I hope everyone’s been enjoying Presidents Day Weekend 2006. I know I am. Granted, I didn’t exactly have a three-day weekend from my day job (yes, I do have a day job. Although, technically, it’s a night shift, but… you get it), but somewhere between Thursday and this moment I did catch the latest episode of Survivor, and I’m happy to report that Exile Island continues to work mighty fine as a season. Solid cast, solid challenges, and solid twists. Who could ask for more? Sorry, did that sound cheesy? Must be all those Presidents Day Toyota commercials rubbing off on me.This week’s big shew opened up with wayward Mr. Miyagi clone Bruce (RIP Pat Morita) joining Casaya, taking the place of recently ejected Melinda (RIP sweet, plump woman). The tribe couldn’t have been happier to receive the fresh blood. After all, they had been pretty useless around camp, especially seeing that up until that point, their wilderness expertise resided in Courtney, bestower of elaborate tortoise funerals. Well, Bruce had great news for Casaya: “You just got the most important person of everybody.” Ego much? Look, Bruce, we love your can-do attitude, but are you really the most important person of everybody? What about Jeff Probst? Or Mark Burnett? Or God??
Oh, I can’t be mad at Bruce. He really is the best. Nevertheless, the Most Important Person of Everybody, or MIPOE (not to be confused with the country of Meepos), revealed a secret trick to preparing water: filtering it through three t-shirts. Oh. Wonderful. Sounds totally sanitary… in a non-sanitary, disgusting sort of way. Listen, no offense to anyone, but the last thing I want is my drinking water seeping through the same cloth that’s soaked up the sweat from Shane, Cirie, Courtney — or even worse — ALL THREE! But don’t worry, this special method is sure to rid 90% of the water’s bacteria. Great. So you have to endure all that nasty filtration and then on top of that still risk cholera. Bruce, you suck now. Unless, of course, you somehow cause Shane to contract a worm. Then you’re awesome again.
Speaking of Shane, he was not happy that there was another alpha-male on the tribe, especially one that had a nineteen years of wilderness training. Whatever, Bruce. Big deal. Shane has nineteen years of cigarette training. So there! “It grates on my nerves,” Shane said of Bruce’s pedigree, adding, “I just want him to shut up!” Seriously, there just aren’t enough words to describe how annoying Shane is. I can’t stand the guy, and yet, sadly, he’s the perfect villain. And you know he’s going to just get more and more paranoid and ridiculous, sort of like Jamie from last season (who incidentally I totally saw on Parental Control two weeks ago. He played the asshole boyfriend — surprise, surprise. No mention of Survivor on the show, but he was labeled as an aspiring model. We’ll let him know if there’s ever a second season of Manhunt).
Anyhoo, back to the show. Despite its dubious scientific merits, Bruce’s filtration method won over the tribe. Courtney did have a few reservations though. “I’m shocked and awed that this method actually gets bacteria out of the water,” she said. Well, technically, it doesn’t. I could just imagine Bruce piping up and saying, “Yeah, it totally works. Whenever I take students camping, nine out of ten kids don’t come down with massive, explosive diarrhea.”
The next morning, we headed over to La Mina, where food was hard to come by. This was represented by a nasty snail slowly creepin’ along. And when I say nasty, I really mean it. This thing looked like it had just traveled through a pile of soot — which may or may not have happened, actually. Anyway, we then saw the gaunt and emaciated Ruth Marie who looked like she just emerged from… well… would I be a bad Jew if I made a Holocaust joke? Probably. So I’ll just move on. We then saw Misty who appeared to be the All You Can Eat Midnight Smorgasbord for all the island’s insects. Blotchy would be an understatement. I don’t understand why the bugs liked her so much whereas Sally was traipsing around as if she’d just stepped out of a Noxema commercial.
Oh Sally. Sally, Sally, Sally. Because of her, La Mina had no fishing spear. As a result, they had to fish the old-fashioned way. I mean the old-fashioned way — a spool of wire and a hook and that’s it. Medieval, as Nick said. The good news was that the guys were able to catch one fish after another. The bad news was that they were all poisonous puffer fish. Now, I’ve seen puffer fish before in books and nature specials, but there was something disturbing and oddly gross about watching the poor fish bloat up there on the raft. It looked like it might pop and be all nasty — especially when one of the guys began poking it with a stick. Make it stop! Make it stop! Toss it back in the sea!
Luckily, Terry caught a tiny fish which was predictably named Nemo (funny, I don’t remember that fish being eaten by humans in the Disney version. Must have been the director’s cut). I don’t know how Terry managed to hook Nemo, but I imagine the fish was drawn to his entrancing yellow shirt with purple, vertical stripes. Anyway, the tribe dined on the flesh of Nemo’s corpse — lucky fin and all — and at the Reward Challenge, they appeared reinvigorated and ready to compete. But then again, same went for Casaya who had been restored to life now that Bruce was on board. “We feel a hell of a lot bettah… Bruce is the save-yah [savior],” Danielle said in that oh-so-familiar Boston accent. Hey Ambah, check out the new girl on Survivah!
Anyway, for this week’s reward challenge, teams had to catch balls that would be launched through the air via a sling shot device. Three people per team would launch, while the other four would stand on a platform in the ocean. First team to five catches would win. And what were they playing for, you ask? Oh, just a tarp, lanterns, blankets, and pillows. Memo to La Mina, if you win, don’t let Sally touch that shit. It’ll be at the bottom of the ocean faster than you can say “Fishing Spear.”
Well, this reward challenge proved to be quite exciting, and full of flashy (and splashy) catches. For the first round of activity, Terry caught a ball for La Mina while Aras missed for Casaya. Ooh, Aras. Tough break. Maybe you should have visualized the ball’s energy and accepted its place in the universe, creating a sense pattern of connectivity with which to draw the magnetic aura into your hands. Either that, or just make sure the launcher has better aim. Yeah, that.
For the next round, Aras managed to catch a ball, but so did Terry. Oh wait, Terry missed the ball! But he deflected it right into the hands of Nick. Ooh, close call! 2 – 1, La Mina.
Round three brought another Terry catch as well as one by Danielle (that was a wicked good catch. She could play outfield for the Milwaukee Brewahs!), thus bringing the score to 3-2, La Mina. Just when it seemed like La Mina would take this one home, Terry wound up missing a ball while Shane made a crazy catch for Casaya (and yes, I mean “crazy catch” in all senses of the phrase). With the score now tied, La Mina then missed their next ball, but Shane caught another, taking Casaya to the lead with 4-3. Next round, however, Terry made an absolutely insane diving catch, thus tying up the score.
So now it was do or die. Sudden death. Extra innings. You get the point. The balls were launched and Terry caught his ball for La Mina. As for Casaya, Shane dove for the ball, but missed (ha, you suck, Shane). As a result, La Mina won their third straight challenge. Not only did they receive special prizes, but they also got to pick who from Casaya would be headed to Exile Island. I personally was hoping they’d pick Shane — just because I’d love to see him crumble on his own — but instead, La Mina took a much more diabolical route. They selected Bruce, simply because he had apparently raised the spirits of the tribe so much. But hey, if there’s anyone suited to spend another night on Exile Island, it’s Bruce. We might as well rename it Bruce Island right now. And you know, as long as there’s not another violent thunderstorm, I’m sure he’ll be fine.
Cut to a violent thunderstorm. Yes, it was raining. It was pouring. An old man most likely was snoring. At La Mina, everything was fine and dandy. The tarp fit the shelter perfectly and everyone was as happy as clams. “Hey guys, you know, let’s think about Bruce for a minute,” Terry said at one point, adding, “I just kind of feel bad for the guy.” Aw, that’s nice. And I’m sure Bruce really appreciated that sympathy while he struggled to sleep in his shelter, a.k.a. the small, canvas map he had since placed on his head. Seriously, though, how did he even get any sleep? Is it possible to fall asleep outside in a thunderstorm? Poor guy.
The next morning at Casaya, Courtney boiled some water while Shane sat on a little stump nearby. “This is my ‘Shane’s thinking seat,’” he said lightheartedly.
“Why’s it have to be yours?” Courtney joked.
“Because I picked it. You want this one? I’ll go get ANOTHER ONE!” Shane replied, his voice suddenly switching from good-natured banter to angry possessiveness. “I WANT MINE! THIS ONE!! YOU WANT THIS ONE, I’LL GO GET ANOTHER ONE!! I JUST WANT MINE!!” he yelled. I couldn’t tell if he was joking or simply losing it. Either way, it was most likely very awkward for everyone involved. Do they laugh? Do they get serious? It’s a very annoying predicament — one that invariably always ends with people smiling disingenuously until they can quietly escape the entire conversation in general.
“I’m in an alliance with three nutballs,” Aras then commented to us. Man, if that’s Aras saying that, then you know things are bad on the tribe. Soon, Shane’s persnickety attitude caused random bickering with Courtney about the pot of boiling water. All Cirie could do was sit back and enjoy her tribe’s total implosion. “The funny thing is these are the peopel that you guys decided to ally with. And now you hate each other. How stupid is that?” she asked us incredulously. At first I wasn’t so sure about Cirie — after all, she did mastermind Tina’s ouster — but let’s be realistic: Cirie is pretty awesome. If she can undermine Shane’s dumb alliance, I’ll be very happy. And it might not be too hard. Shane and Courtney were already at each other’s necks. “I don’t know how I’m going to get through this with you,” he scoffed, walking away from his tribemate at one point. I shouldn’t say “walking way.” More like he performed his “I gotta take a crap/freshly sodomized” waddle.
We then cut to commercial break, and when we returned, our old friend, the scampering crab, greeted us as he tried to dodge the unwanted advances of an aggressive wave. Oh, the rampant symbolism!! Meanwhile, over at La Mina, Misty was using her feminine wiles to win over Austin and Nick. In this case, that meant offering up free massages, which I’m sure were greatly appreciated. But I think any erotic value was lost somewhere between Misty and her bite-ridden face. Still, that didn’t stop the missile engineer from giving it her the old college try, and as she kneaded Austin’s tender back muscles, Sally happily told us, “We work well together because she has like that Southern like flirty charm, and I’m just like the pal.” So in other words, you’re the one that no one’s attracted to. Either that, or you’re the one that has absolutely no flirting abilities whatsoever. It’s all cool, Sally.
Misty and Colin from Real World: Hawaii. Separated at birth?
At this week’s super duper über-physical immunity challenge, Jeff presented the teams with five large circles in the sand — just like Belinda Carlisle always predicted. They DO go ’round and ’round! Anyway, in each circle was buried a bag that the tribes would have to dig up and bring back to their finish mats. One catch: this was head to head, which meant members from each tribe would be facing off and competing over that same bounty. Whoever managed to get one hand on the bag and one body part on the finish mat would win a point for their tribe. First to three points would win.
Survivors ready? GO! (I just did the Jeff Probst hand thing.)
First round was all women. Or should I say, all woman. Cirie absolutely dominated this round — pushing, pulling, clawing. At one point, she actually just sat on poor Sally, surely cracking some SallyRibs™ in the process. Nevertheless, the women tangled together in a fine mess, but like King Kong battling past all those pesky helicopters and tanks, Cirie ultimately emerged from the pack, winning Casaya a point.
The next round was all men, and in a surprising development, Terry managed to pin down the hulking Bobby for the entire round. Granted, Terry’s had military training and probably could have snapped Bobby’s neck at any minute, but it was still an impressive feat. Is Terry the new Tom? Anyway, it all came down to Nick versus Bruce, and as devoted as Bruce was to ka-ra-tay, his tackling skills still needed some work. Nick quickly sprinted past the old guy and scored for La Mina.
With the score tied at one apiece, Probst then sent out a mixed group of people. Shane promptly tackled Dan, tossing the astronaut’s body like an intergalactic tumbleweed. The round proceeded rather intensely with the bag constantly changing ownership. Ultimately, Casaya seemed to dominate as Aras and Shane continued the pass off the bag to each other. Eventually, Shane managed to lurch to his finish mat, surely en route to another Casaya point, but then Austin knocked the guy to the right, grabbed the bag and just barely touched his mat. La Mina wins the point! In your face, SHANE!
For the next round, six people headed out to the fourth circle, and immediately, they were all up in each other’s business. This was a people pile if I’ve ever seen one. Jeff Probst likened it to one monster game of Twister, which wouldn’t be totally inaccurate. Once again, Cirie proved to be quite the aggressor as she flung Misty from the pile like an old rag doll. Eventually, Aras seemed to have a strong hold on the bag, but someone had clamped down on it with her legs. So what did Aras do? Just his Jedi Yoga Trick. He grabbed the woman’s leg and applied some sort of pulsating pressure, causing it to coil back reflexively. Oh, that Aras is very powerful. He then snatched the bag and won another point for Casaya, thus tying up the game once again.
Like the reward challenge, we now came down to a do or die situation. One man and one woman from each tribe headed out to the final circle in the sand, and almost immediately, Ruth Marie and Danielle found themselves all over each other. In an odd move, Ruth Marie actually mounted Danielle like a praying mantis, but the Bostonian quickly remedied the situation by slamming Ruth Marie down, head first in the sand. Wow, she’s a real slammah! Nevertheless, the group wrestled and wrestled until finally, Ruth Marie somehow wound up with the bag. With a look of pure adrenaline, fear, and intensity on her face, she sprinted for her mat as if her very life depended on it. Victory was hers! Nothing was going to stop her! The field was wide open! But then suddenly, Bobby barreled down on Ruth Marie, grabbed her shirt, and easily pulled her over to his mat. With one quick move, he touched the bag and his mat, thus stealing immunity right out from under La Mina’s nose. Ha, that was awesome. And yes, I’m sure there will be many academics who will analyze this scene for the latent stereotypical roles coincidentally perpetuated — big black man chasing down weak white woman. Then again, I suppose any scene can be construed to fit tired stereotypes: aggressive white man pinning down the black man (Terry vs. Bobby), vampy woman using her wanton sex appeal on an unsuspecting male (Misty vs. Austin), idiotic freak using his neuroses to annoy us all (Shane vs. humanity). So thought provoking!
Well, after the challenge, La Mina had to figure out who would be going home. It was a pretty tricky situation, at least for Austin and Nick who had found themselves torn between allegiances with Terry and Dan and Misty and Sally. The older guys thought that Ruth Marie should go… that is until Austin suggested that they vote off Misty. Uh oh. Doesn’t sound very promising for women. Dan and Terry agreed that Misty was the larger threat and resolved to oust her. We then saw a random image of a snake baring its fangs for the camera. I know this was supposed to look scary or dangerous, but I found it oddly amusing. It was such a small, little snake. It kind of felt like it was just saying “Hi!” But maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, after this serpentine greeting, we then caught up with Misty and Sally who were scheming with Austin’s better half, Nick. They wanted either Ruth Marie or Dan out, but the common consensus was that everyone liked Dan too much to get rid of him. Clearly, it was Ruth Marie’s time to go. And for good reason. The woman was a mess. We then caught a glimpse of her stumbling through camp, clearly having shed another twenty pounds in the past hour or so. She had to have known that she was in trouble, and yet, she didn’t seem to bother campaigning for herself. Then again, such activities would clearly violate her three words per episode quota. At one point, she did sit down next to Terry and look like she might say something, but all she did was merely part her lips a bit and remain silent. Classic Ruth Marie.
At Tribal Council, the group babbled a bit about how hungry they were and whatnot, leading Jeff to instigate by asking about the fishing spear. “We had a little incident with the spear,” Austin respond. Thanks, SALLY. Later, Jeff asked Misty about her thoughts on the tribe, and she replied, “I expected to have the little sects of people.” But if you were like me, you thought she said, “I expected to have a little sex with people.” Thank goodness for Tivo. That would have totally changed my opinion of Misty. She then happily announced that when it came to La Mina, “We really are a team!” Yeah, a team with three different alliances. Yay faux unity!
Well, it was finally time to vote, and while it seemed only logical that Ruth Marie would be going, I had a funny feeling about this whole thing. I mean, Misty was clearly the misdirection, right? Why would the younger guys vote against her? If everyone votes for Ruth Marie, it buys Nick and Austin a little more time to pick which alliance they’ll side with. No, this was totally it for Ruth Marie.
Once everyone was done scrawling out names on parchment, Jeff revealed the votes. Ruth Marie. Misty. Ruth Marie. Misty. Tied. That was somewhat expected, but to be honest, I also kind of expected a unanimous Ruth Marie vote. Anyway, Jeff read the next vote and it was… Misty! Holy shit! The misdirection was true! And no one was more shocked than Misty. Well, actually, Sally looked pretty bamboozled. That’s always a great Survivor moment when someone realizes they’re next in the firing line.
Anyway, after another vote, Misty was officially voted off the island, which saddened me because I loved her scheming ways. Had she been around longer, she could have unleashed Rob Cesternino levels of sneaky destruction. But wait! Maybe she will be around longer. Did she find the secret immunity idol on Exile Island? No. Blast.
And so Misty headed off to the Survivor afterlife. As for Jeff Probst, well, he had his typically needling closing comment: “Even in the tightest of groups, somebody is always on the outside.” That’s you, Sally! Next time, don’t lose the fishing spear.
What did you think? Sad to see Misty go? Did they make the right choice? How can Sally claw out of this corner?