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Last night’s episode of Survivor had twice the Tribal Councils… and yet somehow half the drama. After a series of strong episodes, I found this latest installment a little on the “eh” side. There were no surprises, barely any suspense, and not much by way of scheming. Cao Boi did attempt to stir things up, but his strategy was so full of holes and logistical problems, we knew it would completely fall apart. The one bright spot of the episode came from the reward challenge that Jeff Probst promised would be just like an Olivia Newton-John song: physical. He did not disappoint. Survivors clawed, choked, and wrestled their way towards a savory lamb feast. After all that tussling, I kind of felt bad that the victorious team had to send someone home at all, but alas, Survivor is a fickle game, and not everything works out the way we want it… like the quality of the episode.This week’s show started off with what else? Rats digging in coconuts! Looks like rats are totally cooler than crabs this season (and lets not overlook the occasional octopus cameo). Anyway, after having sent Stephannie home at Tribal Council, the Raro tribe returned to their campsite full of tension. You see, it had come out that people thought Cristina was kind of very controlling, and Adam in particular had singled her out for being annoying. Even though she played it off in Tribal Council, she was pretty offended by this attack, and she called out Adam for being rude. Adam? Rude? Now I’ve heard it all! He’s been nothing but the pinnacle of maturity this season, you know, when he wasn’t complaining about building floors and whatnot.
Sure enough, Adam tried to defend himself from this accusation of being rude, but his man-bitching resulted in nothing but awkward silence. I did feel badly for Cristina. I liked her, and there’s probably nothing worse than hanging out with people for two weeks, only to suddenly discover that they all can’t stand you. With tears in her eyes, Cristina lifted her head high and said that if she could get through being shot in the arm, she could get through this. I should hope so! Let’s see, what’s worse? Someone shoots you with a gun and your arm is almost amputated, orrrr…. someone calls you annoying. Gosh, it’s too close to call.
Over at Aitu, Ozzy was busy catching half the fish in the ocean again (although, he overlooked the giant scallop that was effortlessly belching out bubbles!). Apparently, the cranky castaway had his own special fishing spot, and since he could hold his breath for like two and a half minutes, he usually came away with around ten fish in about an hour. Not bad. But could he have your lenses ready in about an hour also? No. BECAUSE ONLY LENSCRAFTERS CAN DO THAT.
Jonathan then babbled something about Ozzy being really valuable to the team (which meant he wanted to get rid of him as soon as they hit the merge). Before we could really explore those simmering tensions, tree mail arrived. I kind of wondered what would happen if tree mail and Tyra mail somehow got mixed up. I think I would love that. Anyway, the tree mail mentioned something about a feast, but said nada about immunity. The question remained: bring the immunity idol or no? You’d think the answer would be no, considering this wasn’t an immunity challenge, but Cao Boi had different intentions. He wanted to bring the idol to all challenges. To him, the idol was like a guardian angel or something like that. “I believe a Tangaroa is an ocean god of fertility, and he came to us as immunity idol. He’s our extra member,” Cao Boi said. Assuming Tangaroa existed, why would he be hanging out on a reality show? Wouldn’t he have bigger fish to fry (pun very intended!)?
Well, Tangaroa-hater Jonathan said he respected Cao Boi’s wishes, but he thought it would be cruel to bring the idol to every challenge because it would be like rubbing it in the losers’ faces. So who won out? The white man, of course! Aitu showed up at the reward challenge with no immunity idol in hand. Wouldn’t have mattered anyway because we later learned that both tribes would be going to Tribal Council; so immunity wouldn’t even be on the line. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Instead, let’s talk about this grapple-tastic challenge.
The rules were actually pretty simple. Basically, each tribe was going to select three people, each of whom would be stationed at their post. Two members of the opposite tribe would then race out and try to physically remove each person from their post, drag them through the sand, and over a finish line. Once the first person was dragged over the line, a second set of two people would run out and go for the second person, etc. First tribe to remove all three rival members and drag them over the line would win a hearty lamb feast, replete with bread and apple cider! Yum! And considering that finding apple cider in Los Angeles is like trying to find Jimmy Hoffa’s body, I have to admit, I was a bit excited about the reward.
Anyway, Aitu sat Cao Boi out, and on the posts, they positioned Candice, Ozzy, and Sundra (they had to do two girls and one guy). As for Raro, they put Cristina, Nate, and Jenny on their posts. With everyone in place, Jeff flapped his arms and the competition began. Each tribe sent two women to go pry off a girl. Jessica/Flicka and Becky from Aitu easily pried Jenny off her pole and commenced dragging her through the sand like a dead walrus. Candice, on the other hand, absolutely refused to leave her post, despite the best efforts of Poverty and Rebecca. We then cut back to Jenny, who seemed to be probably at the nadir of her life as she was helplessly yanked across the sand, her taint exposed (and blurred) to everyone around. She should have held onto that post more — like Candice. She HATED letting go!
Soon, Jonathan and Yul were charging towards Nate, who surprisingly peeled right off that pole without a problem. He put up a fight and all, but once he was in the sand, it was only a matter of time before he was dragged over the line. Just what we love to see: race wars at its most primitive. Yay!
As for Candice, she was off the pole, but that didn’t mean she was going anywhere. Them girls could not budge her at all. At one point, Rebecca literally had to shove Candice’s butt to move her, and that still didn’t seem to work.
Meanwhile, Aitu sent out Jessica and Becky again to pry off their last victim: that ever so annoying Cristina. With any luck, this would be wham-bam-thank-you-Flicka, but no. Cristina wasn’t going down without a fight. She’d battled enough criminals over the years to know how to handle herself. The girls seemed unable to pry her off at first, but luckily, Jessica employed something I’m sure she’s had to use several times at the roller derbies: the old “I’m gonna choke you ’till you submit!” move. Of course, this precipitated the wrath of Probst, who yelled, “NO CHOKING!!!” If only there were some rapscallion there who could have quietly added “the chicken” after each time Jeff said that.
Anyway, while the girls worked on Cristina, Raro finally managed to tame the wild Candice, which meant that Brad and Adam could take to the course and remove Ozzy from his pole. Of course, these guys completed their task in all of .2 seconds as they hauled him in with what appeared to be a minimum of effort, occasionally bending Ozzy around like a human pretzel in the process.
Back with the Aitu girls, even though Jessica had stopped playing dirty, that didn’t prevent Cristina from hitting below the belt, as it were. The cop tried to pull Jessica’s hair, and when that didn’t work, she grabbed her clothes, causing Jeff to happily observe, “Cristina! Trying to pull Jessica’s pants off!” Meanwhile, Parvati and Rebecca set their sights on Sundra, who also refused to budge from her post. It looked like Raro might be in trouble, but truth was that they had closed in on Aitu impressively, and if last week’s immunity challenge taught us anything, it’s that you never know what’ll happen… at least, that’s what I like to think. Truth was that two seconds later, Becky and Jessica finally figured out how to dominate Cristina, and sure enough, they dragged her over the finish line, winning reward for their tribe. But wait! There’s more! Jeff also promised one more surprise at Tribal Council. What could it be? A switcheroo? An Exile Island twist? Free DVD copies of Hoot?
Later, after the commercial break, the triumphant Aitu returned to camp and relished their victory. “I never wrestled a cop before,” Jessica said proudly, scratching one more item off her mental to-do list (I think that leaves only one last thing: shaving her pits). Jessica then told us, “Cristina, when she realized that she was gonna have to budge and I was gonna make her, she started pulling my hair and, you know, ripping my clothes off, you know, so I thought that was a little uncalled for.” Well, let’s not forget that you did try to choke her. Besides, what sort of cop-on-rollergirl lesbian fantasy doesn’t have a little hair-pullin, clothes sheddin’ action? Exactly.
Elsewhere in camp, Cao Boi was explaining to Yul his latest supernatural experience: “I had this dream these people were coming into this village, and they were kidnapping people,” he said. “And they had this rope, and they just wrap around them, and they fly real quick. Poof. And become invisible to others. And I couldn’t, I couldn’t defeat ‘em.” Wow. So mystical. Sounds like Cao Boi had some bad wind (or weed). Probably the latter.
Cao Boi then explained that some Shaman lady was also in his dream, “and she had all kinds of credit card applications, and she asked me if I have an American Express card or Visa.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure Cao Boi was just having a flashback to Miss Cleo. Nevertheless, the whole point of all of this is that the shaman lady said something about putting together three things here and three things there, and when Cao Boi woke up, he realized that three and three was the key to defeating the immunity idol. Huh? Since when did Survivor become more confusing than Lost?
To elaborate, Cao Boi’s plan was to flush out the hidden immunity idol in a strategy he called “Plan Voodoo.” He assumed that either Jonathan or Candice had the idol and that if the tribe placed three votes towards each of them, the hidden immunity idol would have to be played — unless, of course, THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT — which they didn’t. Yul had it. Besides, Adam could have had it also. There was really no guarantee that the idol would be flushed out, but I guess that didn’t bother Cao Boi. He was beholden to the Plan Voodoo. He reminded me of the baby. What baby? The baby with the power. What power? The power of voodoo! Who do? You do! (Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about).
Over at Raro, we were treated to yet another exciting adventure with an octopus. I don’t know what it is with this tribe, but they can’t seem to go a day without an eight-tentacled friend latching onto their fishing spear. I just hope they learned their lesson from last week: don’t let Cristina clean that shit. Speaking of Cristina, she was in the process of trying to get votes in possibly the worst way ever. Her big strategy: asking people if they’d give her another chance. Yeah, good luck with that.
First, Cristina asked Brad, who said, “I will definitely give you a chance!” Yay! But then he added, “I’m up for giving anyone a chance!” Translation: I won’t commit to you, demon lady. The only chance I’ll give you is one to WALK ON HOME!
Cristina then appealed to Parvati, who stammered through a noncommittal response: “I don’t know who I’m voting. I really haven’t even thought about it.” Let’s see, that sounds like two votes against you, Cristina. Well done! She then promised that she’d keep working hard and pulling her weight etc, but I don’t think anyone cared. Gotta scheme, not promise. She then approached Adam, of all people, and asked for one more chance, saying she realized that there was awkwardness in the wake of last night’s argument, but she could really be an asset to the team. “Well, I have to go talk with those guys,” Adam said, with a wide, phony Aaron Eckhart smile on his face. I think we’re now up to three votes against you, Cristina.
Moments later, Adam reported this convo to Jenny, derisively dismissing Cristina’s last-ditch attempts to stay in the game. The two chuckled about it, but then suddenly Jenny asked, “You’re not pulling anything on me or anything?” Uh oh. Might she be next? They are setting up Cristina’s ouster just a tad too clearly…
Cristina then cornered Nate and said, “I’m just asking, please give me another chance.” Seriously, SHUT UP ALREADY! No one’s going to give you a second chance, especially if you whine and beg about it. Of course, Nate told her, “No, I got you. Of course,” but surprisingly, he actually seemed to mean it. He was pissed at Adam for how he had spoken to Cristina the night before. “He needs to get some class. You do not talk to a woman like that and disrespect.” Wow. Nate earning points from me. I’ve actually grown to really like Nate. At first I thought he seemed really fake and aspiring actor-ish, but for whatever reason, I think he seems pretty cool now. Yeah, I know. He’s probably a massive douchebag, but for now, I think I’m gonna start rooting for him a little.
Anyway, Nate seemed like he might actually save Cristina, especially because he seemed to suspect that Jenny might still be tight with the Asians on Aitu. So who would he go for? Cristina or Jenny? Didn’t matter. Everyone else was gonna target Cristina, so this really amounted to nothing.
The next morning, Cao Boi pushed his whole Voodoo plan on Jessica and Sundra, and it seemed for a moment that the girls might be into it. Sundra didn’t particularly trust Jonathan, and neither did Becky, who seemed to have sniffed out all of his tactics like trying to always make eye contact and establish a bond. This then made Yul suspicious, and he noted, “Jonathan seems to inspire some level of mistrust among everyone… you know, if everyone kind of universally holds Jonathan to some degree of suspicion, then it kind of makes me wonder, maybe I should too.” By the way, I think Yul wins the Tim Gunn award of most articulate cast member. If you listen to him speak, he really does phrase things very well. Three cheers for edumacation!
Well, even though Jonathan was aiming for Cao Boi, it looked like Plan Voodoo was going to be in effect (unless this was all massive misdirection, which I imagined it would be since there was no good reason for Yul, Becky, and Sundra to cannibalize their alliance). Jessica expressed some concern to Cao Boi that maybe Plan Voodoo might not be as secure as they though, seeing how everyone else was sitting in the shelter scheming, but he just brushed off these worries, saying the other tribe members were just talking it over. No worries! You’ll just be screwed over!
“I believe I can trust Becky and Yul. Gut instinct: they are solid, solid people,” Cao Boi told us. Yup. He’s going home.
But wait! Jonathan suddenly commented, “Tonight, if I get voted off, I will be shocked. I don’t believe that’s going to happen.” Hmmm… So maybe he’s going after all. Oh, I don’t know.
Anyway, Aitu headed up for the first Tribal Council, and unlike the reward challenge, Cao Boi brought the immunity idol with him. This quickly raised the ire of Jeff, who barked, “Well, I haven’t asked for it back! What do you want to do with it?” He then added, “NO RETURNS OR EXCHANGES, ASSHOLE!”
Cao Boi then placed the idol on the ground so it could serve as a symbolic added member of the tribe (eye-rolls all around), causing Probst to hone his inner-Seinfeld and ask, “Ozzy, what is the deal with the idol?” I half expected a slappy synthesizer bass to kick in, followed by a scene at Monk’s diner as Jeff, Ozzy, and Candice sipped coffee while Cao Boi talked about his friend, Bob Sacamano. Seriously, what’s the deeeal with the idol? I love Probst-feld!
Well, Cao Boi told Jeff that in life, he’s either hated or loved (NOO!!!), and after we were done reeling from this bombshell revelation, Jeff asked us who the team leaders were. Yul said Jonathan and Cao Boi were the most vocal, but Jonathan seemed the most like a natural leader. Not liking this label, Jonathan replied, “I certainly don’t patronize THESE people or talk down to them in any way.” Yes, you don’t condescend to THOSE people at all.
Cao Boi soon piped up again, saying some nonsense about how this was all a chess game and the queen was undefeated and exposed and blah blah blah. Everyone was confused, including Probst, who asked for a clarification. Cao Boi explained that he was talking about the hidden immunity idol, which he swore would be played tonight. Yeah, we’ll see about that. Everyone went off to vote, and the results were none too surprising.
Jonathan and Candice each received votes, but the rest all went for Cao Boi (whom everyone spelled as Cowboy, except Yul who came closest with Cowboi). And just like that, one of the most colorful characters of the season went home. Bad wind indeed! Looks like he shouldn’t have brought the immunity idol to Tribal Council after all…
In his exit speech, Cao Boi admitted that he let his guard down and that he should have known better than to trust his fellow Asians. Write that one down kids: Asians hate each other! Thanks, racial Survivor!
The remaining Aitu members then moved over to the jury section where Probst served them a medley of bread, lamb, and cider. As they munched on their tasty feast, the Raro losers shuffled in and took their seats. Candice took this opportunity to communicate with her old bedmate, Adam, as she blew a silent kiss to him from across the way. He in return smiled broadly and Aaron Eckharted the hell out of her. Finally, Jeff gave the Aitu tribe a stack of napkins, “because I want you to have a civilized meal.” He LOVES refined experiences!
At last, it was time for Raro to face the wrath of Probst. Our snippy host asked Adam if he was envious of the Aitus and their feast, but he just shook his cocky head and said he didn’t like lamb or apple cider much anyway. Yes, but what if Aaron Eckhart loved lamb and apple cider? What would you do then??
Nate, on the other hand, was significantly more enthusiastic about the feast. “SNAP! That smells good over there!” he gushed. SNAP! That’s what I call excitement!
Meanwhile, Candice continued to make googly eyes at her beloved Adam, going so far as to say, “Oooh! I love you!” Wow, good thing Billy wasn’t there. His heart would have been broken ten times over.
Jeff then asked how things were in camp in the wake of last night’s Tribal Council, and Brad answered, “Sometimes, things are better left unsaid, and unfortunately, they had to come up in Tribal Council last night in front of everyone.” Yeah, he’s talking about you, asshole ADAM.
Jenny kind of stood up for Adam though, saying that the tension had reached such a point that “How can you say something and not offend her [Cristina]?” I know a way to avoid offending her: trying being polite.
Ultimately, Adam just put it all out there: “Her personality just CLASHES with ours.” He then added, “For instance, I’m a spoiled baby who complains about building elevated floors, and she is a mature woman. I can’t have that around me.”
Well, before the big vote, Jeff announced what the mysterious Tribal Council twist would be: Aitu would be kidnapping one member. That person would be immune from that night’s Tribal Council, would have a plate of food, would return to camp with Aitu, and would be part of the tribe through the next reward challenge. Personally, I’d pick the weakest person, ie. Cristina. The longer she stays around, the more disharmony her tribe would have (plus, the chances of them losing challenges would be increased). In addition, when the merge comes, she might be more likely to flop sides.
However, Aitu decided to “kidnap” Nate. Snap! Maybe they felt bad for him missing out on the lamb, or maybe they wanted his strength to help out on the next reward challenge. Either way, I didn’t think it was a totally smart move. It also pretty much sealed the deal for Cristina now that her biggest ally, or so it appeared, was temporarily off the tribe.
Anyway, Raro then began voting, and in a mild surprise, Brad actually voted against Jenny. However, he and Cristina were not enough to push back the masses. Everyone else voted against Cristina, and just as we expected, she was cast away from the island. On Raro, that left Jenny, Parvati, Rebecca, Brad, Adam, and eventually Nate. Three guys, three girls. Brilliant. Hey, remember that strategy two weeks ago when the girls decided to vote out JP and take over the power in the game? Yeah, that’s been working out really well. Way to keep your majority, idiots.
In her post-elimination interview, Cristina said she loved the experience but was disappointed to be out so early. She then added that she’d met some really good people and “some really awful people.” Are your ears ringing, Adam? Because she’s talking about you!
What did you think about this episode? Did the tribes make the right choices? Should Aitu have “kidnapped” Nate?