“I had no idea Jimmy T was going!” Holly crazyfaces the night of last week’s Tribal Council. “I’m upset that Dan is still around; I don’t think Jimmy T has the easiest life.” Oh, Holly: Jimmy doesn’t have the easiest life because he doesn’t bother to understand other humans, not because he does hard labor.
“I didn’t even have time to fill his shoes with sand before he left.”
The next morning, Marty is walking around camp feeling pretty cocksure. “We’re goot for two or three more Tribals,” he tells Dan, thinking he has a majority locked up. Over at La Flor, Na Onka feels similarly confident. “I got my five with Purple Kelly, Brenda, Chase and Sash, and we’re good for awhile,” she boasts. Of course, if you’ve seen even one commercial, you know what’s coming: Tribal Switch, bitches! Mmm, that’s some nice hubris.
Probst brings the sixteen (eek!) remaining contestants into a field and commands them to drop their buffs. Marty and his crazy hair seem surprised. Has he seen this show before? I guess the tribe switch hasn’t happened in a few seasons (Gabon was the last time, right?), but still.
“We have to get this car up to 88 miles per hour!”
There’s a random draw for ”captains”, and Holly and Brenda win. Here’s how it’ll work: Brenda will get to pick three people from Espada to join La Flor, and Holly will get to choose four to join Espada, which will make the teams even. We’re cutting to the chase here, people. No need to have any long, boring draft. I like it.
Brenda has chosen to bring Jane, Jill and Marty over to La Flor. She’s no dummy, so I’m guessing that she’s choosing people she knows are smart that she wants to get rid of, since she’ll have a young majority. Lucky for Marty that he gets to stay with Jill, though.
Crazyface Holly has chosen Alina (who?), Benry, Chase, and freaking NA ONKA to join Espada. Clearly, she’s trying to consolidate this season’s crazy onto one team, in order to form some sort of unholy nutso alliance that will swallow us all. I am terrified.
Oh, and also the MEDALLION OF POWER! is no more. Finished. I gotta say: that’s pretty lame. Probst asks the contestants what they think of the switch, and Na Onka tells Jeff that it’s hard. “I’m away from my family!” she says of her old tribe. Reality show contestants who call teammates they’ve known for two weeks “family” is annoying as hell, but beside the point here, because how many of those people do you think felt like Na Onka was “family”?
“The people who bag my groceries are FAMILY, Jeff.”
The new tribes will be working together right now in this season’s first Reward Challenge. There are some elaborate, ten foot high boards adorned with pegs and such, and two members of each tribe will throw balls up through the pegs and they’ll ricochet down, Plinko style. Two members of the other tribe will then have to catch those balls. The first team whose members drop three balls lose, and the other tribe will win a set of chickens.
The challenge, while interesting to watch, is mad difficult to recap. Balls come dropping through the pegs quickly, and in pairs. Marty is pretty bad at this, and actually drops two different balls for his team, including the game-sealer that eventually gives Espada the win. Needless to say, the old hungry people are ecstatic about the chickens.
I can’t wait for Na Onka to overbid wildly during the Showcase Showdown.
Espada takes their reward back to their camp, welcoming their new younger members. “I kind of liked the old tribe better, I thought we had a really efficient machine going,” Tyrone says. My notes literally just say “WRONG” in big capital letters.
Immediately after the new members get settled, Tyrone sits them down and starts spouting off a bunch of rules that Espada follows, all about gathering wood, and where the machete goes, and how to rinse out bowls. It’s both overwhelming and extremely bad form, and Na Onka is, for once, completely justified in her bitchy eye rolling.
“It’s cool, you’re still my family.”
Later, Holly hangs out with the new kids, since she’s pretty much ruined her rep with the folks her age by destroying various articles of their clothing. “You two remind me of my sons,” she says, referring to Benry and Chase, “and you remind me of my daughter,” she says, motioning to Alina, “so that’s why I picked you.” No mention of Na Onka, but we all know she was picked because crazy people can sniff each other out like pigs digging for truffles.
Either that, or Holly’s racist.
“I really think I can win the trust of the kids,” Holly tells us as she takes Alina and Na Onka for a walk. Holly asks how they feel about switching teams, and Alina tells her that she hasn’t really lost anything, since she was on the outs with her other tribe. Na Onka notes that her relationship with Alina has really changed now that they’re stuck on another team together. Yeah, I’m sure Alina feels the same way after you spent two weeks terrorizing her. All is forgiven!
Over at the new La Flor tribe, Jud is stoked for the change, since he was in the minority too and now there are five young people and three oldies. Marty and Jill immediately start asking about “tribe protocol”, and in return are rewarded with amused glances and confused stares. “We’re just kind of chill over here at La Flor,” Brenda says, shrugging and knowing that this is a good sign for her.
“But just so you know, people randomly show me stuff and give me an advantage, so feel free to do that.”
Jane, however, knows that this new tribe is an opportunity to take a bite out of Marty and Jill. “If I had my way, I would have voted Marty and Jill out a long time ago, because they’ve been as tight as ticks,” she says hilariously. Kind of love her. I mean, she’s no Jill, but still. Jane tells the younger castaways that Marty and Jill are big talkers and think they run everything, planting the seed that they’re going to need to go once La Flor loses a challenge.
Meanwhile, Jud is telling Marty all about how Na Onka wrestled Kelly B to the ground for a clue to the immunity idol and then wandered off with it. Marty is indignant that Na Onka didn’t bother to share it with everybody (because that’s apparently what team players do). “Come on, guys,” he says very judgingly. “We wouldn’t have stood for that on my old tribe,” he continues, ranting. He’s aiming to create unity, but he’s really just making himself look like a dick.
Then Marty decides to drop the bomb: “Well, I don’t want to lie to anyone, and I’m a team player, so I’m just going to tell you that I have an immunity idol.” He takes it out of his pocket while everyone stares at him like he’s an alien. As he goes to hang it in the middle of camp just like he did at Espada, the younger tribe members shoot him dirty looks. “I think Marty is sooooo arrogant,” Brenda says. “I can’t believe he just showed us the immunity idol. I mean, how dumb can you be?”
I will agree with that statement, but if you think about it, he kind of had to tell everyone, since he knew that Jane would eventually tell everyone and use it to make him look shady. When you show your former team the immunity idol and someone on that team becomes your enemy, you pretty much have to make it public knowledge again in order to give yourself a shot at forming new alliances, or it’ll be used against you. I mean, it would have been better for him not to tell anyone in the first place, but at least this way he won’t look shady. Better to come across as honest and stupid than a liar and smart.
Back at Espada, Benry (every time I type that name, a douchebag gets a new Ed Hardy t-shirt) complains in confessional about the “lack of resources” at Espada. Their shelter is pretty bad, and they don’t have any of the rewards that La Flor has won over the past few episodes. The new, harsher conditions are especially hard on Na Onka, who is now huddled in the shelter under several blankets and whimpering softly to herself.
“The debilitating conditions here are my FAMILY, man.”
“I’m not doing too well right now, I really want to go home,” she whines. Alina actually sits and rubs her back and listens to her complaints, which, were I Alina, is more than I would have given her in the same situation. “I’m thinking about quitting,” Na Onka says. Wow. I love that Na Onka, despite her crazy, is currently somehow better set up strategically than literally everyone else, and wants to quit. It is delightful. “Na Onka seems like she’s on her period all the time,” Alina says, because apparently there’s a sexist guy from the 1950′s living inside of her small frame. “Honestly, it’s better for me if she wants to go home.” Good for you, Alina. Na Onka is the worst.
Now Na Onka is for real crying her eyes out. “I kind of want to leeeeeeave!” she moans over and over again. Yeah, I’m good with that, I think.
Pretty soon Chase has come over to try and comfort Na Onka too. Soon he’s telling her a story about how he saw a rainbow in the back of his truck when his dad died, and then pretty soon he’s crying too, and OH MY GOD WHAT IS GOING ON? This has devolved into madness. People are actually comforting Na Onka? Chase is randomly crying? How did we get here? I need a nap.
“This burlap sack I’m hiding in is my FAMILY, man.”
Immunity challenge. Today, three members of each tribe are going to be strapped to a large, awesome looking wheel. Three other tribe members are going to turn the wheel, and the people strapped to it will be forced underwater briefly. They’ll have to get a mouthful of water and spit it into a bucket as they come back around to the top. When the bucket is full, a ball will be released, and two members of the tribe will use the ball to break a bunch of tiles. The first team to break all their tiles wins immunity.
Both teams put their lightest women on the wheel to make it easier to turn. The challenge starts and there is lots of spitting, which is actually sort of gross.
Overall though, the challenge is way cool: expertly conceived and executed, and the kind of thing this show should be doing more often. La Flor actually spins the wheel too fast for their teammates to get the water into the bucket, which gives Espada the opportunity to get their ball released first. Hilariously, the people strapped to the wheels just kind of have to hang out upside down until the challenge is over, and both teams almost drown one member.
Since breaking the tiles is a lot like playing bags too (who knew that would be such a useful skill on this show?), Benry is great at this and pulls Espada out ahead. He has some trouble with the last tile, though, and Jud ultimately pulls through for La Flor and gives them the win, sending Espada to Tribal Council yet again.
“Espada is cursed,” Na Onka spits. “I’m just so over it. I want to go home.” Again, she has a legitimate shot at one million dollars (thanks to her idol), and she wants to leave. Yeesh. “I really want to eat before Tribal,” Alina says, and she lobbies to have one of the chickens killed. Tyrone is very against this, because he doesn’t want to “cut down on egg production”. The editors, by the way, make it very obvious that there is a rooster (which does not lay eggs because, you know, it’s male) in the cage, just to show you how stupid these people are. Tyrone is outnumbered, however, so Chase heads over to the cage, grabs a hen (leaving the rooster to live another day) and kills it in gruesome fashion while everyone else watches.
While Holly plucks the chicken and cooks it, Tyrone hangs out in the background and mopes, since he didn’t get his way. When it’s done cooking they decide to just sort of dig in and eat it. “Just be conscious of your neighbor,” Tyrone notes before immediately digging in and taking the biggest piece. This has not escaped the watchful eye of Benry, who’s now been annoyed multiple times by Tyrone’s leadership style and greediness. “I really want Tyrone to go, but Na Onka is barely hanging on. I don’t know if she’s all there mentally right now,” he says. What do you mean, right now? Was there a point at which she was “all there”, and I just missed it? Were they filming?
We see Alina lobby to get rid of Na Onka, telling Yve and some of the older members how crazy she is. These guys are used to dealing with crazy, though, so they’re more annoyed by Tyrone’s abrasiveness than anything else, and Benry lobbies pretty hard to get rid of him. And they don’t know it (except for Chase) but Na Onka could decide at the last minute that she doesn’t want to go and use her idol to blindside some random fool. I would not put it past her to do that.
“This smoke is a bitch.”
Tribal Council. Probst asks Alina how it feels at her new tribe, and she tells him that La Flor didn’t do a whole lot, and now there are all these rules to follow thanks to Tyrone, so there were some “turf wars”, which we must have missed, apparently. Probst asks her to elaborate, and even though she was using it as a metaphor Probst makes her uncomfortable until she can come up with an example. So subtle, that Probst. Alina again mentions all the rules that Tyrone listed for them when they arrived; Tyrone responds by apologizing and then blaming “the generation gap”, which is something that older rude people do in order to exonerate themselves from being dicks.
Probst asks what the hardest parts of survival have been, which gives Na Onka a reason to launch into the crisis of conscience she’s been having over the past couple of days. “What’s the worst personal tragedy you’ve gone through?” Probst asks her,and Na Onka overshares about getting divorced at 26 (shocking that some dude would marry her and then be like “Eff this, I’m out, crazy!”) and then says that her support system here is much better than what she has at home.
“These are strangers competing against you, and you eceived more love from them than you did in your relationship?” Probst says, incredulous. She then reveals that she almost quit yesterday: “It was not twenty-four hours in that day, it was twenty-six, but it really felt like forty-eight!” she says. The power of math, everyone.
“Can we finish this up? I have to be home by eleventeen forty twelve.”
Probst asks Benry (or rather, tells him), that he must feel strange when Na Onka wants to quit, because on one hand he wants to comfort her, but on the other is glad to see a competitor leave. Benry is like, “Umm…I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” which is either because he’s dumb or because he doesn’t want to comfort Na Onka (I’m guessing the latter), and Probst is all “I don’t believe you! I don’t believe you!” Man, what is with Probst this year? He has more disdain for these people than he normally does. Maybe he misses Russell.
Time to vote. Tyrone votes for Na Onka. “This is a grown folks game,” he says. Benry votes for Tyrone. ”It’s time to dethrone the king of Espada! Benry’s here baby,” he says cockily before knocking over everything on the voting podium. Yeah, that did not go how he planned.
When the votes are read, there are a couple for Na Onka and the rest are for Tyrone, and he is out, thankfully. Man, I hope that chicken was good.