Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Survivor Recap: "Come On Baby, Let's Do The Twist"

We all know that Ometepe's master plan is to get rid of the final two members of Zapatera. Would they achieve that goal this week? Let's find out.

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on...Survivor. We open with a camera shot of an eagle/hawk, proving my theory from last week about Coach. A reminder that Andrea blindsided Matt, Phillip and Steve went at it, Julie is a shorts thief, and that Ralph and Steve's only shot to win is to “hope to find a crack in the Ometepe alliance.” I seriously hate these segments now, because it's just conditioning the viewers to think what they want us to think so that their manufactured drama can seem legit. Let's just go back to factual recaps, please.

-At camp, Steve offered the olive branch to Phillip, who appeared to accept the apology, but later referred to it as disingenuous (he didn't use that word, but that's what he meant, so I'll save you from having to interpret his Phillip-ese dialect) and self-serving. I found it very genuine, but after last week, I'm not surprised Phillip responded that way.

Rob summed up the overall Phillip picture "As long as he keeps up his stupid antics, he’ll be coming with me all the way to the final."

- As Ralph and Steve sat at camp eating what must assuredly be the last of their batch of rotten fish, the "last of the Zapatera", as they referred to themselves, wondered where 'numbnuts" was. Numbnuts of course, was Phillip, and despite their hopes that he was jumping into a hole somewhere (what is this? a grammar school playground?), he was instead off on a mission to find his missing shorts.

On a side note, I never understood why 'numbnuts' was an insult. If you have no feeling in your testicles, does that make you a bad person? Much like I never understood why "He thinks he's the cat's ass" meant someone who feels superior. If I was "the cat's ass", I sure as hell wouldn't be proud of it. I'd be more like, "Why the hell do I have to be the cat's ass?"

But back to Phillip's quest for his wayward shorts, which was prompted by a premonition he had from his grandfather yet again. Upon digging at the 2nd suspected rock, he found the shorts, and went on one of his spectacular rants, saying "don't mess with the Undercover Specialist", and (incorrectly) quoting Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, hollering "You can't STAND the truth!" (How much different would that scene have been? Honestly?)
My favourite, though, was when he declared "You can't pull the wool over the Undercover Specialist." Not over his eyes, mind you, just over the whole Undercover Specialist. Picture it, will you? Undercover Agent being completely covered over in wool? How would you explain that to your superiors?

And did he really brag about finding the shorts with "no clue, nothing"? Julie not only owned up to it at the last Tribal Council, but then told him that she buried them and put a big rock on top. Why not just draw him a map?

- At Redemption (Non) Island, Matt's faith has reached its breaking point, he's ready to give up, he's missing his family, and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...........

Oh, sorry, I dozed off there describing that.

Yada, yada, yada, "God wants me here." No he doesn't. Lather, rinse, repeat.
On to the (Non) Duel, which was predicated by another sugary Matt speech about how he's at peace with everything, and God loves everyone...and I've never in my life loved the gloriously dimply Jeff Probst more than when he took it all in and essentially responded with, "OK then, let's play some shuffleboard!"

Probst then told them, "This is it. One Shot", which was wholly misleading because a) they get three shots minimum with their pucks, and b) only one is eliminated, so that's two shots right there.

Random musings on the (Non) Duel: why were their names on the pucks? Was there a threat of someone running in and using their lane unexpectedly? Was it necessary to constantly use the terms 'puck' and 'end zone' together, or was that just to confuse hockey and football fans? Bible Thumper Matt was surprisingly good in a bar game. And Julie, I don't mean to be so cold, but if your house foreclosure was a story, we would have heard about it before now.

Question for you, what was the worse moment for Probst in this challenge: Option #1) Screaming GOD IS NOT DONE TALKIN' TO MATT! when he won, or Option #2) Comparing Survivor's 39 days to Jesus' 40 days? Discuss in the Comments section.
- Grant suggested Andrea as a potential candidate to vote out, partially because she was feeling guilty about Matt, and partially because she's good at puzzles. (BUT NOT AS GOOD AS DAVE!) It was an interesting bit of strategy, but I couldn't get past the fact that he was wearing pink slippers in his confessional.

- Off to the Immunity Challenge, which featured an added reward of a chocolate cake the size of a coffee table. It was an old fashioned log-roll, and with 8 players left, the math works out perfectly so that two winners squared off for Immunity. It was Grant and Ralph (and no, that's NOT what GNR stands for), and Mr. Pink Slippers (who wore them for the first two rounds, but ditched them in favour of bare feet in the Final) dropped the hairy one into the water for the win.

A number of people were thrilled about this: Steve, because if Ralph won Immunity, he was a goner for sure.  And Ralph's entire family, because had he won it, they would have had to endure countless years of hearing about how he won the "Loge Row-Linge Chalenj."

Grant chose Rob and Andrea to share in two minutes of fisting the cake and wolfing it down, despite Ralph claiming "I'm not a gay person" for some reason which I didn't catch. Andrea looked like The Joker covered in chocolate, and Grant reminds me more of Ozzy every episode.

Also, there was a mysterious package...a "Twist." More on that later.

- Ralph (describing Tribal Council): "There’s gonna be none tellin’ what happens." What was funnier, that he had to repeat it THREE times for Steve before he understood what he was saying (and I'm still not convinced he did), or that we didn't get the obligatory Ralph Subtitles until the third time?

-Steve then decided to call Phillip a nimrod. Look Steve, I get that you're frustrated with Phillip for his rant last week, but if you're going to call him names, did you not have the presence of mind to think that the first TWO names you call him shouldn't be "N-Word's". Nimrod and Numbnuts? Really?

Oh, and he tried to sway the girls, who just ran and told Rob like good concubines should.
- Tribal Council started at 8:39...a pretty good sign that something big was going to happen. Phillip was shockingly quiet, Andrea talked about her group of 6 being "rock solid", and Grant extolled the virtues of his football brethren Steve, saying "Dude played in the NFL."

For the record, 'dude' is not a pronoun. Never has been, never will be. Neither is 'buddy.'

Ralph was predictably voted out, leaving the tribe both more literate, and less hairy.

Then the twist played out, an impromptu Immunity challenge that was essentially a live game of Simon. Dave was furious at missing out on another puzzle-type challenge, Julie whispered the most obvious statement in Survivor history by saying "Steve's gotta win", and Rob won easily. (Was there even a doubt?)

Although I did believe the Andrea swerve was about to go down, Ometepe chopped off the final member of Zapatera, sending Steve to Redemption (Non) Island, before calling it a night.
And to all of you conspiracy theorists out there who will suggest that the double Zapatera elimination was cooked up to speed up the inevitable, I don't buy it. I'm sure it was planned in advance.

But I had a better idea for the "Twist." How awesome would it have been if the tile said, the three people on Redemption Island will compete RIGHT NOW, the winner is back in the game, and THEN there is an immediate vote...and the Redemption (Non) Island returnee has immunity. Am I wrong? Wouldn't that have been great?

Next Week: Ometepe has no choice but to eat their own.

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.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "We're Just Here For The Fondue Of It."

Tonight's episode of The Amazing Race finds the six remaining teams heading off to Liechtenstein and Switzerland for a Cheese Feast and Motorcycle Ride. Will Gary and Mallory be able to overcome their Speed Bump? Let's get to it.

My Random Thoughts:

- This week’s episode started off with a continuation of last week’s commercial for the all-new “2012 Ford Focus”, as Zev and Justin took a tour of the spiffy new vehicles that they won last week. Ok, ok…I’ll admit defeat and just accept the overt product placement this season, by let me ask you an interesting question about those cars: Why did they have Michigan plates? If you’re going to give away a car in Austria, are you really going to ensure that the plates are from Detroit? The Motor City? God Bless America, the auto industry is back!

- As the teams left the Pit Stop to start this leg, they found out that they had to go to tiny Liechtenstein by train, and were cautioned that there was a Double U-Turn that would appear on this leg. A Speed Bump and a Double U-Turn in one episode? My God, is it sweeps already? I thought that was in May. (sarcasm fully intended)

- Zev and Justin told their cab driver, “Don’t worry, we’re good American people”, which seemed like a response to the cabbie’s suggestion that they may be terrorists…but I viewed it as more of an apology for last week’s display by Flight Time. At least once a season, there is always one instance of the “ugly American’ stereotype, and Flight Time peeing on the wall of the National Library of Vienna was this season's worst. I actually sent Flight Time a message on Facebook after that episode, asking if it was indeed the way it appeared, or if it was editing. He did confirm for me that he was guilty as charged, stating "When you gotta go, you gotta go."

- Gary and Mallory ran into a delay from the get-go on this leg, with a cab driver who was more interested in finding the destination on his GPS than actually getting moving in the car. If it's not stopping for gas, it's always something, isn't it? And speaking of gas, add this to the long line-up of lame Speed Bumps. Really? Measure the gas and oil to start the motorbike? That's it? They didn't even have to fill it...just prep the gas that they would have used? LAME.

- I absolutely loved the Road Block itself, as one team member had to "measure the country" by following a map and driving end to end figuring out exactly how many kilometers (not miles) it was in length. An incorrect guess would result in a 44km penalty: having to drive 22km back to the starting point, and then 22km to the destination once again. I love challenges like this, where doing it wrong results in major delays (kind of like Speed Bumps should be: major delays.)
Jet said he felt like "Dumb and Dumber", which made me laugh because I couldn't help but think of this image. Flight Time complained about being cold, while riding a motorized bike around with his jacket undone, and declared "The map is pretty straightforward. I do have to read it." Yes, of course, as opposed to just folding it up in your pocket and having it seep into your body through DO have to read it.

Jen lost her map, but teamed up with Justin, and both of them shared info with Flight Time, who then got all "Pay It Forward' and helped Gary with the correct answer. Vyxsin seemingly figured it out all on her own, although Gary worked with her at one point. Essentially, 5 teams left the Road Block to continue on in the race, while the Cowbros were a mile behind. With the threat of a Double U-Turn coming up, the result of the episode was becoming pretty apparent at this point.
With the camaraderie built by sharing the info at that point of the Race, and knowing that the Cowbros were so far behind, I would have been shocked to see any of the teams actually use the U-Turn on each other instead of the Cowbros. Kent said it best: "I wanna put some cowboys on ice today.”

- At the Detour, teams had to decide between Cheese and Wheeze. When I saw that part of the Detour was called "Cheese", I was hoping for a flashback to one of the best Detours in Amazing Race history, the cheese-rolling-down-the-hill Detour that saw hijinks aplenty in season 14.

But alas, it was simply the second eating challenge in as many weeks (accompanied by maddening live European music once again), as teams had to consume a pot of cheese fondue. Now, that doesn't seem so bad, except that you have to consider that to eat fondue, you have to dip something in can't just use a spoon and eat it like soup. Factoring that in, it's really all the bread that was the heavy part of this challenge.

By my estimation, it looked like about 3 pounds of cheese, but the bread is the killer. My girlfriend and I just went to our favourite Italian Restaurant, Mulberry Italian Ristorante in Upstate New York, and we're always "Cheese Drunk" when we leave, so I can appreciate what Zev and Justin were feeling. (Read my post on my first trip to Mulberry.)

That must have been a tough choice after the last leg (especially for the teams that failed the schnitzel eating Detour), but if I walked into a Detour and saw puke buckets, I would turn around at that moment and do the other one.

In "Wheeze", teams had to run around Switzerland at night performing luggage delivery. Not a lot to talk about on this one, other than to give credit to Gary and Mallory, and Jet and Cord, for having the presence of mind to find someone to help them pre-circle all of the hotels on a map.

In her porter uniform, Vyxsin looked like one of the Guards from the Wizard of Oz, and ended up carting Kent around to deal with his whining (which wasn't as bad as last week.) As she put him on the luggage cart, she told him not to fall off because "If you fall off, I'll be sad", but you know part of her would have laughed a bit inside after the past couple of legs.

- The Pit Stop was a Swiss Chalet, which made me crave rotisserie chicken (Canadian readers will understand), and Zev and Justin won their fourth leg and a trip to Curacao. I had to laugh at Mallory upon arriving at the mat, as she stood there mouth agape like a baby bird waiting for regurgitated food from its mother.
- The Globetrotters had no choice but to use the U-Turn, seeing as they were already in 5th place. The traditional "race to the mat" drama was replaced by the "race to the U-Turn Box" drama, but let's be honest, we all knew what was going to happen.

The simple math is as follows: 44 kms + 20 pieces of luggage + 3 lbs of cheese = too much to overcome. And with one final "Oh My Gravy", the Cowbros headed off into the sunset, complete with requisite City Slickers music. (of course!)

Next Week: Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen.

Amazing Race 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 Twitter, where I post all of my recaps (and other Random Thoughts) 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.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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 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." 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.

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.

Thanks for reading.

Related Posts:
Survivor Redemption Island Recap by Dalton Ross
Jeff Probst’s Blog
Spoiler TV Recap

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "I Just Need You To Stop Acting Like A Chick."

6 teams are left on The Amazing Race, and this week they all headed off to Austria. Which teams can't stomach the local cuisine? Who's having a major drama queen meltdown? And where the hell is Julie Andrews?

My Random Thoughts:

- All 6 of the teams left the Pit Stop within 90 minutes of each other, and considering that they were traveling from India to Austria, and all leaving in the middle of the night, the flight situation was once again going to be the Great Equalizer as the teams could all end up on the same flights. All the teams ended up at the awesomely named Akbar Travel Agency, which, despite the alternate spelling, only made me think of one thing...
Mallory found out it was going to be cold in Austria and just went with "Rats!" instead of a full-on shriek like usual. We're starting to see a calmer, mellower Mallory, just as we did last season...right before they were eliminated. That, coupled with her (and the editors') reminder that they got the boot on the 8th leg last time as well, made for some eerie foreshadowing that this might be the end for Gary and Mallory.

Jet and Cord, in the meantime, made perhaps the worst Amazing Race play on words ever, when they told us why they were happy to be leaving India: "We're done playing Cowboys and Indians." You could see the look on both of their faces that they absolutely hated themselves for making that horrible joke. They then, once again, decided to take a different flight from everyone else (shockingly not named after one of them this time...was there no Cordster Airlines in India?), which never makes any sense to me. I understand their logic that flights MAY be delayed, but if all six teams are on the same flight, it doesn't affect anyone since you're all in the same boat. Sometimes these Cowbros are not so bright.

- Upon arriving in Vienna, we were treated to a 7-minute long commercial for the "2012 Ford Focus" and all of it's wonderful new features. Pardon me while I vomit.  I've tolerated the ridiculous Travelocity gnome for years on TAR, but the product placement has been way over-the-top this year...first with the Snapple, and now with the Ford Focus. Even Big Brother was looking at this season and saying "You guys are sell-outs!" The only thing of note with this Ford ad, was that, for the first time I can ever remember, the teams were told in advance what the prize for winning the leg would be.

And no Kent, your contrived "I love this Ford Focus” as you were driving away is NOT going to score you a commercial deal. Now maybe if you said "2012 Ford Focus"...

- Is it just me, or would it seem logical that when you're going to a new city, and you know you're going to want to buy a map, you would buy it in advance? Even if it's not available in your departing airport, why not get it in your arrival airport before you get to your car instead of having to make a stop at a gas station? And did you notice that ALL SIX teams ended up stopping for directions at the same gas station? How desolate is it around the Vienna airport?

- So the teams headed off to Schloss Schallenburg where they received their next clue from someone who looked like they just popped out from either a Narnia or Harry Potter movie. And as far as I could tell, that was a woman, right? Despite what Kent said? "Look, there's a special man. Let's go visit him. He looks nice." Kent was in a weird zone here, wasn't he, with that soft voice he sounded all spacy. And after getting the clue, he rambled on again as they were heading back to the car: "Faster. We're going down the hill, now." Look Kent, I know your clue just told you to head to the National Library, but that doesn't mean you need to turn into the Children's Librarian at storytime.

- Kent then had the first of many quasi-meltdowns in this episode when he didn't turn where Vyxsin had told him to. As he whined about it being her fault, she shot back at him “I just need you to stop acting like a chick!” Hands up if you laughed out loud at that moment. Way to go, Vyxsin!
- The roadblock was a choice between carrying a couch one mile from Sigmund Freud's office to the University, or eating an Austrian meal on a Ferris wheel. I don't understand why anyone would have picked the Meal option because the Walk option was a finite course of may take a while to do it, but it's very black and can't really "fail" it.

But three teams still chose the Meal option, and I have to assume there was some sort of rule about just picking that giant piece of schnitzel up and eating it like a sandwich, because they all daintily cut it up with their knives and forks. And even though we had some comic relief, with Jen commenting "that’ll be the biggest wiener I’ll ever eat”, no one even came close. Gary was the only one who finished his own plate, but having to down those two plates in 12 minutes was a tall task, and Mallory had no chance. Personally, the violin music would have driven me crazy.
3 attempts...3 failures. Or as I call it, giving the Cowbros a shot to get back in the Race.

- Did Flight Time just take a leak on the National Library? Did I see that right?

- Kent was a drama queen supreme in this episode, whining and complaining at every turn, most of the time in a weird soft voice usually reserved for people trying to offer children free candy. And most of the time he was melting down and Vyxsin called him on it, he just kept saying that he wasn't doing it. He would turn when she said not to, and not turn when she told him to go straight (insert your own joke about Vyxsin telling Kent to "go straight"), and then try to say that he was holding it all together.

After last week's episode, a lot of people commented that Kent was getting to them, and that he was getting too whiny. I maintained that it was just editing, and that there always needs to be one "semi-villain" to root against.  The cab incident in India set a lot of people off, but then it was revealed that the guy that Kent and Vyxsin kicked out of the cab, was just a random guy sleeping in the back of a cab...well, you could see the editing swerve. But this week it was crystal clear: Kent was a whiny bitch.

Vyxsin's line to Kent was too perfect not to be the title of this recap, but my back-up plan was "The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Kent Whining."

- At the Road Block, teams had to become Dick Van Dyke and act as chimney sweeps. Wait a minute, isn't this Austrian episode supposed to be themed after The Sound Of Music? Now we're getting a Mary Poppins reference with the chimney sweep challenge? And don't even try to tell me there was no correlation...the clue even said "Who feels as lucky as lucky can be?", a direct quote from Mary Poppins.


Seriously, if you're going to give us Mary Poppins and Sound Of Music references in ONE episode, shouldn't she be at the Pit Stop with Phil? Or maybe even driving around in Zev and Justin's spiffy new "2012 Ford Focus!" Could there not have been a cross-dressing challenge to pay homage to Victor/Victoria?

Gary and Mallory were hoping that they could gain some ground in last place if the Road Block was a difficult one, but I have to say, that was probably the easiest Road Block I've ever seen. Everyone breezed through it, including Vyxsin, who I was shocked was the one doing it, since Kent could have touched up his eyebrows with the soot from the chimney. And for Jet and's an idea, if you're about to do a challenge that involves chimney soot, and you're the one wearing the WHITE Cowboy hat...switch hats!

- Gary and Mallory were the last team to arrive at the Villa Trapp Pit Stop, only to be told by Phil and Non-Julie Andrews that this was a non-elimination leg. Were any of you surprised? I wasn't. Now they have a Speed Bump in the next leg, but let's hope it's something of consequence instead of the lame 5-minute delays we've seen for the last few seasons.

Next Week: Something in Liechtenstein, but I was distracted because the voice on the teaser wasn't Phil's. What the hell?

Amazing Race 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.

Thanks for reading.

Photo credits: and Reality Fan Forum

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Survivor Recap: "It's Us vs Them, And We're Better Than Them."

Tonight’s episode of Survivor Redemption Island promised Two Tribal Councils, which I always have a problem with. Generally it comes up prior to the Merge, and I’ve always felt that is so ridiculously unfair…that you can win a challenge as a Tribe but still have to go to Tribal Council and vote someone out. I know that they cast extra players in the event that people either quit or have to leave due to injury, but when that doesn’t happen, and the extra Tribal Council shows up, it just throws the “Keep winning and we won’t have to vote anyone off” mindset out the window. At least this season, the Double Tribal (all the wayyy…) came after the Tribes have merged, so it wasn’t as bad.

My Random Thoughts:

- To start this episode, Matt found his way back to Redemption Island, and congratulated himself on being “the most naïve person to ever play the game of Survivor.” Somewhere, Erik Reichenbach dropped his ice cream scoop, jumped up in the air and screamed “YESSSS!” Not so fast, Erik…you handing over that necklace to Natalie and then getting voted out still keeps you heavily on the top of the “Most Naïve” list.

- Back at camp, the Zapatera Five (or as I like to now call them "Dead Tribe Walking") were telling Rob what a great move he made voting Matt out. I agree that it was a great move, since Matt was the only person that Rob could be guaranteed wasn't playing an Idol last week, but I thought that the constant ass-kissing of Rob telling him how brilliant he was seemed unnecessary. Julie said it best when she described Rob as "cold blooded." Take it away Gus Johnson... (:27 mark)

- Ralph started talking to the Ometepe girls and asking if he was on the "chop block", before telling them  that he would vote for them and not Rob in the Final vote. Great strategy Ralph, no plan at all...not even an attempt to sway them to your side? Just "Is it me?" and "I'll vote for you" without offering anything in return. Ralph, I'd like to invite you to my next poker game.

He then went on to say “I have no clue what’s going on”, which I think means more than just that specific situation, and followed it up with “How can we play a game when we don’t know where to start?” That's what I've been saying for WEEKS about Zapatera! They have no clue how to play Survivor. None whatsoever. They might as well be on Temptation Island.

- Natalie has said nothing for weeks, and now the first thing we really hear from her, is her telling Rob that Ralph was in Ashley's ear and that Ashley wasn't planning on sharing that info with him. From silence to snitch in 15 seconds flat, and we don't know if she actually said that or not. I sure hope that Natalie was just making it up, because that will make her about 100 times more interesting.

- The first Immunity Challenge (with no reward, surprisingly) started with another classic Phillip rant, as he went on and on about his new feather that he found "out of thin air." Jeff even called him out on that, but he insisted that it was indeed "out of thin air" as opposed to...oh, I don't know...FROM A BIRD! He them went on to butcher his own Tribe name repeatedly, calling them Otempo and Otempe, which I'm guessing is a city in Arizona populated entirely by Irish people.
But more importantly, this challenge was a another Tile-Smash-A-Palooza, with 6 players advancing to Round 2 after smashing tiles, and 3 advancing to the final after another water-spitting game. 5 men and Julie predictably won the first part, with Grant, Mike, and David advancing to Round 3, which was a puzzle.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, Puzzle Master Dave had advanced to the puzzle phase of this Immunity Challenge. Stop the show right now Jeff, just give the necklace to Dave...he's the DAMN PUZZLE MASTER. PERIOD. POINT BLANK.

Wait...we still have to do it?  Ok Jeff, if you say so...

And...Dave finishes THIRD.

That sound you heard was me laughing uproariously at Johnny Puzzlemaster shitting the bed in that challenge. Stick to Jenga in your law office, Dave.

-Grant won the challenge, and I have to say, I love the flashy glint they show on the Idol with the dramatic DING! They did it last week too when Jeff unveiled it, but it was awesome tonight as Grant was putting it on.

- Paranoia was setting in with "the Mariano crime syndicate", as Dave called them. Between the implementation of the Buddy System at camp, to the mad scramble digging for a non-existent Idol at the base of the Tribe flag, Rob was feeling it. I'm wondering if the Idol is actually back in the game. In the past, Jeff has announced at Tribal that it will go back in the game, but since he said nothing at the last Tribal Council, and Rob didn't know whether it was in again or not, I'd have to say it's not.

But then again, at the end of the first Tribal Council, Jeff told Zapatera that to get back into the game "you're going to have to keep digging." A clue to a potential Idol...or just typical Probst verbage? Food for thought.
- The only good thing about Redemption Island is how it has changed the strategy of who to vote out. You heard it with Ometepe tonight before the first Tribal Council, as they were not only talking about who needed to go, but who had the best chance to beat Matt at Redemption Island. A whole new layer to the game.

- At the First Tribal Council, I shielded my arachnophobic eyes once again from the GIANT HAIRY SPIDER as the teams were walking in. We were then treated to a wonderful panning-down camera shot of Phillip and his Feather-Headband...and for a moment it looked like Phillip winked at Jeff. So I (foolishly) backed up the pvr to see if I was right...and walked right into the DAMN SPIDER AGAIN! Idiot!

Phillip then ranted on and on about his great-great-grandfather, but I didn't catch most of what he was saying because I was noting how impressed I was that he finally said "Ometepe" correctly. I didn't understand why Zapatera chose to gang up on Phillip. If they view him as the bottom of that alliance, then he would be the logical choice to try and sway to their why would you verbally assault him and then vote for him? Didn't make much sense to me.

Phillip: “I enjoy being on the bottom.” I originally wasn't planning on making the obvious comment about that statement, until it was followed up with him saying“You’re the one that’s always getting the wood.” Nice try, Survivor editiors, but I won't take your cleverly disguised bait.

Mike was voted out, despite Ralph's stellar spelling continuing (Philite?), and Steve's reassuring pat on the back (seriously, does this guy do anything?) in a very anti-climactic Tribal Council, but let me ask you this: with Rob's paranoia so prevalent, how funny would it have been when Probst asked if anyone wanted to play an Idol, if someone from Zapatera stood up and said "I do, Jeff", just to see the look on Rob's face before saying "Just kidding!"

- One thing Phillip showed in this episode is that he is fiercely loyal, just like Coach was. Call them crazy, but they certainly are loyal. At this point, it would be a smart move for Rob to take him to the Final, but it seems like Phillip may be on to his plan. Maybe not as crazy as we thought?
- Ralph wanted to try and get in the ear of some of the Ometepe Tribe, but David (correctly) told him that if they wanted to do that, they would only have one shot to make progress. He was absolutely right, but why was that one shot Ralph talking to Phillip? Really? Is this what you want your"one shot" to be??? David was trying so hard to disassociate himself with that idiotic move, that all he could do was sit off to the side and wash his toes with water from his canteen.

- The second Immunity Challenge was a great one, because it was the new Survivor standard: Eat or Compete? I love this choice, and I think it's great that it has essentially replaced the old "pecking order" challenge that would always show up once the Tribes merged. The choices in these challenges always speak volumes.

I wasn't shocked that Phillip and Steve chose the burgers, because neither of them would have had a shot at that challenge. But the message Steve sent to everyone is that he is indeed just as lazy as he appears, especially after moaning how good the burgers were. On a side note, I loved that the burgers came PLAIN, with the condiments and garnish on the side to be added if you choose. Read my post on the horrors of condiments to fully understand my view on this.

Best exchange of the episode:
Probst: “No love lost between David and Phillip.”
David: “I’ve got no problem with Phillip.”
Phillip: “I’ve got LOTS of problems with David.”

Andrea won after Natalie and Ashley double-dropped to give her the win. Team solidarity, but it was irrelevant who won as long as no one from Zapatera won.

- At the second Tribal Council, Phillip went on another rant, this time about "Stealth R Us", which we learned about a couple of episodes back. I have to say that if you're going to reveal everything about it...then it's not really so stealthy anymore, is it now, Phillip? Neither is your Buddy System plan. You know Rob was sitting there thinking "My God he needs a muzzle."

David was smart to comment that maybe trying to win at Redemption Island was a better tactic because at least the odds are better than sitting at camp and watching the dramatic dismantling of Zapatera continue. Despite his humourous attempt at 4 votes on one parchment for Rob, David will get his wish as he joins Matt and Mike at Redemption (Non) Island.

But let's acknowledge the biggest story coming out of Tribal Council...that Ralph finally spelled someone's name right! I know it was only 3 letters, but you know that with Ralph, it was still touch and go.

- So, what's going to happen next week at Redemption (Non) Island? Will Matt duel Mike, and then the winner faces David? Or will the 3 of them compete at the same time with one winner? Not really a Duel, then, is it? We'll have to wait and see.

- To be honest, I don't think this was a planned Double Tribal episode. I just think that with the predictability of what happened, that instead of drawing it out over 2 weeks, they sandwiched 2 boring episodes together in one. Maybe not since we didn't see a Redemption (Non) Island Duel, but you never know. Your thoughts?

Next week: Steve vs Phillip…Old vs Crazy.

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.

Thanks for reading.

Related Posts:
Survivor Redemption Island Recap by Dalton Ross
Jeff Probst’s Blog
Spoiler TV Recap

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "The Crap You Do For A Million Dollars"

The Amazing Race returned on Sunday night after a week away due to the Academy of Country Music Awards, which were held in Las Vegas last week. Ironically, I was in Las Vegas at the same time (not attending the awards), although I did JUST miss Carrie Underwood at the Wynn on Sunday night. I appreciated the coincidence that the week that the show wasn’t on, was the one week that I was away on vacation, so the recap I wouldn’t have been able to write, didn’t have to be written.

One fun thing that did happen on this trip actually did involve The Amazing Race, however. Remember back in Season 15, when on the final leg of the Race, the teams were in Las Vegas and had to count two million dollars in poker chips? Well, that was in the poker room at the Monte Carlo casino, and we stopped by there to check it out. Here’s a photo of my girlfriend and I in the poker room where the challenge took place.
And on a side note, as a poker player (and dealer), I would have been able to breeze through that chip counting challenge.

But on to this week’s episode, which I happily didn’t have to wait until 8:12 to start watching since our Canadian affiliates still start the show at 8:00 sharp, regardless of how long The Masters takes.

My Random Thoughts:

- I have to admit, I did enjoy watching Enabler Mom Margie and Sulky Baby Luke get eliminated again on the “Previously” segment. I’m just that cold…once again, good riddance Team Freeloader.
- Just when I thought that last episode’s Snapple commercial was a one-week only treat, we saw Gary and Mallory enjoy their prize from Snapple, a feast that was made “from the best stuff in India,” which I will emphatically point out is NOT the slogan for Snapple. They then went on to talk about how they wanted to become the first parent–child team to win The Race, and I rolled my eyes because after last season’s constant reminders that an all-woman team had never won the Race (until Nat and Kat), I cringed at the thought of another season of irrelevant potential Race “firsts.”

Hey, did you know that if Flight Time and Big Easy win, it'll be the first time that two black men over 6 feet tall have won? Or that if Kisha and Jen win, it'll be the first time that two women who were also NCAA Division I athletes have won? Or that if Kent and Vyxsin win, it'll be the very first time that two people who wear pink and black, are from Kentucky, have no children, and own an album by The Misfits have EVER won the Race? In the entire history of the show???

- Jet and Cord found themselves quickly behind the other teams by a full hour by picking the wrong flight to Varanesi. Hey, here's an idea...make sure you're not basing your airline choices on airlines that include your own name! That's right, they were one hour behind because they flew with Jet Airways instead of Kingfisher. Clearly Flight Time doesn't have the same problem.
- Since they had time to kill, Ron decided that it was time to go for dinner at an Indian restaurant. Someone needs to tell him that this isn't a culinary adventure. Is he trying to win the million dollars, or parlay this into a guest judge spot on Iron Chef America?

- Why do NONE of the teams ever ask the cab driver if they have a full tank of gas? Seriously, not ever?

- The Roadblock had one member of each team searching for " the meaning of life" by collecting clues from 6 holy men stationed around a busy Indian marketplace. Kent seemed to have a good strategy: "When in doubt, follow Gary", but that only lasted as long as he got the final clue and took off on Gary, which is exactly what he promised he wouldn't do. Surprising actions from Kent, but perhaps now that Luke the sulky child is gone, the producers need someone to appear as "the villain."
Kisha and Jen finished first, which wasn't that surprising to me. As I've stated before, I think they've got the perfect makeup for a winning team, as long as they don't have to do any swimming. Ok, ok...the Snapple Factory mis-cue from the last episode was a bit of a hiccup, but I think they have a good shot at winning.

Ron and Christina finished the Roadblock in last place by a mile, mostly due to Ron's dawdling and propensity to be distracted the entire time. He even accused the holy men of not being dressed properly since he couldn't find them, wondering if they were maybe swimming instead of waiting for the Racers. Yeah, sure Ron...these guys decided "Screw the show that hired us and paid us to be on TV. I need a swim right this second." Well, at least he didn't get sidetracked by a vindaloo stand.

- Once I saw the strongmen that the teams had to find, I was thinking that there was going to be a fun challenge coming up...maybe a wrestling or strength challenge. But alas, was just a clue box with the route info for the Detour. So, was this just an opportunity for them to show hefty men in their briefs? Talk about a missed opportunity. Could you imagine Big Easy having to throw down Greco-Roman style with one of those dudes? Or Kent? That's Emmy-winning television right there.

- The choice between the Detours seemed like an easy one to me. I never would have chosen Feed The Buffalo (which sounds a lot dirtier than it should) since it involved strength and navigation through the streets of India. Feed the Fire, meanwhile, seemed like the obvious choice, if you could keep your gag reflex in check. Slapping those cow patties on the wall seemed much easier.
- On their water Taxi, Gary and Mallory saw a ceremony were bodies where being cremated on the Ganges river. Mallory then waxed poetic about what it meant seeing that, and how she had never seen any cultures celebrate death like that. I'm sure many of you are expecting me to make fun of that, but I'm not. I actually thought it was a nice moment, a pleasant break from the Race itself, and reminding me about why this is my favourite reality show, because I actually learn things about the world.

But right after she was talking about it, with the soft, pensive music still playing, the camera panned across the water's edge and we saw...a naked guy with his crotch blurred. Seriously???? This moment gets punctuated with NAKED INDIAN GUY? Come on!

And of course, Mallory's very next line after that shot:  I’ve never seen anything like this. But I’m glad we saw it.”

- I commented a couple of recaps ago about the camaraderie on this Race, and I'm still assuming it's because of the common experience all the teams have of running the Race before. Between Mallory giving Zev her earplugs, to the Globetrotters working with Zev and Justin, singing “Running with hay-ay-ay, in the middle of India,” it's a nice treat to see on this season.

- I love the Globetrotters, but I have a fundamental problem with them winning a trip for getting to the Pit Stop first. By definition, they have already seen the world...they've Trotted the Globe, so to speak. Leave the trips for the other teams.

- In this episode, Vyxsin showed that she really wears the pants in that relationship. Whether it was taking Kent's bag so he could walk up the stairs faster, or taking matters into her own hands when their water taxi wasn't listening by jumping into the water and dragging it to shore, she was the crux of that team for this leg. Kudos to her.
- Jet and Cord zipped through every part of this leg, and despite being an hour behind from the flight, they still finished in 5th place out of 7 teams. Impressive. And with Ron and Christina eliminated, I now have no teams remaining that I can't feel good cheering for. I would have no problem with any of the final 6 teams winning.

Good people. Good teams. Good season.

Next Week: Austrian Cuisine and Goth Drama

Amazing Race 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 Twitter, where I post all of my recaps (and other Random Thoughts) 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.

Related Posts: Amazing Race Recap by Darren Franich
Spoiler TV Recap

(Photo credits: and Reality Fan Forum.)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Survivor Recap: "Everybody Grab Your Balls, You're Safe."

This week’s recap will cover the last two episodes of Survivor, which I wasn’t able to watch when they aired since I was away in Las Vegas. I have now seen both episodes back-to-back, so let’s get to it.

My Random Thoughts:
(Episode 7)

- The whole theme of this episode was the David vs. Sarita dynamic, and that is so incredibly boring that I don’t even want to pay any lip service to it. Based on the opening segment, it was obvious that this episode was going to come down to that decision at Tribal Council.

- Phillip is now quoting Japanese philosophers and comparing Matt to a samurai warrior. I know that I, and others, have made the comparison before, but never were the Coach Wade and Special Agent Phillip similarities more present than tonight. And even though Rob astutely described Phillip as “probably the most unaware person I’ve ever met in my entire life”, I’m going to make a suggestion.

Phillip and Coach as a team on The Amazing Race.

Come on, can’t you just see it? These two could be the most entertaining team to watch in the history of that show. And since The Amazing Race is performance-based, and not a contest where you can be voted out for being annoying, their bravado and storytelling would be a non-issue since they still have to run the Race well. No ass-eating pygmies, or Special Agent anecdotes, just pure competition. Wouldn’t it make great television? It’s not like CBS is opposed to cross-promotion with their reality contestants, considering both Rob and Amber, and Jeff and Jordan (Big Brother) were Amazing Race contestants. (Check out Coach Wade’s take on Phillip.)

- The Redemption Island duel was essentially a big game of concentration, featuring giant tiles of course. Matt opened up with a “God loves me” match on his first attempt, but Stephanie answered with a “not so fast, Altar Boy” match of her own. Rob watched thinking “I hope Matt loses”, Phillip watched thinking “Matt is a samurai”, David watched thinking “Dammit! Another puzzle that Stephanie gets to do, and not me!”, and Ralph watched thinking “Look at all them purty pictures.”

Matt won again, and Stephanie did her best impersonation of Russell, crying and then going out in a blaze of glory, criticizing Zapatera and telling Rob to look out for them. Personally, I find the members of Zapatera about as intimidating as a fly heading at my windshield, so I don’t think Rob is sweating it just yet.

And I just loved Matt’s comment to Jeff as he was leaving: “you know where to find me.” Give this guy credit, he’s been a monster at Redemption Island, but if this stupid twist continues for future seasons (and please GOD let’s hope it doesn’t), then he is already altering how future tribes will play the game.

- What was the funnier Rob moment in this episode, when he talked about voting out Phillip, saying “I’ll frontside him”, or when he chucked the Idol clue into the volcano? Tough one. Tell me you didn’t laugh out loud at both.

- The infighting at Zapatera is painful to watch: David wants to fish, and the other 5 makes excuses on why not to fish, then Julie complains that “he’s bugging me” and Sarita is making faces. This bunch of oldsters is actually turning out to be the most juvenile group of the season. I told you they were headed for disaster.

- Phillip just wants “one scoop of the crispy”, but Rob’s harem insists on saving the rice for their leader. Then Phillip went on and on about the three girls sleeping in Rob’s underwear and in his bed. Is this Survivor or Big Love? He then went on to mis-speak in his oh-so-Phillip way, saying that the rest of the Tribe was making “ a mountain out of a mocha”, and later explaining that he was “on top of the earth.” Man I love Phillip.

- Nothing to really cover in the Reward/Immunity challenge, other than to say it looked cold and miserable out there, and the second I saw it, I said to my girlfriend, “Grant will single-handedly win this for Ometepe.” She fist-bumped me after he sunk all 6 balls to win.

- Zapatera was back at camp after the challenge, complaining about how they lost, especially because it was the third consecutive food reward that they’ve lost, and they’re all so hungry. Hey, here’s an idea…if you’re so damn hungry, then why not go fishing, like David suggested, instead of lazing around and complaining. Last time I checked, complaining never worked as well as actual food to satiate hunger.

- Tribal Council summary: Ralph doesn’t know what cohesive means, which isn’t surprising since he said he would rather have a team that didn’t get along and got the job done; a scorpion replaced the giant hairy spider (thank God), and Sarita got the boot, despite not packing her stuff.

- Another weak episode (the third in a row) chronicling the slow demise of the least interesting team in recent Survivor memory.

- On to the April 6th episode…

My Random Thoughts:
(Episode 8)

- Sarita went to Redemption Island, but was still fiercely loyal to Zapatera, doing her best to sell Matt on the Zapatera tribe, hoping that her sales pitch would help to convince Matt to join them in the event that he won his way back into the game.

- The Redemption Island Duel had a lot on the line, with Jeff declaring that the winner would re-enter the game, and both tribes suspecting a merge. First of all, if the clue is telling both tribes to attend, then OF COURSE the merge is coming…that’s a no-brainer. Second, I think that the winner re-entering the game would have been more dramatic had it not been revealed in the previous episode’s teaser, and the commercials all through the week.

Regardless of the injury to Matt’s foot, I still thought this duel was 100% Matt, and I fully expected him to win it. And yes, I saw the bandage on Matt’s foot, and no, I don’t think that gave him an unfair advantage in the challenge. I loved how Jeff specified that “women have done very well in this challenge historically”, but only because I seem to recall Coach winning it. Am I wrong? I’m either too jet-lagged or too lazy to look that up to see if I’m right.

- So the teams merged and were greeted back at their new camp with a feast for all. I have a problem with this, because Zapatera hasn’t won SHIT for this last three episodes, and now they fall ass-backwards into a feast. So it’s lose, lose, lose, eat? Seems ridiculous. The only fair thing would have been to give Matt all the food for winning 6 Redemption Island Duels, and having him decide who got what food. Wouldn’t that have created an interesting social dynamic? On a side note, as a proud Italian, I’m offended that Steve pronounced prosciutto “pru-shetto.”

- I enjoyed the individual immunity challenge, and thought it was one of the classic Survivor moments that combine skill and balance together. But more important than that, was the humour that it created with all of Jeff Probst’s verbage, with classic lines like “Everybody grab your balls, you’re safe” and “It’s like those balls are glued to his disc.” I was shocked that they didn’t take the obvious joke since Boston Rob was on the blue log with the blue disc and balls: “Rob’s got the blue balls.” Makes sense since Amber is at home, and Rob has 3 pretty young girls on his Tribe.

Natalie surprisingly won the challenge, and I loved the irony that her colour theme for the challenge was purple, since she is the Purple Kelly of this season. Have we learned anything about her? And were Grant’s toenails painted black? Is that some sort of Tribe unity or just an odd discovery?

- Matt came up with a plan to oust Rob, then reconsidered and told Rob? I understand that you’re a good Christian man that works on morals and ethics, but once you reveal that, you then become the obvious choice for Rob to vote out. Once again, unnecessary complications lead to the downfall of a reality contestant. How perfect was it that Rob essentially decided to vote Matt out, then enlisted him to help finish the shelter?

Matt’s decision was simple. As he stated, it was to either keep his word or break his word. Did anyone honestly think he would have broken it?

- Tribal Council was interesting, for the first time in three weeks. Ashley talked about Ometepe using the tarp because they won it in a challenge, and David the Puzzlemaster revealed that they didn’t really “win” it because he didn’t try. That was a total douchebag comment to make, and only made the Zapatera Tribe look even worse, and if I were Ashley, I would have responded, “So you gave it to us, either way it’s ours.”

Phillip went on an another awesome rant that included parasites, an odd stench, and yelling at David for interrupting; Ralph gave away his Idol for no apparent reason, and looked like he could barely walk as he got up to present it to Jeff; Matt did his best Eliza impression looking as pensive as possible as he was voting; and Grant didn’t even flinch when he received the first five votes, showing that the Ometepe 6 were concrete and confident that all 6 were voting for Matt.

- In the end, Matt was sent back to Redemption Island. I think that once Zapatera starts getting picked off, Mike has a shot of beating him in a Duel, but not really anyone else. (UNLESS IT’S DAVID AND IT’S A PUZZLE!)

- Let’s look at what Rob accomplished this episode: after someone he blindsided returned to the game, he convinced that person to rejoin him, learned all about Zapatera’s plan, and then blindsided him again. He also flushed out the Zapatera Idol and got Ralph to needlessly use the Idol on Mike, who received no votes. PLUS, he still has his own Idol, which only Grant knows about, and got the merged tribe named after one of Amber’s stuffed animals.

Could he possibly be in any more control of this game?

Next week: More tile smashing, and Phillip becomes the feather-master.

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.

Thanks for reading.

Related Posts:
Survivor Redemption Island Recap by Dalton Ross
Jeff Probst’s Blog
Spoiler TV Recap