This week, on Survivor: People referring to themselves in the third person. References to “keeping it real”. Unfortunate facial hair. It’s just like the San Francisco season of The Real World!After Tribal Council, the new Kota returns to camp on Night 24. “Tonight, at Tribal, the Crystal in me came out.” Ken tells his allies. I kind of love that concept of “Crystal” is now equated with being an asshole in front of Jeff. Ken tells us that he’s orchestrated two blindsides in a row (Ace and Marcus, which he wasn’t exactly responsible for), and that Bob is the next to go if they lose again. Bob is acutely aware of this. “If we lose, I’m history, even though I teach science. That’s a little joke.” Oh, Bob. Leave the joke telling to me. You can be in charge of wearing bow ties and any significant obstacles involving physics or geology.
Fang, Day 25. Matty tells Corinne that they can’t even get a fire started because their flint is so worn out. This would matter, but they’re also out of rice, so it’s sort of an irrelevant issue. Stove not working? No big deal, because you’re out of Ramen!
A treemail comes, and it includes a golf flag (you know, the kind that you stick in the hole) (that’s what she said) and a slingshot. As Fang practices its slingshot skills, Corrine wishes for a merge. “I just want to see Marcus again,” she says, unaware that she would have to go home for that to occur. Here’s to that shit happening sometime soon.
Sugar: “How am I the least offensive person in this group?”
Reward Challenge. The producers are smart enough to bring Fang in and have Kota parade out without Marcus while they watch, and the reactions are wonderful to behold. Corinne loses her shit, Charlie almost cries, and Matty and Ken exchange a number of winks. Corinne tells Probst (with some prodding, of course), that Marcus “didn’t deserve” to leave. Ken, in response: “Well then, who does?” Well said, sir.
Ken continues to challenge the concept of who is “deserving” relative to this game, and Corinne is unable to really respond with any logical statement. “He did a lot of work around camp, he played for the team.” Ken, in response: “I still don’t understand why he deserves to stay.” Good for him for standing his ground. New, sassy Ken is the shit.
Today’s challenge is essentially golf, but with slingshots instead of clubs. There are three holes set up on the Gabonese countryside, and the team who uses the slingshot to get a ball in the hole in the fewest amount of shots will earn a point. Best 2 out of 3 wins the Reward, which is this year’s “day with the indigenous peoples” trip, which will include a trip to a Gabonese village (twice in the same paragraph, whatup) and a night spent therein.
The challenge is actually fairly well designed. There are giant mushrooms growing all over the course, so it presents an interesting aesthetic. There’s also a fair amount of teamwork involved, since people have to hold both ends of the slingshot while one person fires, meaning that’s it at least a three (and sometimes four) man operation. Kota wins the first hole thanks to some nice teamwork between Bob (who’s taking the drives) Ken (who is taking the short, finesse shots).
Matty is doing all the shooting for Fang, with varying degrees of success. He makes excellent use of the 2nd hole’s terrain to land his shot close to the hole and earns Fang the tying point. On the third hole, Matty continues to use the hills and valleys on the course to direct the ball toward the hole, and when Ken overshoots the pin twice, Fang has an opportunity to close out the challenge.
Fang is about six inches from the hole, and can easily just make a pretense at a shot and simply drop the ball into the hole. Randy (since he’s smart, but still a douche) catches onto this concept and tries to deliver this information to Matty. Matty, however, has lost a few too many challenges and no longer trusts the advice of his teammates, since he’s spent so much time getting screwed over by the likes of GC and Crystal. Matty insists on actually shooting the ball into the hole by taking a high and wide shot, causing Randy (and Charlie, who’s holding the other end of the slingshot) no shortage of frustration by refusing to do things in any other way.
“My way also involves making a ring for my dog out of that big rock over there.”
Randy (who’s actually correct in this situation) deals with Matty’s ignorance by continuing to raise his voice, and the whole scene descends into chaos. Ultimately, Randy just says “fuck it”, thinking, I’m sure, that he can use any loss as leverage to eliminate Matty, allows Matty to carry out his overly complicated and meaningless shot, which ultimately gets Fang the victory and the reward.
The celebration that ensues is one of the most annoying in Survivor history, with Matty doing his worst frat boy jock douche laugh to date while Charlie and Corinne stand around uncomfortably, quietly hating everything and everyone around them. For once, I don’t blame them.
Fang sends Bob to Exile, voicing the fact that they hope Bob finds the idol and saves himself in case they lose again. Well, treating him like that probably didn’t exactly protect his position in the camp. Sugar tells us she doesn’t care who gets sent to Exile, since she’s had the idol since Episode 2, thanks to the map she got which essentially said “It’s over here, dummy.”
After the commercial, Fang walks directly into the village, where the villagers welcome them with yelling, of course. WELCOME TO CAMP! I AM SCREAMING AT YOU LIKE A PRIMITIVE HUMAN! I DO NOT AT ALL HAVE A PLAYSTATION 3 BACK IN MY HUT! Because Fang is unclean by nature (particularly Corinne), the villagers force them to take a bath before they will let them into the village. The villagers wrap them in some new clothes, which has to be a nice perk for them after wearing shitty underwear for a month. As they walk into the village, Corinne befriends a little girl and leads her by the hand around the festivities. It is my personal opinion that the girl is likely being held hostage.
“The girl is mine now.”
Villagers come and grab people to dance. Randy tells us that he’s pretty sure that one of the villagers like him, which is further evidence that his lobotomy has caused permanent damage and has possibly giving him some sort of permanent cognitive dissonance. Matty dances like a giant dweeb, which is to say that he moves about like that one person we all dated when Soulja Boy was really popular about a year ago. Oh, you know that whole dance, do you? Hilarious and endearing in 2007, immediately sad and off-putting at 12:01 on January 1, 2008.
Back at Kota on Day 26 (no merge by Day 26? I wonder if that’s some sort of record), we watch Ken as he spends what appears to be an inordinate amount of time attempting to get the tribe’s boat unstuck from six inches of stick. The producers provide helpful stop-motion cinematography to showcase the futility of Kenny’s efforts. It’s like one of those videos where you see a flower bloom, prosper and wilt in like thirty seconds, except the flower is being swarmed by bees and is then crop dusted.
Kenny says that he spends most of his time at home playing video games, and he’s slowly adapting to fending for himself and providing for others, and is now playing the game to reach the end. “I know for a fact that I can win this game,” he tells us. How can you not root for him, I ask you?
Ken returns from the great boat fiasco with fish for Susie and Crystal, who are the only people at camp since Bob is over at Exile Island. “I can’t believe that I’m actually able to be the sole provider for two beautiful women,” Ken states, over an accompanying pan up to Crystal and Susie, neither of whom have showered in weeks. The editors include a helpful sproing-y question mark sound to let you know that they question Ken’s judgment vis-Ã -vis this particular statement.
Well, maybe Ken is drunk. That is the theory that I am going with.
Exile Savannah. Bob chooses to take the clue, which I don’t blame him for even though he has to know that Sugar very likely has found the idol. You have to exhaust every opportunity, no matter how small. The map Bob gets actually has ALL the clues marked, which would be incredibly dumb if the idol hadn’t been found already. Just give the damn thing away if you’re going to do that.
Once Bob follows all the clues and reaches the point where the idol would have been (there’s now only a nail hammered into the tree where it was) and is unable to find anything, he decides that using the age-old strategy of crafting a fake idol may be his best bet. He ends up using some beads, feathers and bark that he found to craft a fairly convincing facsimile of an idol. It’s the best fake idol that this show’s ever seen, and certainly better than the stick from last season. Oh, Jason. I do not miss you.
Back at Fang, it’s now Day 27. The get a treemail that hints that there will be a firestarting contest. Corinne and Randy are convinced that the people on the other tribe have no ability to start a fire, particularly Crystal, whom he calls “sasquatch” and “T-rex”. If you’re going to be rude and give people a bitchy nickname, at least make sure that it makes some sort of sense, instead of blindly insulting their size, femininity, and (I’m assuming), profoundly short arms.
Immunity Challenge! Jeff takes the tribal immunity back from Fang, announcing that the tribes are now merged and today’s challenge is for individual immunity. After everyone receives their new buffs (which are blue), Jeff explains the challenge, which is the same fire building challenge that we’ve seen on this show as a Tribal Council tiebreaker a few times where the fire, once built, has to burn through a string. Is it just me, or do the challenges seem a little bit simpler this season? I mean, I like it because it means that every one isn’t some sort of relay race followed by some puzzle solving (which is what every challenge last season seemed like), but it’s does seem like they’re going back to basics, which I have to admit, I am enjoying.
Susie is the first person to get a flame going, which is not surprising since she’s been trying to do a lot of work around camp. More surprisingly, Sugar is right on her tail with a little flame of her own. I’m really impressed with Sugar, I have to say. Most people on these shows talk about how everyone underestimates them when in reality they suck, but I think that might actually be true in her case.
Susie continues to build a pretty impressive fire as Corinne and her bitchface watch helplessly. Soon the flame burns through her rope, and Susie is the merge’s very first individual immunity winner, ladies and gentlemen. After a clearly amused Probst puts the necklace on Susie, he lets the castaways know that they’ll all be returning to Fang, which has been replenished with new supplies and is now “a new camp”, according to Probst. Tastes great, less failure!
Back at the former camp Fang, the contestants discover that they’ve been given some cans of food. Randy tells us that it was nice to get some new stuff to eat, but that people almost immediately snuck off in their cliques to start plotting. Corinne, Bob, Randy and Charlie hang in one corner of the woods, agreeing that they’re going to vote for Crystal since she’s such a pain in the ass to be around. While I do not disagree, Ken or Matty would be a much better choice.
They know that they have to get Sugar’s vote in order to create a majority, and they task Corinne with doing this, for some reason. Sugar advocates for Randy’s departure, telling Corinne that she just can’t be around him. Corinne and Charlie promise to get rid of him during the next TC if she will get rid of Crystal for them tonight. Sugar, who is no dummy, knows that she’s pretty much going to be useless after this week once they no longer need her, and that if they won’t do this, they likely won’t help her get too much farther. How much time has Sugar spent with him before she came to the conclusion that Randy is a problem? I’m fairly sure she’s been on the opposite tribe from him each time (save the most recent switch), so she must really dislike him a lot. I mean, who’s better to be around, Crystal or Randy? I like to make you get your Sophie’s Choice on every once in a while.
Corinne seems to think that she’s convinced Sugar to vote with them. “I don’t even like her,” Corinne says. “I’ve been mean to her for twenty-six days, and nice for one, and she buys it because she is a moron.” It would be easy to dismiss Sugar as such, what with her hanging out with Ace and being named after a non-complex carbohydrate and having a completely bullshit job and everything, but: come on, Corinne. Quit being a skank for like twenty seconds.
I don’t want to ruin it for you, but you’ll wish it says “merged tribe” later on
Meanwhile, Matty, Kenny, Crystal and Susie plot to dispatch either Corinne or Charlie in similar fashion. The sentiment seems to be shifting towards Corinne (on the basis that everyone hates her), but Kenny tells us that he’s going to push for Charlie’s dismissal as payback for taking the paper from him (the one with the idol clue) during the feast last week. He makes up some lies about how Charlie is the decision maker in that alliance, and getting rid of him will make the rest of them helpless. The rest of them don’t really care whether it’s Charlie or Corinne, so they just decide to go along with it, to Kenny’s delight. “If you mess with me, you will be out of this game.” Kenny says as he heads off back towards camp to find Sugar.
Ken feeds Sugar the same story about Charlie and how sneaky he is and how in charge and threatening he is to everyone else. Sugar takes all of this in with a suspecting look on her face. “It appears that I am the lady of the hour,” she says half-ironically. You know, I might actually really enjoy hanging out with her, now that I think about it. Hey, did you know that this show is EXACTLY one hour long? Holy shit, that works on so many levels. I think Sugar just blew my mind.
Amongst all the plotting, people have forgotten that they don’t even have a name for the new tribe yet. Kenny suggests “Nobag” (which is Gabon backwards) and no one even puts up a fight. That is, without a doubt, the worst merged tribe name ever. Worse than “Chuay Jai”, or “Dabu”, or even “Chaboga Mogo”. You could name your tribe after Dane Cook and it would be less lame.
Sugar is still torn over the upcoming vote. She doesn’t trust Corinne or Charlie because Corinne is a skank and they’ve basically telegraphed the fact that they’re going to execute her as soon as possible. She doesn’t trust Ken or Crystal because she feels like they’ve already misled her once when Ace was voted out. The fact that she feels no loyalty to anyone is actually a huge benefit, because she is a fairly emotional player and this allows her to make a rational decision. You know, before she starts cry.
Tribal Council. Jeff brings in Marcus the first jury member, and he has shaved everything except for a tragically ironic pencil-thin moustache. Oh, Marcus. Your brief stint on national TV is not the time to begin experimenting with your facial topography.
Jeff starts things off by asking Randy about Fang’s near-meltdown right at the end of the reward challenge. Randy explains that Matty wasn’t listening to him, and he had an idea that had a 100 percent chance of succeeding, while Matty’s only had 90 percent, and if people had just listened to him they would have been guaranteed the win. Randy is right, but he’s such an ass about it that it’s difficult to sympathize with him. Plus, taking sides in a Randy-Matty showdown is not something upon which I want to expend energy. Do you guys feel like there are a whole lot of unlikable people left this season? I sure as hell do.
At this point, Crystal interjects for no reason whatsoever, asking Randy why he has such a problem with her. “What did Crystal do to Randy?” she asks, referring to herself in the third person. We all know what that means: Dead To Me! Well, Dead To Me some more.
Randy tells Crystal that she made his first nine days on the island “a living hell”, calling her arrogant and hard to get along with, and then telling her that her and her buddies ran the camp “like a gang”, calling them “thugs”. There are a lot of borderline racist overtones in that statement that are way, way too gross to touch upon here, so I will simply say to Randy: you are forgetting that your alternative would have been to keep Gillian around and eat a bunch of elephant poop. Everything’s relative, homey.
Crystal responds by telling everyone that she’s “keeping it real” (a phrase which must be uttered at least once per episode in every reality TV show ever), and that “this is Crystal”, and then I blacked out because when reality show contestants refer to themselves in the third person three times in a row, it’s like that Bloody Mary legend, except I see my killer in the TV.
Charlie hilariously responds to this brouhaha by suggesting that people maybe need to process what comes out of their mouths, especially in this unique circumstance, since being a freaking dick doesn’t exactly put your name on the check, everyone but Bob and maybe also Sugar.
Jeff asks Sugar whether she’s had some sort of advantage by going to Exile so much, since it’s maybe helped her avoid creating the rifts that have been so prevalent tonight. Well, Jeff, the freaking immunity idol would be an advantage, for one. Idiot. Sugar says that it’s actually a disadvantage to be away, since it just gives them a chance to talk about her some more. And then? She cries. Sugar is the new BB8 Amber, people. Well, except I think Sugar can spell.
Time to vote! We see Randy vote for Crystal, whom he simply calls a “bitch” as he places her vote in the urn. That would be incredibly uncalled for, but Crystal is so damn mean when she votes with her stupid “GO HOME” declarations, that I’m willing to give that a pass. Crystal votes for “Charley”. Charlie votes for Crystal, swearing revenge for Marcus and his boring-stache. Unfortunate facial hair has been inflicted upon this show all too soon, and heads will roll!
Jeff goes to grab the votes. The first vote is for Crystal, and the second vote says CC. Jeff, annoyed, makes Randy state that the vote is for “Crystal Cox”, and makes an example out of him, annoyingly noting that people just need to write the damn name, already. I think this has been bothering Jeff for awhile, because 1)Charlie’s last name does not start with a C, and neither does Corinne’s, and 2)These votes are arranged for maximum drama, and if that vote were for Charlie the drama of this particular arrangement would have been gone. I think Jeff’s been wanting to say that for a few seasons now. So Crystal gets the first four votes. When the fifth vote is read, the vote-reading music does an awesome little fake out and makes you think that Crystal is gone before Jeff reads the vote for Charlie. Charlie gets the next three too, so it comes down to the last vote, which is Sugar’s. Probst reveals the last vote for Charlie, and he is the second member of the jury.
Good for Sugar, that’s the smart move for her. Also, how in the hell did Fang’s peanut gallery get a leg up in this game? Like I said, there are a lot of unlikable people this season, but I’d much rather watch a bunch of unlikable people play a solid strategic game than watch okay people steamroll over a bunch of idiots like last season.
Next time: Randy gets naked. Put the kids to bed!