And can we please stop inviting Ciera and Laura to the big kids table? Seriously. They’re not puzzle geniuses. They’re not great players. They’re not that strong. They don’t belong any more. Good riddance…
Jeff reminds them that blindsides don’t suck (for ratings) and tosses a flint at Sandra’s face. I’m wondering if that’s the only thing that’s been tossed at Sandra’s face in her lifetime, but I’m drunk and that’s probably not very nice…
Day 4 unfolds and Mana seems to be low on dental floss. Everyone is picking food out of their teeth which motivates Tony to get his butt in gear. He heads to the water station to chat with Aubry about kicking this game into high gear. They agree they wanna work together, and decide to pull together a majority alliance of:
to pick off the others. And, as Tony figures, these are all the strongest threats left on Mana, and he wants them around to shield him. Say what you want about Tony, but the dude is playing hard, and fast.
He pulls Sandra aside and runs the idea by her, and of course she’s on board.
“As long as it’s not me,” has always been her mantra. Still is. Plus, they rationalize that no non-winners will ever let a previous winner take the crown, so these two need to stick together to make it to the end. And if it ends up being a Tony-Sandra-JT finale, that would be best for all of them.
It’s “Animal Farm” over at Nuku as Tai is once again bonding with the chickens better than with humans. J.T., for one, is growing annoyed at Tai’s treatment of their future meal, because everyone knows what happens to chickens on Survivor. And judging by that belly on J.T., he’s gonna need a lot of nourishment this season.
Night falls and Tony is anxious to make something happen. While everyone else is snoozing the night away, he’s up…and he’s up to no good. He heads over to his SpyBunker to finish digging the pit, when he hears people approaching. It’s Troyzan and Sandra, who wanted to find somewhere quiet to talk. Tony scrambles out of the bunker and crawls over to where he can eavesdrop on their conversation. Some topics are discussed, but the important thing is that Tony hears his name mentioned, so he decides to pop up and confront them. And from the b.s. responses they give him, Tony knows something’s amiss. So much for that Winner’s Alliance to the end plan. Tony doesn’t trust Sandra, and Sandra will be gunning for Tony.
Back at Nuku (Day 5), Ozzy and J.T. are bonding over which diet they’re both on and that doesn’t sit well with Cirie. She knows she needs to start working some magic, or at least start building some alliances. She heads off to the water station with Sarah (seriously, is this the only place the show has a camera set up?) and they both claim to be solid with each other, but Sarah instantly confesses she’d write Cirie’s name down if the Couch Potato was on the chopping block.
“Last time I played like a cop, this time I’m playing like a criminal…a silent assassin,” Sarah tells us. Pfft!
Cirie sits down with Zeke and tries to work her magic on him as well. Even though he’s honored to be in the presence of the Zen master, he’s still not ready to align with someone who may be everyone’s first target. He agrees to “work with her,” but he’s not going to fully align with the Jedi.
“You must use the force, Zeke.”
Cirie then tries to spin her web around Debbie, but something in the way Cirie (or Sheree, as Debbie says) is talking to her, Debbie knows the Couch Potato is untrustworthy. And with all of Debbie’s military training, and her fine-tuned Bulls**t Meter, she can smell a rat when she sees one.
“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…”
Over at Mana, Sandra alerts Hali to the fact that Tony thinks he’s the king, but according to the old saying,
“You’re only the king until the queen arrives…”
Uh, I’ve never heard that saying, Chismosa. Is that a Latin saying? Please explain.
She goes on to reveal Tony’s 5 vs 4 plan to Hali, Troyzan, and Varner, and Troyzan then recruits Michaela to the Anti-Tony Alliance. However, the speed at which Sandra put together this 5-person alliance is somewhat disconcerting to Varner, who knows that when 2 former winners go head-to-head, there’s going to be some collateral damage. And it’s going to get interesting very fast if Mana loses the next Immunity Challenge.
Day 6 arrives and Tony expresses his mistrust of Sandra to Aubry. He knows they’ll need to recruit someone from the other side to help eliminate the queen, because she’s playing like a weasel now and not just a snake.
He finds Malcolm and tries to get him to understand the situation, which is not hard to grasp, but mostly Malcolm is interested in keeping the tribe strong, and keeping Sandra from assembling an army that she can control. He’s also in favor of keeping strong dudes around to use as camouflage, akin to Tony’s belief in keeping “shields.”
Tony and Caleb then have the same discussion, and even though Caleb knows he can’t trust Tony, he trusts Sandra even less, and he wants to keep the tribe as strong as possible. The two studs (Caleb and Malcolm) steal away for a private talk, and confirm what each just discussed with Tony – keep the tribe strong. If it’s gonna be a bloodbath, let that happen later…
Off to the second Immunity Challenge and it involves a great combination of water, balance, strength, stamina, brainpower, and dexterity. Nuku finds out that Ciera went home, and is not too surprised. Jeff reveals this is also a Reward Challenge, and shows everyone the fishing gear they’ll be playing for. With one extra player, Cirie volunteers to sit out, which may work against her later perhaps…
Jeff calls “Go!” and they’re off. Tribes are relatively even until they reach the cage in the water. Varner seems unwilling to go in, choosing rather to bark out orders to the players in the water and keeping his hairdo done did. This approach seems ill advised, as Nuku unties their snake first and starts to haul the 400-lb beast back to shore.
After they manage to get over the balance beam and place the snake on its cradle. J.T., Sierra and Debbie untie the knots hiding the wrapped numbered tiles and Debbie begins untying the 6 knots. Just as she’s about to start trying combinations, Mana experiences a setback as they drop their snake off the balance beam. Gotta reach down and retrieve it, dummies. At least Michaela isn’t barking orders like she did last season, but no one here is as neurotic as Hannah.
Debbie successfully figures out the combination allowing Sierra to begin tossing rings at the rotating oars. She hits the first one and looks to be a natural at this type of exercise. Those rodeo girls go ‘round the outside…!
A few more Manans fall off the beam allowing Nuku to breathe even a little easier. J.T. swaps in and hits a couple more shots and it’s beginning to look like a blowout. Mana finally drops their snake into its cradle and begin untying as J.T./Sierra are now up to 5 oars completed (they need 3 more). Meanwhile, Malcolm has finished the combination lock and can begin throwing rings at his oars as well. It’s not over yet…
J.T. hits the 6th while Malcolm hits 3 shots in succession. Can it be? J.T. gets close on the final 2 oars, but they don’t cooperate, allowing Malcolm to knock down 3 more. We’re all tied at 6 oars rotated somehow. J.T. gets one more to fall and he’s on the last oar. Malcolm almost matches him with his 7th but it won’t fall for him. Who will get the next shot off first?
Michaela asks Malcolm if he needs a break, and in that split second, J.T. composes himself enough to focus one more time…and he nails it! Nuku wins! And Michaela is pissed… Hmmm…anyone surprised?
As Jeff hands out the spoils, the Mana tribe slowly turns to return to camp empty-handed again. And as they walk off, we hear Malcolm confess that they need to keep the tribe strong, meaning he wants to keep his boys around…or they’re doomed.
Returning to camp, Mana tries to explain what happened. Caleb tells us the snake may have been “600-700 lbs.” but who knows how heavy it was when saturated. It was a beast, that’s for sure. Michaela laments how much she hates to lose, and is more frustrated that she couldn’t help more at the challenge. But, she’s on a tribe where other people are making the big decisions, so she’s just going to have to sit down, and shut up.
Tony is apparently looking at everyone and sizing up who the weakest player is. Varner? Hali? Michaela? He seems frustrated at the group as he heads away from camp, alone. This makes the Anti-Tony Alliance once again think he may be looking for an idol, which is probably true, so Sandra thinks it may be wiser to split the votes, just in case Tony does find an idol. They discuss bringing in Caleb and Malcolm to help with the split…
They send the pretty girl (Hali) to butter up Caleb, and she explains to him that Tony is too strong and needs to go. He and Aubry are both playing too strategically, and it’s starting to worry everyone. While discussing this, Tony strolls up, recognizing that players are starting to chatter and make moves, so he asks who they’re voting for, and is told it’s Aubry. He knows they’re probably lying to him, and confesses he’s gunning for Sandra, because she’s starting to run the show. He’s a heat-seeking missile – didn’t Ozzy say that in his porn once? – and nothing is going to get in his way. She’s going home…
As the tribe passes the last few hours until Final Tribal, you can see clear lines have been drawn. Tony and Caleb are off on their own, allowing them the chance to speak privately. Tony stresses that Sandra is playing the same way she played to win twice; that is, to never be a big target at each Tribal. Caleb agrees, and knows he doesn’t want to participate in Sandra’s plan – getting rid of a strong threat – because that’ll expose him and Malcolm as the next strong threats. However, they don’t have the numbers, so they’ll need to recruit someone over to the Bro Side… They think Michaela may flip to keep the tribe strong, considering how much she hates to lose.
Caleb pulls her and Varner aside, to discuss the possibility of turning on Sandra, and they’re both into it. Michaela because she hates to lose – and did anyone think she knew the word “vernacular”? – and Varner is excited because he just wants two winners to go head-to-head. At least it ain’t him, right?
Sandra and Hali have one final chat before Tribal, but it’s essentially another scene where Sandra discusses how she’s the queen, and Tony is going home. Confident, much? Players grab their torches for the trek to Tribal, and I think we’re going to lose a threat…
Tribal Council produces the following:
-Tony tells Jeff the tribe needs to stay strong
-Malcolm concurs they need strength. Physical strength.
-Michaela concurs they need strength…
-Sandra pops her “I may go home tonight” cherry on Survivor…
-Troyzan wants less drama on Total Drama Island
-Tony thinks Troyzan contributed some of the drama
-Sandra is cool. Until a giant mosquito tries to fly away with her crown…
-Tony admits to his past discretions, but claims he ain’t scamming now…
-Varner believes him, and says it’s time to eliminate the “square peg”
Who the hell is the square peg? Is Herobrine playing? It’s time to vote. And the most surprising vote is Sandra’s for Aubry. Huh? Jeff tallies the votes and no idols are played…
Ah, damn, I didn’t think it would go down like that. And all that talk about keeping strength? I guess the other two votes were Caleb and Malcolm’s votes for Sandra, which means Aubry voted for Tony. I’ll wait ‘til the end of the episode to confirm that, but it looks like Aubry is still playing hard. And all that crazy scrambling by Tony may have a been a bit much for these players. Too bad. He’s one of the most entertaining players on Survivor – ever – and this show is lucky to have him.
After a little back-and-forth between him and Sandra – where she refers to herself as “the queen” in front of everyone! – Tony exits.
And once again I gotta say it. I say it every frickin’ season.
Don’t lose strong players early! These are the players who will keep you away from Tribal Council! Are you guys f**king nuts? I know you think you’re all amazing “game changers,” but in truth, you’re just men and women from the USA who were on a reality show once or twice, or thrice. You ain’t nothing special! You ain’t the queen. You ain’t ferocious players. You ain’t any better than any of us. Start playing smarter…
I don’t wanna go off on a rant here, but there’s a certain amount of bravado that goes along with being cast on a reality show. And sure, some players boldly scream how amazing they are at playing the game, but the truth is, they ain’t s**t. Dumb mistake after dumb mistake and we’re supposed to believe these folks are game changers? That was a dumb move. Period. Tony is one guy. One strong guy. He could help you win challenges, and keep you away from Tribal. He’s already won, so what are the chances he’d win again? None… Some of these morons just sealed their own fate, and did it thinking they were making a bold move. It wasn’t. It was stupid.
And as much as a fan of the show I am, it’s votes like this that make me wonder if the show jumped the shark back on Blood vs. Water when Tyson dominated. Since then, it’s been nothing but stupid moves, unlikely winners, fragile alliances, and hashtagged soundbites. Time to recruit some better players. Or better themes. God, I can’t wait for Survivor: Legends, and where the f**k is my waitress!
Next time on…Survivor!
Drop your buffs! Idols! Goats! And J.T. is using that belly as a floatation device and bodysurfing back to camp. Can’t wait to see the next mistake in J.T.’s oeuvre…
And during Tony’s final words it’s revealed that both Malcolm and Caleb voted for “Toni,” so much for all that talk about keeping the tribe strong. No one wanted to keep the tribe strong, and all that video we saw of Malcolm and Caleb discussing it was a huge misdirect. Keep that in mind for the rest of the season. I wonder if the producers forced them to “create” those scenes…? Or else why would they shoot those confessionals…?
Well, there we go. We’re down 2 players, 4 cocktails, 2 bottles of Chardonnay, and a brick of Brie cheese… Way to go, Fish. Way to take care of that fatty liver…
So, after a 2-hour premiere episode that reminded us all why we love this show, I think I’ll wrap things up rather quickly…
In case you’re new to the column – or in case you didn’t catch last season’s final recap – the Fish had some problems. In addition to my fatty liver, I had a bout of homelessness that caused a lot of grief in the Fish aquarium. But, the last few months have been incredibly wonderful to everyone here, and let’s not think about that crazy time any more. Fish has a new home, cable TV, and the internet is working fine…
So, most of all, I wanna say thank you to everyone who’s reached out to me. Whether it was via Twitter, email, comment, prayers, or just positive vibes through the ether, I really appreciate it. Some of you have shared more with me than others – you know who you are – and I do look forward to each encounter with you. I’ve learned a lot about 80s cover bands, BBQs, and what rugby players do after a match, who they shower with, and what they drink, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Apologies if tonight’s column is a bit light on the hilarity. It takes a while to get back into the groove, and with all the other positive things in my life, the time I can devote to the column suffers a little. My sincerest apologies if you were hoping to pee your pants. Perhaps next week’s 60-minute episode will be sponsored by Depends…
Please drop me a line/comment/tweet or any other form of feedback you’re comfortable with. Need that for so many reasons. None of which are financial…
Here’s something fun this season! For the holidays, I was given a crate full of Survivor swag, none of which fits me/I want. Perhaps there’s a way I can spread the joy and award it to you guys? Blind auction? Raffle? Dirty limerick contest? Not sure what we’ll do but I would like it to end up in someone’s hands that’ll appreciate it fully. It’s just sitting in my closet…
So, let’s wrap this up by saying I am honored to be your Survivor recapper. I know I ain’t no Billy Shakespeare, but I hope you get a couple chuckles out of it. I know I like writing them. So, until next week, please keep in mind I am wholly appreciative of you, my readers. And Reality Steve. And vodka…
And why the hell are we seeing Scott Porter talk to Jeff about Survivor? Are they grooming him to take over for Jeff in a few seasons? I seriously hope not. Nothing against Scott, but Jeff Probst is Survivor. Survivor is Jeff Probst. It won’t work if you make a change. Please keep that in mind, Mark Burnett, Jeff is your franchise…
Okay, that’s all. Gotta go watch Gotham, The Walking Dead, Berlin Station, Humans, Turn, and Fear The Walking Dead until next Wednesday. Drop me a comment or two (it doesn’t take long to register) and keep coming back for more.
With tinkling ice cubes,
AIM: email@example.com or Bryan Fischer