Survivor – Tooth and Nailed

tribeWow, what an episode! There was lots of drama, strategy and ups on downs this week on Survivor – basically, everything you could ask for. Cochran summed it up best when, upon showing his vote, he said this is why he still “freakin’ loves Survivor after thirteen years.

” When the course the game takes is based on human nature and whims, you’ll never run out of surprises.

One of the best things about this episode was that about half the remaining players were on the chopping block at some point during the hour. Dawn for her crazed paranoia, Phillip for being an annoying presence around camp, and Reynold, Eddie and Malcolm for the obvious reasons. Even Andrea was still feeling insecure after being targeting at the previous Tribal Council.

Grin and Bear It

During the previews for this episode, Dawn sobbing and threatening to pull herself from the game was touted as a more serious deal than it was. Dawn totally lost her marbles this week, but I’m not sure she would have actually pulled herself from the game had things gone differently. That woman wants a million bucks bad.

dawnDawn started screaming for Brenda and sobbing, seemingly out of the blue to everyone around camp. It turned out that she’d lost a retainer in the water – basically a partial denture that had teeth attached to fill in gaps in her bottom teeth. Like most hockey-playing Canadian dudes, she’d been knocked in the mouth one, lost some teeth and had to get this dental piece to fill in the look. Her reaction was overly hysterical, but I felt for her. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I have a soft spot for Dawn. But people are sensitive about their looks and their teeth, and easily embarrassed. I felt bad that she would react so terribly to the idea of completing the game with missing teeth.

brenda01Dawn sobbed to Brenda, asked her for help and said she didn’t want anyone else to know. Again, I just feel so bad that embarrassment seemed to be at the root of all this. Brenda found her retainer and saved the day, but something very interesting came out of this sweet, bonding moment. Brenda said the moment changed her relationship with Dawn, and going forward she wouldn’t backstab Dawn. “Nor she I,” Brenda added. Hmm, could that be foreshadowing? Brenda has been a dark horse in this game, and she and Erik were never really in the majority Favorites alliance. They were brought in when the tribes were shaken up. It will be interesting to see if Dawn honors any plans that she made with Brenda – and if she doesn’t, how Brenda will react to that.

Rice, Shower

The Reward Challenge was an obstacle course played in two teams, and the only thing really worth noting is how gingerly Sherri attempted to cross a balance beam. What was her problem? She acted like she was crossing a bridge of toothpinks in stiletto heels, but she was running across some relatively wide planks in sneakers. Phillip did it faster!

Reynold, Erik, Phillip, Dawn and Cochran won the reward – a day of food, a shower and some time in a pool. It was lovely, except that Phillip disgustingly opted not to shower before jumping into the beautiful pool in his disgusting clothes and dirty body. You could see the cloud of dirt around him, like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown. Erik was appalled.

I Get So Emotional, Baby…

Oh man. Dawn in this episode, guys. It wasn’t good. First there was the dental incident. I was willing to let that slide. But with very little sleep and a whole lot of paranoia, Dawn began rambling to her alliance mates that Andrea was going to betray them and vote with the boys, eliminating Dawn. Sure, Andrea is apparently spending a lot of time with the hot dudes. I’m not surprised, since girlfriend can’t keep her crushes in check for more than ten minutes. But ranting like a crazy person is not how you handle that situation! You know it’s bad when Phillip is calling you a lunatic. Her behavior was irrational enough that even her homie Cochran was feeling suspicious.

Dawn finally got a good night’s sleep and felt better, and the alliance agreed to try and vote out Reynold if he didn’t win Immunity. Which, of course, meant that he did.

Swim Fan

andrea immunityI know the heats were drawn randomly, but their lopsidedness kind of took the suspense out of most of the Immunity Challenge. In this challenge, players had to dive into the water pull themselves underneath a platform, jump back up and move a ring from one end to another – twice. The rope they used to pull themselves along meant the challenge was actually more about strength than swimming ability.

The first heat easily, predictably went to Reynold and Andrea. But the competition was much stiffer in the second heat. Malcolm went through, and Eddie should have but he screwed up and instead Brenda won. Phillip opted not to participate because of a childhood trauma. So much of Phillip’s persona is a put on, I have no idea if this is to be believed or not.

In the final round, players had to go through the steps five times. It was a pretty epic showdown between Reynold and Malcolm, while poor Brenda and Andrea didn’t stand a chance. Reynold is a real powerhouse in these challenges, but I have to wonder how Malcolm would be comparing to him if he hadn’t played back-to-back seasons. I definitely don’t think Malcolm is at  his strongest. Reynold won Immunity, but that was only the first wrench to be thrown into the Tribal Council plan.

Immunity Galore

malcolm 3Back at camp, the “The Amigos” – Malcolm, Reynold and Eddie – went looking for a new Hidden Immunity Idol, as did Dawn and Andrea. I wasn’t sure a new Idol would even be put back into play. After all, Malcolm still had one. But lo and behold, Malcolm found it right in front of Dawn and Andrea.

At first I thought maybe Malcolm was trying to play Dawn and Andrea – I thought that he might have pretended to find the Idol he already had, so that everyone would know he had one without knowing how long he’d had it. The plan had been to split the vote between Malcolm and Eddie, so it looked like Eddie was definitely going home.

That’s how it looked, but it certainly isn’t what happened. Malcolm did in fact find a second Hidden Immunity Idol, so before players had voted he gave one to Eddie and put one around his own neck. The Three Amigos were all safe. The shocked faces, whispering and plotting in the midst of Tribal Council was pretty epic – this was definitely one of the most hectic Tribal Councils we’ve ever seen. Brenda and Dawn were whispering Andrea’s name, and I was surprised no one mentioned Sherri. You’d think as the lone fan in that alliance that she’d be bottom of the totem pole, but no one seemed to mention her. She’s quite unlikable, without any friends on the jury, so I wonder if people have plans to take her to the end.

Malcolm announced that the Three Amigos would be voting for Phillip, because he sucks all the fun out of Survivor. You’ve got to hand it to Malcolm for wanting to keep some fun in the game. I don’t care for Eddie and Reynold, but I do still really like Malcolm and I wouldn’t be upset to see him somehow make it to the finals in this game. Hearing the word “Phillip” was all it took for Erik – I think getting into the pool before showering was the last straw for that dude. The alliance of seven all kept their votes the same except Erik, who voted for “FillUp”.

So two votes for Malcolm and four for Eddie didn’t count, and Phillip was eliminated with four votes. Yippee! I can’t stand the guy. I didn’t want him cast in this season to begin with, and I couldn’t stand him all along.

It will be very interesting to see how this vote changes the game. It was a good play to keep the Three Amigos in the game for three more days, but I’ll be shocked if those guys make it much further. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of them – either Malcolm or Reynold – make it further than the others would like, but they have huge targets on their backs. Andrea is also in a vulnerable position now, with her main ally voted out of the game. Cochran, Dawn, Brenda and Erik look very good right now and Sherri is just a total wildcard. What do you guys think?

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