Finally, the J-Unit has come back to SURVIVOR! Sorry folks, just channeling my inner Rock there. B-side would have really liked to have done this recap, but he will be traveling part of the day, and since there will be a two hour finale on Sunday as well as an Amazing Race two hour finale on Tuesday, the master must rest before he goes into battle, and I am happy to be the cannon fodder. While we had almost no scheming whatsoever throughout most of the game, it seems that over the last few weeks, people have started to get the hint. Jamie and Judd had been backstabbed into elimination by their own alliances. While this strategy was better than nothing, Jamie and Judd were voted off more because they were annoying than because they were seen as a danger. Still, having the guts to go up against these strong personalities and get rid of them took more than just dumb luck, and in the end, it had the same effects as any good strategic move: paranoia for the players and suspense for all of us.I was never really a big fan of Judd’s, but you do have to respect what he brought to the game. His “scumbags” line is going to be remembered for quite a long time. Judd’s departure was bad for Judd, but Cindy was smart enough to realize what it meant to her. People who aren’t in on the plan turn up missing later. Jamie was the first, and the person that the Rafe and Stephenie decided couldn’t be trusted in on the plan was Judd. Then when the group decided that Judd would be eliminated, Cindy was left out of the loop. Do we see a pattern here? What guarantee did she have that she wouldn’t next?
The answer is that nobody could make her any promises and the schemers handbook says that the perfect revenge would be for Cindy to take out one of the people who showed her no loyalty. Either Rafe or Stephenie would have to go, and since there were only five people left, they only people she had to make deals with are Danni and Lydia, the two people most open to suggestion. Yes Danni had a deal with Rafe for final three, but if you were Danni, doesn’t a final three with you, Lydia, and Cindy give you better odds? Would our dreams come true? We could only wait to find out.
After Judd’s elimination, the last bits of masculinity were stripped from the camp. Who would have thought that what people call the most difficult Survivor ever would come down to four women and a gay guy? Well, if you look at the history of Survivor, women do impressively well, and there has been an all male final two exactly once. While there haven’t been that many more all female final twos, the fact that women are always there in the running in such a physical game, should mean that this outcome is not that strange. Granted, women often take a different path to the end, one less riddled with the carcasses of slain tribe members during the physical challenges, but saying that the female members of the species and their effeminate male friends are somehow at a disadvantage I think reveals a misunderstanding of the game.
With all of that equality shit out of the way, the Xhakum was really happy to have rid themselves of Judd. I said that the scheming to get rid of him was mainly because he was a nuisance and not pure strategy, because I think a lot of people would have liked to have taken Judd into the final two, because he really did piss everybody off. The reason they got rid of him is that they couldn’t stand how comfortable he was with the gifts god gave him, and although he wasn’t Richard Hatch, he got naked a few too many times for comfort. Overall, the comfort level of the tribe went up. As Rafe said, the cool kid left, so everybody got to have more fun and act Nerdy. And while there weren’t any cucumber peels or toe nail polish, the rest of the time was going to be a girl’s night out. With Judd around, do you think Rafe and Lydia would have felt comfortable singing “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys and cooing about how hot Justin Timberlake is?
So we have Gentle Rafe (that is what Lydia called him), who is one of the girls. If they are going to have a girl’s night out, one of them is going to have to drive while the rest are getting loaded on appletinis and vodka diet red bulls. Luckily for them, Mark Burnett was going to give them a chance at living that fantasy, because the tree mail contained only a car key. Lydia talked about how she would love to win for her son, while Steph talked about how nice it would be if she or Rafe won because they were the only people who didn’t own cars. It’s sort of funny because need has never really entered into her thought process in any other reward challenge when it was food, or else Lydia might have had something to eat already.
At the reward challenge, the game was second chance. The survivors would compete for supremacy while going through a course comprised of challenges they have already done. Five would start on the balance beam, untying those throwing sticks along the way, the top three would try to break a tile. The two people who broke their tile the quickest would then go on to solve a puzzle. When the puzzle was finished, the person would get into a wooden cart, cut a rope using a machete, and hurtle down the track, arms up like Bobby Jon racing his soap box derby entry to a Skynyrd concert. The winner would not only get the car, a Pontiac Torrent, but a trip to an archaeologist camp with a feast.
Throughout the whole challenge, my only wish was that Stephenie didn’t win. Not only has she been getting on our nerves all of this time, I was really hoping that the tribe would orchestrate her ouster. Rafe said that the cool kid was gone when Judd left, but Stephenie was just a big of a part of that group mentality that made people afraid to speak out or be themselves, lest they have to hear her lecturing them with that duck call voice of hers. The balance beam proved challenging, and everybody fell off at least once, except for Danni. It looked like Steph was going to be eliminated when she fell of towards the end, but she managed to regroup and join Danni and Cindy for the next portion, breaking tiles. For that challenge, Cindy and then Stephenie broke their tiles, moving them on to the final portion.
At this point, I was feeling defeated, and my only wish was that Stephenie would win and take Rafe with her so the rest of the people could plot another double cross, but as luck would have it, Cindy finished the puzzle first and won the car. Having won, Cindy would have a really big decision on her hands. She felt betrayed by her friends, but would she really risk the chance of leaving Rafe and Stephenie at the tribe to plot her demise? Not bloody likely. Before she got a chance to pick who would go with her, Probst asked her an even bigger question. Every time Survivor has given somebody a car, that person failed to go on and become the sole survivor. Jeff rolled in a few more Pontiac Torrents and told Cindy that she could take the car, or she could give a car to each of the other four people. It was a move that would not only gain her favor, but would symbolically curse her competitors. I say symbolically because people who don’t win the car but are picked to have one (Amber, All Stars), don’t have any problem winning.
Cindy thought about it and realized that she could give all of them a car, but it doesn’t mean that any of them wouldn’t vote her out. Rafe and Steph had broken deals before, and Danni and Lydia are out there making deals with anybody. She kept her car, and picked Stephenie to drive away with her. Although the Survivor Car Curse said her chances of winning were now zero, she was out there to beat the odds. Winning a car is cool, especially if you are a zookeeper. I suspect that unless you are like the director of a really big zoo, being a zookeeper is not that lucrative, and so when she chose that life over that of an investment banker or trail attorney, she knew that the most luxurious ride she would be taking would be in those little golf carts as she races the elephant masturbator to Titus’ pen during mating season. Needless to say, the air conditioning blowing on her face was much better than monkey feces.
When they drove to the archaeological site, they found that an archaeologist was there to meet them. That’s too bad, because I was hoping that they would find the archaeological site with the strippers. Once there, they learned that it was going to be a sausagefest. No, they hadn’t stumbled upon a Gold’s Gym, their meal was literally a bunch of sausage and meat. Afterwards, Frederico the anthropologist regaled them with amazing stories, describing all of the wonders of the Mayan culture, although I am not sure Stephenie and Cindy were actually listening. They were talking about voting out Danni, and about Cindy’s decision, with Stephenie saying that it was what everybody else would have done in her position. They even joked about how everybody would be so jealous that they would vote them out right away, but the real consensus was that nobody would be that bitter.
While they were away at the reward, there was some debate going on at the Xhakum camp. Did Cindy do what any of them would do and keep it for herself, or would the move come back to haunt her. Rafe, who may be competing for ultimate control of his harem with Stephenie, seemed to think that Cindy’ move was fabulously stupid. Rafe couldn’t imagine that anybody would want to give up the good will that handing a person a car would mean. Plus, practically speaking, if four people could get cars instead of just one person, doesn’t that just make more sense. Dannie agreed with Rafe, and although Lydia didn’t really hold any resentment towards Cindy for what she did, she is not going to speak up and defend somebody if they are becoming a bigger target than she is.
On their return from the reward, it’s always expected that the people who won are going to talk about what happened, but for some Cindy, was going a little overboard. It’s fine that she came home and talked about the steering and suspension and how smooth it was. After all, CBS does have to pay the bills, right? But even after she was finished with the paid portion of her endorsement, she kept going on and on about how wonderful her car was. It wasn’t just any old SUV, it was really a luxury vehicle. Yeah, it was a luxury vehicle she only used for herself. I think it was easy to see that nobody was interested in what she had to say, but one of the greatest moments of ignorance I have ever seen, she said that they were all excited to hear about the car.
The immunity challenge involved some more ropes and poles. No, they weren’t going to re-enact the heart-warming shared tetherball scene from Napoleon Dynamite. It also makes me wonder if Cindy will be taking her new car off of any sweet jumps. I bet she could get like three feet of air if she tried. Anyway, the survivors were all tied to a piece of rope that was looped around several posts with locks at each one. They also had shackles on their feet and hands. They would have a keychain with a bunch of keys, but only one would open each lock. The first lock would be the one binding their hands, then one on each post, and then finally their feet. When they were through, they had to run to a flagpole and release their flag. They could go at any time, but to make sure they could reach, they had to unwind as much rope as possible. I know that sounds confusing, but don’t blame me, blame the bondage fetishists that run these Survivor challenges.
As much as I didn’t want Steph to win the reward, I *really* didn’t want her to win immunity. My earlier hopes of Cindy getting even and voting out Steph were severely tempered when she chose Steph to go with her to the archaeologist, and I really don’t want Rafe to go home, but I’m for scheming first, so I would have to see how it would play out. It turned out that the immunity was much like the reward with Cindy and Stephenie battling it out to see who would win. This time, it was Stephenie who won, and if I hadn’t had to take my apple pie out of the oven, I might have thrown my laptop across the room, Cooper style. What made it more frustrating was that Stephenie thought she had won twice, only to be held up when her rope didn’t reach her flag because of knots. Twice she had to go back and untie the knots, but it still wasn’t enough to give Cindy the win. BLAST!
Stephenie immediately began to cry after getting the immunity idol, exclaiming “I finally won something!”. I am sure all of you were fighting back the tears like I was. Oh poor Stephenie. She was on one Survivor, got a chance to come back, and is now in the final four! If she was an orphan, we could have made it into a movie for Lifetime, or perhaps Oxygen. OK, so it was her first individual immunity, but how many people even make it long enough to compete for individual immunity? How many people get to do it twice? And didn’t she notice that there are some people who have been doing a lot less winning than she has? So she had a hard time on the first season. So what?
With Stephenie’s immunity win, there were only two story lines that would make this all make sense. Any thoughts of Cindy having an original thought and trying to take out Rafe were slim, but what about the curse for the car? Would it come back to haunt Cindy? When Cindy came back, Rafe talked to Stephenie about what she would have done, and she said that she would have taken the car as well. It made Rafe realizes that perhaps he wasn’t playing this game hard enough. He isn’t here to make friends, so why act like it?
There is a lot to say about Danni, certainly more than what you would think you could say considering she is really getting into that hunger strike form. But this is only a game Dannie. Get serious! Sew your lips shut. That takes some real anorexic dedication. What I will say about Danni is that she has managed to navigate some tough times, and has done a pretty good job judging whom she should stay loyal to. She knows that she is going to be the next target, the last member of the final Yaxha tribe still around after the merge. She also knows that Rafe can bring Lydia and probably Stephenie. The only thing Danni needs to do is convince Rafe that it is important to keep her around, and she does that by telling him that not only would she not vote for him as agreed, she would take him to the final two no matter who else was there.
The prospect of this final two deal would be hard for Rafe to pass up. Danni was offering it to him without him having to offer anything in return to her. If he were going to keep his word, he couldn’t vote for Danni, he would have to choose between Lydia and Cindy. Let’s face it, when it is your ass and a million dollars on the line, you would rather have Lydia in the way than Cindy. Given a normal diet, I am sure that Lydia is a scrappy little fishmonger, but absent of nutrients you have to give Cindy the competitive edge. Besides, Cindy didn’t give up her car for the benefit of everybody, giving Rafe the convenient defense of selfishness and greed to defend campaigning against Cindy.
And so begins the perilous dance that is Survivor campaigning. First, Rafe goes to Stephenie and runs his idea of getting rid of Cindy past her. Stephenie tries to play smooth, but she sort of has a deal with Cindy, but she can’t say that she does, so she goes back to tell Cindy. They discuss getting rid of Rafe. They know that they can’t do it alone, so they go and try to convince Danni, and for a minute there, you sort of had an idea that maybe Amy Cusack’s dream of an all-female final four would come true. The thing was, Rafe had a habit of finding himself in the middle of many of these strategy conversations before too much could get discussed, but all of this seemed strange anyway because the alternative to Cindy was not Danni or Lydia, it was Rafe. Stephenie was worried about betraying Cindy on the jury and she was suddenly going to vote for Rafe? The smart play would have been Cindy offer Lydia final three to vote for Danni. Instead, they try and go for Danni’s biggest ally.
When it came time for tribal council, we all wondered if Judd was going to rush in and start beating people up, but I have to say that he was quite composed and when he is cleaned up and wearing pastels, he doesn’t look half bad. If it weren’t for Bobby Jon, Judd would have been the fairest one of all. Also, I have a gratuitous Lydia’s face in the fire shot since it’s been a few weeks.
Jared Leto + Carbs = Judd?
Jeff started the questioning by asking how things were happening at camp. Were people sticking to their plans and alliances, or had the paranoia started kicking in now that Jamie and Judd had been blind-sided on their way out? Pretty much everybody agreed that you couldn’t trust anybody, which, allowed Jeff to go on to the next question, asking Cindy why she kept the car. With all of the history of Survivor going against her, plus a chance to foster good will among these people who have no problems removing people they have made promises to, how could Cindy not have given people a car. Despite the curse, I think it’s tough to say no to the car, but at this stage in the game, I think it is a pretty good gamble. The top three will probably have enough money to buy a new car of similar quality, even after taxes, and even the fourth place finisher can place a nice down payment on a Kia. This is not like taking $10,000 at the beginning of the show, when the odds are still way out of your favor for making the money back.
When the votes were cast, it was a landslide. Cindy was voted out with four votes. Again, trying to negotiate for Rafe’s departure was probably a bad move, and the person who was her biggest Ally, Steph, really had no incentive to campaign for her, especially after Rafe was sniffing around their plans. As Cindy left, she realized that the curse of the car was still in effect, and the scenario she predicted after Judd’s eviction came true. Problem was, she only had herself to blame. That car might have cost her a million dollars, and, well, you’ve already seen the title of this post. She tried to be all passive aggressive, saying that she hopes they enjoy themselves while she is looking through the sunroof of her brand new car, but when she is talking to a person who is going to win a million dollars, another that is going to win about a hundred thousand, one more that is going to win around $75,000 and another around $50,000, those words just don’t have the same effect as somebody who called them all scumbags, but I guess you can’t use scumbags two tribal councils in a row.
I think the finale should be interesting. Now that we are down to four, things really could go any direction. I think people would want Lydia to be with them at the final because she would be physically weak in the final endurance challenge, but it all depends on immunity and if Danni and Rafe decided to keep their promises and not vote for each other. It would be great if Rafe decided to go against Stephenie for campaigning against him with Cindy, and Danni would be smart to mention that as things go forward. Be sure to tune in this Sunday for the finale!
What did you think of the episode? Would you have kept the car? Did Cindy have any chance after she kept the car? Who do you want to win?