It’s official. Terry is a bonehead. There were so many things he did wrong in this latest episode of Survivor that it’s hard for me to even think about it. To be fair, his bad decisions began last week when he first failed to unravel Casaya and then neglected to use his Exile Island immunity idol, something that would have surely sent Shane packing. Just when I thought Terry couldn’t make any other silly moves, last night’s episode came along. Terry did the unthinkable: he revealed his ace in the hole: his idol. And for what? NOTHING. I always root for the underdog, but after all the lame maneuvering by La Mina, I’m not sure how much more patience I’ll have for them. Besides, I want Cirie to win this whole thing anyway; so why even worry about the fates of Terry, Austin, and Sally?
This week’s episode started on an optimistic note: sunrise in Panama! Waves were crashing against the shores, pelicans were grooming their feathers, and sun was shining all over the land! Surely, the spirit of Survivor had taken hold of Mother Nature. Unfortunately, the tribe members didn’t seem to care about the natural beauty of their environment. Everyone was still reeling from Austin’s revelation at Tribal Council that he was, in fact, much stronger than he had acted (that is, when he’s not puking and shitting from bad beans). For those of you who may have forgotten, last week, Austin spent a lot of time acting weak and lame, but in a bizarre move, he revealed that it was all an act at Tribal Council. No one was more floored by this than the typically gullible Courtney, who said, “I was like ‘Oh my God! What have we done?’” Uh, you fell for a completely lame ruse, that’s what you did. To be fair, Courtney could get fooled by a palm frond. And I’m sure it’s happened before.
Austin, meanwhile, realized that maybe it wasn’t so smart to, you know, reveal his hidden agenda. That whole “hidden” thing loses its cachet when it’s no longer HIDDEN. “Now in retrospect, that was so stupid to let them know my plan!” he chided himself. Exactly. This is why you’re an “author,” not a strategist.
Elsewhere on the island, Aras and his cronies were busy plucking snails out from under rocks for a little makeshift escargot buffet later in the day. “These snails are like members of La Mina: slimy and hard to get out,” Aras said. Hey, hey. That was sort of mean. And furthermore, La Mina has been very easy to get out. If anything, Shane’s the slimy one that’s hard to get out. Make him the snail!
Alas, Aras had already decided upon his forced analogy, and even worse, he now was calling Austin a slimeball (on account of that whole Tribal Council thing). Listen — you can call Austin a lot of things: goofy, weak, diarrhea-prone. But slimeball? C’mon now, Aras. At least he doesn’t fashion his hair into a faux-hawk every time he heads off to an Immunity Challenge.
Anyway, we cut to a lizard scurrying, which I took to represent the last fleeting shreds of Shane’s mental stability, and then it was back to Master Manipulator Terry. He still had this deluded notion that maybe he could get one of the Casaya girls to switch over. Perhaps he’ll extend another formal invitation like last week: “The members of La Mina request your presence in their alliance. Tea and crumpets shall be served at 4 PM, followed by a tasting menu of local snails, beans, and dirt.”
Unfortunately, before Terry could do any major wheeling and dealing, a cryptic piece of tree-mail arrived, and with it a clue that said something about politics and guts and whatnot. After some minor speculation by the Gitanos braintrust, we then cut to the standard beach reward challenge setup where we learned this week’s convoluted task.
The way this latest challenge worked was that the group would be split into three teams, each with a boat and a hundred coconuts. The teams had to put their coconuts in their rivals’ boats, and once they were done distributing them, they could take off in their boats (now loaded with other people’s coconuts), row out to a pontoon, grab a fishing net, and then come back to shore. The first team to successfully come to shore and unload all their coconuts and flag into a box on the beach would win. Très complicated-sounding but really not that tricky.
Well, Aras, Sally, and Bruce made up the first team. The second group was all women with Cirie, Danielle, and Courtney. And finally, Terry, Austin, and Shane comprised the last trio. Probst waved his arms in his signature style, and the challenge began. Off the get-go, I had many questions. Okay. Only one question: what was going on with Shane’s shorts? He looked like he’d found some banana hammock lying under the coconuts. I know the excess thigh exposure was probably due to some coincidental wedgie or something like that, but man, that looked disturbing.
Anyway, at Aras’s urging, everyone dumped their coconuts in the men’s boat. Well, almost everyone. Bruce seemed to be having trouble as his coconuts went bouncing around the beach like oversized Mexican jumping beans. Eventually, everyone jumped in their boats and began paddling to the pontoon (the all-girls team was last and had to dump their coconuts into their own boat. Doh!). In what seemed like three seconds, the men’s boat and the mixed boat reached their fishing nets, leaving the women at the gate. If it made those poor ladies feel any better, Probst then officially assessed their situation: “No shot in this challenge!” Ouch! At that point, he should have just waded into the water, flipped their boat over, pointed, and laughed.
Well, the all-men’s boat docked at the beach first, but man, did they have a lot of coconuts. They were going to have to make multiple trips to load them all into their box. Bruce, Aras, and Sally, however, only needed one trip to drag their haul to their box. Unfortunately, they kinda forgot their team flag, which meant Sally had to run all the way back and fetch it. By this time, the men had returned to their box with their second and final heaping of coconuts, and for a moment, it looked like this reward was going to be very close. But fear not, Sally fans. Blondie persevered and managed to bring the team flag back in time, thus securing her group victory. The trio won the very swanky prize of breakfast in bed, but not only that, they got to pick one person from each losing group to head to Exile Island. And who would that lucky couple be? Why, Austin and Danielle! Congratulations! You just won an all-expenses paid trip to lovely Exile Island, courtesy of Travelocity and HADES.
Even in the worst of conditions, Aras’s hair still attempts to rise like a mighty faux-hawk in the back.
The next morning, the survivors were awoken by some cold, heavy, rain — everyone’s favorite. But no amount of inclement weather could dampen the spirits of Aras, Sally, and Bruce, all of whom were preparing for their breakfast in bed. Aras in particular was super anxious for the boat to arrive and pick them up, and as he waited around, he expressed to us fear that he may have exposed too much athleticism and wit during the Reward Challenge. And to make matters worse, the rain was like totally ruining his faux-hawk!
Eventually, a boat came purring around the corner, causing Aras to ask, “Is that us?” No. It’s the other motor boat that happens to be passing through. OF COURSE IT IS!
Anyway, the winners hopped on board, and as they zoomed off to their reward, Sally babbled to us about something or another. I really couldn’t remember what she was saying because I spent half the time guffawing over her constant use of rolling “R’s” when pronouncing Aras’s name. Arrrras!
Well, the trio finally arrived at their reward, and unfortunately, it wasn’t all that it was hyped up to be. You see, the bed they were all to be sharing — well, it was randomly placed on a sandbar, right out there in the elements. That meant that the entire thing was soaked through because of the rain; the bedding, the mattress, the pillows — everything. At first the winners were grumpy about this, but then when the food arrived, their spirits lifted. “I don’t even care that I’m wet right now!” Sally said. Yeah, and I’m sure that drenched local waiting on you agrees…
Meanwhile, back on Gitanos, Terry decided to rev up his Scheme Machine. He probed Shane about who the final four was going to be, and because he’s a lunatic idiot, Shane offered up the info. The final four would be Shane, Courtney, Cirie and Arrrrras. I didn’t know why Shane would rather have Courtney in his final four than Danielle or Bruce, but hey, logic and Shane are sort of like oil and water. Anyway, before Terry could do any real damage with his newfound information, the reward victors returned to camp, which meant the age-old Survivor tradition of obnoxious bragging. The trio babbled on and on about all the food they had just eaten, and at one point, Sally implored people to touch her stomach to feel JUST HOW FULL IT WAS! “I didn’t care how big your stomach was,” Cirie replied. Oh, c’mon, Cirie. EVERYONE cares about Sally’s stomach! Especially Arrrrrras!
This is looks like the beginning of the worst porno EVER.
While everyone was having fun pretending Sally was Buddha, Austin and Danielle were huddled together in the most romantic spot West of the Poconos: Exile Island. Yes, however hard it rained over at Gitanos, it seemed twice as bad on Exile Island. Either that or Austin and Danielle were just crybabies. The two shivered and complained the whole time — not that I would have done any different — but on the upside, they did get to bond quite quickly. I mean, they didn’t bond bond — for that, they’d need a champagne glass hot tub — but they felt close enough that they’d be best friends forever. Or at least, best friends until they returned to the Gitanos beach.
This kind of looks like a publicity still from some Eastern European art-house film.
Meanwhile, with Sally back at camp, Terry began to unspool his brilliant strategy. He revealed to Sally that he had the hidden immunity idol. “I found it in twenty minutes,” he bragged. Shut up, jerk. Don’t act special. You had like twelve clues to go by. Anyway, Sally then told us she was hoping Terry would win immunity and then slip her the idol, but we all knew she was simply engaging in a fantasy that would never come true. If Terry wasn’t going to slip the idol to anyone last week — the week when it would have been most strategic to do so — then he wasn’t going to do it now. Especially not for a young trollop like Sally who has people rub her stomach and feel her digested bacon and croissants.
Eventually, it was time for the immunity challenge, and as the survivors ambled in, Bruce and Jeff shared a little heart-thump gesture that had me wondering if maybe they were in a secret gang together. I half expected Probst to yell, “You’re my boy, Bruce. My BOY!” The bedraggled duo of Danielle and Austin then rejoined everyone, and man, did they look like they’d been through an ordeal. Each of them looked like they had aged a few years, and I couldn’t help wondering if maybe they had experienced a minor version of The Flight of the Navigator. Nevertheless, they had to summon whatever inner-strength they had left because Probst had a giant obstacle course for them to run through. It was one of these elaborate, multi-tiered events where only a certain number of people continue on after each phase. Anyway, we knew Cirie would be short-lived for this competition when we saw that for the first challenge, survivors had to dig a hole under a fence and crawl through. Cirie may be able to do a lot of things, but squeezing through a tight hole is not one of them.
I could describe the rest of the course to you, but honestly, it was just a mash-up of various other convoluted bridges, mazes, ramps, ropes, and traps we’ve seen before. Well, the challenge kicked off, and almost immediately, Aras seemed to be crawling under that fence. Unfortunately, while he was able to slide his torso through the little hole he’d dug, he couldn’t quite get the rest of his body through. That meant he either had a big butt or was really aroused by something. We’ll just leave that to the imagination.
As one can imagine, so much crawling in the dirt would cause the obligatory slippage, and sure enough, Danielle had a blur-tastic nip-slip, which was soon followed by Courtney’s less appetizing butt-slip. Cirie, meanwhile, wasn’t close to any sort of slippage. She couldn’t even get more than her head under the fence. Ultimately, Cirie and Aras were eliminated from the challenge (Arrrras was never able to free himself from under the fence). The next phase involved a brainteaser — or as Courtney calls it, “a brain-breaker” — and in no time, Austin and Sally were through to the next round with Terry only steps behind. Everyone else was cut. This meant that only the ex-La Mina folk were vying for immunity. Now, if Terry were smart, he’d simply throw this challenge and let one of the other two earn immunity. But as is often the case, Terry’s desire to be dominant overtook what should have been his impulse to be savvy, and long story short, he just barely won immunity over Sally. Great.
Now, here’s what’s wrong with what Terry did. The Casaya people would now have to choose between Austin and Sally, and while they might go for Austin, they could very well go for Sally too. If Terry were to give away his immunity idol, he’d have only a 50/50 shot that it would be used correctly. Had he simply thrown the challenge, the Casaya members surely would have gunned for Terry, the plan would have backfired, and one of them would be sent home instead. Oh, if only. If only.
Anyway, back at camp, Danielle was all pissed at Arrras for sending her to Exile Island, and sensing blood in the water, Terry decided to pounce. He wanted to lure Danielle over to his side by offering her the immunity idol as a bribe of sorts, but before doing that, he first needed to see if Bruce would follow Danielle if she were to switch. And so it was off to see Mr. Miyagi who was vague, as usual, about his intentions. He seemed annoyed to learn that he was at the bottom of the pecking order, but he wasn’t outrageously put-off — always a bad sign.
Meanwhile, the old Casaya tribe began to fall into disarray again when Aras said he wanted to get rid of Sally. Turns out that everyone else wanted to get rid of Austin instead, and as a result, the whole tribe returned to its usual state of complete idiocy. This led to general bickering and the liberal use of the word “respect,” and I couldn’t understand why in the midst of this, no one was preying on the gullible and always disgruntled Courtney. The La Mina people were so concerned with winning over Bruce and Danielle that they seemed completely oblivious to the rifts forming right in front of them. For about two seconds, when Courtney, Danielle, and Cirie all got together to grumble, I thought maybe an all-women alliance might form (something Sally should have spearheaded), but it simply faded away, like all other hopes for a complete shakeup.
Later, Terry and Austin made their play for Danielle. They reminded her that she was only fifth on the totem pole, and just when she was feeling vulnerable and sad, Terry pulled out his ace in the hole: he revealed the idol to her. He actually showed it. And just in case there was still any doubt in Danielle’s mind of his intentions, Terry then said, “I went to the Naval Academy, and at the Academy, nobody lies, cheats, or steals.” Yes, and I’m sure Dan the Astronaut could second that… if Terry hadn’t betrayed him and voted him off.
Unfortunately for Terry, this was all just a terrible way of going about scheming. Again, he fell into the trap of spending too much energy making Danielle feel like he was trustworthy instead of preying on her fears and paranoia. He should have been working the whole tribe, inciting the Casaya members to act in ways that would drive Danielle into the open arms of the La Mina clan. But instead, Terry thought it was merely enough to flash the idol, and honestly, what was the best he could offer her? Top five? Well, great. That’s as good as she can get with her Casaya cronies. It was all just dumb manipulation. The sort of scheming you’d expect from a guy whose shirt looks like a legal pad.
Well, of course, the producers tried to make it seem like Danielle was actually entertaining this silly offer, and so we saw plenty of footage of her pondering what to do. We knew she wasn’t taking the deal seriously though because we never even saw her discuss the offer with Bruce, the other Casaya member involved. Meanwhile, Arrrras had his own worries: what if his group voted out someone with the immunity idol? Then he could be screwed. “I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping that I don’t get a Whammy,” he said, which got me to thinking of how awesome it would be if a little animated Whammy came out and swept Aras off the tribe. I would also accept one of the janitor guys from TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes.
At Tribal Council, Jeff Probst seemed particularly excited as he greeted the gang with an enthusiastic “Heeeello everybody.” Hi Dr. Jeff! He must have sensed excitement in the air. Even though it was pretty obvious that Terry’s plan probably wouldn’t work, I wasn’t totally convinced. I was still holding out hope that Danielle and Bruce had changed sides. And even if they didn’t, we also had to wonder whether or not Terry had given away his immunity idol. And if so, to whom? There were lots of loose ends coming into this Tribal Council, and Probst looked ready to get to the bottom of it all.
First, however, Jeff questioned Aras about how he mobilized his team and the women’s team against the men during the reward challenge. The yoga instructor responded with some lame answer, saying how he just wanted to benefit everyone else, but Cirie wisely pointed out that the only one who benefited from Aras’s strategy was Aras. Are you listening, Danielle? Aras is a threat! Switch sides!
Danielle then talked about how she and Austin had bonded so much on Exile Island, which had me wondering if she really might go to the La Mina side. But no. Too obvious. This was clear misdirection. Danielle and Bruce were staying put.
But then Shane started babbling, and for once he made sense about something. Probst asked him if La Mina had any chance, and Shane said, “Two people now have to flop from the six, which I would find — I would be stunned if one, but it’s impossible that two of us would do it.” Impossible, eh? Perhaps that’s the misdirection. Maybe Danielle and Bruce are flopping after all!
Eventually, it was time to vote. Shane must have been holding in some diarrhea or something because he suddenly darted across the tribal council area to get to the voting cubby. He either had some gastro-intestinal malaise… or he’s just a complete lunatic. Probably the latter. But then again, lunatics get the runs too.
Last to write down his vote was Bruce, who we saw write a floral “A,” and that was it. So we knew it was between Aras and Austin, but who would go? Well, the first two votes went to Arrrras, followed by one for Austin, and then another for Aras. We then got two more Austin votes, and then finally we reached the point of no return. Two votes left. Did Danielle and Bruce drop their alliance? Hardly. They both voted for Austin, thus making him the latest victim from La Mina.
But wait! What about that immunity idol! Surely Terry finally realized there was strength in numbers and handed it over to his little buddy, right? Wrong. After a suspenseful moment where it looked like Austin might be pulling the idol out of his bag, our favorite aspiring novelist stood up and offered up his torch to the Jeff Probst snuffer of doom. If I were him, I would have taken the opportunity to freak Aras out and say, “Yes, Jeff. I do have the idol.” Alas, sometimes it’s hard to expect amusing and crafty responses from these La Mina fools.
On the plus side, even though Austin was now a goner, he at least became the first member of the jury. Probst then made his little speech about how from here on in, every action would have repercussions down the line, adding, “Just one of the things that makes Survivor so much fun!” Oh Probst. Such renewed excitement and vitality. So wonderful to see. If only he had danced this episode, just like Phil Keoghan and Donald Trump. Then we would have had the perfect Reality Host Week.
What did you think about this episode? Terry played his card and has nothing to show for it — do you think he made a mistake? Can La Mina still stay in this?