Survivor: Nicaragua Recap
Running the Camp
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpwer
November 11, 2010

We also hate your hair.

Previously on Survivor, the contestants did the smart thing and…oh, who are we kidding? No one’s done the smart thing all season. We’ve been engaged in some contentious debates this season about whether people are employing strategy in this game. Some people we respect believe that several Survivors are competing hard in terms of the mental game. We disagree in that we consider a lot of the moves up to now to be placing too much focus on the end game and not enough on what is necessary to make it to the end. Never eliminate allies when you still have enemies remaining in the game. Alina and Kelly B. were with the younger tribe. You don’t vote them off until everyone you dislike on the older tribe – particularly Marty – is gone. Alina might have been dangerous in four votes. Marty is a problem now.

Also, for the love of God, will someone please eliminate Dan? The Road Runner isn’t this hard to blow up.

Night 22 at Libertad sees Chase and Brenda consoling Jane, who is livid over Marty’s behavior at Tribal Council. As viewers, we only see a small portion of what goes on during those things as they generally go on for multiple hours. It appears that Marty’s personal attacks against Jane crossed a line. Even NaOnka says so. When she thinks you’ve gone too far, it’s time to repent your sins.

While Jane vents, Marty appears to be eavesdropping, taking the temperature of the room. The following morning, he presses Sash regarding the identity of the other person who voted for him the previous night (besides Jane, of course). His paranoia gets the best of him about the second vote. Amusingly, the person who did it, Alina, is no longer there.

Soon after this, Marty tries to sell Dan and Benry on the idea of telling everyone they will vote for NaOnka, but then blindsiding Jane at Tribal Council. He points out that three members of the jury would definitely vote for her, presuming in the process that Holly and Jane are about to be eliminated. We just don’t like any of Marty’s decision-making in this game. We acknowledge that we’re pro-Jane, but his actions seem to come from the fact that he wants to be the person making all the decisions even though he’s shown no ability to make sound choices so far.

Of course, Jane is a little more blunt about it. “I’d like to take him to the woodshed and whip his ass.”

Probst sighting! Today’s Reward Challenge has the Survivors split into two teams, which will compete against each other in an obstacle course that has three stations where they will retrieve three keys. Once the teams have all three keys, they will have to unlock some locks to raise their flag. Winner will get to zipline over a gorgeous area of Nicaragua before having an amazing, filling meal. In an odd twist of fate, when teams are randomly drawn, the setup is all guys versus all girls. There is one outlier in Chase, who is the extra person who doesn’t get included in the challenge. Instead, he can pick a team to back and if they win, he will join them on the challenge.

In this situation, Chase has to be thinking two things. First of all: Brenda is really pretty and I pretty much want to be wherever she is, win or lose. Second, it’s not a bad move to pick against whichever team has Dan. Thus, he goes with the women.

Ultimately, though, this challenge is just to tough for the women to win. It requires strength along with stamina, and when it comes to breaking through walls and climbing, they all get very tired (Jane in particular). Chase and the girls go home disappointed, while the remaining dudes – including Dan, who does a pretty good job at competing to the best of his ability here, plus allowing his teammates to take on the heavy lifiting – will be off for their reward.

And speaking of the reward, the zipline experience looks like the adventure of a lifetime. They’re all having a blast, though Dan looks nervous and ridiculous (more so). Of course, he comments that the only time a zipline would be handy in New York is if you’re a criminal. Now we’re wondering if the reason Dan has blown out his knees is because he used a zipline to rob the Metropolitan Museum of At.

While the men eat, Marty takes an opportunity to lay out the strategy for the next vote. He reiterates that they should do exactly what he says and vote off his enemy…for their benefit. Marty has been terrible at Survivor, but he’s probably solidly established himself as a future political operative.

The men also hold some bitter feelings about Chase, who went against the basic tenet of “bros before hos” because Brenda smiled and hopped up and down alluringly. Amusingly, the person most critical of Chase’s actions is…Brenda. She thinks that Chase was too emotional in his decision-making, primarily having been swayed by his attachment to maternal figures Jane and Holly. She’s also pretty disdainful of the thought that her own wink and a smile at him might have influenced Chase’s decision. This is the thanks he gets for trying to impress the pretty girl.

To his credit, at least he realizes that Brenda might not be entirely trustworthy. He discusses this question with Holly and NaOnka, who both tell him he just needs to put his faith in her, but he’s starting to seriously question whether she was the friend he believed her to be earlier in the game. At least he’s not completely snowed in by her pretty smile. Chase’s primary concern is that Brenda doesn’t bring him flowers anymore. Their relationship started with such passion, but now they never talk anymore, and he worries whether she might be aligned with Marty. For her part, Brenda doesn’t lie being the man in the relationship.

He doesn’t have time to think about it anymore, because it’s time for the Immunity Challenge, which is a game of memory. Contestants must memorize a series of nautical symbols as Probst shows them, and then correctly show them back in order. Incorrect choices will eliminate players, and the last person standing wins Immunity.

There’s not much to describe here. Brenda and Marty are the last two in the challenge. Brenda outlasts him (and Kim beats David). For a moment, it looked like Marty might be able to extend his stay in the game, but for now, it’s time to play It’s Anyone But Marty. Please let it be Marty.

The discussion at camp is exactly the same as what we’ve seen all episode. The debate comes down to Marty versus Jane, and the way you know it’s not Jane is because Brenda and Sash explicitly state that they’d like to keep Marty around for a couple more votes.

Tribal Council is the Marty versus NaOnka show. While we joke that when NaOnka talks, we don’t listen, the truth of the matter is that tonight she throws some pretty good punches. Marty tells her that her father will not be proud of her. Her reply is a killshot. “Oh, he is, because I’m here, and you probably won’t be.” Seven votes later, he’s gone. Marty will spend the rest of his life talking about how well he played Survivor. Every time his name is mentioned to us, we will list him as one of the worst tacticians in the history of the game. Brag about eliminating Jimmy Johnson all you want. The coach understood the game. Marty was just there for self-aggrandizing. Note to Marty: If you want to know who voted for you this week, it’s everyone who didn’t ride a zipline…plus sash.

The preview for next week seems to indicate someone dies or something. We don’t get to see what it is, but the Survivors all appear to be in tears. Perhaps Dan will finally go to the glue factory where he belongs.

As for Marty’s closing comments, he claims, “I wouldn’t change a thing I did to my game.” That’s right, he finished 11th out of 20. Way to go, big guy!