Welcome to another week of “Survivor: Nicaragua,” the season formerly known as “Survivor: Jimmy Johnson Edition,” until Jimmy Johnson was voted out, and “Survivor: Old vs. Young,” until the age-based twist was eliminated last week. As Wednesday’s (Oct. 20) episode begins, it’s more like “Survivor: Who The Heck’s On Which Tribe?”
Let’s see if clarity ensues… After the break…
Pre-credit sequence. Espada is the group that just had Tribal Council and lost Tyrone. Back at their camp, a Biblical storm is brewing. The clouds are billowing and Dan is threatening to pack it in, telling Holly of his wavering commitment. Holly, who was threatening to quit only weeks earlier, is all “You signed up for something. Suck it up and finish.” Part of me wants to mock Holly’s hypocrisy, but most of me wants to cheer that Dan has apparently forgiven Holly for ruining his $1600 pair of loafers. With that sign of the apocalypse, “Survivor” goes into its credits.
Yve of Destruction. We’re still in Espada when we return. Yve approaches Holly and asks why she wasn’t informed of the plan to vote Tyrone out at the previous Tribal Council. Yve tries desperately to make it clear that she never had an alliance with Tyrone and tries to shift attention to Dan. This will come to look like foreshadowing.
Bogus journey. Over at La Flor, Marty and Jill are hoping that their new tribe has begun to appreciate them. Marty calls his new tribe “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” while Jill is worried about their sleepiness and their bonds. Brenda confirms Jill’s fear. She’s plotting a Tribal Council strategy with three votes for Marty and three for Jill in an effort to both flush the Idol and send one of the Ancients home.
A good opportunity to flip over and watch baseball. It’s Immunity time, as Jeff Probst removes the Tribal Immunity Idol and displays two Individual Immunity Idols. The twist: Both tribes are going to go to Tribal Council that night and each tribe will send somebody home. Nobody’s especially shocked. It’s a two-tiered challenge, with the second tier determining a feast for the winning team. It’s one of those feasts where you get to eat and watch the other team at Tribal Council. It’s not, however, one of those challenges that makes for interesting TV. It’s a dull and somewhat silly task of rope rings and paddle flipping. The goal is to collect three rope rings. Yawn… Holly wins Immunity for Espada! Jill wins Immunity for La Flor, which pretty much screws the Youngsters and their voting plans. Jill and Holly have to toss rings for the feast. Jill wins. La Flor is happy.
The Grandmaster of his domain. They’re still happy at La Flor, where they’re eagerly anticipating beef and chicken. They do a “1, 2, 3… La Flor!” Everybody’s enthusiastic. On the surface. Brenda isn’t happy, facing a tough voting decision. Brenda’s new plan is to split the votes this time between Marty and Kelly B. Kelly B will be told that the votes are going against Jane. Brenda goes on and on about the pity factor for Kelly B and her one-leggedness. For now, Kelly B thinks she’s still aligned with the Youngsters. Brenda sees a complicated vote coming up, with Fabio as the X-Factor. Then, in a weird state of affairs, Marty pulls Fabio aside and tells him that he’s a grandmaster at chess. He tells Fabio some bizarre story about beating Guillermo Villas at chess when he was a child. Here’s the thing: Marty isn’t actually a grandmaster at anything, nor is former tennis star Guillermo Villas. But Marty is smart enough to know that Fabio is stupid enough to be impressed by this lie. But why is Fabio dumb enough to see this allegedly Grandmaster-dom as being a reason to keep Marty around? And why was Marty smart enough to know that Fabio was too stupid to be intimidated? Sigh.
Pleading your case (you’re doing it wrong). Everybody is reassuring Holly back at the Espada camp. Holly knows she has to go with the youthful majority, meaning that the vote has to be against either Dan, still talking about quitting, or Yves. Dan tells us that he doesn’t need the money anyway. The Youngsters, led by Benry, want Yve out first, because Dan isn’t a threat. Chase, however, says he only trusts NaOnka and he’s concerned about Alina and Benry. NaOnka has fears about Dan’s physicality, or lack thereof. Yve’s case, which she puts to Alina and NaOnka, is that she has strong ties to the Ancients over at the other camp. Alina, however, hears that as a good argument for voting Yve out.
A wasted segment, only with monkeys. There are so many monkeys around Espada, apparently. They’re in every single reaction shot. Dan is not a monkey. But like the monkeys in the trees in the cut-aways, he’s looking lethargic. Once again, Chase tries making the case that keeping Dan around is good for business, though NaOnka tries to convince him to vote Dan out.
A wasted segment, only with a guest appearance by Sash. Brenda pulls Jane aside and reassures that she’s safe. Jane says that she’s “a thick as peanut butter and jelly” with the youngsters. She’s looking forward to messing with Jill and Marty. Sash, who hasn’t said a word since the Shannon flameout a few weeks ago, tries explaining the plan to Fabio, who manages to simultaneously play stupid and be stupid about his svengali Marty. The Fake Grandmaster turns his attentions to Sash, who informs Marty that Jane is going out next. At least on the surface, Marty appears to believe that Jane is going out. But if Fabio continues to float, it messes everything up for Brenda, so Marty takes his Idol with him.
Tribal Council, La Flor Edition. Jeff begins by asking if Marty and the other Ancients are outsiders. The conversation, not an especially interesting one, revolves around Marty’s gameplay and his strategy in admitting to his Immunity Idol. The Fake Grandmaster says he’s getting mixed vibes, but this is all about trust. Does anybody realize there’s another girl named Kelly out here who hasn’t said a word since the premiere? That’s impressive. Oh, but anyway, Kelly One-Leg says she’s feeling confident. Brenda, stirring the pot, makes it clear that the only thing Jane has to fear is being voted out by Marty and Jill. It’s a good tactic, because it leaves Marty flailing and will probably force his hand on the Idol. Marty looks at his comrades and mouths “Vote Brenda.” INTERESTING.
The Vote, La Flor Edition. “I ain’t no sittin’ duck, honey,” Jane says, writing down Marty’s name. “You’re the black widow, king cobra, and black mamba all rolled into one,” Marty sneers, as he writes Brenda’s name down, threatening that the lines have been drawn. Will Marty play his Idol? He… DOES NOT. The votes: Marty. Marty. Marty. Brenda. Brenda. Kelly B. Kelly B. Kelly B. It’s a tie. Marty shakes his head. And we go to commercial.
The Vote, La Flor Edition, Take Two. Jeff explains that Marty and Kelly B don’t vote and that everybody else gets to vote for one of them. Let’s see how well Brenda coached the post-tie strategy, since she had to anticipate this. Marty. Kelly B. Kelly B. [That’s it.] Kelly B. Kelly B is done. Marty is safe and makes crazy-eyes as he shakes his head. La Flor now gets to feast. In her exit, Kelly B is surprised and confused. Poor Kelly B.
Tribal Council, Espada Edition. As the other tribe chows down, the Espadites admit that it’s hard to watch. Fabio, practically in tears, tells his competition how good his kebabs are. Dan, though, isn’t bothered by the happy eating sounds. He says nothing bothers him other than the idea of being voted out. Yve is having none of it, telling Jeff that Dan has been complaining consistently. Dan shakes his head. Benry agrees that while Dan may be a physical liability, but he isn’t incompetent. Dan emphasizes that he’s only a liability in certain challenges. Yve at least admits that she’s gunning for Dan because she feels endangered herself. Alina agrees that it’s down to Dan and Yve. La Flor is sent packing, as Marty wishes Dan lucky.
The Vote, Espada Edition. Yve wrotes Dan’s name down. Dan writes Yve’s name down. Jeff reads the votes: Yve. Dan. Yve. Yve. Yve. That’s it for Yve, as the Youngsters decided to keep the liability over the competitor. In her exit interview, Yve says she’s disappointed in herself and she intended to win.
Bottom Line: I do not get the over-estimating of the sympathy factor for Kelly B. Yes, she’s got one leg. Yes, if she somehow got all the way to the Top 2, that sympathy factor would probably play into things, not that her jury speech was ever going to be, “Vote for me because I have one leg.” But how was she going to get to the jury? There were going to be countless opportunities to vote her out in the future. So why was Brenda so weak and insecure to turn on Kelly B when Marty left himself exposed and presented the opportunity to vote both a strong competitor and an Idol out of the game in one swoop? And Brenda had to know that she earned Marty’s animosity with her Tribal Council antagonism, which seemed directed only at flushing the Idol out in the first place. Yeah. That’s a ridiculous blunder from a smart contestant and now she’s moved for slightly-under-the-radar to targeted by a freakin’ Fake Grandmaster at Fake Chess! As for Espada? Whatever. Yes, Dan’s a physical liability, but in a season where physical tasks have basically gone out the window — this week’s ring-flipping may have been a new low — the tribe isn’t appreciably weakened by keeping Dan and losing Yve. That decision made much more sense than the La Flor vote.
What did you think of this week’s double-vote?