After Raro’s cataclysmic blowout of Aitu last week on Survivor, it looked like we were headed towards an unpredictable path of destruction: the strong alpha males routing out the older, scrappier bunch. But when the older, scrappier bunch is willing to destroy a boobie nest (my favorite new term), you know they’re gonna have a lot more fight than their decrepit looks might reveal. Plus, if there’s anything we learned from Tom Weston, it’s that you can never count out the underdog. Yes, Aitu fought back this week, easily defeating their rivals for reward. But could they pull off a two-fer with immunity? After all, Raro does have all the muscles, brawn and Aaron Eckhart-ness. Let’s relive the show to find out, shall we?This week’s episode began right away as the pre-show recap led directly into the action, not the opening credits as usual (a little trick from The Apprentice). Anyway, we started things off at the Aitu beach directly after Tribal Council as a mixed crowd of crabs and rats carried on a veritable Spring Mixer amongst the various coconuts around camp. My mind nearly exploded seeing all these critters: too… many… metaphors…
The banquet came to an abrupt close, however, when those infernal humans returned to camp. As everyone grappled with the post-elimination malaise, Yul expressed guilt for voting Cecelia off the island. Of course, that didn’t make Ozzy feel any better, especially now that he’d lost his ally from the original Aitu tribe. What else to do but sulk around camp? At one point, Yul asked him something about crabs, but Ozzy curtly snipped back, “No. I don’t like hermit crabs.” Baby don’t like hermit crabs, then baby don’t get hermit crabs!
Well, just because Ozzy didn’t like crabs didn’t mean he couldn’t act like one. He complained to us about being on the outside, and as we all know, there’s no better way to improve outsider status than by moping around and being a dick. “If they want to vote me out, they should do it soon so I don’t have to keep catching food for them,” he whined. Woe is Ozzy, the reluctant fisherman!
Ultimately, he honed his inner spoiled seven year old girl and declared to us, “I don’t feel like playing along anymore!” I’m sure Billy would love to hear that after Ozzy had orchestrated his elaborate ouster.
Speaking of Billy, his wayward temptress Candice returned from Exile Island the next day, and immediately, Jessica was full of questions. Why would the other team have sent her to Exile Island? Candice surmised that it was because she was young and stuff, but Jessica believed that Adam and Parvati were intending to protect her and their original whitey alliance. This all blew Candice’s mind, causing her to say, “I don’t know. You guys are asking good questions because I haven’t even thought about any of this. I didn’t have time!” Seriously, she had no time. It’s not like she was stuck alone on an island for twenty-four hours.
Actually, what we thought was Candice acting moronic was merely just an act. She suspected that Adam and Parvati may have been protecting her from going to Tribal Council, but she didn’t want to let on that there could be any ties; so she just went about acting dumb. At one point, someone informed her that since she missed Tribal Council, she was therefore immune from it, causing her to remark, “I didn’t even think that!” Okay, Candice. C’mon, that’s not playing dumb. That’s playing borderline retarded.
Meanwhile, over at Raro, as a curious lizard poked around the shrubbery, the manly men all sat around on their asses, not doing work — perhaps reminiscing about those heady days of yore when they’d all pick up rocks and walk around with them for no reason. JP, who was rapidly aging before our eyes, informed us that the four guy alliance (himself, Nate, Adam, Brad) was definitely relaxed. And why shouldn’t they be? After all, they were in the minority on their team, and it’s not like Survivor is a numbers game or anything like that. Oh wait…
Truth was they were banking on the fact that they’d rock every single competition from here on out; so why even worry about Tribal Council if you ain’t gonna be going there in the first place, dawg? You feel me?
Anyway, the first test of this RaroMen Magic came at the Reward Challenge, which began, as usual, with Jeff imploring everyone to “C’mon in, guys!” You know, Jeff, you’re standing outside. There’s no “in” to go into. “Over” would be the more proper preposition, I believe. Nevertheless, enough with the semantics. Let’s hear about today’s overly elaborate challenge! It was one of our old favorites: let’s strap people to a rope and make them climb around things. Yes, two people from each tribe had to be attached by a belt to a rope that snaked around many, many obstacles. Everyone else had to gather round the bound people and push and pull them through the course. After the obstacles, the tribes would then encounter a puzzle that would need to be decoded. And just how does one decode these puzzles? Simple! Someone would have to swim out to a barrel in the ocean, dive down, unclip a little decoder wheel, and return to the puzzle with it. Then the tribes could decode the puzzle. First to solve would win pillows, blankets, and a hammock. Easy peasy!
Well, Jeff swung his arms in his traditional way, and the challenge officially began. The two teams were neck-and-neck at first as they struggled to move their members through the obstacle course. Of course, Probst provided commentary all along the way, and I particularly enjoyed his Ron Burgundy-ish comment, “It’s easy to get confused in this MAZE of rope!” Oh, the maze of rope! How it beguiles me so!
Surprisingly, Aitu took a lead, but at one point, the girls strapped to the rope had to crawl under a log lying in the sand, and unfortunately, poor Becky got stuck. It didn’t help that she went through feet first. Yul tried to yank her, but the poor girl looked like she was lodged in there pretty tight — not that Cao Boi cared. He kept yelling at everyone, “Get up! Don’t worry about her!” Nevertheless, Becky managed to make it through this nefarious obstacle, and the tribe’s lead continued to grow, especially as Raro became entangled in the obstacles. Soon, the Raros all began to bicker over strategy, losing valuable time in the process. While they were still stuck in the obstacle course, Aitu had reached the puzzle, and before we knew it, Ozzy already had the decoder wheel for them. Shockingly, even with their high Asian population, Aitu struggled with the word challenge, so much so that Raro managed to catch up completely. Soon, both tribes were working hard at decoding the secret phrase, but ultimately, Aitu managed to figure it out first: “Last castaways back cast one away.” And with that, they won reward and the chance to send someone to Exile Island (however, that person would be back for the Immunity Challenge, meaning that he or she wouldn’t be exempt from Tribal Council if necessary). The unlucky person heading out for some quality alone time: Adam. I thought Aitu would send JP, but then again, how can you pass up the opportunity to punish an Aaron Eckhart doppleganger?
After the commercial break, we headed over to Aitu where the gang all applauded themselves for a job well done. We then cut to Ozzy fishing (he HATES that!), and while I was hoping he too would have a battle royale with an octopus, he merely wound up with a rather large fish (marine biologists: feel free to tell us what his catch of the day was). In fact, Ozzy and Jonathan managed to bring back to camp about eleven fish, nine of which came from the Oz-man. He then told us that he was the sole provider (pun intended!) and said that if the tribe were to get rid of him, they’d lose a lot of power. And a lot of crabbiness. Shut up, Ozzy.
Nevertheless, Yul praised Ozzy’s fishing abilities, officially anointing him Poseidon. However, since we’re pretty much dorks here at TVgasm, we decided that this nickname was not quite as fitting as perhaps Ebisu, the Japanese god of “good fortune, the Ocean, and Fishing Folk.” Just thought you should know, YUL.
Over at Raro, JP took lounging around to stunning new levels as he sprawled out in front of the campfire and subtly ordered all the women around, directing them on how to use logs and rocks, etc. Not particularly enjoying this was Poverty — sorry, Parvati — who felt like JP was sitting on a throne, his vassals carrying out his every command. It was time to shake up the boys club, and she was just the person to do it. After all, she’s been the only one this season to display any inklings of naughtiness, what with her crafty flirtations last week.
Sure enough, that night, Parvati targeted her prime patsy, Nate, who was busy trying to open up a nut. Too bad said nut was actually a hermit crab. Damn those fiendish beasts! Memo to Nate: if your nut has little feet and pincers, chances are it’s probably a crab. (That’s right. I’m the Jeff Foxworthy of crab humor.)
Anyway, Parvati expertly insinuated herself into Nate’s heart, and even after he revealed that he was in an all-male alliance, he still said he had her back and wasn’t going to blindside her. “She’s my ace right now,” he said, meaning that by the end of the episode, one of them would be betraying the other.
Nevertheless, Nate did have his reservations as he noted, “I don’t want to find myself thinking like a dumb-dumb.” I think that moment already passed when you thought a crab was a nut.
Sensing a level of trust in Nate, Parvati then set about planting seeds of dissension. When Nate said “the guys” at one point, she smirked back, “By ‘the guys,’ you mean JP. He’s the one calling the shots. He’s the one making decisions.” I was quite happy to see this gentle brewing, but ultimately, the two decided that they weren’t going to attack JP just yet. They were going to let the king “sit pretty.”
The next day at Aitu, Ozzy, Jonathan, Jessica, and Cao Boi were taking a lazy stroll through the jungle when all of a sudden, they came across some boobies. Literally. Boobies in the jungle. Before you get all excited, however, let me inform you that a booby is a sea bird (I know, that was anticlimactic).
Anyway, turns out the gang stumbled upon a booby in her nest, causing everyone to go “Awww…” and move on. Everyone but Cao Boi, that is. For whatever reason, he decided to climb up the tree and battle the bird. Who knows? Maybe he just wanted to pull out the booby’s bad wind…
“He gave me a red spot, didn’t he?”
Well, as you could imagine, this encounter did not end happily. Cao Boi took a branch and poked at the bird, ultimately knocking the nest off its perch and down to the bushes below. Even worse, inside that nest was a weee baby chick that had been just born in the past twenty-four hours (according to Jonathan’s expert veterinarian analysis). The poor thing had survived the fall, but now it had been separated from its mother, causing Jonathan to start crying. Even Cao Boi felt immediate remorse. What to do? What to do? I’ve got an idea: put it back in the nest and return it to momma booby. After some hemming and hawing, the group decided to do just that. They returned the baby and nest to the mother, and on the soundtrack, a gentle, inspirational piano twinkled. What was this? Extreme Makeover: Nest Edition? I could just imagine Ty Pennington showing up with his bullhorn and yelling, “Gooooood morning, booby family!”
It’s okay, Jonathan. We all cry when we hold boobies in our hands.
Anyway, after the boobies had been reunited, we then headed out to the immunity challenge where Adam returned to his team, all full of smiles and Eckhart-edness. We then learned to rules to this latest convoluted mess. The teams had to assemble stretchers (made out of puzzle pieces, natch), and then four people had to run through the jungle with the stretcher until they reached the beach. Then one person had to swim out to a mast in the middle of the water where another tribe member would be shackled. After this person was free, the two then had to jump back into the water with a life ring and swim back to the stretcher. THEN the person who had been stuck on the mast had to get on the stretcher, which the other four people would take back through the jungle and to the starting point. Once they returned, the three members who had been waiting around then had to build a rescue fire. The first tribe the build a fire big enough to burn through a rope and drop a flag would win immunity. So as you can see, a pretty straightforward challenge.
Well, from the getgo, Raro seemed to have a lead. They managed to reach the ocean way ahead of Aitu. In fact, they were moving so quickly, Probst seemed positively winded as he tried to keep up. The brawn returns! But as JP swum out to his captive Poverty, Aitu arrived at the beach, and Ozzy shot out from the pack like a rabid booby. He quickly caught up to and surpassed JP, whose face was now flowing with snot, and before long, he had freed Candice from her shackles, and the two were swiftly zipping back to shore with their life ring in tow.
Sure enough, Candice was up and loaded on the stretcher in no time, and after some careful navigation, the gang had returned to the starting point, which meant they could now start building a fire. Cao Boi managed to get a small flame going, but it soon fizzled out into a lot of smoke. Well, as the old adage says, “Where there’s smoke, there’s… an opportunity to make more smoke.” Yes, Cao Boi took his smoking mess and began fanning it around, trying to resuscitate the once promising flame, but all he wound up doing was make a smoggy mess. Of course, this earned the derision of Probst who commented, “Cao Boi: has his own system.” Translation: “IDIOT.”
Dance of the boobies…
As for Raro, they actually managed to catch up, which meant that Stephannie, Jenny, and Rebecca were now trying to build a fire. Steph struck the flint over and over with a little ax, but the most she could produce were a few sparks — not to mention a whole lot of blood, courtesy of Jenny’s hand. Turns out that striking human flesh with an ax doesn’t produce a spark either.
Ultimately, Cao Boi managed to get his fire burning first (no word on whether it was because of his odd smoke antics). Aitu won immunity, and for the second time, the macho men of Raro had to face the reality that they might not be as virile as their physiques would suggest (anyone else having memories of Osten from Pearl Islands?).
As the Raro gang headed back to camp, it seemed like Parvati’s best move would be to rally all the girls together to vote off one of the guys. I mean, as long as they weren’t helping them win challenges, there was no point in keeping them around. Nevertheless, at camp, everyone did their best to make everyone else feel better about their failure. “Too bad we went up against a Zen fire master,” Poverty said. I’m not sure if I’d call Cao Boi a Zen fire master. It’s more like he just had the luck of the boobies with him that day.
In an ill-advised move that I would recommend, Stephannie then suddenly piped up and admitted that she was the weakest link of the entire challenge. The implication was that if everyone wanted to vote her out, she’d understand. Bad move, sista friend. Everyone pretty much shrugged and decided that if she wanted to go home, they’d send her home. Personally, I felt like this was just massive misdirection, but then again, my misdirection meter has been a little off lately.
If it made Stephannie feel any better, Nate was planning on telling her about the ouster in advance, just so she wouldn’t be blindsided. In his words, he wanted to make sure she went out on the “red carpet.” Yeah, that doesn’t happen on Survivor.
Anyway, with the day’s scheming over, everyone got back to their chores. Everyone but JP who announced, “I’ll be in the tent if you need me.” He then added, “Oh, and could one of you be a lamb and bring me some mixed berries? THANKS!”
Well, Stephannie may have all but thrown in the towel, but the girls didn’t care. They couldn’t stand JP’s attitude around camp, and furthermore, they liked Stephannie a hell of a lot more. Besides, just for strategical purposes, Rebecca realized that the women had to bond together now, or it would never happen.
Conveniently, after a few hours had passed, Steph came to regret her comments, saying that she had merely spoken from a place of frustration. She wanted to stay now (of course). Luckily, at that point Jenny and Rebecca had decided to change the game around and vote off JP. The two floated the idea by Stephannie and Christina, who both hopped on board immediately. FYI, Stephannie was kind enough to ask Jenny, “How’s the thumb?” to which Jenny answered, “It’s alright.” She then added, “It’s only gashed wide open, THANKS TO YOU AND YOUR UNWIELDY AX SKILLS!”
Anyway, the pieces of the puzzle were all coming together. With four people behind this plan, all the ladies needed to do was ask Poverty to join on board. For some reason they were apprehensive about this, thinking that she’d just go and leak the plan to the guys, but did it really matter? They had the numbers anyway, and besides, Parvati had just spent the whole first half of the episode complaining about JP. I couldn’t see a problem.
However, when Jenny broke the news to Parvati, instead of immediately jumping on board, the boxer hemmed and hawed, asking for time to think about the plan. This was total misdirection. Anyone could see that. There’s no way she would join the boys on this, but just in case, the girls then tried their luck on Brad. “I think Brad might fall for it,” they said, adding, “You know, because he’s gay.” (Btw, next season? Gay vs. straight. Am I right?). I didn’t really understand why they’d tell Brad their plans. After all, he was part of the male alliance, but then again, they probably were just banking on the whole gay thing. Nevertheless, he refused to commit to anything, instead opting to smile and laugh. Jenny told him that he should do what’s best for himself and the tribe; although, last time I checked, what would be best for Brad and the tribe would be to vote off Stephannie. Needless to say, these girls were not necessarily top of the line when it came to persuasion.
At Tribal Council, Jeff asked Nate how everything was going, and he replied that everyone was still “feeling the water.” Or testing it, as it were, but that’s neither here nor there. Nate continued, “I’m not breaking out of my shell yet because it could bite me in the butt.” Yes, just like those crazy island nuts with their pincers and feet!
The good news about this Tribal Council was that our Persnickety Probst finally returned (in an albeit mild fashion) when he asked Jenny if there was a leader on the team. “Noooo… not really…” she said without conviction. Detective Probst pounced!
“What does that mean? ‘Nooo… not really…’” he asked mockingly.
“You’re putting me on the spot, aren’t you?” Jenny laughed back. But there was not laughing coming from Jeff.
“It’s Tribal Council! It’s a game for a million dollars! I’m trying to figure out what’s going on!” he barked back. Listen here, Jenny! YOU ANSWER MR. PROBST WHEN HE ASKS YOU A QUESTION!
Well, under the extreme pressure, Jenny offered up JP as a leader of the pack, but the beefy volleyball player denied the label, saying he doesn’t tell people how or when to do things (you know, except for when he’s tell people how or when to do things — which is ALWAYS).
Later, JP said that he was dreading the vote, noting, “I’ve already told myself this will probably be my hardest vote in this game.” Yeah, especially since it will probably be your last. Nevertheless, the survivors all rose and cast their votes one at a time. Unlike last week, we only got to see a few names scribbled down. Steph voted for JP, obviously, and he in turn voted for her, saying, “You are a wonderful, beautiful person, and you’ll be with me the rest of this game.” Okay, relax. It’s not like you’ll be executing her after this. We also saw Cristina and Nate’s votes, which were for JP and Steph respectively. And now the tally.
Vote 1: Steph.
Vote 2: JP. (We’re tied! 1-1! If you couldn’t figure that out, you’re an idiot.)
Vote 3: Steph.
Vote 4: JP. (Still tied.)
Vote 5: JP. Same with vote 6. That meant it was 4-2 in favor of JP leaving. One more, and he’d be a goner. And sure enough, the seventh vote went to JP. That’s right, the lumbering giant was voted off the island! And let’s just say, he didn’t get the red carpet. He was completely blindsided and couldn’t do anything but smile broadly and say, “Holy crap! Damn! You guys outwitted me big time!” It’s not so much that they outwitted you as they out-not-napped you.
Jeff then extinguished his torch, and JP, still in a state of shock, smiled at his tribe again and admitted, “That was pretty good.” It was good. And bravo to JP for taking it well. He was the rare reality star that was cocky without being arrogant, if that makes any sense. Probably wasn’t the smartest move to get rid of him so early, but for the female alliance, it was necessary. All I got to say is look out for that Rebecca. She’s now engineered to alpha male exits…
What did you think about this episode? Was it too early to get rid of JP? Or was the time just right?