This week, on Survivor, it's time for the merge. Also, they steal liberally from Big Brother, which means that the immunity challenge is fixed so that a Donato wins. Just kidding, CBS!
We open after last week's uncomfortable/awesome TC in which Courtney called Jean-Robert out for being sort a douche. After the two of them go at it for a few minutes, Amanda (who pretty much just wants them both to shut up so that she can go to bed, an opinion which I frequently share re: JR and Courtney) tells them that the matter is between the two of them, so there's no need to drag it out in front of everybody. This is meant to close the discussion. It does not. Instead, Todd states diplomatically that he hates Jean-Robert much less than he used to. Complimentary! Courtney takes these two comments to mean that Todd and Amanda are somehow defending Jean-Robert, because she is the exact kind of friend that thinks you should back her up 100 percent of the time, no matter how crazy and messed up their opinions are, especially if those opinions defy all logic and reason.
After the credits we're over at Zhan Hu, where James is waiting for the rest of the tribe to go off somewhere long enough to grab the idol off of the gate. At first, he grabs the wrong tile (there are tiles on both sides, and both are similar in appearance). He notices this and drops the tile on the ground before prying the real one off of its base. Once he gets the real idol down, he doesn't have time to place the other one back up before everyone returns, so he just leaves it laying on the ground. James, all ecstatic: "I'm on Survivor with two idols!" Way to go, Todd.
The next day, Courtney decides to confront Todd about his supposed "defending" of JR the night before. The conversation escalates and gets more and more ridiculous until Todd snaps and is like, "Listen up, Skinny McBitch. I need him to keep a majority, so if you could go over somewhere in the corner and complain to the indigenous animals of the forest, I would really appreciate it. I hear pandas are good listeners. And also, we can't just be voting out people we don't like."
Then, he calls her a bitch in a confessional! I don't know what he's talking about, I actually find her quite rational. You know, for a giant walking pencil.
Later at Zhan Hu, Jaime notices that something is missing from the awning, so Erik goes over to investigate and finds the decoy idol laying on the ground. Jaime and Erik have a pow wow over it, decide that what they have looks a bit like an idol, and are therefore going to keep it until the have evidence to the contrary. Everyone's been all "What idiots!" all week, but I just don't see it, sorry. While there are several holes in logic that occur throughout this episode, this isn't exactly the dumbest thing I've ever seen on this show. I'm pretty sure it's still more embarrassing to have been bested by Dreamz.
Jaime and Erik also want confirmation that what they have is the real deal, and they also correctly deduce that the other plaque is missing too, and that James must be the culprit. They wait until he goes off somewhere with Peih-Gee and search through his bag, which is inside another bag, which is wrapped in something else, which is wrapped in bacon. It's both difficult to get into and delicious.
For some reason, Jaime gets all the way to the middle and sees that he's got not one, but two plaques in his bag. She feels them in his pant leg, and then...puts the bag back together. According to the editing, it doesn't appear that he's coming or anything, but he may have been, who knows. Either way, this part isn't very smart. Maybe she's afraid that there's a bear trap in his pant leg?
The next day, James notices that the plaque he dropped is now missing. "Please, please, please let them think it's an idol. Please let that happen." I can see how eager he is to make the people that screwed him over look stupid, and also, it would be sort of awesome to see a fake idol get played.
The tribes come together for what they think is going to be the reward challenge, but Jeff instead announces a merge. Everyone gets their new black buffs, and Jeff tells them to prepare themselves for a celebratory feast. He also reminds them sternly that "the game never stops" and then dismisses them to their feast. He says this in exactly the same faux-serious, overly dramatic way that Julie Chen says these kinds of things right before fake bird poop flies all over the place.
The castaways get to enjoy lots of food and whatnot while acrobats prance around in front of them. Many of them are getting drunk and taking shots, which seems inadvisable on a belly full of rice. I really wanted Courtney to get drunk and make out with Jean-Robert here, but it did not happen.
At their new camp (which is Fei Long's camp), the tribe discusses possible new names. They know that they want the word "black" somewhere in it, because of the buff color. This causes Jean-Robert to joke that "Once James leaves, we'll have to change the name." It's the kind of joke you make with someone that you know you're buddies with, as JR sort of is with James. It's not the kind of joke you make on national television, but you know...can't really fault him. Frosti picks up on this and jokes about how he got put on the yellow tribe, which seems to break the tension that remains. It doesn't make JR a racist or anything, he just didn't really read the room correctly, is all. But God knows my friends and I have made similar jokes with each other in the past. In short, I guess I'm trying to say that JR is a dumbass. A dumbass who can't read a room. Or a nation.
The tribe settles on the name "Hae Da Fung" which means Black Fighting Wind in Chinese. While Jaime paints the flag, a boat approaches. It's Probst! Everyone is like "WTF?" because it's pretty much like the principal showing up at your keg party. Quick, hide the bong, Probst is coming! He's even all awkward slang-y. "Whatup?" he says, pretty much like my grandma would.
It turns out that he's come to camp not to enjoy a dope and funky fresh evening with his homeslices, but to bring the tribe together for their first individual immunity challenge. He does not mention that he's also scouting for his next girlfriend. That's the awesome thing about contestants: he keeps getting older, but they stay the same age, man.
The challenge today is cribbed directly from Big Brother, and I mean directly. He's going to be asking them detailed questions about the feast that happened earlier, and they're going to write their answers down; wrong answers are immediately eliminated, and the last one standing wins immunity. This challenge, it is boring. It comes down to Jaime and Frosti, and Frosti takes the first immunity necklace.
Time for individual scheming! This is always where the season starts to hit the sweet spot for me. James pulls Todd and Amanda aside to tell them about the whole situation with the fake idol and the possibility that Jaime thinks she has the real one. He's actually sort of smug, going on and on about how dumb they are for thinking that the tile is the idol when it doesn't say "immunity" on it and whatnot, and it just goes on forever. So, here's my thing: James kind of doesn't have any room to be doing this: he wouldn't be in position of any idols were it not for Todd's Super Smart Plan To Finally Capture Moose and Squirrel last week. It's not like James deciphered the clues, ascertained the location of the idol, and then grabbed the second one as well, which is the way he's acting. Also, he was the one that originally grabbed the wrong plaque by mistake, so it's not like he didn't make the same mistake. Also also, someone who couldn't even figure out when a challenge was being blatantly thrown isn't exactly in a position to mock someone else's misperceptions. It's not that I don't want to see the fake idol played, because I totally do (and did), but this is sort of crappy right here. Not that I don't understand his desire to make those people look dumb, because (again) they did try to screw him over earlier in the game. But still: quiet, James. I sort of like you right now, so please don't ruin it.
Amanda, in turn, tells James about Courtney's flakiness over the past few days, which causes him to throw a little tantrum about how emotional Courtney can be, which seems sort of...counterintuitive to the whole discussion. Meanwhile, Todd talks to Jean-Robert about how tonight's boot will be Jaime. JR, however, wants to get rid of Peih-Gee, and his reasoning is interesting: he tells Todd that he likes her and thinks that she's cool, and he doesn't want to like her enough to hear her out when she's still around tomorrow. This is solid reasoning, getting rid of people with whom you identify. It's also the reason why Jean-Robert is still around.
JR seems to think that the final three is going to be him, Todd and Amanda, which Todd signs on for. JR also gives Todd a stern warning about double-crossing him, and how JR will be blaming Todd personally if he gets screwed over. Todd is like, "Um, okay" and then tells us in confessional how ready he is to get rid of Jean-Robert when it suits him. Which should be never, at this point. Seriously, stack the JR haters on the jury and take his ass to the end.
Back at camp, the old Zhan Hus approach Frosti with the news that they have one of the immunity idols. This alarms Frosti quite a bit, which I think confirms my theory that he wasn't in on the whole challenge fixing thing that went awry last week, because then he would know that James had both, which he apparently does not. So, that mystery is solved. He tells us that the way they describe it is very similar to the one that he's already seen (which he has to know that James has), so it worries him a bit. You guys, I don't think he's voting with Zhan Hu.
Meanwhile, Jaime talks to Todd out in the forest about the immunity idols. She tells him that she knows who has both of them, and that she'll "tell him tomorrow" if he keeps her around. This is where I got suspicious of the whole "Jamie is dumb and thinks that she has an idol, ha ha, what an idiot" storyline, because you will note that she says "both". Which means that she is smart enough to know that there is only two. Also, she wouldn't be doing this if she thought what she had was the real idol, because logically this is either a bluff to Todd that she's got one, or an acknowledgement that she does not, depending on the circumstances. Either way, she's not dumb. She's not smart, necessarily, but she's definitely not dumb.
Todd, in confessional: "Man, she really needs to catch up. She's on the small bike in the back." See, that's how you act intellectually superior. He has a little room to gloat having found the idols at all, but then he turned around and gave them to James, which was equally dumb, so I guess James...stole his bike?
Tribal Council! Probst asks Jean-Robert about merge strategy, which gives him an excuse to call out Courtney as someone that he believes will be sticking around for awhile. That seemed completely unnecessary, but whatever. Jean-Robert and Courtney bitching at tribal council is not exactly a newsmaker round these parts nowadays. We get, like, thirty seconds of Jeff's stupid questions tonight (adding yet more evidence to the fact that he is being super lame this season) before it's time to vote. After the vote, Jaime interrupts Jeff, telling him that she "found something at camp" and thinks it "might" be the idol.
She goes over and hands it to him. They edit out the part where Jeff pees his pants with excitement at what he's about to get to do. He's as excited as we are when he tells everyone that the rules of Survivor (rules?) state that immunity idols must be played before the votes are read. Jean-Robert, knowing that he is well and truly fucked if this thing turns out to be an idol (and also just now becoming the very last person to figure out that idols are even involved this season, which is the sweeter part, if you ask me), is completely freaking out on the sidelines. Jeff is like "This, however, is NOT an immunity idol" and then he throws it into the fire. Jeff needs to throw more things in the fire. Like, say, several of the contestants. You can tell that Jaime was clearly not anticipating an embarrassing debacle here, but that's what you get when the Probst sees an opportunity to mock you. Still, it's awesome. The votes are read, and Jaime is ousted by a vote of 7-3.
So, that was badass.