“I hate to say it, but I’m looking forward to Tribal Council. We’re finally going to get this tribe to play the game. This is real, and it starts now.”
You might even have been able to tell from the episode’s title — “Glitter in Their Eyes” — that last night’s third installment of Survivor: Nicaragua was going to be about Marty’s attempt to take down Jimmy Johnson.
Marty’s anti-JJ agenda has been clear for some time now, and he wanted to establish himself as the leader of Espada, the older tribe. It started while they were out searching for fruit, with Jimmy playfully making monkey noises and several of the tribemates practically swooning over him. “His soul is inspiring,” said Yve. Marty was having none of it, saying he couldn’t risk taking Jimmy to the merge, when his celebrity and leadership could win over a whole new tribe of converts.*
*It’s interesting and telling that Marty seems to have never considered the potential advantages of this. For instance, if the two tribes merge at roughly equal numbers, and Jimmy’s charisma is able to win over someone from La Flor, it can tilt the balance in Espada’s favor post-merge. Marty, it seems, is thinking even longer-term than that.
Marty won himself some dap by revealing to the tribe that he had found the Hidden Immunity Idol, doing so almost begrudgingly on Jill’s counsel. It was a calculated but, from his perspective, low-risk move: Keeping the idol secret only benefits him if he’s on the chopping block, and Marty doesn’t plan on being on the chopping block until after the merge.* It’s also clear that he doesn’t plan on letting anyone else use it anytime soon, but Marty had won at least one fan in his tribe. “That move just strengthened this tribe about five times,” Jimmy T. said. “I was like, ‘What a guy! Way to go, Marty!’ I wouldn’t have done that.”** In the process, Jimmy T. firmly reminded us that Espada is a tribe of the elderly by using “What a guy” and “Way to go” as his primary means of exclamation.
* Of course, if someone from Espada turns and lets La Flor know about the HII post-merge, well, it can come back to bite Marty.
**He also didn’t mention, at least in the footage we saw, Jill’s role in finding the idol at all. Hmm.