So has anybody else been following coverage of the Chilean miners?
Does immersion in that particular saga leave anybody else just a wee bit tepid heading into Wednesday (Oct. 13) night’s “Survivor: Nicaragua”? On one hand, you have a group of low-wage employees stuck 2000 feet underground since the beginning of August. Then you have the reality show with a group of Americans competing for a million dollar prize and complaining about the hardships they’ve faced spending the past two weeks on a beach.
Full recap after the break…
Pre-credit sequence. Farewell to Jimmy T. He’ll never get to prove his leadership now. Back in the Camp of the Ancients, Holly is confused with how Jimmy T went out at the last Tribal Council. She’d been sure that Dan and his $1600 loafers were going home. She thinks she’s on the outs and that something has to change. And that, kids, is what we call FORESHADOWING!
Cyclops, if any one asks you who it was that put your eye out and spoiled your beauty, say it was the valiant warrior Ulysses. We’re back with the Ancients the next morning. Marty says that you can’t get cocky in this game, but he also announces, “I’m in control in this game.” He says that he has a level of certainty that he can see two or three Tribal Councils into the future. He says that he can’t foresee anything that could go wrong with his plan. He says that Jane and Holly are going out next and that it would take something “completely whacked out” for his plan to go wrong. And that, kids, is what we call HUBRIS! And also FORESHADOWING!
I’m the queen of the world! Over with the Youngsters, NaOnka is feeling pretty Marty-esque. She thinks her tribe is “da bomb” and that they just need to get Kelly B out next. She’s looking good, feeling good and convinced that nothing can possibly go wrong. Yup. More HUBRIS and FORESHADOWING.
Man plans, God laughs, Mark Burnett reshuffles. The Youngsters are amused to see the diminished Old Tribe when they arrive for challenges. They’re full of cockiness. At that point, Jeff tells them, “Drop your buffs.” Marty says that it’s too early. Fabio is miserable that their roll is over. We’re going to redistribute the tribes, drawing stones for new captains. The players open their hands. Brenda and Holly are the new captains. Brenda gets to pick three people from the Older Tribe, while Holly will take four from the Youngsters. Jane, Jill and Marty join the Youngsters. Alina, Benry, Chase and NaOnka join the Ancients. The former older tribe is now Espada. The former younger tribe is now La Flor. And that’s also it for the Medallion of Power, which didn’t last very long, but probably served its purpose. “It’s a brand new game,” Jeff explains. NaOnka compares this to being away from her family.
Playing with balls for a cock. They’re playing for reward. It’s like a mixture of Skeeball, Plinko and Hot Potato with an odd catching component. Want to know what they’re playing for? Two chickens, one rooster. Jane is eager to wring the neck on her chicken! Sash drops the first ball for La Flor and Espada is up 1-0. Tyrone drops the next ball and it’s 1-1. A Marty drop puts Espada up 2-1. An Alina drop ties things up and makes the game sudden death. Marty, who keeps making every catch look like a death-defying stunt, fumbles his second and Espada wins Reward. Now, unfortunately, I have to figure out who the heck is on Espada and who the heck is on La Flor.
And the last rule: Stay off of my lawn! So we’re starting off with Espada. Tyrone graciously welcomes the new blood to his camp. Tyrone liked the machine the Ancients had going, but he also likes having the pretty girls running around, with the potential for flirtation. Unfortunately, Tyrone seems to have confused “flirting” with “bossing everybody around.” It’s an easy mistake to make and he suddenly can’t stop babbling about the rules of his camp. Alina doesn’t take kindly to this behavior, which she calls “Very older tribe.” You’d think he’d just told her that dinner would be at 5 p.m. and that the only network the tribal TV picked up was CBS. NaOnka isn’t buying Tyrone’s act, telling the camera “Don’t think that you a ‘g,’ a gangsta, cuz you not.” But Holly feels like this switch was good for her and that she relates well to the new blood, even though she keeps comparing them to her kids. She’s immediately prepared to align with The Kids and ditch Tyrone and Yve and Dan, telling Alina and NaOnka as much. Suddenly Alina and NaOnka are allies, which NaOnka finds ironic. I guess it’s ironic, but only in the most simplistic way possible. Plus, NaOnka can’t hear me trying to lecture her through the TV.
A tribe or a frozen yogurt stand? Over at La Flor, Fabio is stoked at how “the old switcheroo” worked out. Fabio knows his demographic has the numbers, so he’s OK to praise Jill, Jane and Marty as “super-cool.” Marty displays his super-coolness by attempting to impose order on his new tribe, a group formerly described by Brenda as “real chill.” It’s narc time! First, Jane goes aside with Kelly B and Brenda and identifies Marty and Jill as “tight as ticks.” Then, though, Fabio goes and tells Marty about NaOnka and her Immunity Idol kerfuffle with Kelly B. This gives Marty the opportunity to try to be the cool, egalitarian dude telling everybody he has an Idol of his own. It backfires. “I think Marty is soooo arrogant,” Brenda says. She questions the intelligence of their new self-appointed King, calling his admission the dumbest thing he could have done.
No-no NaOnka. We’re back to Espada, where the rain is pouring down and everybody is complaining. Dan is old and uncomfortable. Benry isn’t happy with the resources or shelter geography at their new camp. And NaOnka? She hates the rain and warns us that if she continues to be cold, she’s going to lose it. Wow. What we’ve been seeing is NaOnka keeping it together? Suddenly NaOnka has gone from da bomb to talking about quitting. Alina calls NaOnka a high school girl, comparing her mood swings to NaOnka being on her period all the time. Girls can say things like that. Guys cannot. I hope you’re taking notes at home, Man-Shannon. Alina, who seemed like such a pill at her previous camp, at least has the advantage of not being incapacitated by rain. With NaOnka still threatening to bail, Chase comes over and hugs her into renewed confidence. NaOnka complains that this is even worse than when she lived in Iowa. At this point, Chase tells her a story involving his late father and a rainbow and suddenly NaOnka’s gotta feel like a real whiner. But the rain continues, along with NaOnka’s lamentations.
“Survivor: Guantanamo Bay.” Immunity Challenge time. This may be the strangest challenge I’ve ever seen on “Survivor,” as it involves strapping contestants to a spinning wheel, submerging the players briefly as they fill their mouths with water, which they’ll then use to spit into a funnel. The funnels fill a bottle, which releases a ball, which can then be used to smash tiles. It’s like waterboarding-made-fun! I can’t tell which strategies are right and wrong, but La Flor wins Immunity. NaOnka saw this loss coming. She thinks she’s done. She’s losing fat and losing muscle and she seems to have lost her moxie long ago.
What the cluck, Tyrone? What the cluck? We return to Espada and NaOnka is convinced that her new tribe is cursed. She isn’t nervous about Tribal. She’s ready to go home. Alina just wants to eat something before Tribal Council, which means a cutaway to their chickens, unfortunate poultry that nobody knows how to kill. Tyrone disagrees, worrying about reduced egg yield. Did I somehow miss the open omelet station that morning? Holly finds Tyrone intimidating, but she wants her chicken, darnit. They have a vote and only Tyrone votes against immediate gratification. He’s unhappy, but he doesn’t want to “gangsta it.” Holly is annoyed that Tyrone wasn’t eager to participate in the killing and plucking of the chicken, but he was there for the eating. We’re led to believe that Tyrone look the lion’s share of the chicken, chowing down while Alina worries about her hunger. On one hand, Benry wants to vote Tyrone out for the tribe’s mental welfare, but he knows voting NaOnka out helps things physically. Alina thinks that her alliance is in control no matter what happens, even if they lose NaOnka.
Tribal council. Jeff begins by asking about the new tribe, which leads Alina to talk of a turf war between the older tribe and the new additions. Benry calls Tyrone the Boss Man and Tyrone says he’s definitely qualified, but insists he hasn’t made unilateral decisions. Alina says that Tyrone has been making her feel like a child. Tyrone raises his eyebrow and blames their miscommunication on the generation gap. NaOnka says that previously, her hardest moment in life was getting a divorce at 26. In contrast to that situation, though, NaOnka says she has a support system now. Confusingly, NaOnka says that the previous day had 26 hours, rather than 24 and that those 26 felt like 48. Benry isn’t talking about getting NaOnka out, but Yve is.
The vote. Tyrone writes NaOnka’s name, calling this a “grown folks game.” Benry, though, announces his intention to “dethrone the King of Espada.” Jeff reads the votes: NaOnka. Tyrone. Tyrone. NaOnka. Tyrone. Tyrone. Tyrone. Farewell, Tyrone. As ever on “Survivor,” punishment for disproportionate eating outweighs punishment for being a tremendous pill and practically begging to be voted out. [I can’t have been the only person having flashbacks to James and his hard lesson about banana etiquette last season?] In his departure interview, Tyrone says the realigned tribes messed up his game.
Bottom Line: Tyrone has always looked like an impressive physical specimen, but we never got any indication that he was a figure of strength in challenges or around the camp. Still, it’s hard to imagine him being weaker than NaOnka and it’s impossible to imagine him being more annoying, even if he ate more than his deserved portion of chicken. This probably was not the way I’d have done the Tribal shuffle and the way things are currently set up, it’s hard to imagine anything other than the steady dispatching of the older contestants, leading to a final tribe of Youngsters who are even more callow and unimpressive than the the usual post-merge grouping. Or maybe I’m just annoyed at the potential protracted involvement of NaOnka.
What’d you think of this week’s episode?