Well, I’ve been tardy again. For some reason, I never am able to get these Survivor recaps out in a timely fashion. Thankfully, this season has been fairly predictable: Ulong starts off sad, gets their hopes up, loses immunity, and sends someone home. So even if my recaps are a bit late, chances are you can figure out what happened without having read or seen anything. The good news is that while this season’s certainly been lacking in the scheming department, the characters have been colorful and Jeff Probst has been particularly ornery. That’s got to count for something.This week’s episode began with what else? A crab scampering in the dark. What pray tell was this busy little crustacean up to? By the looks of it, he seemed to be transporting a rock, a symbolic action that represented the ever toiling Ulong Tribe as it returned to camp dejected and weary. In the previous episode, Ulong had to sit through three different votes: one to grant immunity (that went to Ibrehem, or “Ib”), one to kick of a tribe member (that was a draw), and one to serve as a tiebreaker (bye, Angie!).
“That may have been the craziest Tribal Council I’ve ever been to,” said Ibrehem, adding “I actually had to speak! What’s up with that? Shit, I’ve already said too much for today.” Ibrehem then pursed his lips and refused to answer any more of the producers’ questions.
With the Ulong tribe down to four people, it was time to adopt a new strategy. Luckily, Stephenie had a plan. “Not only do we need to have great listening skills,” she started, before being rudely interrupted.
“Yeah, everybody needs to listen,” interjected James, clearly not listening to Stephenie.
But she battled on, trying to make her point heard: “I mean—”
“Keep your ears open and listen to your teammate!” advised James. Okay, this whole “listening” thing is probably not going to work out. The key is when you want to “hear” what your teammate has to say, you’ve got to actually “shut up” for a second and let her “finish” her sentence.
By now though we should know that James, while colorful, is also sort of an idiot. Plus his nose has become more triangular with each passing episode. Anyway, he immediately bashed Ibrehem, telling the gentle giant that he was supposed to go, not Angie. Luckily, Bobby Jon had Ib’s back. “We didn’t win the beef stew. Whatever,” he moaned, noting that the game was more than some crappy bowl of chum. Bobby then caught a minnow with his giant fishing spear and then sighed, “Yeah, that beef stew probably would have been nice.”
The next morning, we were treated to a random montage of Ibrehem praying. A closeup of a tattoo revealed that he was Muslim, but interestingly enough, CBS was sure to not actually spell it out, lest Middle America revolt and switch over to Joey. Yes, there’s no telling how all the Toby Keith fans would react when discovering that the most soft-spoken cast member of the season believes in Islam. I mean, that’s crazy talk! What are they trying to do? Debunk stereotypes???
Nevertheless, we’d already spent too much time with the losers at Ulong. It was time to move on to Koror, but we had a feeling all was not well on Home Depot beach. A wayward bird snatching a fish from the surf suggested that maybe, just maybe, it was time for Koror to crumble. Or at least go fishing. Drama at the tribe, however, was mild to indiscernible. However, there were some grumblings about Katie, as usual. While everyone was out gathering wood, fetching water, or helping the camp in general, our resident whiner sat by the picnic table and made necklaces. “Today was craft day,” announced Coby in an interview, quickly revising his statement to only apply to Katie. Ah yes, could this finally be judgment day for Katie?
While there may not have been a lot of drama at Koror, there at least was some comedy. Puppet comedy, to be specific. Coby, fresh from bashing his lazy teammate, allied with Katie to put on a sock puppet show which probably wouldn’t have amused anyone normally, but hey, when you’re stuck without a TV, anything will suffice. Amazingly, Katie pulled of a funny as she screetched, “I’m Bobby Jon. I love everyone. I look like Jesus Christ.” Okay, that was pretty good. Katie gets ten seconds of appreciation. [pause] Okay, now we can hate her again.
By the way, now that about five minutes have passed on the show, has anyone noticed how much weight these people have lost? Yes, this is officially the “skinny episode” — the installment when you take a step back and notice how thin these survivors have become. Coby, Stephenie, Tom, and Ibrehem all seem to have shed quite a good amount of weight. In other news, Kirstie Alley has applied for next season of Survivor.
I wonder who’s been hoarding all the food at Koror…
Anyway, at Koror, Katie finally got off her ass and fetched the tree mail. She returned to camp happy and annoying. “Guess what’s on the tree mail?” she asked with grating perkiness. She continued: “It starts with a ‘P’ and ends with a ‘ul’!” Everyone at the camp merely stared blankly at this odd hybrid of the Early Bird and Grimace, hoping she’d maybe die in the next ten seconds.
“PRINGLE!” Katie yelled, happily solving the tricky riddle she had put forth. There were polite smiles all around as everyone sighed, “Pringle. Oh…” I half expected Caryn to muttering “I’ll Pringle you, you dumb, lazy, no good…” Turns out the random presence of this most delectable chip was a precursor to the reward challenge which promised the winning team a snack of Pringles followed by a snorkeling adventure in a lake of benign jellyfish. Yes, that’s just the way I’d want to spend the afternoon: chips and jellyfish (that incidentally was the title of the episode).
Probst called both teams into the challenge area and revealed that Angie had been voted off. Clever Mark Burnett then cut to Coby shrugging off the news about his former ally. The first inklings of an anti-Coby portrayal? We shall see. Nevertheless, in the challenge, members from each tribe had to shoot an old gun at various hanging tiles. The first tribe to take out all the other team’s tiles would win. It was a fairly standard mission, but for some reason it was so damn exciting. Maybe that’s because in the end, it came down to a sudden death situation. Yeah, actually, that’s entirely what it was. Amazingly, Ulong managed to win the whole shebang, thanks to Stephenie. “Pretty good with that gun!” said Probst, adding “Now wanna try this one?” Jeff then dropped his pants and pointed to his groin. “Julie doesn’t have to know,” he purred seductively. Actually, that didn’t happen, but Stephenie did rock the challenge. It should be noted that James managed to not hit a single tile, making that about seven challenges where he’s failed completely.
After the challenge was over, Ulong boarded some outriggers and paddled out to a Japanese boat where they each received their own can of Pringles. But these weren’t just any Pringles. These were those nifty Survivor Trivia Pringles! The foursome sat around and quizzed themselves with the various questions. Things became awkward though when Stephenie pulled out a chip and asked “Which tribe has lost the most immunities in a row, therefore cementing its reputation as the most pathetic team in franchise history?” Wow, who would have thought Pringles would be so on top of this season’s trivia?
Next Ulong journeyed up to a lake whose reigning population was thousands of jellyfish who have lost their necessity and ability to sting. As we watched the Survivors swim amongst the invertebrate flotsam, I couldn’t help taking a moment to reflect. Not on life. But on Survivor. Ulong is pretty pathetic, but I have to admit, I totally back the lack of merge. I mean, think about it. With all these Ulong losses, the only thing that’s happened at Koror is that they’ve become tighter. Without Tribal Councils, there’s been no need to plant the seed of discontent. Truthfully, there’s little to no chance that any of these Ulong people can break up those bonds, or at least enough of them to make it to the end. Therefore, if there were a merge, we’d have to sit through three or four boring episodes while we watch the remaining Ulong-ites get voted off. Without the merge though, we spend the episode wondering if maybe, just maybe, Ulong will be able to pull it out. Of course, they haven’t been able to so far, but at least when it comes to voting, it’s all finger pointing and chaos. So with that being said, I say bravo, Burnett. Way to keep this predictable season interesting. Are they done with the jellyfish yet?
Back at Koror, a nasty windstorm made sleeping a nightmare. No pun intended. Seriously. The next morning, Janu’s mental health seemed to have been blown out to see overnight as she sunk into the hammock and cried. Tom tried to reassure her that she could make it through the Survivor experience, but our favorite showgirl/tree climber had little faith. “I don’t have the strength,” she cried, adding “Literally, I have no muscle left. I can barely use my tongue. And I’m losing that too. Wait. Waii. Yuh. I cahn’t mohe wuh. Aw ow wuh uh uuuh.” Tom then slapped her and dumped her out of the hammock.
Meanwhile, at Ulong, the tribe received their next piece of tree mail which happened to be a large trunk and some rope. Turns out this space saver chest, as its known on The Apprentice, held Koror’s flag. Teams basically had to use the provided rope to fortify their footlockers with a series of knots. James immediately alerted his tribe that Koror would absolutely not be getting into the trunk. He was going to use a Navy knot that gets tighter and tighter the more you pull on it. News flash for James: the more you pull on any knot, the tighter it gets. Anyway, Ulong took James’ lead and made the special knot. I’m sure they’ll test it though to make sure this magical knot actually works. No? Okay, well, I’m sure they won’t have any problems, especially after Steph tells us “I think we’re gonna win!”
At the challenge, both teams arrived with their knotted up trunks. Probst told them they’d have twenty additional minutes to swim out to see and fetch three bundles of wood to further fortify the trunk. After the time was up, teams would switch sides and begin the task of getting into their trunks and retrieving their flags. Jeff started the challenge, and immediately, Koror sent three people out to the water. One person, meanwhile, stayed back and added more knots to the chest. Things at Ulong were a little different though. Stephenie and Bobby Jon swam out while Ibrehem waded halfway to the wood. I guess the plan was to pass the wood to him and then he’d take it to the chest while Steph and BJ swim out for more. It wasn’t the most efficient, but whatever. James, meanwhile, stood by the chest and spent minute after minute trying to alter his toga. YOU IDIOT. Tie more knots!
Well, even though only two people from Ulong swam all the way out in the water, they still managed to get a good lead on Koror, building a massive woodpile very quickly. Meanwhile, we received quiet play-by-play from Coby who sat on the sidelines and said things like “This is so nerve-wrecking.” He should be present for every challenge. Maybe his face just shows up in a bubble in the corner of the screen as we listen to his color commentary. Hell, it doesn’t have to be Survivor only. Stick him on the Amazing Race. Or Big Brother. Or heck, Monday Night Football. It would just be amusing, dammit.
Anyway, things seemed to be going Ulong’s way for once. The teams switched sides, and Koror faced immediate setbacks pulling apart their woodpile, allowing their chronically suffering opponents to take a significant lead. All seemed to be going well for Ulong as they cleared the wood away and attacked the knots. Unfortunately, Koror had managed to safeguard their box by, you know, tying extra knots instead of tending to their clothing. This meant that Ian, Janu, Jen, and Katie soon caught up, and before we knew it, both teams were unravelling the rope. Unfortunately, James’s super-knot turned out to be as resilient as a bowl of spaghetti and within minutes, Koror was able to surpass their competition easily. Sure enough, Ulong lost the immunity, all thanks to James’s lame ass knot. Who would have thought?
Back at camp, despite his terrible performance track record, James felt pretty sure that he was safe. “Bobby Jon won’t vote for me,” he told Stephenie. Of course, we all know what happens to people with such large amounts of hubris (they tend to get voted off. But who knows? Maybe this time will be different). Turns out Bobby Jon was planning on voting off James, simply because he thought James had voted for him in the previous Tribal Council. Granted, he had no hard evidence, but Bobby Jon did bring up a salient point: whoever wrote his name down, “it was male handwriting.” Somebody call CSI! We’ve got a new detective!
Actually, that male handwriting was none other than Stephenie’s (does that make her a lesbian now?). She had voted for Bobby J, but knowing that he was out for revenge, she wasn’t going to volunteer that information. Instead, she lied and said she had voted for Angie. Bobby Jon believed it and brokered a deal with his masculine-scrawl buddy. If they vote off James this week, next week, they’ll take out Ibrehem. Unfortunately for James, he had no idea this scheming was taking place. For all he knew, it was goodbye Ibrehem. “Ibrehem’s outstayed his welcome,” noted James. “He was meant to go last time, and by the grace of Allah he didn’t go. Well, my god says he is today!” How charming. Bringing the guy’s religious background into it. Gotta love the “us vs. them” mentality. It’s really so helpful in keeping this world full of the idiotic dipshits we so love.
I tend to think Jeff Probst overheard this comment in the dailies because he was not happy with James at Tribal Council. “I’ll tell you what,” said James as he prepared to launch into some monologue.
“Tell me something!” snapped Probst, clearly lacking any respect for the resident hillbilly. Probst then lambasted the entire tribe for its weak performance, mocking Ibrehem’s lazy performance during the immunity challenge. Probst then returned his rage onto James, saying “You sat back messin’ with your skirt!” I don’t really know why Jeff is so mad, but I did enjoy the emasculating use of “skirt”. Probst then asked Bobby Jon if he trusted his tribe.
“If you can’t trust ‘em, you shouldn’t be in a tribe with ‘em. You can’t have a tribe if you don’t trust people,” he said, adding “Tribes of trust are for people who trust tribes, and if you can’t trust people in tribes, then tribes are trusts and not trust for people. Tribes tribes tribes trust people tribes trust.”
When Bobby Jon was finished creating his very own proverb, the group finally wrote down their votes, and surprise surprise, it was a tie. Two votes for James; two votes for Ibrehem. Ah yes. Our second tied Tribal Council in a row. That always makes me happy. However, the gridlock soon ended as Stephenie flipped her vote and sent James home. Later, in the exit-interview, James complained, “It wasn’t my time to go.” Oh yeah? Where’s your god now, country boy??? James then resigned to say, “My gut failed me.” Again. Let’s not forget the other times your gut failed you: you know, like every other EPISODE. James, here’s a tip. Do like Homer Simpson. Whenever your gut tells you something, do the exact opposite. That might start with taking down the Confederate flag.