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WOW. Another excellent episode of Survivor. Coming off last week’s wonderful tour de force, these back to back shows have been some of the best in ages. So why am I so excited? Because for weeks, seasons even, I’ve been imploring people on Survivor to scheme. Not just make deals, not just lurk in the background, but actually scheme — play two sides against each other. We haven’t seen much of it honestly since Amazon and Rob Cesternino, but finally, FINALLY a master schemer emerged tonight and possibly turned the game on its head — or enough on its head where the ramifications will certainly be felt down the line. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I loved the scheme. I loved the result. I loved everything. Oh, and there was more classic Shane craziness to boot. Excellent.The hour started off on a rather mundane note: the Gitanos tribe was hungry, and they were running out of food. Fishing was proving to be an exercise in futility (thanks again for losing that spear, Sally), and with morale low, it seemed like the castaways might be stuck on a steady diet of rice and beans until the end of the game. Of course, hunger is the perfect catalyst for all sorts of shifty behavior on Survivor, and Terry was ready to capitalize on that. Or I should say, Terry was ready to TRY to capitalize on that. Again. Yes, Terry’s attempts at scheming have all been major failures, but he was still ready to try again. “It’s really imperative to try to make some allies,” he told us. Hey, why start now?
Elsewhere on the tribe, Shane was walking around with the sort of expression that seemed to say, “I’m about to go real crazy on y’all in about two seconds.” Sure enough, his mental state was in total decay, and when Cirie said, “Uh oh. Shane’s going on his thinking rock with his Blackberry,” I knew we’d be in for a treat.
Yes, Shane had gone from “We call him crazy, but deep down, we know he’s not really crazy” to “Okay, he needs to be committed.” Apparently he had found a small piece of wood that had reminded him of his own cuddly PDA back at home. “I was like ‘Wow! Blackberry!’ It reminded me of my Blackberry!” Except it’s a piece of WOOD. You know, when most people project images onto inanimate objects, it’s usually something supernatural or highly religious: the Virgin Mary, Jesus, a ghost, a lost relative. With Shane, it’s a freakin’ Blackberry. I’m surprised he didn’t pick up a rock and say, “Oh my god!! This is just like my optical mouse!!! And this branch: it reminds me of the padlock I use at the gym. The memories!”
Anyway, after discovering this divine piece of wood, Shane said, “So, I grabbed it, and I’ve just been playing with it.” Yes, he’s been playing with his giant wood chip. Pretending it was a real Blackberry. Really makes you respect the sophistication of Wilson the Volleyball.
Courtney, meanwhile, looked at Shane’s “Blackberry” and said, “Cute.” Wow, when even Courtney is politely humoring you, you know you’ve really gone off the deep end. Nevertheless, Shane was totally won over by his Blackberry. “It’s got texting, email, phone, web browser. It’s got everything.” Yes, except again it’s a PIECE OF WOOD!
Oh, but it gets better. Shane then informed us that he wasn’t just playing with the “Blackberry,” he was actually using it too. “I’m communicating with people not on this island!” he happily revealed. No, you’re communicating with people not in reality. Still, he was totally convinced that his wood chip was the real deal, and we even witnessed him “sending” an email. “Check mark. All good!” he proudly announced. Seriously. He’s lost it.
“He’s nuts,” Danielle said. Yeah, what she said.
Later, after we had ogled Shane’s deteriorating mental state long enough, we went to the Reward Challenge which was your garden variety obstacle course with a twist. The tribe would be split into two teams of three, with each grouping being attached to a rope that would run the length of the obstacle course. The teams would have to navigate down the rope, and at the final platform, they’d unclip and race across a “lily pad run.” Sounds dainty, yes? Kind of like some game that children play during afternoon tea in London. “Mummy, can we go on our lily pad run now?” “Yes, but only after you’ve finished your scone, love.” Sorry, tangent.
Anyway, after the lily pad run, players then had to dive into the water, get a bag from a chest, and then go all the way back to the beach via the same obstacle course all over again. The winners would get a barbecue at a private island (Exile Island, perhaps?), and the losers? Well, they’d just be stuck with nothing.
With that said, Jeff split the teams randomly into Terry, Danielle, and Courtney vs. Cirie, Aras, and Shane. The challenge began, and from the getgo, Cirie’s team was already having problems. Okay, basically it was just Cirie. Let’s put it this way: she’s not the best physical prototype for this kind of a game. She struggled with the very first obstacle, forcing Aras and Shane to lift her up and literally fling her over a small hurdle. And let me tell you something, you haven’t seen flinging until you’ve seen Cirie gettin’ flung.
Later, the guys had to essentially roll Cirie onto a platform, and then moments later, all three wound up all tangled in their ropes, ultimately putting the kibotch on any hopes of staying in the competition. The other team, however, was doing just fine. They were already at the lily pad run (“‘Allo, Mum!” Sorry, I’ll have to make a British sound every time I say “Lily pad run”) and quickly pulling away from their competition. Eh, tangle or no tangle, Cirie’s team would still be behind. Honestly, I love Cirie but can you seriously imagine her doing the lily pad run (“Guv’nah!”)?
If there’s one person who doesn’t like to see a blowout, it’s Probst, and he immediately adopted his asshole gym teacher persona as he browbeat Cirie’s team. “You need to get movin’! You are taking too much time!” Jeff yelled. Oh, simmer down. Take a second to enjoy the finer things in life: like Cirie’s breastsesses floating in the water like two conjoined buoys.
Nevertheless, this Reward Challenge quickly became quite silly, seeing how Cirie’s team was hardly even trying to untangle itself anymore. Jeff definitely was not happy as he yelled, “Get your asses out of that water! Let’s go!!” Gosh, relax! I’d hate to see him at a Little League game. He’d totally be that parent who stands in the bleachers and yells at the ump. Phil Keoghan, on the other hand, he’d be great at Little League games. But you know he’d have his kids taking art classes instead; so it wouldn’t even be an issue.
Well, no surprise here. Despite a last minute scramble by Shane to grab one of the submerged bags, Terry, Danielle, and Courtney easily won this challenge. Oh, and they got to send someone to Exile Island. Sorry, Aras. That person would be you. And with that, the three losers retreated back to their depressing lives while the winners braced for a wonderful BBQ.
But first! We weren’t done with the Reward Challenge just yet. Probst revealed to the winners that the three of them would now be duking it out for… (in my Rod Roddy voice) A NEW CAR! Ah yes, that most beloved and most reviled or rewards. According to Survivor legend, whoever wins the car never wins the big jackpot. But still, who can deny a new car? Especially a big, roomy one like the GMC Yukon that was up for grabs this time around. Well, for this part of the challenge, Danielle, Courtney, and Terry had to aim sling shots at tiles. The first to break a set of three would win the car. I’ll spare the details of this event, which seemed rather quaint following that whole big, elaborate obstacle course. This whole challenge was just a lot of sling shot action with occasional glimpses of Danielle’s armpit hair thrown in for variety. At one point, Courtney and Terry were tied with only one tile left each, but guess who won? That’s right. Terry. Gosh, I’m sick of him winning things. But on the other side, if the curse keeps up, this means that he’ll lose the big prize, and that would be awesome. (Oddly enough, I just went to the CBS website, and Terry is the most popular with viewers by crazy amounts. Why, people? Why?)
Anyway, we cut to commercial, and when we returned, we found Aras doing yoga on Exile Island. It was cool, but nothing compared to Bruce’s awesome ka-rah-tay exercises. Those were the bestest. Aras then babbled a little bit about why Exile Island sort of sucked now, but since we didn’t really care, we just headed back to the reward victors and their wonderful afternoon. “We were airplaned off to a far island,” Terry told us. I never knew “airplane” could be used as a verb, but hey, learn something new (and incorrect) every day.
Well, Terry, Danielle, and Courtney flew to some other island, and as they landed in a lush, verdant meadow, Courtney exclaimed, “Oh, it’s gorgeous!” I assumed she was talking about her surroundings, but no, she was talking about the GMC Yukon. Gotta love the blatant shilling. I’m surprised Courtney didn’t then tell us, “Seeing that powerful vehicle sitting there in the field made me realize how no one’s life can ever be complete without a sensible and reliable GMC Yukon.”
Of course, Terry lurved his new car. “It was righteous, man!” he cooed. Totally gnarly! (Hey, at least he didn’t say “bling bling.”)
Once the Yukon love-fest had run its course, the three started up their BBQ and had a delightful time. However, it wouldn’t be a reward without a little scheming, and so Terry chatted up Courtney to get an idea of what she wanted to do for the final three. “I would do anything to get us to the final three,” Terry told her, playing up this new bond that he supposedly had with her and Danielle. Ever the impressionable girl, Courtney said she was ALL for it. Apparently she’d had her eye on Terry for quite a while. He was the only one she had a chance at beating, she felt. Now, with an alliance forming, Courtney revealed that she wanted to vote off Aras and then Shane next. For once, it seemed like Terry was actually accomplishing something with his terrible scheming. Mazel-Tov.
The two then presented the idea of going final three to Danielle, and at first she seemed to go along with it, but she was suspicious of Terry. Obviously he’d want to align with all the girls because he could beat them all in challenges. And so Danielle agreed to the Terry/Courtney plan but warned us, “I’m not going to make this so easy for him to win.” i.e. — she wasn’t going to settle for third place.
Back at camp, other schemes were brewing. Cirie told us that she wanted to get rid of Courtney because in her eyes, she was a very dangerous player. Lots of people would want to go against her in the final two, including Cirie’s sometimes ally Shane. If Cirie wanted to do any better than third place, she’d need to knock out her biggest competition. And as we saw way back in the first episode, Cirie certainly knows how to take out the top dog, especially if she’s a bit nutty (bye, Tina!).
Anyway, enough scheming. Time for food. Cirie announced that was gonna go fishing. “How hard can it be?” she asked us. Well, apparently VERY HARD. It seemed like this whole fishing adventure was destined for failure right from the start. Cirie didn’t even have the heart to kill a snail with a rock, but after a few screams and screeches, she bashed the escargot and turned it into a juicy bit of fish bait. Then the miracle happened. She actually caught something. And she caught something that wasn’t a puffer fish. This then led to general euphoria as Cirie squealed with delight, occasionally letting out a yelp of fear whenever the fish twitched on the line. She may have been psyched about catching a big fish, but Cirie certainly wasn’t going to touch it. Remember, this is the woman who once professed to a fear of LEAVES. And so she brought her bounty back to camp, dragging it behind her in the sand, lest it come anywhere near her person.
Shane was super excited about this catch, especially since it was apparently his birthday. What a wonderful gift. I’m surprised he didn’t text the good news to his son. You know, with that sweet Blackberry that he found. Actually, I was more surprised that Shane didn’t then enter into a conversation with the dead fish. You’d think at this point he’d be talking to anything with a mouth, and that includes smiley faces drawn in the sand.
Not long after, the three reward winners came back to camp, and I know Cirie was excited to show off her fish, but I hope to hell that she didn’t share that thing. If those guys ate any of it, that would be totally obnoxious. We never found out what the fate of that fish was because we then got right back into the scheming. Danielle pressed Terry about the final three, asking him if he’d take her to the final two. Unfortunately, the former Navy man couldn’t commit to anything, and his general hesitation sent red flags up in Danielle’s head. She did not want to go home third. That wasn’t good enough for her. And bravo to her for realizing this. I get so sick of people who blindly float along with alliances and then act shocked when they’re out fourth. It’s about anticipation, people.
Sensing that Danielle was not happy, Terry then came up with a silly arrangement whereas whoever came in first and second in the final immunity challenge would then go to the final two. It seemed like a fair-and-square, let’s-all-hold-hands sort of plan, but Courtney was not for it. You see, she was banking on Terry taking her to the final two. If she now had to work for that top spot, it would totally harsh her buzz, man! But Danielle insisted that it would be better to work for the top two because it’s not really fair if someone just gets carried to the top. WELL. Courtney did not like the insinuation that she was worthless, and soon mild bickering broke out. Ladies, ladies, ladies. Don’t you see what’s happening? Terry’s playing you like a fiddle! This was the time when Courtney, Danielle, and Cirie should have joined forces and simply cut Terry out of the equation (assuming he lost immunity at some point).
Well, Cirie had a better idea. She overheard the whole spat and realized that Terry was angling to take Courtney to the final two, thus reinforcing her fear that Courtney was a dangerous player to have around. Screw an all women final three. Cirie needed to get rid of Courtney now, and her best move would be to play up Danielle’s paranoia of being stuck in third place. This was very high level scheming. We here at the TVgasm offices were more than impressed.
“You can’t let [Terry] dictate what y’all should do,” Cirie told Danielle. She then told her that Terry had fed her a line — he was totally going to screw her over and take Courtney to the finals, despite the outcome of the immunity challenge. Oooh. Well played, Cirie. This totally took Danielle aback, and we could tell this game was about to get a whole lot trickier very soon. Me? I felt like a McDonald’s commercial: I’m lovin’ it!
We then headed out to the Immunity Challenge, which was another painful endurance test. This time, the survivors had to kneel at the end of a long plank and hold onto a rope in each hand. Attached to the ropes were weights — 20% of each player’s body weight, to be specific. The survivors had to hold on for as long as possible. If they were to let go, their platform would buckle, they’d topple into some water, and they’d be eliminated from the game. Oh, and every fifteen minutes, more weight would be added to the ropes. Doesn’t sound painful at all!
I had to admit. I was a little miffed at CBS. All week long, they’d been showing promos that showed Terry buckling into the water. Clearly he wasn’t going to win. It seemed like quite the poor form. Nevertheless, we then sat and watched these poor souls strain their arms and burn their palms as they held on for dear life. It should be noted that this was not the best challenge for Danielle’s underarms. Her pit hair was proudly on display, and man, was it out of control. Probably could have used a nice pixelation for this scene.
Anyway, Shane was the first to let go, thus setting off a Rube Goldberg chain of events culminating with his unceremonious ejection into the water. Fifteen minutes later, Probst added more weight to everyone, and I’ll tell you this: those survivors weren’t the only ones getting a workout. Jeff was rocking a large swatch of tummy sweat on his shirt. Even the best need to perspire.
Well, Cirie was next out, and she had quite the ungraceful tumble into the water. I would have let out a big guffaw, but before I knew it, we were back on Danielle’s pit hair, and a general sense of nausea had overcome my body. Thankfully, Danielle dropped next, followed by Aras, leaving just Terry and Courtney. Well, thanks to that dumb commercial, we knew what was going to happen: Terry was going to let go first… although, to be honest, I couldn’t see that happening. Courtney had such a tenuous grip on her ropes, I couldn’t imagine that she’d actually be able to outlast the former Navy stud. Sure enough, Courtney let go, and Terry won immunity AGAIN! Yes, the commercial was misdirection! Color me fooled!
Afterwards, it was time for some good old fashioned pre-Tribal Council scheming. Aras was totally screwed. Courtney was planning for her, Cirie, Terry, and Danielle to vote out the yoga instructor, and as far as we could tell, all systems were go. Shane, on the other hand, had the mistaken notion that everyone would be voting out Danielle. Oh man. He was totally gonna get screwed over. I’m sure we can look forward to plenty of angry rants next week.
“I’m going to be dealing with the wrath of Shane for sure tonight,” Courtney told us. To be fair, if she were to merely kick a pebble, she’d be dealing with the wrath of Shane. Hey, maybe she’ll get lucky. Maybe he’ll be too preoccupied searching for Internet porn on his Blackberry.
Well, Shane then took inventory of his alliance and made sure that Aras, Cirie, and Courtney were all on board to vote off Danielle. Cirie lied and said that yes, Danielle was most definitely out. Things were looking quite bad for Aras, but something didn’t feel right. We didn’t spend all episode talking about Aras and how important it was for him to be kicked out. I just didn’t feel like the voting spotlight was really going to fall on him. My Survivordar just wasn’t going off.
And then Cirie decided to take the game into her own hands. With everyone focusing on Aras and Danielle, no one was worried about Courtney. No one, but Cirie. She knew that both Terry and Shane wanted to take the fire dancer to the finals. She also knew that Shane and Terry were calling all the shots. It was time to shake things up.
At this point, J-Unit and I pretty much paused the Tivo every two seconds to talk about all the great opportunities before Cirie. We decided that the best bet would be for her to convince Aras and Danielle to vote against Courtney. Their three votes would trump Shane’s one vote against Danielle and Courtney and Terry’s two votes against Aras. Plus, it would totally turn the tables on everyone. It seemed like a foolproof plan, but J-Unit and I always tend to pause the Tivo around this time and discuss all sorts of great strategies, only to see them never come to fruition. We weren’t about to get our hopes up again, even if Cirie showed great scheming promise earlier.
Well, God bless Cirie. She had the exact same plan that we had. But would she be able to execute it? The excitement in the TVgasm offices was through the roof. Cirie pulled Aras over and explained everything. He seemed to be on board. Yes! But what about Danielle? She seemed a bit reticent to commit, but she was certainly interested. And let’s face it, she’s wanted to turn the tables on someone for a few weeks now. Oh, this was great. All the pieces were coming together. Everyone just had to stay calm and stick with the plan. And yes, it looked like Danielle was gonna vote against Courtney! Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s not that I dislike Courtney or anything. I rather enjoy her kooky contributions to camp life. But I was so excited about this scheme that I had no choice but to cheer her potential ouster.
By the time Tribal Council came around, my heart was beating. This was Survivor at its best. Think about it: the levels of deception at this Tribal Council were amazing. Cirie and Danielle were pretending they were in Terry’s alliance pretending to be in Shane’s alliance. Plus, there were two power players — Shane and Terry — who were about to get taken down several pegs, but they didn’t know. They each thought they were about to turn the tables on each other, not realizing an entire third party was ready to pull the rug out from under them. Am I mixing metaphors yet? I will be soon. That’s the way the cookie grows greener on the other side. Blast!
Anyway, our plucky jury entered with biiig smiles. Especially Austin who had the bashful look of an eight year old who just won a ribbon at some science fair. The great news was that Bruce was back on the jury, and he received a warm round of applause. Glad to see the guy was okay. I mean, we knew he was fine because we saw him on the Early Show last week. But still. You know what I mean.
Okay. Down to business. The lies and deceit came on strong and fast right from the beginning. Even when talking about his reward, Terry lied and said that no one really talked about strategy. Probst then asked Cirie, “Do you buy that?” To which she replied, “NO. Please…” You better slow yo’ roll, Probst! Can’t pull a fast one on Cirie (seriously. Not even the fish can get away from her now).
Anyway, Probst continued to grill the players, and everyone had to carefully choose their words, lest they reveal any of the hidden allegiances that were lurking under the surface. Shane, meanwhile, was his normal crazy self as he told Probst, “Tonight, we have to EAT one of our own.” Literally, he was planning on eating someone. They really should get him some help.
Shane then noted, “Sounds dramatic, but it’s gonna be dramatic.” Oh, he had no idea. Mwhahaha. Actually, to be fair, it’s not that it sounded dramatic. It’s more like it sounded “psychotic.” But there’s me and my semantics again.
There were a few more questions, and I don’t really remember the responses because I was studying Courtney’s potted plant of hair atop her head. Finally, it was time to vote. Would Danielle be sticking to the plan? Or was this going to wind up like so many other boring episodes: a routine elimination of someone like Aras?
The first person up to vote was Cirie, and she wrote down Courtney’s name on the parchment. This was a good sign. If the plan wasn’t all there, chances are she would have stuck with the majority and voted out Aras. I was very optimistic that Cirie’s scheme was gonna work.
Anyway, Terry then voted for Aras, and next was Shane who scrawled down Danielle’s name and said, “You get to eat as much as you want, and I will never know you again.” You mean you’re not going to keep Danielle’s contact info in your Blackberry? Very cruel.
Courtney then wrote down her vote for Aras and then said “You’re so beautiful, brother.” Yes, like a dead sea tortoise on a beach.
Well, time to read the votes. As anticipated, Jeff read the names that Shane and Terry expected to hear. First vote: Aras. Then Danielle. Then Aras again. But then Jeff read Courtney’s name. Twice! We then cut to Shane who did a blatant “Wha-whaaaa?” double-take. Yes, he was shocked. The only thing worse would be if his Blackberry was suddenly eaten by a bunch of termites.
Anyway, time for the last vote. Would it be Aras or Courtney? Danielle kept to the plan, and Courtney was voted out! YES YES YES!! It worked! “That was a shocker,” Courtney mumbled as she gathered her items. Yup. It was. And the looks on Shane and Terry’s faces confirmed that. Hahaha. SUCKERS! I guess that would be scheme #437 of Terry’s that’s completely failed. Bravo!
“Wait. Am I being Punk’d? I am, aren’t I!”
Well, Jeff snuffed out Courtney’s torch, and as she walked off into the night, she looked back as if to say, “Did you seriously just vote me off? You bitches!” This was then followed by Jeff doing his obligatory salt-in-the-wounds remark. “I don’t think that there is any doubt that this is an individual game,” he said. Yeah, I’m sure Shane and Terry really appreciated that.
And so ended this great episode. We saw a glimpse of Courtney’s surprisingly bland parents in the Febreeze Family moment, and then in her farewell, she simply registered total shock, but ultimately shrugged it all off, which was a good attitude to take. Well done, Courtney. Sorry we couldn’t see more antics with you and Shane, but I guess we’ll always have the memories.
What did you think about this episode? Were you as crazy into it as we were? Or are we just a bit off our rockers?