Survivor Recap: "One Man Should Not Have This Much Power In This Game"
I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about how bad this season is, either because of the dominance of Boston Rob, or the predictability of pretty much everything after the first three episodes, or Redemption Island as a whole. I’ll agree that this definitely hasn’t been the best season, but let me ask you this: without Rob or Phillip on your screen this season, how boring would it have been then?
On to tonight’s episode, the final show before Sunday’s Season Finale…
My Random Thoughts:
- Previously on..Survivor. Ometepe was forced to turn on each other after Zapatera was completely eliminated, Phillip claims to be faking his crazy ways to portray "the villain" (yeah, right!), and Andrea was blindsided at the last Tribal Council.
Meanwhile, the Night Vision recap told us that Ashley just loves blindsides, and that she thinks that she and Natalie are BFF. Natalie is weary of her and that perception, and runs to tell Rob. Rob says that he has control (which he does), but that now he needs to make sure that he keeps control.
- At Redemption (Non) Island, Andrea snubs Matt upon arrival to go hug Ralph (???), which brings up a conversation between her and Matt about angry looks and puppy-dog eyes, and who is wishy-washy, and who is throwing each other under the bus. Andrea gave off one of those time-tested tells that someone is incredibly awkward or flustered, by talking extremely fast. So fast that I could barely understand her. I thought I was watching a Micro Machines commercial.
Ralph then decided that it was time for payback for Andrea for the Ometepe/Zapatera division at camp, and made her sleep on the floor instead of sharing part of the shelter with her. His revenge on her came with a side description of what happened to her at camp: “Rob was using you like toilet paper.” I bet she wasn't so happy now that she went to him for that first hug.
- At the Redemption (Non) Island (Non) Duel, Jeff asked Andrea how it felt to be blindsided, and she got all weepy answering his question. Rob looked directly at her as he faced the music listening to what she said, while Ashley sat in the back row looking down and cleaning her nails. Perhaps a sign of things to come if those two were to both make it to the Final Tribal Council?
The challenge itself was a two-part puzzle, complete with a tile to smash in between stages. (Burnett must have had 4 tiles left) I enjoyed the challenge mostly because Probst's commentary included him hollering “Don’t panic. Just lift it. Let it hover in there!”, which is a perfect "That's what she said!" set-up. Thanks Johnny Blue Shirt.
Ralph finished the first part of the (Non) Duel first, but when it came down to the second part, a big jigsaw puzzle, how many of you thought he had a shot? It was embarrassing how far behind he was at the end after being so far ahead. I have to think that he got confused because the puzzle had words, and he was confused by the correct spelling of words like Redemption and Island. "Wait a minute, that's not how you spell 'Daisies'...why won't this gosh darn piece fit here!?"
Ralph lost, of course, and headed off to join the jury. As Jeff so eloquently put it, "That blows.”
On the way out of the (Non) Duel, Rob said what I've been feeling all along, and even more so this past week: "I want Redemption Island to be over and done with so it’s not a factor anymore." How on Earth are we going to the Finale with 4 people still on Redemption Island? It's absurd to me that we now have equal people in the game and on Redemption Island...and one episode left.
- Back at camp, everyone was talking about how hungry they were and how much rice they should ration for the last few days. Since they couldn't come to an agreement on it, they apparently just decided to build a giant fire. Seriously...did you see that? The flames were huge, and the camp was filled with smoke!
Phillip then put on his dietician/nutritionist hat and explained to the girls that because they only need 1700 calories vs the 3600 that Grant and the men would need, they should consider smaller portions. This led to a big argument between the "well-read" Phillip and the girls, which included him saying “I don’t give a f’what you are.” Phillip, if you want to swear, just swear...stop sounding like an idiot. Ashley, meanwhile only fanned the flames (of the argument, not the giant fire) by being sarcastic and antagonistic, going so far as to tell Phillip that they don't argue with Grant and Rob "because they’re normal”, before she and Natalie ran off, calling Phillip a Psycho.
Rob approached Natalie after the blow-up with Phillip, telling her “Don’t be scared, all you have to do is just what I say” before laying out his plan to vote out Ashley, which he attributed to Grant. That was an interesting comment by Rob, don't you think? Because it didn't just describe this scenario, it described his entire game play so far this season.
Natalie was understandably skeptical, but Rob layed the onus of the idea on Grant. Ashley then decided that it was time for her to try and broker a big move by ousting Grant and went to tell Rob. Her logic was that Grant need to go to Redemption (Non) Island so that only one of Grant, Mike, and Matt came back instead of two physical threats. Not a bad logical argument, but in essence, wasn't she saying "we girls are weak. Don't let the big strong men come back and beat us"? That's what it sounded like to me, which seemed pretty lame after you just blasted Phillip for his calorie comments.
The beautiful thing coming out of this situation was that Rob now had Ashley and Grant both trying to get the other one out, and in each situation, the other one was the supposed "mastermind" behind the plan. Rob is safe, and Rob's hands are clean.Classic Divide and Conquer strategy. Brilliant.
- Two quick thoughts on this episode: 1) Is it just me or did this week's episode have a real "high-school" feel to it? First Ashley and Natalie are BFF, then Ralph makes Andrea sleep on the floor, then Phillip and the girls get into a ridiculous argument...it all seemed so juvenile, and 2) If everybody is constantly telling everybody else that they are safe, can't you do the math and realize that someone isn't? Is Rob the only one that understands this?
- As the three men are walking for this week's tree-mail, we hear "Stealth R Us in effect", which seems like it should be the title of a breakdancing movie from the early 80s, not an End-Game plan on Survivor.
- As Natalie and Rob were discussing their voting options alone, there was a distinct difference in their respective demeanor and body language. Did you notice that Natalie was sitting nervously by the fire (which again was out of control), and Rob was swinging carelessly on a swing laying it all out for her? And when Ashley came up, he just seamlessly transitioned into a conversation about brownies and caramel sauce. Man, he's smooth. Of course he scored another golden sound bite for this episode, talking about potentially voting Ashley out at Tribal Council: “After 35 days of having this pain in my ass, I think I’m gonna have some relief tonight.”
- The Immunity Challenge was an interesting task where teams had to use hooks to gather bags of puzzle pieces, before assembling a fish-skeleton puzzle...all while portraying the drummer from Def Leppard. (click it if you don't get the joke.)
Before anyone gets their buns in a knot asking "Why didn't they just pick up the bag with the first hook?", I'm sure it was explained to them that they had to use all the hooks at each stage, but we didn't see Probst explain that on the episode. The challenge itself was pretty close, with everyone in it at some point, except for Natalie, who Probst was visibly disappointed in, going so far as to scold her repeatedly and say “might as well sit down and watch.” Is there anything worse than being brow-beaten by a well-fed, well-rested Blue Shirt Probst in a situation like this when you're starving and cranky?
Ashley won the challenge, and the accompanying reward, which was a Room Service Feast at camp. She got to choose one other person to share the reward with, and even though Jeff said it was a HUGE decision, it was obvious she would pick Natalie. Quick question though, why did Probst tell them to "be kind to your waiter?" Was it because they had no cash to tip him? Maybe he thought they would be rude for some reason? Seemed odd.
After the Room Service arrived and the girls were chowing down on their feast, Natalie declared "I'm speechless." Look, saying that you're speechless negates the...speechless-ness of the whole thing. Kind of like asking for the Heimlich manoeuver. If you can ask for it, you're not really choking.
The aftermath of the feast reminded me of that scene in Survivor Africa when Ethan and Lex got sick after eating a giant plate of French Fries. The girls were in extreme discomfort...and Natalie decided to get on her hands and knees with her ass in the air. Last week, she was cupping her own ass with her mom, and now this? What is going on with this girl?
- After Ashley won Immunity, it was a whirlwind of activity as everyone scrambled for position before Tribal Council. Rob spoke directly to post-Survivor Grant in his confessional, declaring that he didn't want to vote him out this way. He agreed to "play the bad guy” because, as he put it, everyone else was too stupid.
Grant and Rob's chat on the beach ended with high-fives and handshakes and Grant muttering "blindside" over and over again. Even though he playfully shadow-boxed with Rob while Ashley smelled Natalie's armpits (Yes, you read that right...I still don't get it), things weren't looking good for Grant.
- Tribal Council was uneventful. Rob and Grant both love their wives (and you can understand why, check out Grant's wife Christina Cox), and the girls are becoming closer. Rob decided to once again keep the Idol, which I think is a great move, because once the Redemption (Non) Island winner returns to the game, that's someone who can be allied against him, and if he is able to save it until then, it'll likely be necessary at that point.
Grant didn't seem that shocked to be voted out. Either that or he just held it in very well. He simply made a beeline for the exit and said “see you guys shortly”, which seemed to indicate he was confident he would be returning from Redemption (Non) Island.
This Sunday: Three Tribal Councils, One Duel, and the Winner is crowned
One note about this Sunday’s Season Finale. What I’m planning to do is to watch the 2-hour Finale as it happens, and then once the winner is announced, work on my recap so that it is up within an hour of the show ending, as it usually is. So, if it all works out, it will be up right around the time the Reunion Show is ending.
Make sure you bookmark and come back then, because I’m hoping it will be up…and if it’s not, it will be posted shortly after. Then, after it’s posted, I’m going to go back and watch the Reunion Show, and write an addendum on the end of the recap afterwards.
Survivor Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook or on Twitter, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.