Last week, it was 2 a.m. in London and I was recapping “Survivor” and then everybody in the game quit. It was weird. Will we actually have a Tribal Council vote on Wednesday (Dec. 8) night? And what impact will the departure of Purple Kelly and NaOnka have on the “Survivor: Nicaragua” season? My hunch? None.
Let’s find out…
Pre-credit sequence. What a strange intro. Why did it all have to be about Sash? Perhaps we’re about to find out. The “Survivor” editors are subtle like that. The remaining seven castaways return to camp on Night 28. Reborn Holly is still ranting about the quitters. “Un-believable,” she sighs. They decide to name their remaining camp chicken “Kelly-Nay.” As Benry helpfully explains, “Because they’re both chicken.” Ohhhh. I get it now! But Sash realizes that losing two semi-allies was bad for him and good for everybody else. He still has an Idol, but the game has become more difficult.
Sash: The Curt Flood of “Survivor.” The sun rises. The monkeys are in the trees. And Sash is telling Fabio, Chase and Benry that he’s a free agent and he plans to demonstrate his freedom by playing the Immunity Idol at the next Tribal Council. This makes no sense, but everybody agrees it makes total sense. Sash, Brenda’s Queen just days ago, is now relying on being a swing vote. Smart? Or pathetic? Chase comes to woo Sash immediately and suggests they’re best off going with Holly and Jane. They shake. They lock eyes. Sash hasn’t been on a Reward for a while and he’s hungry, but Chase promises him that a Reward is in his future. CUT TO…
Greatest Hits and Misses. Hey look! Reward Challenge Time! Suddenly it’s Day 30, even though it was Day 29 just one boring scene ago. We’re racing along. It’s a multi-phase course of vaguely memorable challenges from earlier in the season. Want to know what they’re playing for? The winning person gets a trip to a private resort for a good night’s sleep and a good meal. Chase, Jane, Benry and Holly advance out of the first round. So much for Sash’s reward. And is anybody else amazed that Dan is still alive, much less still in the game? The two women are eliminated next, leaving Chase and Benry in the final. Chase is an almost hilarious machine suddenly. He destroys the challenge and wins reward. Where has this Chase been all season? Chase gets to bring two people. Holly is his first pick and even though Chase made a vow to Sash just minutes earlier, he takes Jane. Sash calls Chase’s pick “incredibly stupid.”
Men, men, men, men, manly men. The losers return to camp muddied, but unbowed. “Chase picked the two least strategic people to go with him,” Fabio chides. Ha. When Fabio is mocking your strategy… Bad sign. Then again, we knew that Chase was a well-meaning dolt, so this isn’t surprising. Sash now presents his value to the three remaining men. Sash, suddenly incapable of speaking, asks them to give him a complicated proposal of strategy. But playing hard-to-get doesn’t befit him. Dan tells us that after what Sash did to Brenda and Marty, he’s a hard man to trust. Hi, Dan. We’d forgotten you were around.
Finally the Jane/Holly shower scene we’ve been waiting all season for. Chase and his two older female companions get a night in a tiki hut, where they marvel at the amenities. Jane is particularly capable of squealing about everything. But Holly knows that Chase screwed up by picking Jane. Heck, even Chase knows, after a few minutes to reflect, that he made a huge mistake. Chase describes himself as “flighty” and worries that people will stop trusting him. “I’ve gotta get back to camp tomorrow and figure out where Sash’s head is at,” he tells us. Damage control will wait for tomorrow, for tonight… We shower!
Poultry drama. Sash is off swimming, but Benry and Fabio agree that the free agent ought to come with them. But Benry calls Sash “shifty” and is concerned that he’s closer to the other alliance. Because they’re bored, they decide that the time is right to slaughter Kelly-Nay. Sign. Four lonely men decide to choke the chicken? Is this what “Survivor” has come to?
The Scramble in the Brambles. Flies buzz around the corpse of Kelly-Nay. “They didn’t have to eat her,” bawls Jane, missing her friend. “I did love my chicken,” she wails. Jane shapes a heart and builds a cross. Kelly-Nay was, apparently, a Christian chicken. It’s unclear if we’re supposed to think this makes Jane look like a lovable eccentric or a slightly unhinged whackadoo. Holly doesn’t trust Sash and she colludes with Chase and Jane to set up a possible sting to test Sash’s loyalty. Benry, for the first time, worries that his name could potentially be brought up for eviction. Chase reassures Benry that nobody wants him out and they both agree that voting either Jane or Fabio out would be plausible. It’s reconciliation time for Sash and Chase, with Chase pitching his Reward-shunning to Sash by saying that it was a sign of how much he trusts Sash. Sash asked Chase to swear on his mother and his late father not to vote him out and he appears to agree. Chums now, Sash, Holly and Chase agree that either Fabio or Benry would be the biggest threat and should be voted out next. It’s scrambling time for Benry, who goes to the three schemers and says that he’ll go along with the plan to vote Fabio out, but he once again mentions that nobody wants to go to the Final Three with Jane. Scramble, young man, scramble.
Flip a coin. Immunity is back up for grabs. Players are tethered to a hitching rail and have to collect gold coins. The first three people to collect the requisite coins get to compete in a second phase, to do a coin puzzle. It’s Benry, Fabio and Sash advancing to the final round. Jane stands off to the side. “Come on, Benry,” she yells when Jeff Probst mentions Benry. “Come on, Sash,” she yells when Jeff mentions Sash. “Come on, Fabio,” she yells when Jeff mentions Fabio. Immunity goes to Sash as Jeff tells him that he has a one-in-six shot at winning the million dollars. Once again, Jeff’s math is wrong.
The triumphant return of Sash the Cocky Tool. With his Hidden Idol, his Immunity and his majority alliance, Sash describes himself as a triple-threat. He describes himself as being “in complete control.” He announces that he’s been sandbagging most of the challenges so far, going only 70 or 80 percent. Do we believe that? Really? As confident as Sash is feeling, Fabio is feeing unconfident. Fabio just wants to be warned if his name is coming up, believing that he and Sash are close. This is a newly nervous Fabio. Some people think Fabio’s going home. Some people think Benry’s going home. There’s some question on who they’re supposed to tell Fabio they’re voting off, with Holly being the name they agree is most plausible. “I’ll vote Holly,” Fabio says agreeably. “I feel good about getting Holly out,” Fabio nods, relieved. Sash and Jane have a sappy bonding moment, calling her a second mother and agreeing that they’re all good people and he couldn’t backstab her. Jane is amazed that her “spokes on a wheel” alliance came together as perfectly as it did.
Tribal Council. The jury comes in, with Jeff welcoming, “Our two quitters, NaOnka and Purple Kelly.” Heh. Jeff is a bitter, bitter man. Discussion begins with mockery of Chase’s Reward decision. Chase and Benry try to convince the others that they aren’t physical threats. Jane agrees that Fabio is strong, but “maybe not the smartest on the puzzle.” That’s my favorite euphemism ever. Benry is confident. Sash is confident, though many people are concerned by the number of people who were visiting with Sash all afternoon. Holly makes a veiled reference to Fabio’s complacency, as we head off for…
The Vote. Apparently we don’t get to see who anybody voted for this week. Time for Probst to read the votes: Holly. Fabio. Fabio. Benry. Benry. Benry. Benry. That’s it for Benry. There’s some confusion on the Jury. Probst makes a pretentious speech about alliances. “I’m extremely surprised,” Benry says, though he tries to see it as a compliment that he was viewed as a threat.
Bottom Line: Hmmm… It’s not a good “Survivor” episode where things have been edited in such a confusing fashion where I don’t understand why the vote went the way it did and I also don’t really care. The last we were told, Sash and his New Sashettes were voting against Fabio. I don’t know why that was their choice at the time, nor do I know why that ceased to be their choice. I can see the logic in voting Benry out, but… Whatever. Did Fabio do something to save himself that we missed? [Apparently not, since he voted for Holly, meaning he has no idea either how close he came to elimination, or why he avoided it.] Did Benry do something to move the target back onto himself that we missed? Or did Sash or Holly just make a choice? I’m not pleased that Sash has, through no real skill or effort, seemingly put himself back in a power position. Sash has managed to be simultaneously good and inept enough that if he wiggles into the Top 3 with the right pairing, the jury will be mostly Sash’s former allies who he didn’t even betray, which would make him hard to beat. To which I say: Meh.
Do you have any thoughts on Wednesday’s “Survivor”?