If you missed Survivor: Nicaragua‘s age-tastic premiere last week, check out a recap here.
This week’s installment opens in the Espada camp as the tribe returns from their first Tribal Council. Holly realizes that she’s on the outs with the rest of her tribe, so she knows that she needs to rethink her strategy and whole approach to the game. She needs to show her tribe that she can kick their collective ass. We get the opening title sequence, and realize that Jud no longer exists. Rather, his picture is shown with the name “Fabio.” Alright Survivor, I’ll begrudgingly accept this and call the surfer boy, Fabio. *sigh* Back from the commercials, we rejoin Espada in their daily group meeting. Since Marty had a poor night’ sleep (really, everyone had), Jimmy J says they need to fix up the shelter. As “Coach” was giving out jobs, Jimmy T interjects that they should start fishing. Tyrone quickly cuts Jimmy T off so Coach can finish. Jimmy T confesses to the camera that he’s starting to really get annoyed by people ignoring him. Marty, seeing the tensions rise, decides to just stay out of it, sit back, and make sure he’s not the one with a target on his back.
Over at La Flor’s beach, Kelly S. (aka Purple Kelly) complains that she’s never gone so long without brushing her teeth or taking a shower. Fabio, unsurprisingly, has. Sash and NaOnka go off to talk, with NaOnka realizing that she really likes him. For Sash, a partnership with NaOnka is perfect because he’s half black, and he wants to form a minorities alliance with NaOnka and the “Asian Sensation,” Brenda, whom he considers the smartest player in the game. NaOnka asks what he thinks about Kelly B, and he reiterates the common wisdom that Kelly B is a threat because of the sympathy factor. NaOnka confesses that she thinks Kelly B is a “charity case,” and the if her artificial leg falls off during a challenge, she’s going to vote Kelly out immediately.
At Espada, Jill is eating snails, but Holly thinks they can’t be eaten and that Jill is playing some trick on her and the tribe. Holly gabs the bucket of snails and takes them away to dump them out, yelling about how the snails are inedible. This leads the rest of the tribe to be seriously concerned for Holly’s mental health. Dan, leading the tribal chorus, says that she’s “crazy.” Holly, standing not that far away, can hear everyone making fun of her, so she decides she needs to exact some revenge. She grabs Dan’s shoes, fills them with sand, and puts them in the ocean. After Dan gripes about his missing $1600 alligator shoes (who the hell brings sixteen-hundred dollar alligator shoes to Survivor?!?), Holly realizes that the game is turning her into a person she doesn’t like. She calls a tribe meeting and confesses to Dan that she took his shoes, and details exactly what she did to them. She promises to be honest form here on out, which everyone seems to accept…except for Dan. He tells her that if she were a guy, he’d knock her out. (How sweet.) Needless to say, Holly will be getting no sympathy from Dan.
It seems Espada is not the only ones with footwear issues. NaOnka’s socks have gone missing, and she’s not very happy about it. She believe someone stole them, so she in turn, steals Fabio’s socks. He begins to ask her if she’s wearing his socks, but she starts flipping out, saying she’ll “get loud too!” if he doesn’t back off. After her tantrum, Shannon says that her behavior “shows who she really is” (someone who’s mad her socks are missing?). NaOnka sums up her mood by saying that she’s not afraid to bring the attitude — and she doesn’t like “Juhhhhhhd.”
Meanwhile, Holly asks if she can talk to Coach (let’s go with this moniker for Jimmy J). She admits that she’s having a very hard time with the mental aspects of the game; it might be best if she just quit now. Coach tells the camera that Vince Lombardi famously said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” That seems to be the case with Holly. After her talk with Coach, however, she resigns herself to get into the right mental state, and stay in the game to help her tribe. This is perfect timing because it’s time they left for…
…the Immunity Challenge. La Flor enters the challenge space marching in unison and with another chant. Jeff Probst’s bewildered look speaks volumes — mainly that the Survivor gods will smite them for this braggadocio. For the challenge, one member of each tribe will crawl through thick mud under an obstacle and dive into a pile of hay. Inside the hay is a ball. When they grab the ball they place it on a mat. When each tribe collects four balls, three other members of the tribe must use shields to pass the ball between them and into a barrel (two tribe members are there to start the first toss of the ball, and one to pick a missed ball up and bring it back to the start). First tribe to four balls wins. In addition to Immunity, the winning tribe will have a choice between a tarp or fishing gear. Jeff explains to Espada that if they use the Medallion of Power, they will start with one ball already in their barrel. This means that they will get to sit one person. La Flor, which has one more member, will also sit someone. Espada chooses to use the MoP, start with one ball in their barrel, and sit Dan. NaOnka will sit for La Flor. The players take their positions. Survivors ready….Go!
First up are Brenda and Coach. Coach finds his ball first, but is quickly followed by Brenda. Next up are Purple Kelly and Jane. They both move swiftly through the mud, but Kelly finds her ball fast, leading Alina to start before Jane can find her ball. Once Jane does find hers, Holly gets on the course. Alina finds La Flor’s third ball, which starts Kelly B. Without any problem from her prosthesis, Kelly B gets through the mud and finds her ball before Holly. Chase throws the first ball to Sash, then on to Jud and Benry, and into the barrel. Holly finally gets her final ball to Jill, who throws it on to Marty, Jimmy T and Tyrone, who drops his first ball (which is Espada’s second ball). La Flor gets their second in, as does Espada. La Flor drops their third, giving Espada time to get their third into the barrel. La Flor tries again, but misses a second and third time. Tyrone takes his time, and scores Espada’s final ball. Espada wins Immunity! “Old School rules!!” shouts Espada. Jeff asks them what they want for their reward, and they choose the fishing gear (I don’t think it had rained yet, so they wouldn’t know how un-waterproof their shelter is). Jeff sends the tribes back to their beaches, with Sash narrating the feelings of his tribe: La Flor thought because they were young that they would just dominate each challenge. They were clearly wrong.
Back at Espada’s camp, Holly says that if she had quit, she would have missed the payoff of her tribe’s victory. Coach tells the camera that he hopes Holly’s setback and comeback can be used as a teaching moment for the tribe, so that they’ll be able to easily recover from their next setback. The tribe gathers around while Jimmy T opens the fishing gear. Inside a tackle pouch, he finds a parchment with the first and second clues to the Hidden Immunity Idol. They determine that the HII is fifteen yards west from a tree, so the tribemates runoff and start digging around random trees. Jill realizes, however, that the final picture in the first clue (a tree next to a man) actually stands for “Tree Mail (the man figure is a “male,” dur). Since she trusts Marty, she tells him about her discovery. Since Marty was standing with Dan, the three of them make off to Tree Mail to search for the HII. Somehow, Marty and Jill are separated from Dan (it wasn’t shown how), and are able to unearth the HII.
La Flor, meanwhile, begins to contemplate who should be the first of their tribe voted out. Everyone notes that Kelly B dominated the challenge. NaOnka confesses to the camera that she only sat out of the challenge so Kelly B could have an opportunity to show her ability (uh…right, NaOnka, whatever you say). Even though she doesn’t like Kelly B, NaOnka has to admit she performed well. Alina meets with the Kellys and says she wants Brenda out because she’s becoming too close with Chase. Fabio, talking with Chase, Benry and Shannon, states his clear intention to vote out the sock stealer, NaOnka. Chase concurs. Shannon, however, is concerned with the relationship developing between Chase and Brenda. He flat out tells Chase and Benry of his concerns, and says to Chase that Brenda is playing him. He knows that puts Chase in a tough spot,but Brenda has to go. Chase confesses to the viewers that he has found himself caught in two alliances, but his alliance with Shannon came first, so he will honor that one.
Perhaps sensing she may be in danger, or just being lucky, NaOnka approaches Brenda about her thoughts on who should be voted out. They agree that Shannon seems to be the ringleader of at least half the tribe. NaOnka says they should vote Shannon out first, and then Fabio because he’s really not harming anyone right now, but she can’t stand him. Shannon, Brenda notes, is running around talking to everyone and making deals, so he has to go. She figures an effective alliance would be her, NaOnka, Sash, she thinks she can get Purple Kelly, and figures she can get Chase. Chase, for some reason (and I bet we can all figure what it is), tells Brenda about Shannon’s plan to vote her out, and his own indecision due to his two alliances. Brenda asks him why he needs Shannon at all? Why not take Shannon out first, and then Chase’s alliance problems will be solved. Unfortunately for Brenda, her days as a cheerleader have left her with a naturally loud voice, because Alina heard the entire conversation and reported it back to Shannon, Kelly B and Fabio. “Nothing is as it seems,” Fabio notes before heading off to..
…Tribal Council. Jeff welcomes La Flor to their first Tribal Council and instructs them to grab their torches and fire because as we know (everyone sing along!) “fire represents your life in this game.” He first asks Shannon if the game is different than he expected. Shannon answers in the affirmative, saying that this is this hardest thing he has ever done. How so, Jeff asks. Well, this simple question starts Shannon on a tirade, of which written words can do no justice (just check out Shannon’s “crazy eyes”). He begins saying that there is absolutely no loyalty amongst the tribe. He directly calls out Chase for his allegiance to Brenda when he thought Chase had his back. Chase then fully admits to being in two alliances, leading Shannon to then question Chase’s integrity, honesty, loyalty and, I think, his love for America and puppies (OK, I made that bit up). Fabio tries to stop Shannon’s self-immolation by telling him to shut up and stop making enemies, but Brenda, sensing an opportunity (maybe she is the smartest one in the game), says that it’s really hard to trust Shannon when he’s running around talking to everyone in camp. This blows Shannon’s mind so he starts asking if people trust him. Fabio does, Benry won’t answer, and Kelly B says she does. Jeff tells Shannon that perhaps it’s not best to put so much out there at Tribal, right before the vote. Shannon responds that when he feels betrayed, he speaks his mind.
Then begins one of the strangest twists of conversation I’ve ever seen on the show. Sash comments that Shannon is just digging his own grave, leading Shannon to say, “We’re getting this out of the way right now: Are you gay?” (My mouth dropped open at this pint. What a non-sequitur!!) Fabio mouths a wonderful four-letter word (F&#!), and Purple Kelly’s eyes roll back in her head so fast I was afraid they’d pop out. Sash says he’s probably had a lot more beautiful girlfriends that Shannon has, which Shannon vehemently denies (but he’s been married since he was 19!). Sash then says he’d like to see Shannon work his magic in New York. “New York is full of a bunch of gay people, so…” Shannon replies. A shocked Jeff asks Shannon, “New York is full of gay people?” “Sure is, Jeff, a lot more than in Louisiana,” Shannon answers. Fabio tells Shannon to shut up because they are all going ot be on the same team for the next tow or three weeks. Jeff tells him to get his head out of his ass (well, not those words exactly. He said Fabio needs to get out of whatever tree he is in.), and realize that La Flor is completely divided.
Not sensing the changing winds, Alina offers up that Shannon hasn’t lied at all to anyone, but Chase has. Benry, when asked, says he doesn’t know who to trust. Jeff wonders why Brenda thinks she’s a target, and she muses that Shannon wants to take out a strong girl. She finds this odd because it is not as if she sits around plotting all day. Shannon says that originally they were targeting NaOnka, but the girls in his alliance wanted Brenda out. Jeff asks NaOnka if this is news to her. She says that she figured if she was a target it was because she didn’t participate in the challenge, but she thought the tribe was unified. Jeff tells her that if she thinks her tribe is unified, she needs to get out of the tree Fabio is hiding in. Oh no, NaOnka doesn’t want to be anywhere near Fabio. She hates him, and flat out admits it. Fabio just wants to vote. Jeff asks Kelly B what, based on everything that has been said at Tribal Council, does she base her vote on. Kelly answers that she is basing her vote on what will bring the tribe together. With that, Fabio gets his wish and Jeff calls for the vote.
La Flor votes, and Jeff collects the ballots. The first vote is for Shannon, and then Brenda. They alternate two more votes each. The seventh vote is for Shannon, as is the eighth. “The second person voted out of Survivor Nicaragua…Shannon!” (The final vote was 7-3, with Purple Kelly and Benry flipping against Shannon.) Jeff snuffs his torch, and he marches off into the Blue Light of Death. Jeff says that it is clear La Flor’s biggest threat is the tribe itself. With that, he sends them back to camp. For his part, Shannon believes he should have been on the older tribe because he’s been married for eleven years, which makes him more mature than the rest of La Flor. It clearly hasn’t make him any more tolerant. His final words are that he hopes Esapda whoops up on La Flor going forward.
Next time on…Survivor!!
The preview for next week shows La Flor contemplating using the MoP, and Coach pulling a Mr. Magoo and trying to talk to the animals around camp. Further, something is going to cause NaOnka to swear that she is going to push Kelly B so hard her leg is going to fly off. As far as what I’m expecting, I think the MoP is the most important factor this season. It is clear that the younger tribe would destroy the older tribe in every challenge with some physical aspect to it. Even with a 25% advantage, Espada was behind La Flor for a good part of the challenge. If La Flor was more skilled at flipping the ball into the barrel, they would have easily overcome their disadvantage. So, I see the MoP evening out the tribes whenever Espada can play it, and allowing La Flor to annihilate Espada whenever they use it. The question will be, will La Flor ever use the MoP when they have a perceived natural advantage?
As far as the alliances go, Chase dodged a bullet by having Shannon self-destruct at Tribal Council, making Chase’s decision of which alliance to follow easier, because now he’s cemented in the majority. Shannon, Fabio and Alina voted for Brenda, so I’m not exactly sure where that leaves Fabio and Alina within the tribe dynamic, especially with what looks like NaOnka’s self-destruction next week. What I do know is that this week’s events have altered my…
Odds to Win
Wow. Two for two. Still no one in the top third of my odds has gone home. Brenda came close to going home, but Shannon shothimself in the foot, if not with his initial tirade, with his random attack on Sask’s perceived sexuality. Time to go good ol’ boy! I do see a little bit of movement on the board, so let’s get to it.
Yve: 3-1. I moved Yve up because 1) Espada actually wona challenge, 2) she clearly doesn’t have any heat on her back at camp as she wasn’t shown saying a word this week, and 3) Chase was exposed for playing both sides.
Chase: 4-1. He may have lucked out by landing in the majority alliance on his tribe, but Chase is still sitting relatively pretty. Yes, he had to admit to being in two alliances, which may hurt him with his tribe later, but I think once he gets to the Merge, that dalliance with double-dealing (alliteration!) should be forgotten.
Fabio (Jud): 11-2. I know Fabio voted against Brenda, but I just don’t think anyone (besides NaOnka) finds him to be a threat. Seriously, can you imagine the tribe picking NaOnka over Fabio? Even for a second? I think his vote will be dismissed as a guy who was trying to be loyal, but is too dumb to be harmful.
Brenda: 6-1. Brenda obviously has game, and may, indeed, be the smartest player out there. She felt which way the winds were blowing (yes, thanks to Chase telling her, but nonetheless, she had cultivated that relationship), and maneuvered against it. Further, she knew exactly where to push at Tribal Council to help Shannon on his way to implosion.
Jill: 13-2. This woman is strong. This woman is smart. This woman is going to go far in the game. With an HII in her pocket (well, if she can get Marty to actually share it), and what seems like the full respect of her tribe, Jill is a force to be reckoned with in the game.
Tyrone: 9-1. Tyrone, once again, didn’t have much screen time, but his eye rolling and facial expressions are already classics. Further, the way he was able to shush Jimmy T without being too rude (and everyone besides Jimmy T accepted it without incident), shows he knows how to play a strong social game.
Marty: 15-1. Marty moves up the board because he now has the HII (thanks to Jill). He’s still a bit of a dark horse instead of a favorite because he does seem to be a bit smug. Notice he had to correct himself when he said “I found the HII,” changing it to “We found the HII.” This is a guy that looks out for Numero Uno, and blatantly, which may cost him down the road.
Kelly B.:20-1. I still think she is a relative long shot to actually win the game because of the Sympathy Factor, but she’s clearly a strong player. She could have easily been one of the ball throwers, as it only required her to stand still, but she took on the physical part of the challenge that required her to kick through thick mud. That’s a kick-ass woman. Plus, she finds herself in the majority with other players higher on the list to oust.
Sash:28-1. One of our biggest movers this week is Sash. He was rather pleasant this week, and is clearly playing the strategy part of the game well. He may be hurt by being a close friend of NaOnka, and I have no idea what his whole “minorities alliance” is all about (there’s only three minorities in the tribe, not enough for a majority in the near future), but he helped bring about Shannon’s elimination. I don’t know, there was just something that I picked up that says Sash will be around for a while.
Alina: 30-1. Alina drops the most because she clearly sided with the wrong group at Tribal Council, and she doesn’t have Fabio’s excuse that she is kinda dumb. Alina clearly couldn’t read what was happening at Tribal and adjust her comments and vote accordingly. She claims she’s a really smart and wily player, so we’ll have to see if that holds true and she can stick around for a couple more weeks.
Jimmy T.:37-1. His attitude is catching up with him. You could almost see the steam shooting out of his ears when Tyrone cut him off. The only reason he hasn’t moved further down the list is that I think Espada needs him in challenges for his strength.
Purple Kelly (Kelly S.):45-1. Another player moving up is Purple Kelly. She did very well in the challenge, and has picked the right side of her tribe to be aligned with. This was likely a prudent move based on what she picked up was going on at Tribal Council, but that’s what smart players do.
Holly: 50-1. Alright, Holly’s nuts. I watched the snails scene twice, and I have no idea what looks Jill was giving that made Holly think she was doing something nefarious with the snails (and, I know, we get edited versions of scenes). It’s good to see that she was able to pull it together after talking to Coach, but if she was breaking down four days in, how will she be fourteen or twenty-four days in?
Jane: 65-1. I still find it hard to believe that Jane will actually win the game, but I can now see her getting quite far. She is obviously liked by her tribe, and she’s got some fight in her. Then again, she was the worst of the three Espada members who dove into the mud, so her lack of physical strength will likely be her undoing when Espada loses a couple more challenges.
Benry:70-1. Benry jumps up for me solely based on the fact that he was smart to switch his allegiance at Tribal Council. This still places him at the bottom of La Flor’s majority alliance, but he might not have as big of a target on his back as Alina.
Coach (Jimmy J.): 100-1. Coach survived his tribe’s first vote, and is clearly looked to for guidance amongst his tribemates. I still think there’s no way in hell he will actually win, but if he can keep Tyrone, Jill and maybe Marty on his side, I think he’ll survive to The Merge, and then all bets are off.
NaOnka: 175-1. She copped attitude not once, but twice in this episode (the socks incident, and again at Tribal Council). She blatantly said she hated Fabio, and is a very outspoken person. Plus she wants to take on a tribemate (Kelly B) that everyone views as a very strong competitor with more assets than she has. This does nto bode well for NaOnka.
Dan: 300-1. Anyone who brings $1600 alligator shoes to Survivor has no business being there. None.
Alright, that’s what I’ve got for this week. What did you think about the episode? Who do you think was helped or harmed by the explosive Tribal Council? Is Alina on the outside looking in? Has Brenda positioned herself for a long run to the end? What do you think about my new Odds to Win? Please leave your comments, questions and theories below. I’ll be back next week with another recap. Until then, I’m off to keep one eye on my shoes.