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The past few weeks of Survivor have been magnificent. There’s been lying, deception, scheming, and intestinal blockages. As I headed into tonight’s episode, I couldn’t help wondering: could the show keep it up? The answer is yes. And no. But mostly yes. In all honesty, it’s near impossible to top the previous two week’s shows. Together, they constituted the best two hours of Survivor in a long, long time. As a result, tonight’s installment seemed somewhat tame in comparison. I mean, there was all sorts of fun, campy entertainment, but how could it really live up to the preceding drama? I guess that’s not really a fair rationale. It was still a solid episode, and anytime I get to watch Shane turn into a blubbering mess over his angel child Boston, I know I’ve just watched some good TV.This week’s episode began with the Gitanos tribe returning from last week’s truly insane Tribal Council where Courtney had been voted out, much to the shock of Shane, Terry, and, well, Courtney. Understandably, Shane was feeling quite vulnerable and confused, and so Aras and Cirie went into damage control overload, reassuring him that he wasn’t being played (he was).
“Explain to me right now what happened,” Shane commanded Cirie. He then added, “Otherwise, I will skin your body and make it into a duvet cover for Boston. I’m not even joking. I will KILL YOU.”
Okay, he didn’t say that last part, but he was on the verge of losing it. Cirie, however, talked him down and explained that there just wasn’t enough time to tell him about the new game plan. They only had ten minutes, and Shane was off somewhere doing something. Or so Cirie said. For whatever reason, Shane bought this paper-thin lie, and all was forgiven. He then stated that Danielle would be the next to go, and when Cirie agreed, Shane had a sudden moment of hesitation. “You’re not trying to pull no fast…” he started, to which Cirie said no, no, no — of course not! Why would Cirie ever pull a fast one on you, Shane… again? Actually, the better question would be — did he really expect her to ‘fess up and say, “Yup. You got me. I was trying to pulla fast one on you. You’re too quick for me, Shane!”
Well, even though Courtney wasn’t Shane’s top choice to go home, he certainly did not miss her around camp. He glowed in the peace and tranquility of her absence, and at one point, he commented, “Couldn’t have happened to a loopier broad.” This coming from the man who spent last week racking up roaming charges on his wooden Blackberry.
The next day, everyone again marveled at how calm the camp was, and Terry took this time to marvel at his stunning inability to get any scheme whatsoever off the ground. “Last night was the fifth failure for me in trying to get numbers on my side,” he noted. Hahaha. SUCKER! Here’s an idea for getting numbers: drop the cocky attitude and stop acting like you’re doing everyone a favor by inviting them to ally with you.
After a little more Terry grousing (mostly about Danielle and how pissed he was that she lied to him), we then headed out to the Reward Challenge. Just by the quick aerial shots, we could tell this would be on convoluted bad boy. Sure enough, this was the traditional Reward Challenge Greatest Hits. It was a collection of past challenges all rolled into one, big, four-stage event. Yippee. Jeff explained the rules (which I really don’t feel like describing to you. Basically, people had to collect things and cross finish lines), and then Probst asked, “Wanna know what you’re playing for?”
“Yeeeeaaaah!!” Terry replied with sudden gusto. Whoa, boy, settle down.
“Today, you’re playing for love,” Jeff said. Great. Start the weepy pianos. The loved ones are comin’ to town. Personally, I think it would have been more interesting had Jeff said, “Today, you’re playing for Courtney Love.” Whole new game then.
Anyway, Jeff explained that the winner was responsible for “allocating who gets love and how much love they get.” Were we talking about family members still? Or was this the planning stage of some sort of orgy in the making?
Well, after saying “allocating the love” about twenty more times, Jeff finally waved his hands and started phase one of the obstacle course. The first four people to dig up a bag hidden in the sand and then cross a finish line would be moving on. Danielle, Terry, Aras, and Cirie all succeeded, causing Shane to be eliminated. Smell ya later, Boston! Actually, to emphasize this point, the producers then provided us with a super, nausea-inducing closeup of Shane’s “Boston” tattoo, conveniently located just above his left nipple (which didn’t look any prettier at close range).
Thankfully, this RAH BOSTON RAH moment soon passed, (although the image of Shane’s nipple may forever be burned into my eyeballs). For round two of the competition, players had to untie a wooden snake and blah blah blah, Danielle, Aras, and Terry moved on, eliminating Cirie in the process.
Next, the players had to untie a fish. Aras completed the task first, followed by Terry, who savagely tried to carry the fish WITH HIS TEETH. Sadly for him, this attempt at über-manhood failed, and he had to carry his fish like any normal human being: with his arms.
Anyway, for the final round, Aras and Terry had to square off in a wooden tunnel/bridge contraption, all while carrying their fish, bag, and snake. Probst proved once again that he knows what the word “allocate” means as he asked, “Who’s going to be in charge of allocating the love?” Funny, that was the original title for the Black Eyed Peas song, “Where’s the Love.” Glad they changed it.
Well, Aras took an early lead on this final stage of the challenge, but soon Terry evened it up. Aras looked like he might just pull ahead and win this thing, but he dropped his bag, which meant Terry was able to saunter across the finish line without a problem. Terry wins again. Great. I’m sure that would go to his ego…
With the winner anointed, it was then time to make everyone cry. Probst called in all the family members one by one, and already Shane was hysterically crying. I already knew the Boston reunion was going to be unbearable. Yet hilarious. I couldn’t wait.
First out was Terry’s pert wife Trish. She was a vision in orange — like a creamsicle that was magically impervious to sunlight. Next was Aras’s mom, Theresa, and then Danielle’s mother, Denise. Like Shane, Denise was already bawling. She’s probably the sort of lady who pines for the day when NBC might bring Three Wishes back to the air.
Next out was Cirie’s husband H.B., and for whatever reason, all the survivors suddenly thought they were a) H.B.’s best friend, and b) black as they began saying H-Beeeeee. People, he doesn’t know who you are. Stop acting buddy-buddy with him.
Finally, it was the moment of truth. Wee Boston stepped out, and boom! Shane was on his knees, his arms outstretched to the heavens as if he were reenacting The Shawshank Redemption. I can totally empathize with a father’s emotions upon reuniting with his son (I always get choked up when I stumble across one of the many bastard children I’ve spawned across America), but seriously, this was a bit much. Soon, Boston was crying too, but I think that was due to the general sense of despair he felt upon realizing his father was a complete and total lunatic.
After everyone had sufficiently waved and cried, Probst then used his favorite new word as he described how Terry would ALLOCATE the love. Two survivors would get to take their loved ones on a luxury overnight stay on some island (food, beds, and all that good stuff included). One person would get to take a loved one back to camp. One person would only get a hug. And the last survivor would get nada except a fun little stay at Exile Island.
No surprises here. Terry chose himself and Shane to go overnight with Trish and Boston. He let Cirie take H.B. back to camp, and Aras got to hug his ma. Danielle was left with the short end of the stick, and so before leaving, her mom told her that the whole family missed her so much, and that included Pugsy (Yay Pugsy! Wait, who? That better be the dog). The two then cried and painfully said goodbye . Ah, tearing families apart from each other. Reality TV at its best.
Later that day, we found Danielle at Exile Island where she expressed how disappointed she was with that challenge. She knew she was banished to this dreaded island because Terry was still bitter about the last trial council, but whatever. “It’s all good. He’ll get his,” she said. Danielle then thwacked a coconut with her machete and said it was Terry’s head. That’s okay. Healthy venting. She then began talking to a nearby woodpecker. Okay, now she’s lost it. Whatever Shane has, she’s caught it.
Back at the camp, Aras and Cirie taught H.B. all about camping and whatnot. Seeing how repulsed her husband was by everything, Cirie came to realize how far she’d come as an outdoors person. She even began appreciating her self-worth, saying she’d underestimated herself for the past thirty-five years. Yay epiphanies that no one cares about!
Elsewhere in Panama, we found Terry, Trish, Shane, and Boston roving through the kitchen of some mansion (probably Mark Burnett’s). There were all sorts of good things: eggs, bacon, milk. All the sort of food that Trish and Boston have been eating every day. C’mon now, producers. We have guests. Can’t you roll out the fancy stuff? A few steaks, lobsters, oysters, anything? At least there was wine; although, I’m not sure that anyone really wanted any after Terry took a swig right from the caraffe. Look, Terry, you may have been living with nature for the past month, but Trish hasn’t. Plus, weren’t those very lips just recently wrapped around a nasty fish carcass like an hour ago? Point is: use a glass, jerk.
Meanwhile, Trish told us that she couldn’t wait to get the beard off Terry and restore him to his “hot lookin’ studly self.” Oh damn. They’re so having sex tonight.
Well, everyone enjoyed some food, and afterwards, we found Shane talking with Boston. I couldn’t help noticing that Shane’s so skinny that when he eats, you can literally see his stomach puff up. It’s like a snake that’s just eaten a rabbit.
Anyway, Shane and Boston had a nice little talk where they said how much they loved each other and what not. I wondered if Shane was gonna tell his kid how he’d used his life as a bargaining chip… multiple times. It’s always such a fatherly thing to do.
Meanwhile, up in his room, Terry showed his Exile Island immunity idol to Trish. She didn’t really seem to care, but then later, at dinner, she totally began playing Shane. She insisted that her husband did not have the idol, and knowing Shane, he probably believed her. Either way, I loved how eager she was to scheme and lie. She should really be on the next season.
After dinner, everyone retired to their rooms. “Be gentle with me,” Terry said as he crawled into bed. Oooh! Terry was gonna have sex!
“I’ll be good to you,” Trish replied. That meant “I brought the handcuffs.”
Thankfully, we were spared any night vision sequences. Instead, we headed back to camp the next morning where H.B. was busy doing all the chores for Aras and Cirie. The two wanted to conserve energy, and so H.B. was happy to help out in this little way. Then in an interview, he began crying when he thought of the lengths Cirie was going to in order to help their family. It was really quite touching. H.B. was the best!
Later, after H.B. had left, Terry and Shane returned, and when the group asked them if they had gotten a good night’s sleep, Terry quickly and proudly bragged, “There wasn’t any sleeping on my part!” At that point, I’m pretty sure he high-fived himself and said “Still got it, Terrinator!” Yes, it wouldn’t be a Thursday night without a healthy dose of Terry’s cocky ego.
We then cut to a random shot of Shane wearing only a tiny Speedo (blech), and then it was back to the campfire where Terry explained why he sent Danielle to Exile Island. “Danielle’s 24 years old, and it was only her mom,” he said. Yeah, only her mom. No one that important.
Well, Aras thought it was a little obnoxious the way Terry brushed off Danielle’s mom, and I had to agree with him. Thankfully, he said something to Terry about it. He wasn’t being confrontational, but Terry became quite defensive in an arrogant way, and immediately talked down to Aras, saying that once he gets married, he’ll understand why a wife is more important than a mother. Personally, I thought Terry was completely missing the point, and I think he just wanted to brag about having a wife. Nevertheless, he told us, “I like the fact that Aras became unglued. It showed a part of him that I hadn’t seen and maybe a little crack I can take advantage of.” Way to go, Terry. You revealed the side of Aras that cares about his mother, whatever that means. I can’t wait to see Terry “take advantage” of that “crack.” “You love your mother, don’t you!!! Don’t you!!!”
We then headed out for the immunity challenge, which was quite the interesting little event. The players all had to stand on a perch located on top of a twenty-foot pole in the ocean. They then had to lower a bucket into the water, fill it up, and then pour it into a narrow bamboo shoot below them. As the shoot filled up, a flag would raise higher and higher until it was reachable from the perch. First person to grab their flag would win immunity. Probst emphasized this by tapping the immunity necklace, which let off a might “Ding!” noise, courtesy of some bored sound effect guy.
Anyway, everyone climbed up on their perches (which they weren’t allowed to let their knees or butt touch), and then the challenge began. Of course, Terry took an instant lead, but Danielle wasn’t that far behind. Someone other than Terry please win this damn challenge.
Sadly, it wasn’t looking good for me and all the other Terry-haters out there. He seemed to be in a zone, and even though Aras was gaining on him, I didn’t have high hopes. Shane, on the other hand, was a complete mess. He couldn’t get any water into his bamboo shoot. Here’s an idea: pour the water into the bamboo shoot instead of on top of your perch.
Eventually, Shane realized that he had been pouring water into the wrong hole a.k.a. the hole that didn’t look anything like a bamboo shoot. It didn’t matter though. Terry wound up winning immunity yet again (sigh), thus feeding his enormous ego even more. As everyone hopped off their platforms, Shane announced, “For one of you, the game will end tonight. Dunh dunh DUNH!” It seemed pretty funny, that is until I realized that in Shane’s brain, he probably thought he was hosting some reality show — one with talking marshmallows and evil ferns.
Back at camp, Terry explained that he was automatically in the top three now, thanks to his hidden immunity idol. Is it me, or is that thing going to be rendered useless after tonight’s Tribal Council? I thought at the final four, it would cease to have any power. But maybe it’s after the final four, it can’t be used. Does anyone know the exact rules on it? I could have sworn it couldn’t be used when the game got down to four people, and if that’s the case, that would be HILARious. I really hope Terry throws the next immunity challenge, only to discover that he’s vulnerable after all.
Anyway, no use worrying about Terry tonight. He wasn’t going anywhere. According to the plan from the top of the episode, Danielle was next to go. But then again, this was Shane’s plan, which meant it was fairly useless. I had a bad feeling that the tables would turn on Shane tonight, especially when he announced, “I’m in a great place. I’ve set myself up so that I’m safe, and I feel like things are gonna be solid.” Suuure. We’ll see how that goes…
We then saw Shane and Terry telling each other that they were probably going to be the final two. Kind of bold words considering they were the two people kept out of the loop in the previous Tribal Council. Meanwhile, Aras told us that he no longer felt obligated to Shane because Shane had wanted to take Courtney to the final two. That nullified their deal, according to Aras, and sure enough, he and Danielle and Cirie began plotting a Shane overthrow. But would it go through? Danielle noted that she trusted Cirie more than anyone. She trusted her with her life, even. So… did this mean there’d be some massive betrayal? Was Mark Burnett setting us up for a surprise Danielle ouster after all? Do you see how torturous this is for me? I overthink everthing!
Cirie and Shane then talked about getting rid of Danielle. Well, it was more like Shane talked and Cirie nodded her head. Eventually, she said she was 100% with Shane, which caused him to ask if she, Danielle, and Aras were screwing with him. “No, no, no,” Cirie replied. Again, just like before, did he really expect her to just say yes?
But maybe Cirie wasn’t pulling a fast one with Shane. Maybe she really was on his side. She then told us that Danielle was a big threat to her. Danielle might be able to beat her in the final two. It might be best to get rid of her now. And if there’s anything we know about Cirie, it’s that she’s never afraid to make a preemptive strike. Personally, if I were Cirie, I’d just vote out Shane, and if she makes it to the final two and Shane gives her grief, I’d lie again and say that it was Terry who cast the third vote. Blame everything on Terry. None of them care what he thinks anyway.
As the group headed up to Tribal Council, a blurry-crotched Shane made one last impassioned announcement. He told everyone that there should be no tricky votes. No shenanigans. Yes, Shane, I’m sure they’ll all listen to you too. That’s what I love about this season, and specifically, this tribe. They’re so devious. Other tribes would be all touchy-feely and telling people ahead of time who they’re voting out. Not Gitanos. Everyone’s got their poker face going. This is what Survivor should be.
At Tribal Council, the jury ambled in like usual, and freshly minted juror member Courtney did not look happy. It was as if someone had found her figurative dead tortoise and hurled it back into the sea. Anyway, Jeff asked Terry if it was hard for him to allocate the love, and the Navy pilot replied, “It’s always a tough charge when you’re put in almost the God position.” He then added, “Or as I like to call it, the ‘Me Position.’” Okay, Terry’s ego isn’t that huge — yet.
The conversation then moved on to the loved ones, and predictably, Shane began babbling and crying about Boston all over again. Then Probst asked Terry’s winning streak, and Aras gave some bullshitty answer about how he liked the competition and there’ll be a crack sometime and whatnot. This caused Terry to adopt his most smug face yet, occasionally winking at the jury, smirking, and rolling his eyes. I really wanted to punch him.
But then Aras made a salient point: “You can win all the challenges you want. If you don’t win people over, you can’t win the million dollars,” he said. Terry immediately smirked — almost like a knee-jerk reaction — but then his smile faded as he realized that hey, Aras was right! Turns out being a smug asshole might work against him! (I still don’t know how he has such high popularity numbers at CBS.com).
Jeff then asked Danielle if she could be trusted, and over in the jury box, Courtney stuck out her tongue in disgust. I guess her mind was made up. (For the record, Danielle hedged the question, but ultimately said that yes, she could be trusted).
At long last, it was time to vote. We saw that Aras voted against Shane, and Shane voted against Danielle. The rest of the votes were secret. Once they were all in and tallied, Jeff then read them out loud.
First vote went to Danielle and the second to Shane. This caused Shane to recoil with a contorted, incredulous, and shocked look on his face. Then Jeff read a second vote for Shane, causing some full-scale dropped jaw action.
“A second vote?”
“Wait, for reals?”
“I will kill whoever’s behind this.”
“I will hunt them down and stab them to death with a toothpick. Oh, I’ll do it!”
Finally, with tribal drums beating hard, Jeff read the third and final vote for Shane. Yes, Mr. Lunacy was voted off the island, and no one was more shocked than he was. Well, I shouldn’t say that. Courtney was dumbfounded (as usual), and Terry — he just cradled his head in his hands. Hahaha. Everyone hates you. Later, we found out that Terry had voted for Aras, which just proved yet again how far out of anyone’s loop he was. I mean, he and Shane weren’t even on the same page.
Courtney’s just bummed because she totally forgot to burn incense in honor of the moon goddess Xerupa tonight.
Well, Shane stood up, and before Probst snuffed out his torch, he turned to his fellow castaways and bragged (I think), “Oh my god. I’m going to have a chocolate candy bar in about one– one minute!” Uh, okay. And with that, Probst sent him off into the darkness where he’d hopefully find a pack of cigarettes and mental stability. Ooh! I hope he didn’t leave his Blackberry behind. That thing is a one-of-a-kind model!
With that, the show ended. During the Febreeze Family Moment, Boston told Dad how proud he was of him, and did I hear this right, or did he then say, “We can play bong, and I’ll beat you out one on one.” Seriously, did he say “bong?” I listened a few times, and I don’t think it was “ball.” Whatever the game was, I’m sure it will be fun and amusing and filled with many scary homicidal moments. Have fun, Boston Powers!
What did you think about this show? Is Terry gonna make it to the final two? What’s the rule with the hidden immunity idol? And what’s up with there being another episode next week? Does this mean the two hour finale will only focus on the top three?