Oh, the humanity! Or the humanitarianism? Who knows, since absolutely nothing that came out of NaOnka’s mouth on Survivor last night made an ounce of sense. This has been a bizarre season of Survivor, and last night’s episode might have been the looniest so far.
What’s interesting about this season is that so many people dislike each other, and there are so many conflicting friendships and alliances. Jane hates Marty. NaOnka hates Marty. Fabio and Sash kinda dig Marty. NaOnka hates Fabio and Fabio hates NaOnka. Marty hates Jane. Everyone hated Alina, but she’s gone now. Everyone who hates Jane also hates Chase because Chase likes Jane. And Brenda sits above them all, feeling (rightly?) superior and mildly annoyed.
Almost immediately upon returning from Tribal Council, Marty started selling everyone on a plan to say they were voting NaOnka so she’d play her idol, but then actually vote Jane to get it out. Herein lies Marty’s major problem as a player – dude doesn’t know when to shut up. A huge part of playing Survivor well is knowing when to stop talking. You hear former Survivor contestants talk about how boring it gets out there all the time. No one wants to keep the person who talks game 24/7. It would just get too exhausting. Marty made his point about Jane at Tribal Council and it was a good point. He should have let it sink in a little longer before he started announcing everyone’s next move.
Boys vs. Girls
The challenges this week revealed exactly why I do not like Jane. The little old lady from North Carolina talks a big game, and that makes her an idiot. For multiple reasons. First of all, she went on and on about how she could beat Marty in a mental or physical challenge any day of the week. Well, that physical reward challenge almost killed her and Marty kicked her butt in the mental immunity challenge later in the episode as well. So, rule number one is “Don’t talk smack unless you can live up to it”. Now, the other reason talking a big game makes Jane an idiot is that she’s already been targeted as a threat. So talking 24/7 about how she is smarter, stronger and better than Marty (who isn’t exactly at a Dan-level of ability) is only reiterating Marty’s argument that she’s a threat. So rule number two is “Don’t talk smack even if you can live up to it”.
The teams were randomly divided, and miraculously it ended up being men, women…and Chase. Chase got to choose a team to support, and he picked Jane. Or, I mean, the women. I thought the women had a fighting chance at this challenge (which was super physical and totally awesome) because Dan would drag the men down. I wasn’t sure Dan would even be able to finish. But you’ve got to hand it to the old dude, he kept up. The men dominated the challenge, despite the women’s best efforts. I noticed two things about the women in that challenge: Brenda is a force to be reckoned with, since she led the charge all along, and Jane almost died. So much for P90X and lifting dogs. You’re still old.
The men got to go enjoy zip-lining and a BBQ (although for Dan it was more like he got to go suffer through zip-lining in order to get to a BBQ) and the women got to go back to camp and compliment Chase on his excellent judge of character in choosing the weakest team.
She looks a little like Parvati. She acts a little like Parvati. And this episode, Brenda proved that she definitely did graduate from the Parvati Shallow School of Survivor. I actually like Brenda. I think at this point she’s most deserving of a win, and I actually feel bad for her that she’s been forced to play with a bunch of dimwits. She could have been really interesting if she’d gotten a better supporting cast.
The entire scene where NaOnka told Chaase not to panic and annoy Brenda, and then Chase went and panicked and annoyed Brenda, and then Brenda made fun of Chase for panicking and being all annoying, was one of the best things that’s happened this season. Which, obviously, does not say much for this season. I like Brenda’s strong and silent attitude in this game. People talk, she nods and says a few words, and then she makes a decision. Then she goes into the woods and mocks them in her camera confessional. She called him a baby and made fun of his “little emotions”. It was fantastic.
Do you remember…the 21st night of September? The fifth of November? These images?
OK, that joke was a stretch. I’ll admit it. Anyway, I totally dug the immunity challenge this week. Two good challenges in one episode, that is impressive for this season! (Actually, the whole episode this week was solid.) Contestants had to watch Jeff display a series of images and then display it back to him correctly. Sounds easy, but I even struggled with it at home (though I did get that last one right). So imagine doing that with no sleep, little food, and tons of pressure. It’s the kind of challenge that reveals who’s mind is sharpest, and I like that.
I had a feeling it would come down to Marty and Brenda, since they’re clearly the two smartest people still out there. I expected more from Sash, but I was impressed with Fabio…which further supported my earlier theory that a huge part of this dumb surfer persona is an act. Brenda won the challenge though, and she totally deserved it. This girl is a force to be reckoned with, and if the idiots playing with her don’t recognize that then they’re fools.
Brenda winning immunity instead of Marty meant that Jane and Marty went straight into battle mode, and Brenda and Sash had to make a choice. They could go with Marty’s plan of pretending to vote NaOnka but really voting Jane. Or they could go with Jane’s plan to vote Marty. It was a tough call. Brenda knows she can’t let Jane get anywhere near the final three. Sash thinks Marty is a better cook and a good guy to have around. There was also another factor there, which I’m curious to know if they discussed.
If they voted out Jane instead of Marty, she’d never forgive them. That’s a lost vote in the finals. But if they voted out Marty, they could potentially win back his respect by explaining how big of a threat he was, and how it was all strategy. Marty respects strategy, and Jane’s vote will be entirely personal. Still though, when the survivors headed to Tribal Council I had no idea what they would do.
One more thing, though. In the woods before Tribal Council, Benry and Fabio discussed their options. I don’t like Benry, but I so like Fabio. When he said “I hate playing stupid so much, but it’s the smartest thing to do right now,” I decided I would not mind seeing this kid win. Whereas people like Marty, Jane and Chase never know when to show up, Fabio can appreciate the art of laying low and that says a lot about him. There’s more under that floppy blonde hair that a vocabulary limited to “Dude” and “Far out” and a taste for marijuana.
Time for Tribal Council! And this one was a doozy. It all began when Probst brought up NaOnka stealing the food again. Apparently she thought this had been put to bed, but instead of trying to answer the question and move on, NaOnka went on a HUGE rant about EVERYTHING. (There’s another one this season who doesn’t know how to shut up.) She said “Jeff, I’m not perfect. I’m a humanitarian. I’m a human being.” Riiiiiight. (Also, the way she spit out “Jeff” almost rivaled the time my favorite little Survivor Courtney called him “Jeffrey”.) Then NaOnka moved on to why she hates Marty. “His hair…his walk sucks.” What? Then she dropped a bunch of F-bombs directed at both Marty and Fabio and rendered Probst speechless. For a minute there I thought she’d throw an F- you Probst’s way as well. After sitting with his mouth agape for 0.8 seconds, Probst pointed out that NaOnka’s frequent fits made her a strong possibility for the final three. Which is fine with NaOnka. “Somebody wants to take me because I’m being a bitch, or embarrassing myself, if you will, then so be it. But I’m not putting on a show. This is who I am. This is who I’ve been for 27 years. So if you don’t like it, then you don’t like it,” she ranted. Wow. I don’t know what’s worse – the fact that NaOnka could be in the finals, the fact that NaOnka has been this angry and insane for 27 years, or the fact that NaOnka doesn’t know what humanitarian means.
NaOnka’s rant wasn’t the end of the harsh words, either. When Jane cast her vote for Marty, she dissed his parenting skills of all things. What was that about? I do not like that woman. Marty made me chuckle when he went up to cast a vote for Jane though, saying “Y’all’s catfishin’ trip has been terminated because y’all messed with the wrong gator, Missy,” in a fake Sourthern accent and then he did a funny walk back to his seat, scoring a middle finger from NaOnka.
It looked like everyone had gone through with Marty’s plan even though NaOnka didn’t play her idol, until a few more votes were revealed…and Marty was toast. I’d like to know how Brenda and Sash made up their minds. I think Alina and Marty were both smart players who would vote for the legitimately best player in the end, but Jane will make it personal. She’ll have to be voted out with care.
What did you think of the episode? Will Brenda hold on to control and made it to the finals? Should she take NaOnka and Dan, the two most undeserving people ever? Is this season picking up a little?