what Jeff called a bush shower, and yes, the guys could use it to because bush simply meant there was no running water. They did get five gallons of fresh water, some soap, a scrubbing brush, and a loofah so they can keep clean.
Usually, the producers wait a little while longer until handing out grooming rewards, but I guess after having to smell Bobby Jon last year, they didn’t want to go through that again. As rewards go, I though it was only OK, because unless somebody was willing to clean out that outhouse, there’s only so many days where it can be useful. Aras had another idea for the outhouse, however, and that was to store wood. It was clean, dry, enclosed, basically a perfect place to store wood. Never would they have to worry about burning wet wood again!
Bobby, however, wasn’t buying any of that, but he did want to store some lumber. In a moment that will go down in Survivor history, he politely asked if anybody would mind if he broke in the dumpster. Nobody was looking for further explanation, but just in case anybody was confused, he announced that he’s got a deuce to drop. And while everybody else looked disgusted that the wood storage would now stink beyond the point of being useful, Bobby calmly walked in, dropped trou, and got to business. And just in case his teammates weren’t feeling queasy enough (as if walking into the dumpster Britney style – i.e. barefoot, wasn’t plenty), he joyfully announces afterwards that he feels ten pounds lighter. That, my friends, is a lot of snails and means that they probably wouldn’t store any wood there. It’s one thing to have your wood have a mesquite aroma, but nobody wanted the fire to smell like one of Bobby’s logs.
Unfortunately, Casa de Charmin didn’t come with any magazines
Around camp, there was still plenty of work to do. Shane has really mellowed out, which I guess goes to show you that winning solves all problems. Either that, or the producers found some emergency nicotine patches for fear he was going to kill somebody. He decided that they had to move the fire pit, so he got together with Aras and decided on a new location. Not that I don’t think these guys are smart or that the pit shouldn’t have been moved, but personally, I would have chosen Bruce. If he’s good enough for Ralph Maccio, he’s good enough for me.
Shane and Aras marked out where they thought the fire pit should be, and Cirie got to work. Previously, I mentioned that Cirie has at least realized that she might be able to take advantage of all of the infighting among her tribe, but I don’t think she’ll be a scheming savior. Right now, her strategy is to work hard and do well enough in the challenges to make Shane and Aras think twice about sticking with Courtney. She starts digging, and Danielle sort of walks over and watches her dig. Now I’m not sure what she could have done to help because they only have one shovel, but there was certainly some more important work out there than “watch Cirie dig a pit” to be done, right? Shane lets her know it, and they get into a fight. After a little while, Shane actually tried to back down for the fight that he started, and I would say that Danielle sort of won the argument, but did you notice that she at least started to help digging that fire pit? Things are actually boring at Casaya with normal Shane, so let’s hope they start losing so he can go nuts again.
Back at La Mina, they just didn’t know what to do. Casaya had sent the obvious choice, Terry, to Exile Island, and it really had the desired effect on the rest of the tribe. Once again, Dan though this would be his chance to show a little authority, and so he decided he was going to take charge. Terry would be so proud of him when he got back from Exile Island and saw that Dan was able to keep things running smoothly. There is nothing better for a sidekick than to have the approval of your master when he returns home from a long trip. Dan decided that the most important thing should be firewood, which seemed like a good idea until Ruth Marie said that maybe they should look for food and then Austin decided that he wanted to take a nap. Dan had to admit that he is nothing without his master, and everybody just sort of did their own thing.
If I were in La Mina, I would definitely think that the search for food would be the most important thing out there. I mean, when Ruth Marie starts feeling hungry, you know you are in trouble. She doesn’t speak a lot, so if something is bothering her enough to talk, you have to take notice. Then again, she is trying to be more vocal these past few days, and we have managed to get almost a dozen words out of her during this episode already. There are plenty of fish flopping around in the water, but they can’t seem to catch any that aren’t poisonous. They don’t seem to have the success at finding snails that Casaya enjoys, and nobody has been able to find any sort of plants that could help them out. Then again, even if they had food, they couldn’t even keep the fire going without Terry.
And how was Terry doing on Exile Island? Well, not too shabby to tell you the truth. He had flint and a machete, and he was able to start a fire. The rain was pretty light, so he was able to spend a lot of time looking for the immunity idol. They started going through a montage of all of the different clues, with shots of Terry looking around different parts of the island. The key clues were that it was under a rock and buried underground; Terry just had to find the correct rock. He found a couple of stones near a try, and when he saw that there were no roots getting in his way, he knew he must be close. And there it was, inside a bottle that was inside a box, a shrunken head talisman that was good at any time up until the final four. Casaya thought they were so smart sending Terry away, and while it may have hurt his tribe, it turned out to be the best visit to Exile Island ever for Terry.
We finally made it to the immunity challenge where Jeff said that it would require balance, teamwork, and patience. Just add some alcohol and a few strippers, and that sounds like a description of a normal weeknight with EdHill. Each team picked a person to be seated in a chair. This chair was attached to a pulley and on the other end was a bucket. The tribes had to fill that bucket until there was enough water to lift the person in chair up until they were high enough to pull a pin and release their flag. Two pairs from each team were to walk along a balance beam for their tribe that crossed the balance beam for the other tribe, which would take them to the water to fill up two small buckets. They would return all of the way back across the balance beam and fill up a larger bucket, which would then be pulled up by somebody sitting up high to fill the really big bucket that would eventually weigh enough to fall down and lift the person waiting in the seat.
Again, this was a very complicated set up, but like I said before, I think it was well executed. If anybody fell off the balance beam, they would have to drop any water they had and go back to the start. This meant that everybody was very careful, and one little slip might be the few seconds that somebody needs to make the difference. Because they were on the balance beam, both sets of people from each tribe would have to be going in the same direction, because it was impossible to “pass”. That means that even if a person were done on one side of the balance beam, they would have to wait for their teammates to get back before they could continue in the other direction. Hey, it might not have been as intense watching the wrestling going on last week, but the teams literally finished minutes apart.
Dan fell off the balance beam at one point, which gave Casaya a slight edge even though Sally and Austin were absolutely flying through the course. It literally came down to the last bucket. Casaya filled theirs first, and Danielle started moving up slowly. La mina filled their bucket next, and Ruth Marie was going up a little faster, but not fast enough to catch Casaya, who won reward by a matter of minutes.
Although La Mina lost, they were actually pretty happy when they got back to camp because Terry returned, and he was able to boss them around again. Besides, after last tribal council, there really wasn’t any question as to what the pecking order was in the tribe so everybody felt pretty safe. However, after losing the third challenge in a row, some people started questioning the idea that Ruth Marie should be in the alliance. Austin mentioned that it is nice to go into the merge with a strong alliance, but if the alliance is only four members, they are just going to get picked off. Yes, it is possible that some of the originally tribes come together again, and we know that La Mina is on the verge of breaking up themselves, but you can’t take that chance. Sally has been great in the immunity challenges, and Ruth Marie isn’t getting any stronger, so maybe it would be best to keep Sally.
Austin decides to discuss this plan with Terry, and Terry decides that it is probably a good idea. Technically, Dan was the only person who made the promise to Ruth Marie, so he shouldn’t really worry about breaking his word. Actually, the reason you shouldn’t worry about breaking your word is that Ruth Marie has no chance of being on the jury. Terry decides to break the news to Dan, who is almost heartbroken that his master decided that his plan to help was not going to be worth it. Well, it was almost the most useless addition to an alliance I have ever seen. I thought Dan would really back down, but he tried to defend the decision to keep Ruth Marie, saying that she was a loyal person. It would be nice to go to the merge with five people, but if the fifth person would flip on a whim, they might as well go with four strong, right? Nick also didn’t like the way they were getting out of the promise on a technicality, and didn’t want to go back on his promise. We would have to wait until tribal council to see what Terry decided would be best.
At tribal council, Jeff really tried to push some questions about the immunity idol. He had mentioned something about it at the immunity challenge, and but wouldn’t say if it had been found or not. Terry only told his tribemates that he had spent a lot of time looking for it. Nobody asked him if he had found it or not, so he decided not to tell them. I don’t think it would matter either
The rest of the time at tribal council was used to further talk about Ruth Marie vs. Sally. Ruth Marie described her weaknesses as being too old and small in statue. No, that is not a misprint. Ruth Marie said statue, not stature. I think we all knew what she wanted to say, but it was funny nonetheless. I still wish we had a Judd, Bobby Jon, or Jamie around to talk incoherently, throw around bad logic, and mix metaphors, but I guess Ruth Marie will have to do. She did mention a couple of strengths including being steady and having loyalty. I don’t know what being steady will do for her because she really has been steadily sucking at all the challenges, and as for loyalty she said that you could look her in the eyes and tell she was telling the truth. Well, no, actually thanks to that lazy eye of yours, it is sort of impossible to look you in both eyes at the same time, so how do we know that you are telling the truth?
After Al Roker’s successful gastric bypass, Rob Reiner decided it was time for his own
As you have probably guessed, I am not really trying to add any suspense to the idea that Ruth Marie was going home. The rest of the tribe decided that it was more important to win challenges than worry about what was going to happen after the merge. Removing a strong player didn’t help them last week, and they weren’t going to make the same mistake again. Ruth Marie wasn’t that interesting anyway, so I can’t say that she will be missed.
It was hard to match last episode with all of the insanity of Shane and the excitement of the challenges. The challenges were close, but you just don’t get a lot of good moments when they aren’t battling head to head. Casaya seems to be working together well enough to survive, but it is such an unhappy alliance overall that I think somebody is going to blow. La Mina does have a problem because they will need to work hard to be able to make it to the merge with even numbers. There are a number of factions in Casaya, and I could imagine Aras and Bobby getting back together with Nick and Austin and Shane would probably join them if they all make it to the merge, but unfortunately, that rarely happens in Survivor.
What did you think of this episode? Should Casa de Charmin be used for wood? Will La Mina ever find food? Will the Fantastic Four of Casaya break up before or after the merge?