Night 16 and Nuku stumbles back into camp. Debbie wants to drop a little small talk on everyone, but they’re more interested in finding out about Exile. Debbie decides to keep everything that happened there a secret, including the food, the booze, Cochran, and the advantage she now holds. And…won’t that reveal her as a liar when the next person goes to Exile? Whatever, she’s Debbie, and she knows how to play this game…
Varner also knows how to play (for real) and shares a deep conversation with Zeke about what happened at the last vote, how he’s okay with it, and what he’d like to do moving forward. And it looks like these two might like to do each other moving forward, which I’m totally fine with…if it’s not during a challenge, or at Tribal, or during a confessional. However, it would be Must See TV if they decided to have a shag out in the ocean, while everyone is staring at them from shore. BTW, where’s Richard Hatch’s pixilated penis right now, and when is Survivor: Fire Island shooting…?
The next day, it’s Challenge time and it’s revealed to Mana that Sandra went home for the first time ever. Probst tells Mana that Debbie has now joined Nuku and the sound of Fijian crickets fills the soundtrack. No one cares, because there’s no comparison between Sandra and Debbie. The challenge will involve unspooling a tangled rope, releasing keys, building a ladder, unlocking a bag of balls, squeezing through a net sling, and finally launching 5 balls into nets using a catapult. Winners will receive a Survivor pizza party, which looks to be the greatest reward ever offered, based on how everyone is foaming at the mouth. Seriously, everyone has lost their mind, and it’s over pizza…
And as I take another bite of my deep-dish slice from The Pizza Cookery, I suddenly realize how important this challenge is for these players. Damn, that s**t is good!
Tribes are even so everyone’s playing. Let’s get it on! Not you, Varner and Zeke, pull your pants up, guys!
Nuku takes the early lead because they realize everyone should be contributing, not one person trying to untangle the rope by themselves like Mana is doing. Nuku keeps their lead all the way to collecting their balls and begin launching, Ozzy taking the honors. He’s able to land 3 into their nets before Mana can even begin launching their first ball, handled by Sierra. With a miss, Brad takes over catapulting duties, and lands his first attempt! Ozzy then hits #4 and it’s looking like a blowout.
After a few fails by both men, Ozzy finally shows why he could be the best player to ever play Survivor and hits #5. Nuku is going to Chuck E. Cheese, and Mana is left questioning what went wrong. And as both tribes head back to camp, Cirie confesses how desperate the Mana tribe is becoming, and dropping hints that someone’s about to lose it back at camp. And is anyone else noticing how much weight Cirie has lost? She’s looking thinner than I’ve ever seen her… Me likey.
When Mana returns to camp, we get to watch one of those scenes that you think would happen almost every day, but we rarely witness. Sierra and Cirie start talking about how difficult it was to not win those pizzas, and then Aubry mentions how this game affects people, both here and back at home, and how no one understands that. Brad then opens up about how much more respect he has for his wife, considering she made it all the way to Day 39. Soon, everyone is crying, except for a few heartless b**ches… No names mentioned.
Brad decides he’s cried enough, and heads off to the beach to do some laundry. He’s soon joined by Aubry, and later Cirie, who both extend olive branches in the hope of working with him moving forward, because they’re digging this new emotional Brad vibe. Perhaps we’re seeing the next stage in Operation: Hero Edit Culpepper. And when the rest of the tribe joins them at the beach, he confesses how good he’s feeling about the Power 5 Alliance he now has with Sierra, Troyzan, Aubry and Cirie. And Michaela and Hali can go screw themselves, I guess.
Over at Nuku, the pizza party is about to begin, but where’s the clown to make balloon animals? What the hell kind of pizza party is this? Oh, I get it, they saw the new “It” trailer and now everyone’s “s**t ton” scared of clowns (borrowing Sierra’s phrase). Okay, fine, eat your pies… Varner and Zeke dig in and start making balloon animals out of the Survivor condoms production gave them…
But Varner can’t even enjoy it because he knows he’s on the bottom. Between bites, he keeps looking at camera and saying, “I need to…get rid…(chew, chew)…of Ozzy…(gulp)…because he’s a…(chew, swallow)…huge…(gulp)…threat.” Oh man, I thought he was going to say Ozzy has a huge something else, so I’m glad he kept it clean. Nevertheless, Varner confesses he wants to start targeting Ozzy, because “that boy can go on a run and win every challenge.”
He shares a conversation with Sarah about working with her, and having them use him, because…he’s totally desperate and what else can he say? She plays along enough and asks if he has anyone “on the other side” come merge time, and all he can say is, “yup.”
Doesn’t seem a lot to go on, but this is Survivor, and when did words ever matter? Sarah is willing to work with him, but wants to know who Varner wants to go home (with).
And again, I’m starting to dislike Varner, even though I like Varner. He then comes up with a preposterous theory, “it’s the 7th vote, so we need to take out strong players,” and I’m wondering, what about all those other strong players that have been taken out 5 out of the first 6 weeks? Again, I know everyone thinks they know how to play this game, but when will the truth be reflected in their thought process?
It’s Day 18 and we got a floating Immunity Challenge! The best kind. Seriously, show me some swimming, or running, or puzzle making, and Fish is a happy man. Jeff takes the Immunity Idol back and Holy Crap! Look at Hali’s abs! Oh my, Fish needs a moment. Ah hell, I just remembered that link I posted on Twitter a few days ago with the Rachel Ako nudes. Now I need another minute…
Okay, I’m back. And I think I need to order a dozen roses for my wife, just to clear my conscience… Back to the game…
The challenge will require 4 members to dive into the water and board a raft. Then, they’ll pull themselves with a rope to three separate stations, where they’ll have to dive down and release some buoys. Those buoys are then brought to the final platform, where the other 3 players will have to spell a 13-letter word. In this challenge, it’s: METAMORPHOSIS.
And is anyone else thinking how much pizza Nuku still has in their bellies? Or has it all been “exorcised” by now…? Never mind, let’s get to it!
Nuku takes the early lead when Ozzy is able to retrieve the first set of buoys on his first dive. Brad has a bit of trouble, but gets them untied on his 2nd attempt. Meanwhile, Ozzy has successfully untied the 2nd set, and they’re moving on to Station #3. Brad taps out for Mana, and Aubry dives for set #2, and succeeds with relative ease. Ozzy gets #3 just as easily as the first two, and Nuku is heading for the platform.
While Varner, Cirie and Andrea begin to form words, Brad dives in for the third set for Mana, and releases them.
But a 13-letter word isn’t that easy to decipher, when there’s no chance of laying them out on the platform and try to form words. They have to hang, and look, and think, and rearrange, and try to figure out just what the hell the word – or words – may be. Something tells me Mana may still have a chance here…
Hali – bless her heart – suggests “M-E-T-A” and she could be leading Mana to the Promised Land (get it?). Or is she leading the Christians to the Colosseum? We’ll see, as buoys get rearranged, and yes, it’s another come from behind victory on Game Changers. Mana wins Immunity!
JP hands out the idol and everyone dives in for the long swim back to shore. And as Varner’s splash nearly tsunamis a local village, he confesses he needs to get everyone to vote for Ozzy, because UNC ain’t going home tonight!
When they return to camp, Varner immediately announces he knows he’s on the bottom, so he’s requesting one-on-one time with everyone. He claims to not have an idol, so he just wants to make his pitch, and then he’ll be “at peace.” Not sure I’ve ever seen anyone set up a speed dating session like this, because why would you allow it? If he’s on the bottom, make him stay on the bottom, uncomfortably…
He says he’s going to the well, so Ozzy offers to go with him, leaving the other 5 alone to discuss what THEY want to do.
Debbie wants to vote out Varner
Sarah suggests it’s time to take out Ozzy
Zeke says he really likes Varner, but would prefer to keep Ozzy with them
Andrea is conflicted
Tai, as always, has no valid opinion
Later, Varner sits down with Zeke and probes the little man… (oh behave!). What he can infer from the conversation, is that he’s got a 50% chance he’s going home, meaning that Zeke is working with Ozzy, which may be something the girls don’t know. Ah-hah! Varner sees a crack… And how many times has that phrase haunted Mr. Varner…?
Varner starts spinning his own web of deceit, and alerts Sarah, and then Andrea, about Zeke’s plans to work with Ozzy, and then he adds on some “And he’ll lie to you,” for good measure. Now, considering Varner is on the bottom of this tribe, you know (or they should know) he’s going to start spinning any lie he can to stay alive. So, when I see Sarah and Andrea acting incredulous about these revelations, it means nothing to me. I’m sure it’s all just “show drama” to create some misdirection before Tribal, but who knows how they’ll screw it up this week?
And considering Probst’s tweet that I accidentally saw, I’m hoping the s**t doesn’t hit the fan at Tribal. But it looks like it will, and who knows where that’ll leave Nuku. As Sarah and Andrea discuss what Jeff told them, it appears Sarah is seriously pissed off at Zeke, but does anyone really believe her? She keeps mentioning how Zeke “threw the two of them under the bus,” but what bus is she talking about? She got her information from Jeff Varner – not exactly a credible source at this point – and now she’s considering flipping against Ozzy.
And I hope that whatever police force Sarah works for is taking notes on this episode, because if this is how one of their officers collects information and reacts to it, then I think every “hoodie wearing guy with his hands in his pockets” better be prepared to be hauled in, because Sarah Lacina thinks you “did it.” Whatever “it” is…
And I just looked at my DVR and there’s still 20 minutes left in the show, so there’s a long-ass Tribal coming up. I wonder what’s afoot?