Survivor Recap: "I'm The Chief Of Counter-Intelligence"
After last week’s predictable double elimination of former Zapatera members, are we finally going to see an interesting episode, or are we in for the continued systematic post-merge dismantling along Tribal lines? Is the Redemption Island “duel” actually going to be a three-person challenge? And why is Phillip playing the Race Card?
My Random Thoughts:
- Previously on…Survivor. Jeff’s voice-over reminded us that Sarita said David crumbles under pressure, and David didn’t like that. I couldn’t decide whether that meant we were going to see David absolutely kill the Redemption Island challenge, or suck donkeys again. But I knew for certain at this moment that it was going to be one or the other. I’m getting a little tired of the Previously segments telling us what they think we need to know for this episode. Go back to the old way of a simple recap without the obvious foreshadowing moments of what is about to happen in the episode.
- Night vision recap: at Redemption (Non) Island, Matt still loves Jesus, and is still looking to him for guidance and strength. I'll say what I, and many others, have said on numerous occasions...I'm pretty sure Jesus has some other items on his agenda that rank slightly ahead of "Help Matt win a duel that may help in get back into a game that he will likely get voted out of for a third time." Does that sound like a high priority?
Personally, I would have loved for a majestic voice to come booming down at that moment and say, "Matt, this is Jesus. I will help you, as long as you stop saying "Whaaaaat???" every time someone tells you something."
- Back at camp, Steve became a yappy bitch for some reason, complaining about Phillip "flapping gums" at Tribal Council. I'm so sick of Steve within the parameters of this game. He's done absolutely nothing except for manufacture the single worst move in the game, throwing a challenge to eliminate Russell, and then watched his Tribe get sawed off one by one with nary a whimper. He's won nothing, he barely contends in challenges, and now he's complaining about Phillip "flapping gums", when he's actually the one doing the flapping. Honestly, what has Steve done in this game?
- Phillip was working on making sure his magic feather was placed just right on his headband as he prepared to look his finest for this episode. I loved the shot of Phillip staring at the hawk right as the opening sequence began, and then it all made sense to me...
Do you remember the Wonder Twins from Justice League America? The brother and sister that would smack their fists together and say "Wonder Twin powers...activate!" before one of them turned into an animal, and the other into some form of water. I submit to you...that Coach Wade is one of the Wonder Twins!
Think about it, it makes total sense! He's activated his power, and turned into a hawk (obviously), who then flew to Nicaragua, and dropped a feather of divine inspiration for Phillip as a way to connect the two of them. That's why we're hearing the hawk screech, like we always heard with Coach. And that's why there was that shot of Phillip and the Hawk at the beginning of this episode...he has now connected with his Wonder Twin Spirit Guide. The Federal Agent figured it all out.
- Zapatera decided that if they were going to all be heading home soon anyways, why not pig out on the rice, as Julie put an astonishing seven-and-a-half scoops of rice in that pot (and none of them crispy!) Philip then turned into the "rice police", as Rob referred to him. I'm thinking that Rice Nazi was probably a better analogy, referring to the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld, but with the racial undertones that surfaced shortly after this, maybe "Nazi" wouldn't have gone over so well, after all.
As an aside, isn't it amazing how divided this "merged" tribe still is? I know that at a merge, a lot of the time alliances remain based on Tribal lines, but these two former Tribes have different shelters, different food stores, and pretty much different everything. Can you ever remember seeing that on a "merged" tribe?
Phillip commented on the rice situation, saying "I’m watching Zapatera like a lion.” Dammit Phillip, why do you always mess up the analogies!? It's "watch like a hawk", not a lion, and if my theory about Coach and the hawk is right above, then it's even more confusing...unless you were deliberately trying to draw attention away from the idea of a hawk so that we wouldn't catch on to you and Coach. Damn you're good.
But with all the jumbled metaphors that Phillip gives us, I want him to stay around as long as possible, just so I can hear something ridiculous like "Why don't you make like a stapler, and get out of here", or "Don't count your puppies before they cross the road."
- Redemption Island featured the old House of Cards challenge, and 450...that's right FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY specially made tiles. If you weren't on board with my "Mark Burnett bought a shitload of tiles on discount" bandwagon before, feel free to hop right on. (And yes, I know they were wood, but they were still tiles!)
I didn't like that only the loser was eliminated. As Jeff said, “you don’t have to be first, just don’t be last”, and I found yet another reason to hate Redemption Island. Come on man, it's bad enough that when you're voted out, you're not really out, but now you can compete in the follow-up challenge, NOT WIN IT, and still not be eliminated? Ridiculous.
Mike won, Matt came second, and Puzzle Master Dave was a mile behind. Shocking.
- At camp, the simple topic of rice started a massive blowup. It started out in a very civil manner, as Andrea came over to ask Steve and Julie if they could use their rice container, and was told no. No big deal, asked and answered...no drama.
Enter Phillip, who asked the same thing in a more aggressive manner, and then when he got the same answer, progressed to insistence that it was going to go the way he wanted. Then, something Steve did set him off. I'm not sure exactly what it was. Maybe it was the "lunatic" comment, maybe the refusal to bend on the rice issue, or perhaps it was due to the fact that during this whole argument, Steve was too lazy to even sit up, as he just laid on his side in a prone position? Seriously, how lazy is this guy that he can't even sit up to argue? Do you know how much credibility you lose when you're angry laying on your side?
Then it happened.
Phillip played the Race Card, insisting that Steve was saying no and saying he was crazy because he was black. Look, I'm sure there's going to be a TON written on this in the coming days, by many people smarter (and funnier) than me, so I'm not going to give it a lot of lip service. I will say however, that I was surprised by this exchange:
Phillip: "You need to make the decisions you need to make, and I need to make the decision I need to make."
Steve: "Right on, Brother."
I'm surprised because Phillip didn't explode, yelling "Who the hell are you calling 'Brother'???"
Phillip then referred to himself as "the chief of counter-intelligence”, which I'm assuming meant (to Phillip) that he's able to counter any opposing forces' intelligence by out-thinking them. I'm convinced, however, that it means 'whatever is intelligent, I'm about to do the opposite.'
And I say that because his next speech to the viewers was as follows: "I'm like a lot of black men. We’re prepared to self destruct at any moment. Cuz that’s what happens to a lot of black men. They do self destruct and (grabs imaginary gun from imaginary holster and shoots) BAM BAM BAM BAM!!!”
And why not follow it up with an N-Bomb?
That screeching sound you heard was Phillip setting race relations back 20 years.
- At the Immunity (No Reward!) Challenge, Probst's shirt was borderline grey, but still blue, everyone saw that it was a two part jigsaw puzzle, and all 9 of them shared a silent, introspective moment to acknowledge that Dave would not be able to participate. (I assume it was edited out, but it had to happen, right? All must pay respect for Puzzle Master Dave.)
I turned to my girlfriend at the beginning of this challenge and said two things: 1) This challenge is 100% Rob's, and 2) If Ralph wins this, I'll bend through my own legs and kiss my own ass.
Sean - 2. Survivor - 0
- Did Natalie say a word this episode? It seemed like every time we even saw her, it was when Phillip was ranting and she had the same look on her face...a look that said "What the hell is going on? Please get me out of the vicinity of this insanity." Yes, I know she spoke at Tribal Council, but all she really said was "I like Phillip and I like Steve." Wow, great TV there, Natalie.
- I was amused at Julie burying Phillip's shorts, but the short-term amusement turned into theoretical long term anger, as I realized that if he didn't find them, then we're stuck with Phillip in his tighty-pinkies the rest of the way. And when I realized that, I hated Julie with a blinding rage that made me want to go outside and find a puppy to kick...and then find another one, and kick it too.
Ashley's comment was “everybody in camp is over Phillip”, but it should have been “everybody in camp wants Phillip to wear pants at all times.” All of the remaining tribe members should have banded together to find those damn shorts, for the good of the show, and the sanity of the viewing audience.
Phillip responded with “I can play that game,” which was very confusing. Does that mean everyone's clothes are going to get buried? I think what Phillip should do is start grabbing other people's clothes and storing them in the front pouch of those baggy briefs, snuggled in there nice and close up with his Little Federal Agent. Then when they take issue with it, say "Then find my damn shorts!" How fast do you think the search would begin?
- Tribal Council started off uneventful: missing shorts, Rice-Gate, David getting spooked by a bug that was the size of a small bird, then the Jeff Probst Therapy session came to order and the Steve vs. Phillip race conversation began. Like I said, I'm not going into it in-depth, but I will say that I don't think Steve was untoward in any way, and I think Phillip over-reacted. I don't like Steve as a player in this game, but as a person, the way he handled this whole situation (calmy, with dignity) was commendable, and showed great character. Even in the voting booth, when he could have fired back a barb at Phillip, he just expressed that he hopes Phillip finds peace.
And let's give credit to Dr. Probst on a job well done in this episode. I thought he handled that whole situation exceptionally well...and even uncovered the shorts thief in the process. "If this were therapy, I’d say very good session” - I laughed hard at that one.
So Ralph spelled a name wrong (AGAIN), and Julie was voted out 6-3, leaving with a final jab at Phillip "Guess you’re not gonna ever find your shorts." Great...now I have to find a THIRD puppy!
It really says how anti-climactic the voting has been when the ordering of votes for three consecutive Tribal Councils has been all of the Zapatera votes first, and then the Ometepe votes last. Yes, it's that predictable...they want that extra few seconds of believing we don't actually know who is going home.
- What did you think, should an episode of Reality TV contain this much Religion and Alleged Racism? Isn't that a bit of a harsh left turn for Survivor? Let's hear from you in the Comments section.
Next week: Phillip is happy, and Matt breaks down.
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