The H-Bomb didn't work. Time hasn't been reset, and instead of landing safely at LAX, 20 former Survivor contestants have found themselves back on The Island, said island being Samoa, and, rather than separated into Oceanic 815 Survivors and The Others, they have been divided into "Heroes" and "Villains," although "Likables vs Insufferables" would be far more accurate. Here we go again.
Survivor is back for its 20th season. This time, they've promised to answer all our questions. And thanks to a judge who believes in good TV, we don't have the original Smoke Monster, Richard Hatch himself, to put up with. However, we still have Ex-Coach Wade, aka Voldetool, and Sore-Loser Russell back, so there's plenty to hate. Actually, with two of the most insufferable super-egotists of all-time on the same game, and the same team, the war of the egos between Voldetool and Russell should drastically upstage the "Heroes vs Villains" plot. Onward.
The teams arrived on Samoa by black helicopters. A sweet-but-paranoid friend of mine watching with me started screaming: "Black Ops Copters! They're coming for us! I won't be rounded up into Cheney's Death camps!", ran out of my house, and dove off of Tumescent Tor into the churning Pacific. To be fair, he does the same thing whenever the Goodyear Blimp flies overhead. And the "CBS Eye" logo floating on the lower right-hand corner of the screen for the whole show also tends to send him off shrieking about "The All-Seeing Eye!", and raving about Masons and The Illuminati. Frankly, contestants on Survivor tend to be The Diminati.
The first "Likeable" we met was Rupert. I admit, I've always loved Rupert, a fact all the more remarkable when you consider that he is utterly devoid of any trace of sexual appeal. I love him, but he's someone I always wish would wear more clothes, rather than less.
And the first Insufferable we met was Sore-Loser Russell, who shot this series before learning he had lost Survivor: Samoa, so he's still smug in his delusion that he has just won a competition he's actually lost. Russell has rewaxed away his chest hair, so once again, we will be watching him get re-furry as the show goes along, like the slowest-changing lycanthrope on earth.
And the first words out of Sore-Loser Russell's mouth showed he's just as deluded as ever: "I think villains are heroes, because they don't mind stabbing somebody in the back to get where they want to get. It's a fact. It's a proven fact. Google it." I won't dispute that a villain will stab people in the back. But Sore-Loser Russell needs to look up the meaning of the word "Hero." It is not generally defined as "a person without ethics, who doesn't care whom he hurts to fulfill his selfish goals." He's confusing "Heroism" with "Objectivism." By Sore-Loser Russell's definition, Adolf Hitler was The Greatest Hero of All-Time. Google it.
JT, the inexplicably popular winner of Survivor: Tocantins is on the Likables, while the Wicked Bitch of the West, Jerri Manthey is befouling the Insufferables. She should live full-time in a black ops copter. (Somehow, Elizabeth Hasselbeck was omitted from the Insufferables. What an oversight!)
But then they showed us James Clement, from Survivors: China and Micronesia. I wasn't recapping Survivor here yet back then, so you have no way of knowing how deeply in lust I am with this incredibly delicious Dark Angel of Love. He should be on the Dreamboats Tribe! Since he is a grave-digger, while I am a Screen Immortal, there's no way we would ever meet professionally, but I crave him. I even tried having myself buried alive, just to get him to thrust his shovel into my hole. James, James, James, I forgive you for that silly injunction. "Stalker" is such an ugly word. And so inaccurate. With the unsteady way I walk, the worst I could be is your "Staggerer."
Thus Spake James: "I'm back here to do what I came to do the first time, get to the end, and make the money." James darling, just get to my end (right this way!), and you'll make my money shot!
Then the most insufferable of all Insufferables, Ex-Coach Wade, aka Voldetool, the most full-of-himself windbag on earth. The mere sight of this preening pustule made me want to jump into the churning Pacific with my paranoid pal. All my loathing for Voldetool came surging back at the sound of his hateful voice: "This time I slay everyone, and trust no one. This is my chance for redemption." He thinks he can achieve "redemption" by "slaying everyone"? Please let him go out quickly. I can't stand the very idea of watching him for weeks more. I'd rather watch five more Mo'Nique acceptance rants, I mean speeches, than endure even two episodes of Voldetool. Remind me not to eat before watching the show until he's gone.
Tom Westman, the middle-aged-men-can-be-sexy-too winner of Survivor: Palau is on the Likeables team. The thing about Tom is, he's still middling-attractive, but about 15 years past his hot days. He's "Sexy Reserve." That is to say, when the actually-hot guys, like James or Colby, get voted out, we have Tom's DILF-appeal to fall back on, to see us through the Dog Days final weeks of the show.
Sandra Diaz-Twine, of Survivor: Pearl Islands, is right where she belongs, on the Insufferables. "You know, I'll lie. I don't care. But I'll make up a good lie." That's a pretty good lie right there.
Excuse me? What is Cirie Fields doing on the Likeables Team? She's supposed to be on the Insufferables. I found her wholly insufferable both times she was on before. Talk about miscasting!
Since the Insufferables are overloaded with leftovers from Survivor: Toncantins, my first season as the Huff Po Survivor recapper, I may end up just rerunning some of those columns. Along with Voldetool, there is Tyson The Nude Mormon, the most obnoxious and physically-repulsive contender from Brazil. My flesh is already crawling in revolted anticipation to the point that I've had to nail my hide to the recliner to prevent it crawling out the door. At least it means I get to take more shots at the hateful Mormon Church, which remains unrelenting in its tireless efforts to write its religious prejudices into our laws. Mormons: the polygamists who fight for "Traditional Marriage," which in the Mormon church is defined as "one elderly man, and three or more unwilling teenage girls." (Don't even attempt to tell me I'm wrong. Little Dougie, who types up my columns for me, is a direct descendant of prominent Mormon polygamists. He knows of what I rant. Most people have 4 great-grandmothers. Little Dougie has 7!)
And Randy Bailey. My notes say he was from Survivor: Gabon, yet his creepy lack-of-charm seems like a more recent emotional trauma than that to me. I guess the emotional scars of seeing him haven't healed yet.
Thank Burnett for Boston Rob. Without him, Sore-Loser Russell would be the most-likable person on The Insufferables. (I actually could suffer Boston Rob for a bit.)
Someone named "Amanda," from Survivor: Micronesia, whom I could swear I have never set eyes on before in my entire life despite my having seen every episode of Micronesia, is on the Likeable Tribe, when she should be on a tribe called "The Forgettables." (And why not bring back Shambles, and build a tribe around contestants like her: "The Clueless"?) Amanda began a sentence to us with: "You know like before you bungee jump or something?" No. Why does she assume that bungee-jumping is something that everyone does, like binge-drinking, or marrying someone you quickly regret ever meeting? I keep meaning to bungee jump, but I've never actually had a death wish, at least, not for myself. (Hi Voldetool.) I once fell out of bed only to have one of my breasts (the long one) snag on a bedpost, leaving me dangling over my scarlet shag carpeting. Does that count?
Jerri said that looking at the other Insufferables, she felt like "Mother Theresa." Jerri, buying an overpriced candy bar from a kid trying to earn money for summer camp is not exactly devoting one's life to feeding the starving and impoverished in Indian hellholes. On the other hand, I would love to have seen Mother Theresa compete on Survivor, and get back-stabbed by Sore-Loser Russell, or just get battered into the mud during a reward challenge by a muscular twenty-five-year-old bartender determined to win a hamburger.
Parvati Shallow, the player with the most-appropriate last name of all time, on The Insufferables Team where she belongs (Good Dog, she was insufferable in her two previous seasons), said of my beloved James, "I don't care how big you are." James darling, I care how big you are. Email me your pertinent stat, in inches - or feet.
Reward Challenge: All the challenges in this season are, like the players, recycled from previous seasons, which is good, because a lot of the challenges in the last two seasons showed a flagging of invention. This first one, being played for "Fire," was to race out in pairs and dig up a duffel bag (Probably filled with body parts sawed off of previous players), and then have a free-for-all to try to wrest the bag away and get back to the goal line. So it involved running, digging in sand, and then full-on physical assault. It was about as civilized as bare-knuckle, cage-match bullfighting. Frankly, watching women brutally battering Cirie right off the start of the series did my heart good, though it didn't do much for Cirie. Good TV.
A bleached-blonde bimbo (Honestly, her hair was whiter than Tom's, except that Tom's is white all the way to his scalp.) named "Courtney," earned her place on The Insufferables by hollering "Break her shoulder" during the challenge, all in the spirit of good sportsmanship, of course. Not five minutes before, she had raised her hand when Jeff had asked: "Anybody out here legitimately feel that they're on the wrong tribe." "Break her shoulder! - Villainess, moi?" (Cirie, who is on the wrong tribe, did not raise her hand.)
And apparently, they took Bimbo seriously, because Stephanie of the Likeables did get her shoulder dislocated in that scrimmage. This is the first round of the first challenge of the season, and we already have a possibly player-eliminating injury. At this rate, there won't be any voting out this season. The winner will be the literal survivor. I didn't see how bad it looked, because James was shirtless, but I could hear the injury discussed. I don't want to say it was bad, but gravedigger James was asking for his shovel. Anyway, Medical was able to sew Stephanie's arm back on, and she whined to us that the villains were playing like villains. Well duh!
The third round (After JT sexually assaulted Randy in round two. Well, when your name is "Randy," you are kind of asking for it.) was Colby & Tom vs Sore-Loser Russell & Voldetool. Now was the time for some player-maiming. How nice it would have been to see Voldetool sent home the first day on a medical, or in a body bag, however unpleasant that would be for the bag. (Constant readers, I seriously don't want Voldetool around.)
Right off, while Colby, Tom, and Russell all started digging for the bag, Voldetool just hung back and watched. Lazy and opportunistic, as well as terminally full of himself.
Once Russell dug up the bag, it was a four-man pile on. "You know," Little Dougie said to me from the computer, "If only Voldetool wasn't there, this would be soft-core gay porn."
It split into two couples. Colby, bag in hand, was crawling towards the finish line, dragging along Voldetool, who was hanging on him like a goiter, but only slowing him, not impeding him. But Sore-Loser Russell, instead of trying to help Voldetool prevent Colby from scoring, was busily trying to break one of Tom's legs, away from the gameplay, as Jeff Probst hollered "Play fair!" at him, utterly pointlessly.
At the finish line, Voldetool managed to push Colby over to his (Voldy's) scoring pad for the point. I hate seeing Voldetool succeed at anything, even at drawing a breath. Tyson the Nude Mormon suggested that Colby being "owned" by Voldetool meant Colby should just give up on manliness altogether, and just become a woman (a lower order of being than men in Tyson's Mormon eyes), although Tyson's romping around naked in the Tocantins season showed that Tyson only qualifies as a male himself by a centimeter at best, and on cold days, a millimeter.
Next an all-female match-up, three bleached-blondes and Sandra, so it switched over to softcore straight porn. Well, that's fair. There were so many black roots on screen, I expected LeVar Burton to yell: "I am Kunta Kinte!"
Sandra, apparently being coached on how to play by Larry Flint, ripped off the bikini top being worn by a member of the Likeables named "Sugar." (Another candidate for the Forgettables team) Sugar, deciding that winning, upping the ratings in male households, and ensuring reruns on the Playboy Channel, trumped modesty, simply grabbed the bag and raced to the finish, breasts proudly blurring in the breeze. Then, showing the kind of class one associates with "Heroes," turned and flipped a double bird to Sandra. You could feel the ratings surge, although I had to tell Little Dougie when it was over, and it was safe for him to look at the screen again.
But Dougie and I were both alert for the final round, scores tied. It was James & Rupert vs Tyson the Nude Mormon & Boston Rob. In a clear demonstration that we were now in Topsy-Turvy World, Rupert was playing shirtless (Inspired by Sugar?), while Boston Rob was wearing a wife-beater. (Though his wife's blood had all been laundered out.) This is wrong in so many ways, but at least Tyson was wearing pants. And with James also topless, there wasn't much chance of either of us noticing anyone else anyway.
James, a professional gravedigger, was digging. You see? That's using your players' skills sensibly. And sure enough, James grabbed the bag, effortlessly shook off Tyson (a mere twig compared to James) and Rob, and sprinted for the finish with no one even close to him. James won the day for the Virtuous Team, while the Insufferables would be going home with no fire, and only Voldetool's endless stream of hot air to keep them warm. Sugar's exposed boobs were avenged!
Rupert darling. I love you, but wear a shirt. The gods were not amused, and I speak as a goddess myself. Rupert's left little toe got broken in the fray, as punishment for his being shirtless. How ironic, to anyone who remembers how Rupert's very first distinguishing act on his very first Survivor (Pearl Islands) was to swipe all of his opposing team's shoes. He who lives by the bare feet, falls by the bare feet.
The camps looked awfully familiar, and well they should. Not only were we still in Samoa, but they were using the exact same campsites. The Insufferables were planted at the old Galu campsite, while the Likeables were at the former Camp Zsa Zsa.
Sore-Loser Russell wasted no time at getting into his main item of business: bragging to us about how awesome he is.
Russell does have one, ever-so-slight advantage. Survivor: Samoa hadn't aired yet when Likeables vs Insufferables was shot, so while he had observed the televised game play of all the other players, half of them twice before, as ten of the contestants are playing Survivor for the third time), and knew the way they strategized, none of them had seen the way Russell plays, which you may recall, was like no one before him. Further, since he is the only player from the Samoa season, there is no one who has played against him before to wise the others up to his strategies. Most of the other players are playing with at least one or two folks they have played against before.
Russell quickly hustled off Danielle (a Forgettable from the Panama season), and told her he wanted her and him to go to the Final Two. You would think someone who has played before would get that being handed this sort of "commitment" on the first day was a load of bull. Danielle bought it. Move her over to the Shambles Clueless Tribe.
Next he hit up Parvati. Now Parvati has done what Russell hasn't: won this game. She knew at once what he was doing, saw through him clear as glass, and told him just what he wanted to hear. Smart Parvati. I've never liked her, and am not going to start liking her now, but she's clearly smarter than Danielle. And Sore-Loser Russell, we learned last season, is also a misogynist, with only contempt for the intellectual capacity of females, so it won't occur to him that he's the one being played.
Sore-Loser Russell's opinion of himself has not weakened. "These are all-stars, but you know what? I'm a little above that. Like Michael Jordan is in basketball, like Michael Phelps is in swimming." He somehow omitted "like Michael Jackson is in pederasty." But several of these all-stars have actually won Survivor, and Russell hasn't, though he thinks he has, and some of them see right through him. And he's forgotten one other fact; he's not named Michael. "I'm the best player that ever played this game." Russell, you lost Survivor: Samoa. The minimum requirement to achieve the title "Best Player That Ever Played This Game," is winning it at least once.
Over at the Likeables' camp, JT celebrated that Sugar had to show her boobs in the first challenge, Sugar called Tom and Rupert "old men," and as James paraded about shirtless, chopping down bamboo and making them a house, Amanda told us that their tribe has "a good aura ... we have good karma" Well, they're "The Likeables," not "The Brains."
Then who should wander into camp, but some of those chickens that had been Shambles's closest earthly friends. Tom organized a chicken hunt faster than Jerry Lee Lewis on tour in a new town. And unlike Erik of Galu, who was outsmarted for weeks by a single chicken, the Likeable tribe under Tom's direction, easily and quickly captured the whole family of chickens, and put together a makeshift coop using their fishing net.
The Likeables are in Survivor Heaven; they have fire, a snazzy bamboo shelter, four or five chickens, James's ebony pecs on display, a good aura & karma, and best of all, they don't have to listen to Voldetool's boasting. They even have Mel Gibson's Holy Grail: Sugar's Teats. All they need is to lose Cirie.
Karma is a mean mother when yours is lousy, as over at the Insufferable camp, where the most insufferable one of all, Voldetool, is in full braggadocio mode, out to prove he's a bigger braggart than Russell. He is, of course, going on and on about beating Colby in one round of a challenge that - Hello! - his tribe lost, though Parvati gave him a reality check.
Voldetool: "I had him the whole time. [No he didn't] There was not one point in that challenge where I thought he was going to get the better of me."
Parvati: "Well, there was a second he almost took off running, and you had to tackle him down."
Voldetool's eyes momentarily flash hatred at Parvati.
In an interview for us shot the next day, Voldetool modestly told us: "The tribe was talking about it long after I'd forgotten about it." Since he himself was still talking about it to us, "long after I'd forgotten about it" hadn't yet happened. In actual point of fact, Voldetool was the one talking about it long after the tribe was ready to talk about something - anything - else.
And this points up an essential difference between Voldetool and Russell. Sore-Loser Russell only brags to us until late into the game, when his alliances are solid. Voldetool runs his mouth at all times to everyone on his tribe on his one and only subject: his own awesomeness. It's impressive how long he can talk about such a tiny topic.
But Cupid's Evil Twin ("Stu-pid"? Eros's fiendish brother "Errors"?) was flitting about the Insufferable camp, as Jerri started to find herself attracted to Voldetool (Poor Jerri. I had no idea she is both blind and deaf. She conceals her disabilities well.), and Voldetool found himself attracted to her attraction to him. They have so much in common: they both like him. Much as the very thought of this union makes me heave, I have to admit, they deserve each other. And a romance between those two would save two other people somewhere from fates worse than Jay Leno eyeing your time slot.
Interestingly enough, over at the Likeables Camp, JT has the same strategy as Sore-Loser Russell: make alliances with everyone, and his first is with James: the Alabama ranch hand and the black gravedigger. It's a new America these days. You have to love James. Although it was pouring rain as they allied themselves, James felt no need to put on a shirt. His hotness kept him warm and dry. It was keeping me warm too, though not dry, and it wasn't hurting the budding bromance with pudgy JT either.
Colby was pumping someone named Candice (Yet another All-Star Forgettable) for info on all the other Likeables. Now Colby was on the second season of Survivor, A decade ago. Apparently, it didn't make him a fan of the show, as he clearly knew nothing about the other players. Obviously he has not been watching it since he was on, and didn't even bother to bone up on past seasons as part of his prep for going back on.
Tom had a smart idea. He realized that, should he make it to the Final Two (If there will be a Final two. Lately they have been favoring having a Final Three.), he would be best served by being up there with someone else who, like him, has already won the million, so the jury isn't tempted to say, "Well Tom already won it. Let's give it to the one who hasn't." This is smart. So he took a run at fellow-winner JT, Alabama's richest ranch hand. JT, as noted before, is up for an alliance with everyone.
Over at The Insufferables Camp, Boston Rob, the only "villain" I don't, and never did, find insufferable, is finding the work ethic lacking. Over at The Likeables, you've got chronic hard-workers like JT, Tom, Colby, and James, but at The Insufferables, you've got Voldetool out posing and preening on the beach, Russell running around making alliances with whom ever isn't standing in a group, Tyson the Lazy Nude Mormon, and a lot of self-involved princesses into batting their eyes to get the men to work for them. Rob, who was always a worker, is appalled that no one is trying to make fire to boil water, so they have some way to get hydrated before the next challenge.
Randy, the most-annoying nudge on earth, a man irritating beyond belief (and in his previous season, really proud of being irritating, even though it led to his inevitable ouster), is stupidly irritating Rob, as he tries to build the shelter they desperately need. He has an amazingly insane rationale for not bothering to do anything. "Nobody's going to get voted out for not making fire, and nobody's going to get to stay for trying to make fire, so why don't we blow it off?" Ah, how about because you need the fire? Rob's face tell us he thinks Randy is from the Planet Mars, or the planet Lazybones.
Randy tells us: "You know, I've played this game before, and if you don't have flint and steel, you can't make fire." Everyone there has played this game before. When Randy played before, he lost, for being lazy and irritating. Rob played twice before, and came in second, and married the winner. He knows you can't make fire if you don't try! He insists on trying, using the old-fashioned method of rubbing two boy scouts together, and he succeeds in making them fire without flint and steel, thus proving Randy an irritating lame-o who runs his mouth to no purpose. As Dean Wormer said in Animal House many years ago, "Fat, lazy, and stupid is no way to go through life." Listening Randy?
When Rob succeeded in making his tribe fire, Randy told him: "Rob, you're The Man down here too. None of us is going to do anything." I think he meant that. Mind you, no one else was doing anything already.
Everyone, even Voldetool, was impressed that Rob made fire, except for Russell, who sees any tribemate's triumph (which in this case was literally just managing to do something instead of nothing.) as a threat. "We made fire," said Russell, although it was Rob who did it, not we, "I'm still the king, unless I'm de-throned, and you know what? That ain't gonna happen." Russell is a legend in his own mind, which is the only place where's he's king of anything.
Rupert, who has flint and steel, is failing to make fire. Cirie watches him, telling us that "His ego is so humongus." She doesn't know what a humongus ego is until she's spent time with Voldetool or Sore-Loser Russell. In fact, the largest ego on the Likeable Tribe is hers! Rupert eventually admits he can't achieve it, and passes the fire-making task on. That is not a humongus ego. That's a man who notices when he's fails. He lets it go, and JT promptly starts a fire. Rupert's worry is, with his broken toe, he can't contribute enough to the tribe to pull his weight. Contrast this with Randy, and his "Why bother?" philosophy of laziness. Cirie is absolutely on the wrong tribe, and maybe Boston Rob is too.
Come nightfall, we learned that bleached bimbo Sugar's strategy is to attach herself to a man. She set her eye on Colby, who looks well worth attaching to (I bet he has a lovely attachment), and wriggles on over to him in the night, cuddling and chattering, away like a hyperactive child who's missed her Ritalin dose. The problem is Colby, vastly more mature than Sugar, is just not interested. He wants to sleep. She wants to tease and bond, get him panting for her Sugar, a tactic that probably works well for her on the mainland. Plus, she's flirting so loudly, she's waking up and annoying the whole tribe.
There's a term for Sugar's cuddling up against an unwilling Colby, actually taking his hands and wrapping them around her, and when he takes them away, grabbing them back again, when he gets up and moves to another part of the shelter, following after him, and trying to rub up against him yet again, over and over. It's called "sexual harassment." And since it was disturbing and annoying the whole tribe, it's also stupid strategy. She has no idea how to deal with a man who says "no." I guess it's the first time she's encountered one. Sugar is someone else who is on the wrong tribe. I'm afraid she should be on the Shambles Clueless Tribe. (It's a shame for Sugar too. Shambles undoubtedly would have gone for her cuddling and flirting in a big way. Too bad for Sugar that Shambles isn't there.)
The Likeables decided that the rooster, since he's not laying eggs for some reason (Layabout!), should be dinner. Although JT asked if anyone else wanted the fun of killing it, oddly no one else sprang forth, happy to start their day with some birdacide. But James got a big happy kick out of watching JT twist that big cock in his hands till it was dead. It reminded of James of his sweet, kindly old great-great-grandmother (apparently the women in James's family live to be hundreds of years old), who used to strangle chickens for the amusement of her great-great-grandkids, and James was laughing joyfully at the nostalgic memories of his grandmother scaring the crap out of him, killing birds with her bare hands in front of his tiny eyes. "We were screaming. We didn't know what to do. I don't know. Good times. ... It's a .. It's kinda.. It was traumatic. It's funny now." What a Kodak moment. No wonder James became a gravedigger. I never met my great-great-grandmother, nor even my great-grandmother. But I knew my Grandmother. She was so selfish and anti-fun that not even once did she kill an animal with her bare hands in front of my face and terrorize me with it. What a poopyhead!
Immunity Challenge: This is one of those challenges that seems like three different ones stuck together. It involved assembling a jigsaw boat (I'm serious), rowing this boat they've just fitted together and held together by some planks, hoping it doesn't come apart in the sea and drown you, lighting a torch from some seabound fire, rowing back to shore, disassembling the boat, solving a jigsaw puzzle (never good viewing, and hardly one to follow the great opening challenge with its physical combat, multiple injuries, and female nudity), then using the planks that held the boat together to build a ladder, mounting the puzzle partway up the ladder, and then mounting the ladder, and lighting a fuse. The winning tribe got immunity "And fire for the [Insufferables] if they win." (The Insufferable Tribe had kept mum about their having made fire without flint, although you can bet that if it had been Voldetool or Sore-Loser Russell who had made fire, they'd have trumpeted it. "We don' need no stinkin' flints!") This episode was a double-length, two-hour episode, and it still took half the episode to explain this whole challenge.
The Likeables took a big early lead in this challenge. They assembled their boat in the wink of an eye, and had rowed out and gotten fire before the Insufferables had even gotten their boat together. By the time the Insufferables reached the floating fire, the Likeables were back on land, starting on their jigsaw puzzle, and then they fell apart.
The Likeables' downfall was assigning the wrong people to do the puzzle. It's the boring part of the challenge, so they'd assigned their more boring players to do it, Cirie, Sugar, and Amanda, along with the not-boring-but-now-slightly-disabled Rupert, whose broken toe wasn't thought likely to hinder puzzle-solving, and the puzzlers didn't know what the hell they were doing. Cirie, a know-it-all controller from birth, and Sugar, an idiot, dominated, while Amanda made useless suggestions, and Rupert just watched. The Insufferables caught up, and Boston Rob and Evil Sandra tossed that jigsaw puzzle together in what almost seemed like less time than it takes to tell. (Jerri and Randy were in the puzzle-solving team also, but stood back and contributed nil. Rob and Sandra didn't need their "help.")
While Cirie and Sugar were dumping out their four-level mess of a puzzle (the jigsaw puzzle was in layers, like the plot of Lost) to start over, the Insufferables had theirs finished. The final part of the challenge, fitting together the ladder, mounting the puzzle, climbing the ladder and lighting their rope, was so simple that, seeing the Insufferables were at that point, Cirie and Sugar just stopped dead, and watched themselves lose. Nice efforts, lame-os. James, Colby, Tom, and the others who had handled the boat part of the challenge so extremely well could only stand there helpless and watch as their idiot contingent assigned to the puzzle blew the challenge for them. The Insufferables made a good pretense of being excited to receive the fire they already had.
(A Disneyland commercial at this juncture gave me a moment's confusion when James appeared to be in it with Miss Piggy. I'd never before noticed how very strongly gorgeous Taye Diggs and lovely James the Gravedigger resemble each other. Mmmm. I'd love to be the grilled cheese in that hot sandwich!)
The padding in this overlong episode showed here, as we had a segment with the Insufferables being insufferable, gloating over their victory, trying to figure out who the Likeables were going to send home (Why? They have no control over it, one way or another. Pointless.), and just being bitchy. Once Immunity is decided, there is never any reason to waste time with the winning team for the rest of that episode. Let's get to the Likeable's camp, and watch the maneuvering.
So whom to send home? Wounded-but-beloved Rupert, who is not able to help with the physical challenges with his busted digit? Sugar, the clingy creature who annoyed and disturbed the sleep of the whole camp, thus damaging their ability to play the challenge, who herself failed miserably at the challenge, bearing around 50% of the responsibility for blowing it, and who turned all weepy after it? Or Cirie, the other half of blowing the challenge, and who should have been on the other team to begin with? I'd like to see Cirie go, but I think Sugar is in bigger trouble. The irony of her late-night antics is that, instead of making Colby into her protector, it's made him the most avid to oust her.
Cirie, who showed in Micronesia particularly, that scheming, backstabbing, and manipulating ousters are her primary strengths, instantly began campaigning to oust Amanda, who certainly contributed nothing to help get the puzzle assembled, but then since most of the puzzle-assembling had been handled by Cirie, it was she who most solidly blew it. Sugar decided to add that Amanda and James were 'together" (what this meant was left vague, and, as it isn't true anyway, it's meaning is moot), as extra reason to oust her.
But Colby was launching the "Dump Sugar" campaign, and there were a lot of sleep-deprived Likeables ready, willing, and able to sign on to that cause. Tom, however, a very smart player, was reading my mind (always a good read), and taking aim at the viper named Cirie. Go with that, Tom.
Next we had Cirie aiming folks at Tom or Stephanie, including Amanda, whom she had been plotting against moments earlier. Cirie also told us that she wanted to keep Sugar around longer because she's annoying, and could be tossed under the bus when Cerie felt like she herself was in danger. Amanda agrees with losing Stephanie because she believed Steph has "game," and is a strategic danger. This is exactly why Cirie should go.
Lots of plotting, little heroism, going on in the Likeables now.
Tribal Council: They built a new Tribal Council area for this season, rather than reuse Survivor: Samoa's council set. This one is built forty feet up high in the trees, like the elvin city of Caras Galadhon in the forest of Lothlorien in The Lord of the Rings.
As Jeff asked Tom if past relationships from playing together before was going to be a factor in who gets eliminated, and Tom tried poo-pooing the idea, Cirie got that smug, eye-rolling, they-don't-know-I'm-secretly-running-this-show expression that, more than anything else, made me loathe her the last time she was on the show. Since Voldetool can't go this week (thanks in no small part to Cirie's inept puzzle-work), I'd like to see that smug look wiped off her face by a solid blindside removal of her.
When Jeff asked Cirie if she should leave for blowing the puzzle, she naturally said that no "one challenge should determine your worth in the long run of this game. It could have been Tom or Stephanie, and they could have lost the puzzle." So she feels that Tom or Stephanie should go (because that's who she's been trying to maneuver out tonight) because they could have blown it if they had blown it, instead of getting rid of who did blow it. Of course, Tom and Stephanie did extremely well with their part of the challenge. Had Cirie done well, and Tom blown a leg of the Challenge, Cirie would be singing the opposite tune.
Frankly, even with a double-length episode, there wasn't much to discuss yet, so on to the vote.
The wisdom of Tom was ignored. Sugar was unanimously voted out, even by Cirie. Sugar honey, when people want to sleep, shut up! "Sugar" was the name of Marilyn Monroe's character in the classic Billy Wilder farce Some Like It Hot, but Sugar darling, at night on an island, some like it quiet.
But of course, nobody's perfect.
The preview of next week was good and scary, as it basically showed us Boston Rob just dropping dead in his tracks. If I were making a "Drop Dead" list for this cast (and coincidentally, I have!), Rob wouldn't even be on the list.
There's a Survivor special on Friday night, Surviving Survivor, but as it's not advancing the game, and is merely a promotional show about the show, I shall not be recapping it. So until next week, Cheers darlings.
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