Ah, Survivor: Guatemala. It’s only been about three or four days since you’ve last aired, and yet, I can barely remember a single thing. I’m pretty sure I recollect who got voted out, and I’m pretty sure I remember the reward challenge. But darn it! That’s about it. Maybe it was the turkey-induced haze of Thursday night or maybe it’s just the general ennui this season has forced upon me, but I just can’t get this silly reality show to stick in my head. Luckily, I diligently wrote down notes Thursday night; so that should help me piece together this almost exciting, but ultimately anticlimactic episode. Before I begin though, I have a simple message for all future Survivor contestants: SCHEME, DAMMIT!This very special tryptophan episode kicked off with the ominous sight of a snake slithering through the darkness — surely a symbolic nod to the scheming and backstabbing that would come! Well, not so much. Having just booted Jamie, the tribe returned to the camp where Stephenie announced, “That was some crazy shenanigans,” but alas, the expected Judd blow up never occurred. You see, Judd was the only one who wasn’t in on that whole “Let’s bamboozle Jamie” vote; so surely he would be enraged by his team’s duplicity. But no. Instead he coped with his outsider status the way any maligned survivor would: by resorting to the third person. “Don’t feel bad for Judd because Judd doesn’t even feel bad whatsoever,” he said. Oooh! Does this mean Jamie passed his crazy onto Judd? (Crossing fingers for an episode full of loony, third person Juddisms.)
Meanwhile, Lydia cozied up to Gary and admitted, “I’d rather have you here.” And in Mark Burnett Survivor-ese, that usually translates to “I’ll be voting you off.”
The night finally came to a close with a happy Rafe declaring, “I feel like all is right in Survivor world!” At which point, several adorable birds began chirping by his shoulder, two rabbits fluttered their eyes at each other, a squirrel strummed a guitar on a nearby rock, and an owl looked at the camera and said, “Hoo Hoo Hooray! Goodnight boys and girls!”
The next morning, we found the survivors asleep and in the case of Judd, snoring (I wonder, can you snore in the third person?). But not everyone was passed out in a world of Guatemalan slumber. Gary and Lydia were up and trading secrets. Okay, maybe just Lydia was. Gary basically asked her a series of questions as to who was in charge around camp, etc., and Lydia merely nodded or shook her head, quietly revealing that Stephenie was running the show. Unfortunately, the two weren’t listening carefully to their surroundings, otherwise they would have realized Judd’s porcine snoring had ceased. Yes, the doorman had woken up and was now surreptitiously spying on Gary as he culled info from Lydia. Eventually, Judd made his presence known, thus ending the Garlydia union, but the damage was done. When Steph and Rafe found out about this early morning scheming, they were pissed, especially at Gary, who they now perceived as a snake. I mean, seriously. How DARE he try to scheme his way off the chopping block! JERK!
“I don’t even want him to get the reward,” Stephenie told us. But let’s be serious. Stephenie never wants anyone to have the reward.
As for Judd, he was annoyed because last week at the Folgers Coffee reward, Gary said he wanted to get rid of Lydia, but now he was clearly trying to win her favor. “That’s a big lie!” huffed Judd. And if there’s anything we know about Judd, it’s that he’s clearly a man who places the utmost emphasis on honesty and integrity…
At the reward challenge, the survivors had to answer trivia. Each person who had a correct response would get to bash a hanging jug (filled with corn, natch. Why? I don’t know). Now here’s the thing. Each person had three hanging jugs to their name. When all three were destroyed, they’d be eliminated. The winner would be taken to a hot springs waterfall where he or she would enjoy skewered meat, shrimp, beef, chicken, mojitas, and a massage. Shockingly, no Folgers Coffee would be involved. I know. I can’t believe it either.
The reward challenge started on a relatively goofy note as Probst asked what the names of the stones were on which Mayans wrote their hieroglyphics, with one option being “origami.” Man, I so wanted someone to choose “origami.” You know that if Jamie or Bobby Jon were still around, they’d totally pick it. Alas, “origami” went unloved, and after the first round, several people had the opportunity to bash pots. This, of course, meant instigating commentary from Probst. When Judd took a violent swing at Gary’s pot, Jeffy commented, “Nothing subtle about that!!” Shut up, PROBST!
As the challenge progressed, we learned all sorts of silly tidbits, like the fact that the Mayans used human heads to play “courtball.” Upon hearing this, I was instantly saddened that when the teams played this game a few weeks ago, the Survivor producers did not fashion some sort of ball from Rupert Bonham’s stupid head. Probably would have been too hairy.
Anyway, things became suddenly tense when Lydia took out Stephenie’s pots. Asked why, she replied, “I haven’t eaten. Steph ate three times.” To which Stephenie seethed, “So did Gary. So did Danni.” BABY WANTS HER REWARD!
Well, Cindy took Gary out; Danni took Judd out; and then Rafe took Danni out. As for Lydia, well, she lasted a while, but eventually she too fell into Rafe’s wobbly, uncoordinated crosshairs. Poor fishmonger. She looked like she wanted to cry. Ultimately, the competition came down to Rafe and Cindy, with Cindy ultimately persevering. And now the moment of truth: who would she pick? Odds that Stephenie will beg to be taken on the reward? Oh, about 3 to 2. Anyway, Cindy pondered and pondered… and pondered some more. PICK SOMEONE DAMMIT! I’m surprised Jeff didn’t lambast her for being so indecisive. He’s always in a rush, you know. Must get back to his rigorous schedule of turning his skin into leather.
Eventually, Cindy picked Rafe to go with her to the hot springs, and as the rest of the team returned to the camp, we found a crocodile on the loose. Uh oh! Might this be the untimely end for one tribe member? You just know those crocs have been checkin’ out Lydia ever since she arrived in Guatemala. Fresh fishmonger is like caviar to crocodiles.
Actually, the biggest threat to Lydia was Stephenie who was now on a rampage about the whole reward thing. You see, Princess Steph didn’t like being called out and was now on her throne of defensiveness. Don’t make her sound like she’s the only one getting fed, she snapped, noting that several other people have also partaken in rewards. Later, Steph told us, “There’s a winner and a loser in this game, and if you’re gonna be jealous, then you’re an idiot.” She then added, “I’m the only one who gets to victimize herself.”
“Oh my gawd. I can’t believe you accused me of eating!”
“Speak to the hand, bitch!”
Well, this whole fiasco did nothing but further isolate Lydia from her group. And luckily for us, we saw cracks in the veneer. “Everyone is putting Stephenie up on a pedestal,” Lydia told us. “Everyone is, knowing that Stephenie is the biggest threat, but nobody’s doing a thing about it.” YES LYDIA! Join the other side! Turn the game on its head!! Unfortunately, even if Lydia were to join Gary and Danni, it would still be an alliance of three against four. Their best bet would be to turn Judd, make him feel like the outsider of his group. Make him paranoid that of the final four, he’s number four in the pecking order. Oh, but who am I kidding? That would entail way more scheming than anyone on this season is capable of.
Meanwhile, over at the reward, Rafe and Cindy were greeted by two Guatemalan servants, who may or may not have been Jeff Probst’s personal sex slaves. Nevertheless, the two winners settled down for some grub, at which point Rafe told us, “It was a flood of strategy!” Not that we got to see any of it. Grrr. Instead, we spent most of the time watching Rafe and Cindy cavort in the water, with Cindy offering fascinating observations about how the water was hot AND cold! WOW! But most importantly, Rafe got to experience something new with the zookeeper: “I am a really touchy person, and Cindy’s not. So it’s nice to kind of feel that touchy-feely connection with Cindy.” And honestly, isn’t that what Survivor is all about? Having a touchy-feely connection at a waterfall? To be fair, Rafe is happy to have a touchy-feely relationship with a piece of cloth on the side of the road; so this really wasn’t that special.
Well, nothing else too interesting happened at the hot springs — that is if you don’t count the odd interview with Cindy from under the massage table — and with flowers in hair, Rafe and his new touchy feely victim returned to camp. As usual, Steph and her crew were perched on the ruins (that’s the cool table in the lunchroom) while Lydia sat down by the campfire, humbly slurping some nasty fish stew she had concocted. When Rafe and Cindy walked by, Lydia offered them a taste of this mucky soup, but we all knew it was just a sly way of saying “Thanks for making me eat this crap, BITCHES!” You gotta respect passive aggressive soup.
“Please sir, can I have some more?”
The next morning, the über-clique returned to their perch, this time with coffee, and while they comfortably sat above their lowly counterparts, Gary and Danni decided to turn Rafe. Not a smart move. Seems like the logical choice on the surface, but Rafe doesn’t want to backstab, and why would he betray his current alliance for another one that promises the exact same things? I’m telling you, go after Judd! (I say this as if I could somehow have any bearing on the outcome, despite the show being shot, you know, months ago).
At the immunity challenge, Probst announced that he would be telling a story. Once done, the players would have to run over to various shacks, piece together a question, choose one of two boxes and blah blah blah — first person with all their flags would win. Okay, let’s just get this thing started. Probst then settled in and told a long, meandering story about some moon goddess slut who basically had illicit affairs with every celestial being in Mayan culture. I mean, she even got killed, and she still came back from the dead to have affairs.
With storytime done, everyone went scampering to the shacks to get their various flags and whatnot. Probst was more impatient than usual though as he barked, “This is for immunity, LET’S GO!” Seriously. You’re in the Guatemalan jungle. WHERE DO YOU HAVE TO BE??? Just calm down, enjoy a mojito, and watch the game!
Anyway, Gary took an early lead by virtue of not missing a single question. Wow, what a great memory. It’s almost as if he’s had experiencing memorizing things. Complex things. Like… playbooks!!! Or, to be fair, plants. Yeah, probably plants. He is, after all, a landscaper.
Well, Gary may have been doing well, but Rafe beat him by a hair and won immunity again. “Who would see this little gay Mormon and think he’d win all these immunity challenges?” Rafe asked. Even more ironic was Judd’s proficiency with the unaired “Shop ‘Til You Drop!” and “Madonna Forever!” challenges. Just goes to show, you never know what’ll happen on Survivor!
Back at camp, Steph kvelled to us about her alliance, saying, “It’s perfect. It seems too good to be true.” Hmmm… Might this be the groundwork for some major backstabbing? A surprise ouster? I mean, this was prototypical Mark Burnett misdirection. “It feels weird because last time I felt so powerless, and this time I feel so powerful,” added Stephenie. Oh, my misdirection radar is going off the charts…
As for Lydia, she knew her time was up. “I’m screwed,” she told us, thus ensuring that she was not in fact screwed. C’mon Mark Burnett. We’re not gonna fall for that one. Meanwhile, Rafe told us that he simply did not trust Judd, who he believed has lied many times. Gary tried to pounce on this, but as a thunderstorm rolled in, it became obvious that this was going to be between Gary and Lydia, not Gary and Judd (or Steph, for that matter). Well, Lydia already said that she was screwed, and that’s too obvious a statement to make, so clearly this would be Gary’s big goodbye. Damn that obvious Survivor logic.
At Tribal Council, we saw our old buddies Bobby Jon and Jamie, both sporting hairdos that might get a lot of ladies at the roller disco. Before we could even ogle at their dumb hair though, Lydia began bad mouthing Stephenie, saying that everyone’s been putting her on a pedestal and whatnot. She then explained her actions at the reward challenge, saying that it wasn’t personal, but she wanted to give others a chance to try for the reward challenge. Well, this did not make Steph happy, as she balked, “If you’ve got something to say, say it to my face.” Um, didn’t she already? Several times, in fact?
Sensing a seam he could burst wide open, Gary jumped into the fray, saying, “There are some people here that are star-struck by her. That’s not her fault, but they all can probably get her autograph after the show.” Aww DIS!! And with that, Judd quietly pulled back the pen and paper he was just about to give Steph.
Actually, Judd didn’t do that, but he did box himself in by telling Probst, “To be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve lied yet.” Well, look out, Judd! Gary’s going down in flames, and he’s gonna take whoever he can with him.
“This is a lie: ‘hey guys, the idol is on the ground. That’s a lie!’” he said. OH DAMN! Yeah, that’s right Judd. You got SERVED! Gary style!
With no defense, Judd simply confessed, saying, “Okay, alright. I lied about the damn idol.” He did qualify the statement though by saying it was the only time. What a tool. Eh, but it’s part of the game. I can’t beg for scheming and then hate on Judd for lying. You see, if I had been Gary, I probably would have just started a bunch of rumors around camp and turned the dominant four against each other. I mean, that’s what it’s all about.
Hey, who’s that pretty girl sitting next to Jamie?
Okay, enough stalling. Let’s get to the voting. We only saw Judd’s ballot (for Gary, obviously), and then it was time for Probst to read them. Vote 1: Gary. Vote 2: Cindy. Cindy? What the? Okay, so clearly this won’t even be close. Cindy didn’t even come near the realm of ouster possibilities. Maybe if Lydia or Stephenie or even Judd had shown up, I would have been excited. But Cindy? Whatever. No need to prolong this. The next three votes were for Gary, and so he was voted off the island. Or country, really. And yes, Lydia and Danni voted for Gary. I hate that. What’s the point? I hate when the people on the fringes kiss up to the power players as if that’s really gonna help them.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all though was that Gary did reveal his true identity to his tribe members. I mean, how could he deprive us of that moment? Maybe he’ll reveal at the jury inquisition. He better! Because by the reunion show, it’ll be too late, dammit.
What do you think? Could Gary have saved himself? How can Danni and Lydia turn this game upside down?