And so we got our first look at Zombie Island. Oh, they call it "Redemption Island," but every time I've ever heard someone offering "redemption," it always turns out to be a religious con-man-or-woman. This island is where The Squawking Dead roam, seeking ever to break back through into the real game, like the Elder Gods in HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos stories. That would explain Russell; his mother was a human while his father was Azathoth, The Blind Idiot God. Lovecraft described Azathoth as "an amorphous blight of confusion that bubbles and blasphemes at the center of all eternity," an on-the-nose description of Russell. He's not The Dunwich Horror; he's the Son-of-a-Bitch Horror.
At the last Tribal Council, not only had poor Francesca been banished to Zombie Island, but she'd also suffered being called "Franqueska," "Franquiznos," even "Franquenstein," by Big Mouth Over There, aka "Special Agent Phillip." Of course in his case, the "Special" in "Special Agent" has the same meaning as in "Special Olympics." Big Mouth Over There suffers from Dry Mouth," and, apparently unable to drink a glass of water on his own, has sought "treatment." He needs treatment.
On bleak Zombie Island, holding a flaming lantern in one hand, Franquetzalcoatl searched through the Zombie supplies, looking desperately for flint, oblivious to the fact that she was holding actual fire in her other hand at that moment. Besides, she's a zombie now; she should think: "Fire bad!"
"I think that coming to Redemption Island could be the best thing for my game," said Francheeseca in a world-class case of denial. "I was on good terms with everyone on my tribe," she added about the tribe that just voted her out first. They cut away before she could add that up is down, silence is noisy, and that she is a 45 year old white man named Fred. But she did go on about how she'd much rather be on Zombie Island than back with her tribe, still playing. If getting voted out is so great, why didn't she ask to get voted out?
"Tribal Council didn't go exactly as I'd hoped," said Kristina of the Council in which her plan to blindside Rob blew up in her face, and resulted in the exposure of her idol, the aiming of Rob's ire at herself, and the loss of her only ally. This is like Hitler in the last seconds of his life, saying: "World War II didn't go exactly as I'd hoped."
Big Mouth Over There took Rob over there to tell him that Rob "owned his vote." Frankly, "you own me" is not usually the sort of phrase a black man likes to use when speaking to a white man. They've been known to take it seriously. Big Mouth told Rob: "I want to play to the level of integrity that, when I say something, it means something." Remember, this is just a few minutes after Rob and everyone else saw Big Mouth Over There betray the confidences and spill the secrets of his allies, Kristina and Franquinnmartinproductions.
But Rob is wise that Dry Mouth Over There is living on his own private planet, and that when he speaks, it does means something, namely, that Agent Dry Mouth is insane.
Ten seconds after Agent Dry Mouth swore eternal fealty to Sir Rob of Boston, Rob was informing all of Tribe Ete Poem they were voting out Agent 00-Zero. We haven't even gotten to the opening titles, and Ete Poem has decided whom to vote out. And a wise decision it is. Hmm. Since Rob "owns" Agent Dry Mouth's vote, does that mean Big Mouth will vote for himself?
Agent Dry Mouth Catches Crabs: The two minute segment of Agent Dry Mouth's Great Crab Hunt was some of the funniest TV I've seen all season. First we had Agent Dry Mouth back in his mildly-obscene fuchsia briefs, off proving his manhood by throwing pointy sticks and rocks at little red crabs that look exactly like adorable little Sebastian in Disney's The Little Mermaid, while the rest of his tribe watched and giggled, and Matt, aka, Dr. Jesus, did mocking play-by-play.
But as if this weren't funny enough, they then overlaid it with Agent 00-Zero running his dry mouth, in a monologue that for sheer, self-adoring, pathetically out-of-touch-with-Reality idiocy, hasn't been heard since Dubya left office.
Agent Dry Mouth inevitably reminds one of Coach Wade, aka Voldepussy, the incredibly full-of-himself, majorly delusional, 21st Century Baron Munchhausen contestant from two previous rounds of Survivor. Voldepussy would spout self-aggrandizing tales of his imaginary adventures among jungles and pygmies, utterly oblivious to the fact that no one believed a word out of his mouth. In his mind, he was a wizard, a warrior, a legend, and a supremely macho adventurer. To everyone else, he was just a putz.
Agent Dry Mouth also suffers from a deep belief in his own virile awesomeness that lacks any justification in reality. And already growing are doubts he ever was a federal agent, or, if he was, how long this employment lasted: one year? One day? Fourteen minutes? And why is he a "former" special agent? Was he fired for being - well, not to put too fine a point on it - insane? Or must he claim "former" because he isn't one and never was?
But to his monologue: "When I went hunting for the crabs, you know, you find yourself going back to that primal state. There's a part of you that comes to a place where you realize that, here in Survivor, you are going to be tested in so many ways." Yes, there's a written and an oral, and there's true/false, multiple -choice, and essay questions. Plus, points are subtracted if you endlessly parade around in your filthy, sagging, too-loose underwear.
Agent Dry Mouth continues: "When I revealed to the girls that I was a former federal agent..." Honey, in those briefs, that's not all you're revealing to the girls. And he only brought it up again now because he has a rare form of OCD that forces him to reveal that he believes he's a former federal agent every twenty-two and one-half minutes. He's getting treatment. "...It was designed to let the girls know that I am a trustworthy person," something he proved to everyone's satisfaction when he loudly announced to all in council what had been entrusted to him in secret. Agent Mouth, your trustworthiness sailed away, hit an ice berg, and sank with no survivors last night.
"...And at Tribal Council last night, Francesca maligned my character..." She pointed out he was unstable, which is the most obvious fact about him. They did a pole, taking fifty people meeting him for one minute each, and asking them what they noticed first about him. The results in all cases were:
1. He's highly unstable.
2. He's black
3. He's male.
4. He's indecently dressed.
5. Now that I look at his fuchsia briefs more closely, I'm no longer certain about "male".
6. Did I mention he's unstable?
"I was definitely impacted emotionally, because..." and here he began to cry! You know, when I think FBI agents, I always think "weepy little pussies." "...one of the things [voice cracking with tears] about me is that, I love my country..." This of course, makes him unique! I bet none of the other pinkos on his tribe love their country. If they did, why are they in some other country? Isn't surviving in America good enough? And they live in a collective tribe. Oh my God, they're all Socialists!
"...Having worn the uniform..." What "uniform"? Feds don't wear uniforms. Are fuchsia briefs a "Uniform"? "...that I swore that I was prepared to de ... to... [sob] ...to protect and defend." One doesn't swear to protect and defend "the uniform," one swears to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, which I am certain is not a pair of fuchsia briefs. "To have her try to take some of that pride I have, and having served as a special agent, and earned the right to be called trustworthy..." Hey idiot, you were told secrets and strategies in confidence, and you blabbed them to the world. You have no right to be called trustworthy. You're not trustworthy! You proved that! "It hurt me. It made me angry. I had lots of emotional feelings going on." Gracious, he was having emotional feelings! Those are so much worse than unemotional feelings, whatever they are.
And we even got down to what that "emotional feeling" was: narcissism. "And I think the best lesson I got from last night for me personally, besides the game aspects, was I still love Phillip Shepherd. He's a good guy, and that's okay." And then he killed adorable little Sebastian the Crab. No more warbling of Under the Sea for you!
What a tool.
Meanwhile, over at Tribe Viva Zapata: Redneck Ralph, aka Mansweater, was up crowing like a rooster. Great, another preening would-be cock.
Speaking of preening, there was Russell with his predictable assessment of his tribe: "These fools that I'm dealing with, they ain't too bright." Stupid fools, the worst kind! Meanwhile, he was busily setting up his exact same strategy that "worked for me before." Russell, you've lost twice, so no strategy you've done worked, unless losing was your goal. Anyway, guess what? These people saw you on TV last year. They know your same old strategy. You need a new one.
Russell was talking strategy with a blonde bimbo. At first I thought it was Andrea or Ashley, the identical blond bimbos, but they're on the other tribe. Turns out there's a third identical blond bimbo playing, named Krista, only she got no airtime last week, or she did, but I thought she was Andrea or Ashley.
Krista's CBS online bio was a treasure trove. First off, her last name is Klumpp. Really. Klumpp. Her Claim to Fame is "being elected head cheerleader." Reach for the stars, darling. Oh, and she's done beauty pageants also. She's an all-around bimbo. I laughed for two minutes when I read that her answer to "Hobbies" was "water sports." And she included this gem about her game play: "My mental game undetectable." Can not argue with that.
Russell was telling Klumpp to look for idol clues if they win a reward challenge. Then he bragged to us (his favorite pastime, bragging) about how his strategy was to find the idol. While Russell was telling us he was going to find the idol, Mansweater did find the idol, after first surviving an attack by "dadgum ants." (I Googled them, but I can not find any species of ants called the Dadgum. I hope they're not the ants who failed to eat Charleton Heston back in George Pal's The Naked Jungle. Those finicky ants could have saved us from 40 years of Heston's "acting".) I like Mansweater finding the idol for several reasons:
1. I like Mansweater so far. He's amusing in a repulsive sort of way.
2. It makes Russell's assessment of Mansweater ("He might just be the dumbest person on the face of the earth.") wrong.
3. Russell does not have the idol.
Mansweater is a natural poet at heart. Hear the beautiful way he expressed the experience of finding the idol by accident, as he was actually out "picking up a few rocks." (Why was he collecting rocks? For food? For firewood? Because he thought they'd fallen out of his head?) Said Mansweater: "That was simple as wiping your hiney with toilet paper." Make room at the Algonquin Round Table.
Dr. Jesus was chatting up Andrea or Ashley (it honestly doesn't matter which, to anyone, even them), saying: "Like, I was praying that God would, like, put me on an alliance." Doc Savior, let's, like, assume for the sake of, like, argument that there is a, like, God. There isn't, but let's pretend your delusions are, like, real for a moment. Do you, like, really believe that a being so, like, great, it created the entire cosmos out of, like, nothing, so vast it is, like, omnipresent throughout the whole of, like, creation, and so busy because it is, like, running the entire universe, do you really believe such a, like, being
A. Gives a rat's ass who wins a TV game show?
B. Has time to micromanage your life for you?
C. Would take time from running a storm on Jupiter, engineering some other god's revolutions in North Africa and the middle-east, and instructing Glen Beck daily on what's what, to arrange for you to be in an alliance with the female version of you?
Yes Doc, without God's divine intervention, you'd be on a tribe with Russell. And this exceptionally stupid young man is in pre-med. Scary. Why do I suspect he's pre-med at some religious "college," like Bob Jones University, where the entrance examination just says "How often do you read the Bible?" and if your answer is "hourly," you're in?
Andrea or Ashley analyzed Dr. Jesus in-depth. "Matt is really cute." For her, that's in-depth. She added: "I think that we have a little bit of loyalty going on." I am dumbstruck in the face of such a silly sentence.
Rob, who you may remember met his wife playing Survivor (She won, but married Rob, so she won and lost at the same time.), knows that couples need to be broken up, and since Dr. Jesus is about as subtle as 40 days and 40 nights of pestilence, Rob is now thinking "vote 'em out" thoughts about the Doc and Andrea or Ashley. He could end up getting rid of all three, just to be safe.
Reward & Immunity Challenge: The reward challenges and the immunity challenges have been combined, to make room for the Zombie Island "duels." The reward this time is fishing gear.
After the first Tribal Council, Jeff Probst, who knows what he's doing at this job, was well aware that Agent Dry Mouth is a live wire for weird, self-aggrandizing, idiot moments, so he went right to him for a weird remark and was amply rewarded. He asked him if hearing the other tribe being smug about winning immunity again would inspire him in the challenge, and got back: "It brings out the animal in me.." (Is that animal an amoeba or a dodo?) "...I will outlast any man over there!"
Jeff: "What about the women?"
Agent Dry Mouth: "That's another day. We'll see."
How is that "another day"? Well at least he knows he's no match for Klumpp.
Because the weather and swimming conditions in Nicaragua are so unpredictable and uncontrollable, swimming challenges are held in Fabio's Private Latrine, aka, the makeshift water tank they built for the challenges that last season's winner, Fabio, thought it was cool to pee in during challenges. This is the same locale, a few weeks later. It's the same tank. Ew.
For this challenge, the players had to dive into Fabio's Latrine, swim out to platforms, climb up, smash tiles to release and retrieve five keys. One player uses the keys to unlock a box from which are extracted rocks for the remaining two players to throw at and break five more tiles. Somebody on the creative team must have had a really horrible experience getting their upstairs bathroom retiled, because this challenge shows enormous hostility towards tile, and forces the players to all swim in a toilet.
So that's why Mansweater was collecting rocks; so he could skip swimming in the latrine, and get right to breaking tiles. Smart.
David, in all likelihood, the smartest person on Viva Zapata, had to sit out, so he missed out on swimming in Fabio's Latrine. I told you he was smart.
On Ete Poem, there is a big, dreadlocked-but-rather whitish gigantic hunk named Grant. The sum total of words he's spoken on the series so far is 0. But when he took off with his running dive into Fabio's Latrine, he was suddenly very noticeable. It's not just that this 29 year old, ex-professional football player is magnificently built, or that his ruggedly handsome face has magic cheekbones and a jaw that Superman would envy. It's that he dove almost all the way across the tank.
(In Grant's CBS online bio, he gives his pet peeve as: "When someone uses the word 'like' every other second." I can't wait to see him take on Dr. Jesus. I'm loving this guy, although he has one major, major character flaw: he's happily married. Nooooo!)
Ete Poem, thanks to Grant, took an early lead, and had all their keys back first. Who would unlock their box first? The suspense had me on the edge of my coma.
Ah, the tricky bit. There are five keys, but only three locks, so it can take forever to find the right key for each lock. Both teams assigned Unlocking Duty to a female, I guess because women have more experience at opening padlocks from odd angles in a rush, you know, from wearing chastity belts.
Viva Zapata caught up, and opened their box first. When Natalie got Ete Poem's box opened,we heard Agent Dry Mouth reasonably say: "Hand me the ball." Okay, but then he repeated it, with his special "I'm in charge because I'm a former-Federal Agent" tone: "Hand ME the ball!" She did so before he had a chance to add "because I'm an ex-federal agent."
So it came down to: would Mansweater or Agent Dry Mouth break all their tiles first? I imagine Mansweater has a lot of experience. My guess is there's not an unbroken window on any deserted house within a five mile radius of his shack back home in Dogpatch. But then, Agent Dry Mouth shatters Reality so often, he might have the edge.
Hey, this was good. Agent Dry Mouth broke a tile first, but then choked until Mansweater had a four tile lead. Jeff yelled at Agent Dry Mouth: "Let's see that animal, Phillip!" I don't know of any animals who are adept at throwing stuff to break other stuff. Well, chimps can.
But then Mansweater choked, and Agent Dry Mouth started getting lucky, and caught up. It got down to one tile left each, all tied up. Mansweater came through and Viva Zapata won their second challenge. Even though this means Russell can not be voted out again this week, it was still sweet just to see Agent Dry Mouth fail again to put his money where his big, dry mouth is.
Dr. Jesus went over and gave some of Viva Zapata's members a congratulatory handshake. Nice sportsmanship, and a stupid move. His tribe, who are now looking to decide whom to send home, and are already looking at the Doc askance for his burgeoning relationship with Andrea or Ashley, did not care at all for his fraternizing with the opposition after their second smoking. Just draw a target on yourself, why don't you? Now is not the time to draw focus from Special Agent Dry Mouth. Rob in particular, finds good sportsmanship "despicable."
So already it looks to be either Dr. Jesus or Agent Dry Mouth who will be going off to Zombie Island. It's a win-win.
Russell was very, very smug with us about how he located and pocketed undetected (he thought) the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol that Mansweater already has. There's a special joy to hearing that gasbag brag about how ahead of everyone else he is, while the man he described as possibly the dumbest person on earth is way ahead of him. Keep talking, Russell.
Mansweater saw Russell with his clue, and joyfully reported it to the rest of the tribe, while omitting the part about how the clue is totally moot because the idol is in Mansweater's pocket. Could it be that Mansweater is not the grinning, backwoods fool he plays, but actually a cagey and savvy player? Signs point to yes.
Handsome Mike about Russell: "The man is the most untrustworthy character I've ever met in my life." Bear in mind, he's met Agent Dry Mouth.
Mike really could have used the knowledge more subtly, but instead, he confronted Russell, and Mansweater joined in, so the fact that he had been seen slipping the clue in his waistband came out. Russell actually denied that there was any clue in the basket to the face of the man who saw it in his hand, while it was stuck in Russell's waistband, visible as a cylindrical lump in Russell's shirt. Confronting Russell, and getting his back up is the wrong way to play him. Give him a long leash, and blindside him when you can. Don't warn him.
But Mansweater did have the snap not to let slip that he has the idol. He's not yet pulled a Kristina.
For no observable reason, they went to Zombie Island for a moment, so we could see Franquestionmark get a journal. Oh goodie. I can't wait not to read it.
As Ete Poem returned to camp, Agent Dry Mouth felt it attendant upon himself once again to "debrief" his tribe. (For God's sake, NEVER say the word "debrief" around Agent Dry Mouth when all he's wearing are those fuchsia briefs!) Basically, he insists on verbally painting a target on his stupid self.
He praised his tribe, saying they performed "gallantryly." It's not a word, but then, there is no word for their performance. And after flapping his lips pointlessly (unless boring and annoying his tribemates was his intention), Agent Dry Mouth graciously said: "If y'all want to say anything, feel free." That's right, he granted his tribemates permission to speak. He is utterly convinced he has some imaginary authority. Even a real Fed still needs a warrant.
Why I still love Boston Rob: "Matt's trying to play The Good Christian Game, and the social game, and the end game, all on day friggin' five. Wake up, brother."
Since everyone knew she had it, Kristina just decided to wear the Immunity Idol as a necklace. She's convinced they'll give her the majority of votes to flush out the idol, so she's set on playing it. I would wait and see how the wind is blowing at council, because there will be a major windbag present, and you know Jeff will hand him every opportunity to blow his brains out.
Grant speaks! He can talk! I don't know what he was talking about, because I was hyperventilating at the long views of his gorgeous, perfect, hairy chest, but he didn't sound at all obnoxious. Could he be the Survivor Grail, a man who is both beautiful and likeable? I'm wary. I've been burned before. (Oh Shannon, you gorgeous bigoted jerk.)
Andrea or Ashley explained to us that the plan was guys vote for Agent Dry Mouth, girls vote for Kristina. Since Kristina plans to play the idol, this would result in reuniting Agent Dry Mouth with Franquensteinmeetsthewolfman over on Zombie Island. The Squawking Dead indeed. But the secret plan for four votes for Dr. Jesus may play havoc with the results.
We did get to hear Dr. Jesus speak of his admiration for Rob, who was at that moment building a blindside against him. What Dr. Jesus needs right now is a savior.
Rob actually had to tell Agent Dry Mouth "Don't go off on a tirade like you did last time." He promised not to. Yeah. Rob is aware that anything he tells Big Mouth may get announced, so he can not be trusted with any information of any kind.
Rob told Agent Dry Mouth he had to act at council like "I know I may go home tonight." Agent Dry Mouth, standing alone with Rob and a camera crew in pouring rain, said: "You want me to say that now?" He wanted to rehearse Tribal Council. Rob had to restrain a smirk as he said, "Not right now." Then Agent Dry Mouth hugged this man who thinks him a buffoon. In fairness, I don't see how Agent Dry Mouth could ever find anyone to hug who doesn't consider him a buffoon. If he has a dog, that dog thinks he's a buffoon. And the dog is right.
Tribal Council: Jeff asked Agent Dry Mouth about "the animal in you." Although last week, in an impressive display of being a dork, he had told us he was a lion, this week he changed species again, and announced he was a gorilla, a remark I felt highly offensive to gorillas, all of whom are more intelligent than he is, even the newborns. He even has a gorilla tattooed on his arm. All the stuff this man in his 50s thinks is cool is stuff 12 year old boys think is cool. I can see the federal agent he was clearly now. Think a black Frank Drebin in the FBI.
Oh wait. He's a lion also! He has a lion tattooed on his other arm. I wonder if he has a human being tattooed on him anywhere, in case he ever evolves from just being an inarticulate ape and one big pussy. Said he of the lion: "No animal, whether it's starving to death, will approach." I can see the parallel. Everyone, and probably animals as well, avoid him too. He's The Lion Dork.
Jeff, recalling that it was this idiot who blew the challenge for his team, and also being aware that he can ask Big Mouth almost anything, and get a wonderfully moronic answer, asked: "Now what does the lion or the gorilla do to itself if it feels it screwed up?"
Agent Dry Mouth: "I don't think a lion ever feels like it screws up, 'cause it kind of delivers." Apparently he's never seen The Wizard of Oz. And this big pussy sure didn't deliver today at the challenge. The rest of the tribe was helpless to suppress their smirks and eye-rolling. The only thing funnier than a man who takes himself too seriously, is a decidedly-deranged man who takes himself too seriously.
When Agent Dry Mouth referred to Franchessmatch as "My Nemesis," the tribe could hold it in no longer, and was now openly laughing at the idiot. He spoke of payback. His big mouth got her evicted last week, he's her nemesis, not the other way around, and if anyone needs payback, she does from him. The real paradox about Agent Dry Mouth is that, although he never thinks about anyone but himself, he is nonetheless, utterly lacking in any self-awareness.
As Jeff said "It's time to vote," Rob patted Kristina's shoulder, to signal Agent Dry Mouth to vote for her, as doing so any earlier would have run the risk of his announcing: "Look, we're all voting for Kristina tonight."
Kristina played her idol. Her votes were voided. As votes for Dr. Jesus mounted, Andrea or Ashley's eyes went wide in shock, and Dr. Jesus just got more weirded out, managing a "Wow" that would make Joey Lawrence proud. He hadn't felt this disoriented since the first time someone told him Jesus was a Jew. Dr. Jesus was off to Zombie Island in shock, ensuring himself a century or two in Hell by his own rules by muttering "Damn, guys," as he exited, off to find redemption.
No Zombie Island duel yet, so the question of where they will fit it in the hour is still unanswered. I guess next week we get the battle of Dr. Jesus vs Franquesadea. Whose prayers will be answered? In the preview we heard Russell describe his tribe as "a bunch of bitches." Translation: "They won't let me control or manipulate them." Naturally, as a major misogynist, to Russell, "bitch" is the worst thing you can call someone. The worst thing I can call someone is "Russell," (except for my old, good friend Russell Fear, who is a delightful chap.)
I'll be back Monday morning with my annual Oscarcast review, and then here again next Thursday with next week's Survivor Until then, cheers darlings.
To read more of Tallulah Morehead, go to The Morehead, the Merrier, or buy her book, My Lush Life. Also, you can read Little Dougie's contributions to the newly published book Creatures of the Night That We Loved So Well: The TV Horror Hosts of Southern California by James Fetters.
Follow Tallulah Morehead on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@DouglasMcEwan