Previously, on Survivor: After Mookie found the idol at the Ravu camp, Lisi did a whole bunch of stuff that was humorous in so many different ways that Alanis Morrissette watched the episode and actually rewrote the lyrics to one of her most famous songs to include the line “It’s like Lisi/and her stupid hat.” At tribal council, Lisi was voted out of the Ravu tribe, vaulting Charla and Mirna to the top of the leaderboard on the List of People Whom I Cannot Wait To See Soundly Eliminated (now known as the Philboard Chart). Since CT shook up the standings after quickly seizing the number 2 spot and then promptly losing it after he was eliminated 20 minutes into The Inferno III (Hot Debut! Also, best thing ever!), now Nicole from The Apprentice seems a lock to remain there, given that Trump should have fired her approximately 18 episodes ago and her screeching has already shattered the picture tube on my TV set.
Meanwhile, in Fiji, will the trend of voting out the Assiest Remaining Contestant continue this evening, again promoting the Law of Diminishing Douchebag Returns as many of us had hoped? (Hint: It will not.) Will Dreamz continue to be the coolest person ever and inexplicably make more sense than anyone else on the show for the second straight week? (Hint: He will not.) Am I going to have to erase the Z that I scrawled on the end of my birth certificate after last weeks show? (Hint: I would, but I did it in Sharpie, which, in retrospect, may have been a hasty choice.)After the previouslies give us Lisi’s Greatest Hits (which I actually do not fast forward through because that will never, ever get old, much like the music of Tone Loc), we are at Ravu on Day 22. They seem to be packing up to go somewhere (so this scene is probably out of chronological order). Ed asks Mookie if he has the idol with him, to make sure that he doesn’t forget it. Mookie pats his pocket in affirmation and Ed holds his hand out and says, “Why don’t you put it here?” as if that were going to work. Mookie looks at him like, “Yeah, I’ll do that right now, because it is in my best interests not to be able to save myself whenever I like. Hey, while you’re at it, could you take a few of the vital organs from my renal system as well? They are sort of unnecessary, and I can remove toxins and harmful substances from my body manually. Choose a left or right kidney! I am more than willing to give you both.” Needless to say, Mookie will not be giving the idol to Edgardo, to which Ed says “Okay man, but if you screw me…” and he trails off, because idle threats just aren’t as idle when you complete the sentence. Clauses are threatening! Way to back it up with a firm hand there, Ed. Seriously, what’s he going to do? Promises of loyalty are exchanged between them, but there are looks of trepidation exchanged between Ed and Alex. I sincerely hope this is foreshadowing.
Over at Moto, it appears to be group naptime. Boo and Cassandra return and wake up the group, because it is time for treemail. The treemail instructs the castaways to gather up their personal belongings only and to leave all other items (including rewards and flints) at camp and paddle as a group out to Exile Island. Boo wonders if they’ll be living at Exile Island for the rest of the game (which would be kind of interesting to think about, because what if Exile Island became the merge camp and then the Moto camp became Exile Island? You’d be essentially rewarding that person, which could be cool and add to the game, I think, since Exile Island is largely pointless this year due to the idols at camp.)
Boo becomes hopelessly tangled in one of his own shirts.
Michelle tells us in an interview (in which her buff is clearly digitally altered to look like a Moto buff, because the green is waaay off, plus it is completely free of dirt) that she wasn’t too worried, because she’d lived in squalor over at Camp Ravu for most of the game; the original Motos looked worried, however. I’d say; they’ve avoided playing the game at all up to this point. It’s day 22, and they’ve been to one tribal council and spent the rest of the time eating seafood on a queen-sized bed. It’s basically been Survivor: The Princess Diaries for them.
Alex reads the same clue over at Ravu. Yeah, they’ll have a hard time packing, what with having to wander around aimlessly and pick all their stuff up off the ground. They sit around the fire and have a quick strategy session, discussing who they will be targeting to bring into their alliance, which they call, I shit you not, “The Four Horsemen”. Oh man, if Cowboy shows up, I quit. Oh my god, I just had a terrible thought. What if Lisi were actually twins, you guys?
Holy crap, I think I just tore a hole in space and time. The walls of my apartment are about to start collapsing in on themselves. Take cover under something sturdy, for there are two Lisis!
The Four Horsemen (I can’t even type that without shuddering and thinking of Jase and Cowboy in the bathtub. I’d find a link to that, but I’m afraid that there will be an accompanying picture. I’m going to have to call these guys something else, seriously.) are talking about how they’re going to be trying to pull various people over to their side. Dreamz will be trying to get Cassandra, Mookie will be trying for Michelle or Yau-man (yeah, that’s not futile), and Alex/Ed will be trying for Stacy. Once they add someone, are they planning to start calling themselves the Santa Monica Van Boys? Put a spiked collar on Stacy! At least they will have Dreamz to take over the rampant misspelling of every single word, ever.
Okay, enough Big Brother 5 references for this week. But I will point out that in this analogy, Earl and Yau-man are the Nakomis and Diane, which makes them even cooler, if that were possible. Six Finger Plan forever!
Moving on. Let us all leave the mandanas behind for now, because everyone will be wearing purple soon anyway. Moto pulls up to Exile Island in their boat, arriving before Ravu. They watch as Ravu paddles in from the horizon. They must have edited out the part where they discovered that Lisi had been voted out and everyone did an impromptu Safety Dance as a result. Moto and Ravu exchange hugs as Earl tells us in confessional that everyone should probably watch their asses, himself included. The entire group sort of wanders around the island, eventually making their way up to the Exile Island tower. Apparently, there is a set of stairs built into the island by production, making it look like one of those community hiking trails. That’s sort of disappointing to me for some reason. They all pile into the tower one by one and Earl opens the clue box, which now contains some new, purple buffs and a note telling the remaining Survivors that they have now merged and are going to go live at the old Moto camp. Everyone celebrates, because: they still get to poop inside! I’d be pretty excited, too.
Boo’s going down the steps by himself. He’s going to need a spotter.
In a truly evil and awesome interview that takes place at Exile Island (you can see the ladder from the built path in the background) before the tribes have gone back to Moto, Mookie speaks with genuine enthusiasm about how excited he is to finally be able to enjoy some of that luxury that everyone’s been going on and on about, since he’s the only one that hasn’t enjoyed the services of a monkey butler out of those who remain. Yeah, don’t count your simian manservants before they’ve hatched there, Richie Rich.
The newly merged tribe leaves Exile Island in a single boat, heading for the Moto camp. When they arrive, they discover that the camp has been completely removed, and that all those things they were all looking forward to using have vanished. Hamburglar? That’s all I’m saying. You can hear Mookie go, “I can’t even get a bed? I didn’t get anything!” like he was entitled to sleep on a bed as some sort of moral imperative, as if there are a bunch of scantily-clad virgins waiting to fan him and feed him grapes or some shit. He never got his turn! No fair! He calls a do-over! Bring everyone that got voted off back, right effing now, he wants to do this whole bitch again! You guys totally ruined his Super Sweet 16! Alex tells us in an interview that when they arrived at Moto camp, they had nothing, and he means NOTHING. And then: he lists the stuff they had.
Turns out they got fishing gear, some pots, a machete, and a flint, but that’s it. So, more stuff than ninety percent of the tribes in the history of Survivor have started out with? After Alex finishes, Sally Struthers steps out of the left side of the frame, cradles Alex in her arms, looks into the camera with her big blue eyes and gives us an 800 number to call to help this poor, poor soul. For less than eighty cents a day, I too can sponsor this tool with bad hair. My heart, it bleeds for him! Get that man the medicine he needs to survive! And by medicine, I mean a bed with fitted sheets with an 800-thread count!
Mookie looks at Alex like The Grinch just stole all his Christmas presents as he tells him what a sad, sad story it is that he ended up on a season where there were beds, and he didn’t get to sleep on one because he never saw Moto beach. Yeah, except for those three days at the beginning, which is three days more than the people who were on one season ago got, you jackass. My heart then grows three sizes for Mookie Lou Who. Wait, no it doesn’t. What I mean is: Go tell it to Pagong and Tagi, bitch, seriously. They ate rats, for God’s sake. Ethan and Tom? Had a LION come to their camp. God, play the game and shut your hole.
Dreamz looks at him and goes, “So? Start over! Day one, square one, baby.” And again, Dreamz is my proxy. Also: don’t bitch about not getting a bed in front of the formerly homeless dude. He probably knows some secret form of hobo cage fighting (because haven’t all hobos been to Vietnam? No? Maybe I’m wrong), which he will not hesitate to use in order to silence your upper-middle class whining.
Edgardo reads the note that came along with their supplies (NOTHING! THEY GOT NOTHING!) that tells them to pick a name for their newly merged tribe. Boo suggests “Binaca” which makes me think that he must be a true fan of fresh breath, but it apparently means “thank you” in Fijian. They ultimately settle on “Bula Bula” which means “hello”. Not a bad name; I was just glad when they chose not to squish the names of the old tribes into one new name, because I hate when they do that. Seriously, “Chaboga Mogo”? At that point, you might as well name your new tribe Brangelina.
Michelle tells us in interview (the same interview, sitting in the exact same position as before, except now the buff is purple! It’s magic!) that she and Stacy were charged with painting the tribe flag. Michelle gets out the paint and Stacy goes to work on her, asking her what she thinks about the new situation and how she thinks things might work out. Michelle waffles, telling her that she’s not sure yet, and you never know. For those of you interested, this is also where you notice that Michelle is much hotter than Stacy.
Earl tells us in interview that there’s a “tribe within the tribe” which consists of Yau-Man, Cassandra, Michelle, and himself, and he’s planning to “divide and conquer” the other tribe. That could work, I think, but it’s a bit risky. Get Dreamz! Use the idol! The non-flag painting members of Bula Bula divide up the remaining camp work as Boo tells us in an unintentionally hilarious interview that he had his niche in the other two tribes he was in, and that niche was, I shit you not, “leader”. He tells us that once things die down, you can count on him assuming the leadership position in the future. Hey, Alex? Earl? You guys watch out. Boo is Napoleon, and you are the poor peasants whom he will be conquering as he storms the countryside, taking what is rightfully his and pillaging what he pleases. Hide your women and gold!
Yes, this would be a THIRD terrible hat. It’s been lying in wait this entire time, waiting until Lisi left to pounce and terrorize me. It is never over!
Mookie walks up to Yau-man and Cassandra, who are talking to Dreamz as they tend the fire. He tells them that the four of them are tight together. As Yau-man thanks him for not going over to “the dark side” Mookie tells us in interview that he’s working on accomplishing his alliance’s stated goals by infiltrating the other group. The four of them decide to take out Boo first, and then take out Stacy. At this point, I begin to celebrate, not only because Boo and Stacy will be out, but because it will make it 5-3 in favor of the inevitable Earl/Yau/Cassandra/Michelle/Dreamz alliance. Mookie is actually sitting there unwillingly plotting his demise, because I think he’s serious about following through, since it serves the purposes of both the alliances he’s attempting to serve and keeps him from tipping his hand early. It’s a bit early to speculate though, because things are so tenuous and could go either way, even after this episode. Plus there are two idols. Man, this is going to be awesome down the stretch. I’m pretty sure that would be the best final five ever, though.
Stacy and Michelle unfurl the Bula Bula tribe flag, which is actually pretty nice looking, considering some of the Crayola inspired masterpieces we’ve seen in the past. Stacy talks to Alex about getting rid of Boo, so I think everyone’s on the same page about that, surprisingly. Alex shares this information with Mookie and Dreamz, who share their plan to get rid of Boo first as well. When they mention that they want to eject Stacy next, however, you can see the Alex’s face sort of fall, because this is not what he has planned, as we will see later. Mookie doesn’t want to leave any room for argument, so he quickly changes the subject; unfortunately for him, he chooses to tell Dreamz that he has the immunity idol. This is a poor, poor choice; it’s only going to incite distrust from Dreamz and make him suspect Mookie. I get what he was doing and that he was trying to cement the bond between them, but he accomplishes the exact opposite instead. They tell Dreamz that the only reason they didn’t tell him was because of Cassandra, and that is a seriously weak excuse. I’m talking Weapons of Mass Destruction weak, here.
Alex, Mookie, and Ed are in the boat out in open water, and Alex breaks the bad news about Dreamz and the immunity idol to Ed. Ed is also pissed, and Mookie says “What’s it matter? We’re all going to vote out Boo next, anyway.” Wow, way to think ahead there. Alex chooses this moment to disclose his plan to take out Boo next and then pull Stacy into their alliance, making that the final five. Worst. Final five. EVER. Mookie sees right through this, and tells us in interview that once they get to five, he’s stuck in the minority with Dreamz. He agrees to this plan tentatively, but he’s sort of quiet about it and you can tell by his body language that he feels trapped. Which he is, because now he’s going to have to betray somebody, which does not bode well in a final vote.
Back from commercial, Mookie and Dreamz are alone in the cave discussing strategy; Mookie tells Dreamz about the plan to bring in Stacy, and Dreamz wisely picks up on the implications of this without having to have them explained. I think he might be smarter than we think, you guys. Just because his name indicates “I require a special helmet in order to accomplish everyday activities, such as going to the store” does not mean that we actually need to get him fitted for one. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, or don’t judge a guy by his ridiculous nickname or whatever. He tells us how much he dislikes Stacy on a personal level because of how mean she was back at Moto, and so he’s looking forward to voting her out anyway. And I’m looking forward to mocking her when she gets voted out.
Some Type of Challenge! Jeff calls the Bula Bula tribe out near the water, and he is wearing his stupid hat. You will notice that Lisi left her hat with Ed after she was voted out last week, and yet we have not seen it! I wonder why not? Could it be because people are afraid to wear it for fear of catching a case of The Crazies? Maybe if you put it on, Lisi takes over your brain and you start making corny jokes and thinking you’re the coolest person ever and quoting A Night at The Roxbury. I can honestly think of nothing worse than to have my will subverted by a supernatural Lisi Hat.
You can tell from the challenge setup that this is not going to be an individual challenge. I started to get scared right around here. Jeff grabs two bags and has everyone pick a stone out of them, one bag for guys and one for girls, and they are not to look at the stones. Now, throw them as hard as you can at the person you dislike the least! Stone your enemies!
No? Turns out that there are five green ones and five orange ones, and people are to go to the mat of their color. On the green mat are Alex, Dreamz, Mookie, Stacy, and Michelle, putting Cassandra, Earl, Yau-man, Boo, and Ed on the orange mat. The challenge starts out in the middle of the river with both teams in boats. A mask with symbols on it will be unveiled, and when the teams have memorized the way the symbols are arranged (they can take as long as they’d like before leaving), they travel back towards the shore, collecting bags of puzzle pieces which are hanging on these spiral-shaped metal pieces; they will use a special tool to collect them. Once they’ve reached the shore, the puzzle pieces can be put together to form the symbols, which they will then place in their correct spots on an identical mask. So, the challenge is 1)memorize, 2)a boat race, 3)puzzle assembly, and 4)proper placement of the memorized symbols. Complicated enough?
Oh, yeah. The challenge? Is for immunity. The winners get a feast, the losers will be going to tribal council. And Probst has a Parvati Brand “That’s….not fun” Note of Death for the losers, too, so something super shady is about to go down. At this point, I paused my DVR, took a look at the teams, and drew the logical conclusion that I think many of you did, which is that Earl and Yau should throw this challenge. They have a majority with Cassandra, so they can vote off whomever they’d like (preferably Ed, because Boo will be going soon anyway), and they can save Michelle’s ass because she’s pretty likely to be eliminated if they win, given the information they have. But, remember: we know more than them. They think Mookie and Dreamz are allied with them, and so they have a majority on both teams and can vote out Alex or Stacy if they lose, even though this is not the case. So I’m thinking Earl has determined this situation to be win-win(win, tm Michael Scott), so he thinks he doesn’t have to worry about anything, and I will therefore not be docking any awesomeness points from Earl or Yau for what is about to occur. But I bet he reevaluates his strategy after this tribal council, and I hope he has learned a lesson and that this has served as a reality check, because he has an egotistical streak to him and I would hate for that to be his downfall. You have been warned, favorite contestants. Next time, there will be demerits.
So, challenge: the green team (the Michelle team) thinks that they have the symbols memorized first, so they take off, and the orange team (the Yau and Earl team) heads off right behind at Yau-man’s direction (he has apparently done the memorizing). When they get to the first station, Stacy has a little bit of trouble with the tool you use to get the puzzle pieces off of the metal spiral, so Dreamz gives it a shot. Dreamz, having been a member of the new Ravu, is obviously more adept at handling tools. Yau gets the first bag off and the orange team pulls ahead. Dreamz can’t get the pieces either, so Alex finally gets the first bag off of the spiral. By this point, the orange team is way ahead. The green team never catches up after this mishap, even when Yau-man and Earl start to put together the puzzle pieces and fumble a little, making me think that maybe they figured out that they need to throw the challenge. Alas, they do not, and Yau-man even switches two of the symbols on the memorization part to ensure that it’s right, dashing my hopes. The orange team wins the challenge, so Michelle, Stacy, Alex, Mookie, and Dreamz will be going to tribal council.
Ravu would wait until it no longer exists to win a challenge.
And the note? Says that they’re going right then; no discussion, no time to strategize. This makes no sense, because why make only half of the contestants go to Tribal Council and not give the other, immune half time to strategize with them? It would have been really interesting to see. I don’t think I like the way this whole thing was done; I appreciate the attempt to insert randomness into the game, but this all seems really abrupt and poorly planned, like they had to change plans at the last minute because of production or something, and this was the result. Sigh.
The winners of the challenge return to camp with their food, pop open the bottles of wine and start to drink. They put Boo in charge of the cooking, because apparently he’s some sort of chef. His CBS bio says that he’s a construction worker, so I have no idea where this came from. Also, apparently he really likes the Houston Oilers. You guys think he knows what year it is? Can’t you guys see him getting all dressed up in his Warren Moon jersey, getting super psyched for the football game, and when he winds up at a Texans game he’s really, really confused and scared? It’s like, sure, it might be 1984 in his head, and he might be crying because now he’s gotta watch Ron Dayne, but man, can he make a mean stew!
Boo tells us how he’s glad his team won, because he would have been mince meat if they’d lost, and he is correct about that. There is speculation about who won’t be coming back; the general consensus is Stacy. Earl tells us that he really hopes that Michelle comes back because she’s sort of essential to his strategy. I open my 40 and get it ready to pour onto the ground.
Tribal council! Jeff brings in the jury, now composed of Rocky and Lisi. Man, I bet the wait staff at the loser lodge has been really, really unhappy the past few days. Also, Lisi is wearing a red t-shirt, a pair of mom jeans, and the sparkliest, most gaudy Forever 21 belt you will ever see. She looks like a trucker who ate a fifteen-year-old. Jeff asks how the merge went and how they feel about the last challenge, and Mookie expresses frustration about not being able to strategize before the vote this evening. Probst asks a few questions and quickly determines that the fact that they’ve had no time to strategize is going to make for a really boring tribal council, so he just straight up asks people why they should vote out others, pretty much. My favorite response: why should Dreamz vote out Stacy? Dreamz: “Because it ain’t me.” Thanks, Sandra! DREAMZ CAN GET LOUD, TOO!
If Lil shows up with no pants on, I’m recapping something else next week.
Notably, Alex gets to give responses about why he should vote off every other member of the tribe. I thought at first that they had given this opportunity to everyone, but Michelle has said in interviews (thanks for pointing it out to me, forum!) that Alex was the only one who got to do this. If so? I call bullshit, of the “Jeff scrawling Ozzy’s initials on a tree with his own and then carving a heart around it” variety.
Alex gets an opportunity to state why each person should be eliminated, and he uses it (wisely, I’ll give him that) to tell his alliance that they need to vote out Michelle. However, I call shenanigans on this. Just let them strategize, show! We see Alex vote for Michelle, apologizing for having to do it. Mookie votes for Stacy, because he is smart and knows that voting off Michelle hurts him; he doesn’t just do what Alex tells him to because he’s thought this out. Good for Mookie. I mean, I still don’t like him, but good for him. We do not see who Dreamz votes for; I’m hoping it’s Lisi. Jeff goes to get the votes. First vote is for Stacy, and then Michelle, Stacy, and two for Michelle, so she is voted out, which means that Dreamz voted for Michelle, inexplicably. I can think of no reason how this benefits him, honestly, so all I can come up with is that he’s mystified by the existence of the idol and as a result, he’s putting all his eggs in the Four Horsemen basket at this point. Because otherwise, that was incredibly stupid of him. I looked at the CBS Insider video, and it’s clear that he has no idea what he’s doing when he votes. He just looks at the camera and goes “This is strategy” and puts the vote in the urn. No explanation, no backing evidence. You can’t just say the word “strategy” a few times and pretend like you did the smartest possible thing.
Michelle’s torch is snuffed, and I am both sad and angry. She’s played a really good game so far. You know what? I’m just going to be honest. This episode? Is lame, and not even close to the show I enjoy watching. Especially after the awesomeness of the last three or four episodes, this is a real let down. This whole setup rewarded randomness, luck, and how much Jeff Probst likes you, not ingenuity, your interpersonal skills and your ability to think on your feet, which is what makes Survivor such a fun show to watch. I think this is almost more contrary to the spirit of the game than bringing people back during the Pearl Islands season was, because it makes things completely random, to the point that nothing you can do will save you. The other twists that they’ve done (the “merged” tribes are really separate, the immunity idol, the tribal switches), you at least get time to adjust your game and work accordingly to make sure you don’t leave. At least the things that people like Shii-Ann did got them voted out, not just the twist itself screwing a random person. Eliminating half of the possible bootees and then silencing the remaining contestants so that they can’t strategize, essentially making the game about what color your rock was? If I wanted something like this, I’d watch Deal or No Deal, thanks. Okay, rant over.
Now, let us never speak of this again.
Dear Mark Burnett: can I have my show back next week, please? You’ve done a really good job over the last seven years, so let’s consider this one a misstep. Seeing how people like Yul and Tom Westman won has been really rewarding, and watching people like Lisi, Judd, and Ami get what’s coming to them has been awesome too. Let’s keep the game from being about randomness, so that smart people can keep winning and tools can keep losing. We cool? Because there are still a few turds floating around the proverbial pool at this point.
Next week: Dreamz tells the others about Mookie’s idol. I’m shocked!