Survivor: Fiji has been a season of ups and downs. It’s been boring, it’s been awesome, and now, it’s been full of meat. Join us for an evening of disgusting reward challenges, Dreamz scaring the crap out of me, and Yau-man coming much closer than he thinks to being ejected from the game.
Night 30 at Bula Bula, and the castaways are returning after the Mookie boot (“The Mookie Boot” is a new invention I’m coming up with, just because the name is so awesome. I don’t even know what it is yet, I just know what it’s called. Maybe it will clean your gutters?) Earl is unhappy about the result of the split vote, so he chooses to bitch about it after the fact, something of which I am not particularly fond. Hopefully this is the only thing that Earl will have in common with all of my ex-girlfriends. If he starts yammering endlessly about Gray’s Anatomy, I’m out. As Earl goes all “I told you so” on his alliance-mates (never a good idea), Dreamz is hilariously trying to “do the math real quick” and he’s counting on his fingers with his mouth hanging wide open, an expression of extreme intensity on his face. Concentration! It’s key to success when…subtracting from eight. The best part is that Stacy’s standing there right next to him with her bitchface on like, “Great, now we’re going to be here for HOURS.” Maybe the No Child Left Behind act contains an exception clause for hobos?
Stacy gets bored watching Dreamz attempt to count to eight, so she goes to work Alex over for his final three vote. He is, unsurprisingly, not having it. He literally looks at her and goes “Whatever.” Earl notices them talking and asks Boo to go break up the conversation. Boo just walks over and says with his typical Boo grace (and I’m paraphrasing), “Yeah, we need you over here with the people who do not suck. I know you straddle the line often and all, but we need you to get away from him.” As Stacy leaves, Alex tells us that his best bet is to lay low and observe. So, do nothing, then? Sounds foolproof. He says “I’m going to play the game with a smile, velvet gloves, and a dagger in my pocket.” Hate. First of all, you are not waiting in the wings to assassinate someone, so chill with the 18th century Renaissance metaphors there, Count of Monte Diss-to. You have no power in this situation. Please quit trying to pretend like you’re just waiting for your chance to strike. People much smarter than you have effectively minimized you, accept it and actually formulate a new plan instead of telling us how cool your new plan that DOES NOT YET EXIST is. Quit talking about how smart you are and actually do something smart for once! It’s not the same thing! That dagger in your pocket? You’ve stabbed yourself in the leg with it so many times that I’m surprised you can walk.
After the credits, it’s the next morning at Bula Bula; people are lounging around, many of them still asleep. Stacy is asleep with her buff over her face, and Boo’s feet are perilously close to her head. That is scary, is what that is. Alex tells us that after last night, he’s going into “ninja mode” and watching what happens. As I have been saying, he does not know is that Cassandra has been in ninja mode since day one, and if she catches you saying that, you will get cut. She is lurking in the trees right behind him as he speaks! I think she has a blowgun.
The editing tells us that he can hear Earl and Cassandra talking, but there’s no way that is true; they’re whispering, and he’s too far away. The two of them talk about how they trust each other 100 percent, the only other person they trust that much is Yau-man; everyone else is shady. Earl is advocating a final four composed of himself, Yau, Cassandra, and Dreamz. I’m not sure Dreamz in the final four is exactly a good idea. He’s too good at challenges, and his randomness would be completely terrifying to me. I had an entire conversation with some Survivor buddies this weekend about how Dreamz is so pants-shittingly scary to me as a player; if I were on that island with him, he would be so effing gone the first chance I got. Like my mom always said, “Better the devil you know than the devil who has no decision making process and will instead do every possible thing he can think of.”
Anyway, Earl says they’ll get rid of Yau-man at four and be the final three with Dreamz. Interesting! The reason why I really like the Earl-Yau alliance is that each knows that having the other in the final will be terrible for them. Because of this, you can tell that they have a gentlemen’s agreement that there will eventually be a conclusion to their partnership, and that the two of them are free to screw each other over and there will be no hard feelings. I love that. It’s true sportsmanship, if you think about it. Earl says that the key to going far in the game is to be honest. That’s true, to a certain extent. You want to be completely honest with your alliance-mates to create trust, and lie to everyone else. They take this proposed final four to Yau-man, and he tells them that he’d be fine with taking Dreamz, but he’s worried about Cassandra keeping Dreamz over Yau himself, which is a valid concern. Yau-man tells us that the final four that Earl proposes is not beneficial to Yau himself; he advocates to Earl and Cassandra to take Stacy instead of Dreamz to the final four, which is an excellent call. He also thinks it gives him a better shot at getting to three, which would be correct; he’s assuming they’ll ditch Stacy at four and that will be that, instead of having to deal with the Dreamz-Cassandra axis, given that their powerful combo of ruthless stealth assassination and WTF insanity is too much for even his powerful Jedi mind to handle. He should also be smelling something fishy right here, because why would Earl be such a fan of the Dreamz plan when he would have to deal with the exact same problems?
He straight up tells Cassandra that if it got to four and she got immunity, she would likely dump him and take Dreamz. Don’t get me wrong, Cassandra is awesome and everything, but in what scenario would Cassandra have immunity? Explain this to me. I get the gist of his argument, though. Cassandra tells him that no, she would have a very hard time choosing between Yau and Dreamz, but she is careful not to make any promises. Have I mentioned that I think she is a stealth badass? Because I’m not sure I have. I’m really glad that there are so many people left to root for at this point in the game. Also, you will notice that the option of voting out Earl at four does not arise at any point. Dance, minions! They seal their alliance by agreeing that Alex and Boo will be the next two out. The Boo thing is a new development. I don’t blame them, because if he put his feet anywhere close to my head? VOTE.
Reward challenge! This week’s reward challenge is a repeat of the meat biting from the Amazon season, except with pork instead of whatever gross bloody Brazilian meat they had that season was. Basically there are these giant hanging slabs of pork, and you rip off as much as you can using only your teeth and take it over to a plate. Once time runs out, the plates are weighed, and the three Survivors who amass the most meat win reward, which is a helicopter ride to a whitewater rafting expedition, and a picnic. The person with the most meat also gets an advantage at the Immunity Challenge, and gets to send somebody to Exile Island.
By the way, this is the part where I would start throwing rewards to get a shot at going to Exile Island to look for the idol, which means I would be chilling out, enjoying some tasty pork.
Meat always tastes better after it’s been marinated in bitch for a couple of hours.
Anyway, the competition begins. If you like to watch people getting slapped in the face with meat, this is your shining moment.
Harvard Graduates: They don’t even use sporks.
The editors are quite fond of showing Stacy taking pork to the face. And yes, I know what you’re thinking. But isn’t that joke a little below all of us?
Yeah, me either.
People bite at gross, hanging slabs of meat for what seems like hours. It seriously goes on forever, and is completely disgusting and lasts for decades. I look out my window, and it’s time-lapse photography; I watch a single flower grow from the ground, blossom spectacularly, and tragically wilt all during the span of this challenge. The seasons change. Civilizations collapse. Dinosaurs somehow repopulate the earth, terrorizing humanity and wrecking havoc before shockingly becoming extinct again. There are ice ages. Global warming swallows California. Seven of the twelve biblical plagues occur. These people are still chomping meat.
Later, he’s going to tell the rest of them that Mookie gave the pork the immunity idol.
Finally, it is mercifully over. Everybody is out of breath and stained with grease and all look freaking disgusting. Probst weighs the meat. I’ll give you a second to get that image out of your head before I continue. We good? Cool. Anyway, there is meat weighing.
What? This is how I eat at home. Utensils are for manicures and games of checkers.
Boo wins, and Yau and Dreamz get second and third, so the three of them will be enjoying reward. Boo sends Earl to Exile Island, after he wipes the meat out of his eyes. Oh man, if I had a nickel…
Me: “Hey, can you give me a hand moving this fridge?”
My buddy: “I’d love to, but I’ve got this huge piece of pork lodged in my retinal cavity. It’s actually pretty painful. Plus, every time I step outside, dogs follow me down the street, for like miles.”
Me: (rolls eyes)“Yeah, RIGHT.” (mutters curse words under breath)
The next day at Bula Bula (day 32), the helicopter arrives to pick up the reward challenge winners. Various aerial shots of Fiji follow, and they do look pretty spectacular. Boo tries to make small talk with Dreamz and Yau-man, even though I think he knows they really don’t like him that much. He’s just being friendly at first, but Dreamz is particularly bad at hiding that he doesn’t like Boo. Boo picks up on it and kicks it up a notch just to fuck with him, which I find to be awesome, although not particularly good gameplay. So Boo starts basically heckling Dreamz. My favorite part: “How much do you think these things cost? I wouldn’t mind paying six or seven hundred dollars to rent one on a really nice day. It’s how I roll. I do it big like that, Dreamz.” Dreamz looks away from Boo out the window of the helicopter and rolls his eyes. Somewhere below them, Stacy gets the shivers.
I think Boo gets a little overexcited about the reward in the helicopter, too, and he starts squirming like a kid in his seat. He does a victorious hand motion and says, “Yeah, we rollin’ up in this mug!” It’s hilarious to me, but probably because it’s in small doses. Also because I am not above dropping an “up in this mug” or a “bump that noise” or a “what what” in normal conversation, just to amuse myself, because I am a dork. I should be ashamed to admit that, but I’m not.
Dreamz tells us that Boo was talking way too much, and he wished that Boo would shut up so he could enjoy the reward. Did you catch that? DREAMZ thinks Boo talks too much. That is almost Lisi-esque in its irony and lack of self-awareness. The helicopter lands and the three of them hop into a raft and start rowing down the river, gliding over rapids and under waterfalls. I have to say, this reward looks pretty awesome.
The river guides were one helmet short. Luckily, Boo was already wearing one.
Over on Exile Island, Earl retrieves the second clue for the new idol, which says that the idol is on one of their normal paths, inside a tree near a “lonely tower of rock”. That seems like enough information to find the idol. Earl agrees, and thinks that he’ll be able to get it when he gets back to camp. Back at the reward, Yau, Boo, and Dreamz are at the end of their rafting trip, enjoying a picnic. As they enjoy their food, the river guide brings some packages over to them, which turn out to be letters from home. I’m not going to lie; I’m a total sap for the family visits and letters from home. Every single season, I’m like “I can’t believe this is actually working on me.” Yau-man reads his letters, including one from his son who actually sent Yau-man his report card, in which he got straight A’s, save for one B in algebra. Yau-man is hilariously (but jokingly, he has a big smile when he does it) like “Aw, man. Why couldn’t this kid have gotten the B in Spanish?” Ha. What do you think the kid’s gonna do when he sees this? If he wins the million, it’s going to therapy. Boo’s letter is entirely composed of updates on how well his family is eating. It is literally composed of sentences that say “(insert person) is eating well.” And it’s that same sentence over and over again. That is such a Southern mom thing to do, I love it. Boo is ecstatic like “YES! EVERYONE IS EATING WELL! MY FAMILY IS EATING!” He keeps cracking me up this episode without trying.
BOO IS EATING WELL!
Also, the level of discourse within their family must be captivating to watch. Dreamz actually starts crying when he reads his letter, not because he misses his family, but because he’s grateful for the opportunity to be playing the game. How cool is that? I give him a lot of shit, but he’s not half bad. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t vote his ass off the second I got a chance.
After commercials, it’s Day 33. Dreamz is complaining to Stacy and Alex about Boo’s constant chatter during the reward. Then he goes and smashes ants with a hammer and falls on his face. From the tone of the conversation, you can sort of tell that the whole ‘Boo talks too much’ issue has come up on more than one occasion. And possibly also about more than one person, DREAMZ. Dreamz literally goes, “You know what I was thinking? I was thinking, ‘Would you shut up? Why don’t you stop being stupid’.” First of all, Dreamz: my thoughts exactly. That comment really made the whole ‘Stacy picks on Dreamz’ sequence look different to me. I sort of no longer have any sympathy for him after that. We have officially reached Michael Scott levels of delusional here. This whole exchange clearly proves the existence of some sort of Lisi Butterfly Effect.
Alex has a private conversation with Dreamz, who tells Alex that he’s likely going to be heading back. Alex tries to get Dreamz to convince people to get rid of Boo, and Dreamz promises to try. How desperate do you have to be when Dreamz becomes your source of information? He’s like, the Fox News of information re: things on the island. On a side note, I would totally watch ‘Hannity and Dreamz’. That is the only way that show could make LESS sense.
Alex and Dreamz agree that if Boo does not win immunity, they’ll try to get him kicked off. Man, he must have really pissed off Dreamz. Maybe in his head he’s like, “There is only room for one overly talkative random slightly-delusional person on this island, sir!” and it really offends him. That’s my theory.
Immunity Challenge! Earl returns from Exile to participate. Today’s challenge is relatively simple; there are two parts to it. In the first part, everyone will dig for a set of three ‘climbing steps’ within a strip of sand. In the second part, you use the climbing steps to get to the top of a pole out in the water and grab the flag on top. The person who gets the flag wins immunity. There are only three poles in the water; Boo’s advantage from the reward challenge turns out to be the climbing steps, so he gets to automatically move on and the two people who unearth their steps first will join him.
The challenge begins, and Alex is digging like a complete freak, just throwing up sand and making a lot of noise without actually making any progress, while Yau-man makes a strategic, methodical method, slowly working his way down the path. Oh, Survivor metaphors. You are everywhere.
Probst: “Earl, nice ass!”
Dreamz quickly finds his steps and is the first to move onto the final round with Boo. Cassandra just sort of hangs out and doesn’t do anything, with this look on her face like, “What? It’s not like I’m going anywhere.” Hilarious (and true), but I do not ever advocate not trying in an immunity challenge. Alex somehow finds the rest of his steps, so the final will be composed of Boo, Dreamz, and Alex.
How awesome would it have been if the challenge had been held right over Yau’s fake idol?
The three of them head out to the water and begin to climb the poles. Boo pulls out to a pretty significant lead, to the point where Alex completely freaks out and ditches the climbing steps, attempting to scale the pole with his arms and legs. He comes pretty close, but can’t get over the top of the pole without something to rest on, and Boo ends up getting to his flag first.
Little does Alex know, he is about to be defeated by someone for whom “holla” is an appropriate greeting.
Jeff hangs the immunity necklace on Boo while Alex floats sadly in the water. Man, Rocky is going to lose his shit when he sees this. Don’t worry Alex, it’s okay. You are a lion, remember? You have a knife and velvet gloves! Scarface, right? According to you, you are the smartest person there! Don’t get sad, do that…thing you have been telling us for years that you are going to do, yet have not! He looks so sad that Cassandra actually rubs his shoulders and tries to console him. I think she’s actually looking for pressure points so that she can deliver a killing blow without the use of weapons, but it masquerades as a comforting touch.
The tribe returns to camp after the Immunity Challenge. Alex still has his pouty face on. It is not the face of a ninja, unless it is a ninja who just had his lunch money taken. Everyone agrees to get rid of Alex, and Boo jokes that they’ll have to come up with something else because he’s giving Alex the necklace. Earl, ruling yet more than he already does: “I will freaking tackle you.”
Yau-man tells us that he doesn’t think that there will be a lot of drama about tonight’s boot, so he’s going to keep his idol tucked away for later use. Alex tells us that taking an aggressive approach to the situation would be a bad idea. It would? Alex lays in the shade by himself and Cassandra approaches to angle for a jury vote. She tells him she hates to see him sitting down there by himself, so she thought she’d keep him company. And slowly poison him. He starts spitting game at her about Yau-man and his idol and how if there were a move to make, today would be the day to do it. He argues that Yau-man doesn’t want to take Dreamz with him to the end, so she should think about an alternate plan. I think that’s sort of the wrong angle to take with her; he should have made an argument that threatened her safety instead of the safety of one of her allies, especially since everyone except for Alex falls into that category. Earl and Dreamz come and sit with them, and Alex makes the same pitch for booting Yau, changing it slightly to suggest that he will want to take out Earl or Dreamz at the next tribal for a final four with Stacy or Boo. That would work if only one of them were left instead of both. He’s trying, I’ll give him that, but there are flaws in his logic.
The reactions are interesting. Dreamz, of course, looks like he sort of wants to do it. This is not an accomplishment for Alex. If someone presented to Dreamz the option of lighting the scenery on fire, he would probably do that, too. All you have to do is put something in his head, and he will execute the action with robot-like certainty. That’s why Dreamz is so scary to me; the people like Alex who normally would have no influence with a rational, decision-making player suddenly become really threatening. It’s not the power Dreamz has that makes him a threat, it’s the power he gives other people through his mere existence.
Earl, on the other hand, looks skeptical. He keeps glancing sidelong at Alex and making ‘whatever’ faces at Cassandra. Cassandra, unsurprisingly, looks stoic and attentive. Earl tells us that he doesn’t care what Alex has to say, he’s just trying to save his own ass. What he does not know is that Cassandra and Dreamz are still on the beach talking about potentially booting Yau, in order to seal up Earl’s allegiance. Here’s my take on this: Alex is not dumb, even though he often misapplies his intellect. If you keep him around, he’s going to pull this same crap every week and sneak through to the end. Get rid of him tonight to reduce the potential for sabotage. Then, deal with everyone else next time. If I’m Earl and Yau-man, I will tell you that Dreamz is next on my list. Get rid of him to make Cassandra stay with you, then take her to the final three. If I’m anyone else, I’d probably try to get Yau-man out next. Anyway, we’ll see. Alex should go logically, though, at least for tonight. Always reduce your variables.
Stacy suddenly shows up, and she tells Dreamz that she’ll vote for whomever, because she follows Cassandra. Cassandra has minions, too! I’m shocked. So right there, if you count Alex, there are enough votes to get rid of Yau-man. This is when I got nervous.
Earl and Cassandra talk about Alex’s offer, and Earl attempts to squash it. He tells Cassandra that Alex’s attempt itself is enough to vote him off, because it’s going to be one of them on the wrong side of it next time. Cassandra worries that Dreamz is trying to keep Alex around. This is barely true. Dreamz is like a walking Survivor version of Memento; he only remembers the very last thing said to him, and this time, Alex was the last person to put an idea in his head.
Because Dreamz has to tell everyone absolutely everything, ever, he tells Alex that Earl was winking at him and calling bullshit with his facial expressions the whole time during the prior conversation. Seriously, is that necessary? Dreamz irks me so badly with this telling on everybody stuff. He is dangerous in an entirely different and scary way, and it makes me SO nervous to watch. There’s seriously no rational explanation for doing this, is what bothers me. He tells Alex that he’s going to vote for Yau-man. I’m not even sure whether he’s lying or not, because, get this: HE DOESN’T KNOW EITHER. Watching him do this shit is like watching The Exorcist.
Tribal Council! Jeff brings in the jury, which now includes Mookie, sans the creepy molester moustache that he was rocking before he was booted. Jeff asks Yau-man whether he feels that Alex is a threat to him, what with the possibility that he could go all Danni or Chris at any minute and break up the giant alliance, sneaking through to the end. Yau-man doesn’t think so; he feels secure within his alliance. As he answers, Earl shoots Dreamz a look like, “Hey, you! Don’t disappoint daddy and make this poor old man cry.” Jeff asked Alex whether he tried to do anything to change the fact that he was likely to leave tonight, and Alex goes, “Well, we’ll see.” He then asks Yau about his idol, and Yau unwisely tells Jeff that while he’s not nervous enough to use it tonight, he could possibly be forced to use it next time. Alex points out that with one idol in Yau’s hands and another one somewhere else, if you do the math (Boo: “Wait, math?”) there could possibly be two idols and only six people next week, which means that some crazy stuff could happen. Jeff asks Alex if he’s surprised at how unconcerned the other six people seem to be, which makes me think that this was sort of a joke tribal council and they had decided that they were going to have a little fun getting rid of Alex before things got serious, laughing at Probst’s questions and whatnot. If you look at the group shots, everyone but Alex is smiling and laughing, which makes me think that most of the reaction shots are taken from other TCs and that they were all indifferent to this boot.
Time to vote! Alex votes for Yau-man, unsurprisingly, and Yau-man votes for Alex. Jeff goes to tally the votes; he does not take his skull-shaped graphing calculator. The first vote is for Alex and the next is for Yau-man, and then all the rest are for Alex and he takes the boot this evening. Alex walks off. No one looks sad. Jeff says a totally dumb thing about how everyone should go back to camp and “sharpen their knives” (Boo: “No need. I did my nails already.) See, they’re sharpening the knives so that they can backstab each other, get it? Jeff is so clever.
Jeff, let me leave you with a quote…
So, there are six people left, and I wouldn’t really mind if any of them won. I mean, I would mind if Dreamz won, but if the rest of them let that happen, then they deserve it, you know? Anyway, who would you like to see in the final three, and who would you like to see win? For me, I’d like Yau-man, Earl, and Cassandra, and I would be happy with any of them winning, although I’m rooting for Earl. Either way, there are only two episodes left and things have been pretty awesome. I can’t wait.