So, it has been kind of a down season for Survivor, but we keep watching because we know, somewhere deep down inside, there is a lot of petty arguments and backstabbing to be had. We just have to take some of the bad to get to the good. The main problem we had was the presence of two tribes, each divided by gender, each with a strong block that wielded the power. People outside these main groups were getting picked off one by one, but about 3/4 of each team had no incentive to do any work in the actual game. As the numbers tighten and people start thinking about the merge, people are forced to think ahead farther than the next day. I’m happy to say that the scheming has returned to Survivor: Vanuatu, and we hope it’s here to stay.After the move last week to split up the tribes (Scout clearly picked the worst team for dodgeball every day on the playground), Yasur lost and voted out Travis, also known as Bubba, commonly referred to as the jackass with the Bob Barker shirt. That left Rory as the only man left in that tribe. Barring a miracle, i.e. Yasur winning a challenge, Rory was going to get the boot if the women stayed true to their original alliance. To save himself, he was going to have to do some masterful work in terms of manipulation, and he wasted no time in that task. He let it be known to a few people the night of that tribal council that he was not happy they were focusing on him first, and he was going to let them know they made a mistake letting that fact surface. It was pretty pointless of him, but it did elicit a great response from Scout who said Rory should get off of his pity pot, wipe his ass, and get on with it. It was pretty funny, and about the only worthwhile thing scout has done all season.
As it turns out, Rory came to his senses and managed to avoid being too confrontational. He said that he was unfairly judged, and his alliance was to Yasur and Yasur only. He reminded them that he couldn’t go back to Lopevi, because they will all think he sold out Travis, and Lopevi loved Travis. He also said he wouldn’t slave around the camp if these women did not give him a fair shot. All of his impassioned speech turned out to be a hoax, as Rory was simply trying to buy time. He said it was so cheesy, he couldn’t believe it was actually coming out of his mouth. It’s a strange transformation Rory has undergone since the split. Rory never liked Sarge, and especially hated taking orders from him, so I could actuall believe what Rory said about “not going back”.
The reward challenge was fairly interesting, with a pretty simple goal. One person from each team would run had to run around a pig pen and pick a pig with their team colors and bring it over to a fenced in “holding area” until each team member brought bag two pigs. One person had the job of watching the gate to the fenced in area, so each team had to have a total of ten pigs. These sort of challenges are always fun because everybody gets really dirty and inevitably somebody slips and eats a bunch of mud. With all of these pigs running around, people made some funny moves to corner their pigs. I’m surprised they didn’t just strip the pretenses and have people jell-o wrestling. Still, there was some great moments, especially watching Ami carry the pig like it was a new infant and Twila pouncing on a pig after getting it into a corner. We also saw a little boobage, thankfully from Leann this time, as she popped out of her bikini for a minute while chasing down her own swine. It proved to be fairly easy for people (don’t be fooled by the added pig squealing they used during the show)., except for Eliza, who took a great deal of time to grab a pig, and then eventually gave up on the proposition. Things were really close, but after Eliza’s gaffe, Lopevi pulled ahead and won 10-6, winning steak and eggs for their meal.
Lopevi enjoyed their meal and we once again have to take note of Twila’s complete 180 turn after switching tribes. With the guys around, it looks like she is not intimidated by her lack of feminine grace, and simply works hard. She is now even forced to talk with Julie, which makes for a very interesting and dynamic. The are supposed to stick together because they are women, but share so few things in common it might be difficult to imagine them doing so for long. How different are they? Twila spends her spare time trying to get food, hanging with the rest of the guys. Trying to be their friend and letting them know she is not bound to her old alliance. Sarge, who said he loves the type of woman Twila is, even invited her to join him, Chad, and Chris in an alliance of four “until the end”. This is the first time we have had “until the end” invoked, so it will be interesting to see how things go. It does put John and Julie in a tough spot. Well, not so much Julie. She hasn’t really talked strategy with anybody, but she was able to get people thinking about keeping her around. Her plan? Sunbathe in the (partially) nude. Not fully nude, but she did lay down on the beach with her bare ass exposed, trying to rid herself of some tan lines. She also took off her top, but was face down. This activity might have turned people off of Richard Hatch, but it looks like it could help Julie. All of the guys were sneaking peaks at her, and Sarge freaked all of us out when he said his dreams are a lot more complicated with Julie around.
At Yasur, people really started to pile it onto Eliza. It wasn’t so much her performance as her effort. She barely got dirty, and never got on her hands or knees, almost a prerequisite if you are trying to catch a pig. We also got a little bit more insight into who is running things around the Yasur camp. Although Scout was named chief, it is clearly only a figurehead position. She is the puppet and it is Ami who really has control of this team. Eliza pleads her case(very rambling and incoherent, I might add) to Ami, not Scout. Ami works hard to deflect attention, but she is clearly the one to look out for now.
The reward challenge was a little complicated, and required much more endurance than previous challenges. Each tribe member had to slide two pieces of a tiki statue along a rope that was strung around a canoe, up onto a platform and around the rungs of a ladder, under the water and around three hitching posts underwater, and then through another truss underwater, and on to the shore. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it required a lot of time underwater with very little rest. The first two to go were Ami and Chris, with Chris developing a decent lead over Yasur. It was clear after they were finished they were completely exhausted as they simply fell on the ground. Sarge and Rory were next, and although Sarge had a lead over Rory, he got a little fatigued at the hitching posts and Rory caught up, completely erasing the lead Lopevi had built and giving Leann, the next to go for Yasur a small headstart. Leann and Julie were next and they were about even, until it came to those hitching posts. The water became very choppy and Leann couldn’t muster enough strength to get under water and around all three. Julie finished and John powered through the course and past Leann. Lopevi finished putting together the tiki pieces before Leann had even reached shore. It was the fourth challenge since the shuffle Yasur had lost, I guess all of that talk about getting rid of the young guys being bad for the tribe’s success kind of went out the window.
As performances go, Leann was pretty bad, making people completely forget about what Eliza had done earlier that morning. At the Yasur camp, there was a lot of question as to who was going to leave. Rory’s performance in the challenge all of a sudden made him a necessity, and it meant that one of the women would go home. Somehow, Leann’s name failed to enter into the equation, and it looked like Eliza was going go home. I like Leann but it was crazy that her name wasn’t being mentioned, because her performance really stuck out. Although I don’t believe there is going to be more than two challenges before the merge, Leann showed she was a liability today, and deserved at least to come up during discussion based on that alone. A few people asked Rory, who was simply loving being safe and didn’t really care, although he preferred Eliza to leave because she didn’t try during the pig challenge. He even got a fist bump from Ami because, you know, he’s black.
As Ami and Scout announced that they wanted to go look for some manioc root, Lisa said she wanted to go, just in case Ami wasn’t around. This tipped off Ami, who is always concerned with Loyalty. She cut off Travis after he tried to relay some information to Chris, but it seemed strange for her to mention targeting Lisa for her comments. Everybody knew that when Ami and Scout went to look for manioc, it was code for “let’s talk about who is going home tonight”. Lisa simply wanted to get in on that discussion, and didn’t really have intentions on Ami. Ami didn’t take it that way and when Lisa mentioned Eliza, Ami said that she couldn’t trust Lisa and would rather vote her out. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but Ami said this right in front of Lisa’s face. Scout even said “This Lisa?”, showing just how clueless and out of the loop she has become. Lisa tried to argue her case, but Ami would have none of it, even after Lisa “swore” on the imaginary Bible represented by Scout’s hands. It was interesting because it is rare for people on Survivor to call each other out, too scared are people of it coming back to bite them. It was also the most overt display of power we had this year, as Ami knew she could get votes against anybody who was a threat to her.
At tribal council, the discussion centered on loyalty vs. the need to win challenges, clearly an attempt to try and stir some doubt about Rory’s stance in the tribe. In the end, it was Lisa who went home as Ami, Rory, Leann, and Eliza voted for her. Scout and Lisa voted for Rory. As the names were being read, it was still a big surprise, even after the Ami/Lisa exchange just minutes before. If anybody had doubted what Ami was capable of, they learned last night. She has more control over this game than anybody, including Sarge. She is going to be a tough competitor after the merge, because it looks like she will have Leann, Eliza, Rory and possibly Scout on her side. Depending on who makes it to the merge from Lopevi, she can easily get Julie and has a good chance at bringing in John. Lisa might have posed a slight challenge to Ami after the merge, and I think that is why she wanted to get rid of her. The smartest choice for their short term success would have been scout, who basically can’t do any challenge where she has to move around too often or physically exert herself. Eliza tried to make this point after the pig challenge when her own name was up, but babbled and didn’t make sense. Since you can’t sit out two in a row, perhaps Scout is going to do something to damage her status next week, but it looks like a lot of people want to keep her around because she is not going to be any threat when the individual challenges start.
It’s now a race to the merge, probably one or two more episodes before it happens. Although Rory saved himself this week, it is going to be a constant challenge for him to stay among Yasur. Lisa is gone, but I don’t think Ami will want to get rid of Eliza since she wants numbers as she goes forward. Scout’s status is also interesting. I am not sure if she simply didn’t get the message to vote for Lisa, or simply went against the rest of the group and voted for Rory, but neither scenario is a good one for her. At Lopevi, if they do manage to lose a challenge, it will be interesting to see who goes. Sarge said he wanted Twila with him until the end, so that theoretically makes it a toss up between Julie and John. The way the guys have been voting, not to mention all of their drooling over Julie’s body, it wouldn’t surprise me if they vote out John. After what he went through with the old guys at Lopevi, he will be open to something else. I think the old guys have to see this, and knowing John is going to be a huge threat during the individual challenges, we might even see the rare “let’s throw this challenge” ploy in order to get rid of John. And we know how well those plans work out in the end.