Posts Tagged ‘hidden immunity idols’

Survivor Survival Guide: “This Is Going to Hurt”

“The wrath of Jane will break out tonight.”

—Umm, Jane

Survivor: Nicaragua’s penultimate episode finally gave us what we’ve been waiting for all along: shots of Dan’s grown son kissing him repeatedly. The last episode before Sunday’s finale was the traditional family show, with castaways meeting family members—or in the Survivor parlance, “loved ones”—before competing for a chance to spend even more time with them. The family episode is always an interesting one because it provides us with glimpses into these contestants’ home lives, teaching us things like Dan’s grown son is overly affectionate, JudFabio loves his mom even though he doesn’t get to see her, and that Jane works on her farm only with her daughter. It’s also an overly sentimental one, with plenty of tears and emoting, which to be frank grows tiresome to the loyal Survivor viewer since we see the same emotional outpouring each season.

“This Is Going to Hurt” opened with a “Previously on…” that established Chase as a capricious villain. JudFabio was on “high alert” after thinking he would be voted out at the prior Tribal, and Sash reassured him that it was Benry who tried to get him out—right before Sash told the camera that JF is definitely gone provided he doesn’t win immunity.

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Survivor Survival Guide: “What Goes Around, Comes Around”

“I want the cake, I want to eat it, too, and I want those two to go home.”


There are often early, subtle clues in a Survivor episode that hint at its basic structure: “What Goes Around, Comes Around” had an especially long “Previously on…” and the full intro sequence, which accurately portended a rather light episode. The Reward and Immunity Challenges both ran a bit longer than usual, and there wasn’t much time at all dedicated to strategy and camp plotlines.

After a brief shot of Espada, with Dan thankful to be back yet again and Chase saying Alina should be the next to go, the action went back to La Flor, where Marty was upset Jane (bless her soul) had turned on him last Tribal. Marty told Jane that he never lied to her, never misrepresented himself, and never wrote her name down, and he confronted her about voting for him last time. Jane responded to this about as non-confrontationally as possible, by laughing off the idea while simultaneously making it very clear that she had indeed voted for Marty. This is what passed for early tension.

The Reward Challenge involved castaways leaping off a platform and trying to throw a ball into a net past a “defender,” standing on a pole halfway between the platform and the goal.* It looked fun. JudFabio and Chase served as their tribes’ respective defenders, and Espada was able to win despite the fact that Dan’s attempt — weak as it was — didn’t count because he was unable to jump off the platform. At this point, I think it’s reasonable to call him the worst participant in Survivor history.

*Calling the position “the defender” is a more subtle than usual way for Survivor to market another CBS show: The Defenders.

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Survivor Survival Guide: “Worst Case Scenario”

“Don’t ever fluff on a Southern woman. I ain’t no sittin’ duck, honey.”

–Jane (bless her soul)

Man, where to begin?

The twin tribal council episode is another Survivor contrivance, but one I’ve grown to accept more so than the tribe switcheroo. Within a season, it’s a change-of-pace runner: the Dave Meggett to the rest of the season’s Rodney Hampton. Things move more quickly — the Immunity Challenge begins at about 8:10 — and the majority of the episode is spent in the taut setting of Tribal Council.

Before we get there, we had a long “Previously on…” segment that established Marty and Yve on the outsides of their tribes. This was not too surprising; last week I predicted Yve would be the next to go from Espada precisely because Dan had changed his vote while she had not.

Dan threw a wrench into that thought early, by telling Holly he was thinking of quitting. Now, I understand Survivor is hard, and I also understand that Survivor is still harder than I think it is. But I’m getting pretty sick of people considering quitting. This didn’t use to happen, right? I mean, I know people do occasionally quit. But this is the third time in six episodes we’ve had a “___ might want to quit” storyline. That’s too much.

Over at La Flor, Brenda outlined her plan to flush out Marty’s idol with the help of Jane. Jane’s vote gave Brenda six votes to work with against two, meaning her alliance could split three and three for Marty and Jill while not risking any of their own.

The Immunity Challenge involved digging with a paddle for small rope circles, tossing them into a bucket on your back, and then hanging them on a pole. First to three would win individual immunity, represented by some pretty sweet immunity necklaces. It didn’t look too difficult, which is kind of a theme when it comes to twin tribal episodes: The Immunity is always forgettable and unclimactic. Holly and Jill won in forgettable and unclimactic fashion, setting up a final duel for the reward, which was to “feast” on chicken and beef kabobs during the other tribe’s Tribal Council. Jill won, forgettably and unclimactically.*

*The only thing that interested me about this whole challenge was the draw for spots. Probst always talks about drawing for spots, but they never actually show this draw. Apparently, there was a Rock-Paper-Scissors contest to see which tribe went first in the challenge, which begs a lot of questions. Who played? Was it a series? What did they go with? They don’t even show this in the bonus content online.

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Survivor Survival Guide: Pulling the Trigger

“That’s just obnoxious…. All you need to is give him, Jimmy T., a little rope and he’ll hang himself from the nearest branch.”

“Anyone who calls out Jimmy Johnson and says that Jimmy Johnson might be insecure because of Jimmy T.’s leadership capabilities has got some issues going on.”

“He just doesn’t get this game.”

–Marty on Jimmy T.

“I’m easy to get along with — I think.”

–Jimmy T.

In the wake of Jimmy Johnson’s dismissal last week, Wednesday’s fourth episode of Survivor: Nicaragua, “Pulling the Trigger,” was bound to deal with the aftermath in the older, Espada tribe. More specifically, it was bound to deal with the tension between Marty, the man who largely orchestrated Johnson’s departure, and Jimmy T., the man who thought Johnson was threatened by his leadership skills, even as he (Jimmy T.) was the one who beseeched “Coach” to “put him in” the week before.

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Survivor Survival Guide: The Sinking Ship

“I’m not fully in control of this game right now; me and Parvati are equally in control, and that makes me worried.” –Russell

“He’s getting outplayed by me AND DANIELLE at this point.” –Parvati on Russell

“Russell is insane.” –Danielle

Bravo, Survivor. You gave us an episode that matched this season’s earlier showdown between Boston Rob and Russell at a far more significant and usually predictable part of the season. And somehow, through two more immunity challenges that neither won, through another hunt for a hidden idol that neither found, and through two more tribals, Rupert and Colby are still standing.*

*This is especially astonishing in Colby’s case, considering he wasn’t even a member of the top alliance within the Heroes’ camp. I remember thinking how strange it was he even made it to the merge, and now he’s in the final six!

The episode started with the fallout from Candice’s betrayal of the Heroes in voting out Amanda last week. That left the Heroes down to two remaining members, Rupert and Colby, with the former describing Candice as “weak, pathetic, self-centered, and manipulative” before saying in almost Coach-speak, “Colby and I are on a stranded ship. There are no other heroes.”

Rupert then decided to go off on Russell at breakfast, calling him a “disgusting” human being who cared only for himself. Russell naturally didn’t back down, and the two digressed into a much-beeped argument that didn’t really go anywhere.*

*This episode had about as much cursing as any I can remember in the show’s history.

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Survivor Survival Guide: Jumping Ship

“This is ridiculous! Colby!” –Danielle

“I didn’t even see what happened. I was watching Treasure Island.” –Colby

“Jumping Ship” established its premise early: Led by Rupert, the Heroes would try to sway Sandra to their side; Russell would counter by trying to get Candice to come over to the dark side. The vote would almost solely be determined by their respective yet intertwined decisions. Both seemed receptive to the offers of the one-time opposition. Sandra still wanted Russell gone while Candice appeared persuaded by Russell’s not-quite promise to take her to the top three.

Things got more interesting after the Reward Challenge, which split the nine into three teams of three to play “Survivor Shuffle,” a form of shuffleboard. In relatively unsuspenseful fashion, Colby snuck within Russell’s puck on the game’s final turn to win it for the Blue team, which also included Danielle and Amanda. The prize had to be one of the most incongruous Survivor awards ever: a trip to author Robert Louis Stevenson’s house (now a museum) that would include a tour, a viewing of the theatrical version of Treasure Island, and a night in a bed. Danielle and Amanda instantly began thinking about the possibility of a hidden immunity idol, completely ignoring ALL the fascinating aspects of the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, which housed original copies of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Kidnapped, AND Treasure Island! As someone who has marveled at the L. Ron Hubbard House in DC, I was really put off by their lack of interest.

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Survivor Survival Guide: Going Down in Flames

“He’s a good old country boy.” –JT on Russell

“Giving Russell the idol could blow up in my face. He could never have been in trouble. He could be the leader of the girls. Do I believe it? Not for a second.” –JT

“Do you believe what Sandra told you, or do you believe the obvious truth?” –JT

People are villains for a reason. Don’t trust ‘em.” –JT

My respect for JT was at an all-time high four weeks into this season, when he teamed with Tom and Colby to blindside Cirie and eliminate one of the game’s biggest strategic threats. It seemed as if JT, Tom, and Colby would seize control of the Heroes tribe. One week later, I was bewildered when JT went back on what he did a week earlier and voted off Tom. See, look what I wrote then:

“I’m really perplexed by JT’s decision, mainly because he forfeited so much of his power in moving from the guy who saved one alliance to the guy who almost wrecked the one he’s with now. He just made it a lot harder for himself to win the game.”

Well, that’s got nothing on how JT has managed to screw himself and his tribe these last two weeks. He and the Heroes got played not once, but twice—first by Russell, and later more damningly by Parvati.

JT gave Russell the Heroes’ immunity idol last week so Russell could save himself from the presumed female alliance at the Villains camp, voting Parvati out in the process. Russell, of course, needed no such saving, kept the idol, and voted off Courtney instead. Continue reading