Survivor Vanuatu: Episode Three
Double Tribal, Double Trouble
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
October 1, 2004
No, that’s not Mount St. Helen’s on your screen. It’s the island of Vanuatu erupting at the news that sheep farmer Dolly has left the island. You probably shouldn’t rely on that spirit stone too much this week, boys, The gods, they are angry.
So, what did we relearn last week on Survivor? There is no quicker way to get voted off the island than to be considered the “swing” vote. It’s like being a Cubs fan as the playoffs loom. No good can come of it.
Eliza, obviously the double agent of the women’s tribe, finds herself on the defensive about her turncoat behavior. Apparently, some people have never watched the show before and actually expect various contestants to stand by their word. Eliza offers one of the worst excuses ever seen on the show for her actions. When asked why she did not inform the others of her voting intentions, she lies. Badly. “There wasn’t time,” she stutters. We should sick Dan Rather on her. Oh, wait.
The men continue to be an *ahem* well-oiled team. Despite all their experience growing up with Lincoln Logs, they fail to create a solid base for their shelter. Sensing a need to focus their frustration, Corporal Butthead Lea loudly wonders where Rory is. Cut to a shot of the missing man taking a fruit-tastic snack break.
When Rory returns from his Vitamin C run, Lea pulls out his best John Wayne impersonation. The military man points out that Rory has violated the chain of command, which confuses us since we don’t recall anybody promoting Mr. Buzz Cut. Since Rory’s place in the Homely Man Alliance is no longer assured, pretty boy John P. sees an opportunity to ugly himself up in order to get on the winning team.
It’s not-so-subtle metaphor time on Survivor. As Mia announces her attention to – and we quote – “Go hunting fruit”, Twila ominously sharpens the machete. First of all, look out when you’re hunting fruit. Those strawberries can be dangerous if they’re only wounded. Second, if you’re gonna pick a random Survivor to get in an argument with, pick one of the unarmed ones. There’s only one machete, so it can’t be that hard. This point is lost on Mia, who starts to bob her head, shake her hands, and swear loudly. We continue to marvel at Twila’s bluntness, even as we recognize it’s going to eliminate any hope of her contending in this game. “That’s bullshit, bitch” might not win you any alliances but it will earn you points in our recaps. We’re ready to announce it: Twila is female Rudy.
The argument is mainly noteworthy only for its length. You know it’s going to be a slow episode when five percent of it is video of the same fight.
An accidental meeting occurs, as Julie pressures Eliza about her new loyalties. Eliza assures her counterpart that last night's vote was a one-time-only thing. Coincidentally, Lisa and Mia are retrieving tree mail at the same moment. Eliza lovingly puts her hand on Lisa’s face (hey, you get lonely after a week on the island) and says, “I am with you guys 100 percent.” Shockingly enough, Mia takes this opportunity to propose the elimination of Twila. We’re less surprised when a coin flip lands either heads or tails.
Tree mail turns out to be unexpectedly shocking. It’s not just a reward challenge this time. The most fun part of the combo reward/immunity challenge is when the men are informed that Dolly has been voted off. Their pained expressions are priceless as they realize the hottest one is off the island. John P. in particular seems to be mumbling something along the lines of, “Come back, Britney Spears, come back!”
Today’s reward/immunity challenge theme is that everybody’s screwed. Well, everybody save one. The challenge works in two segments. The first portion will be a reward challenge where the two tribes compete against each other to win a fishing kit (somewhere, Rupert’s ears just perked up). Then, the winning tribe will go on to vie for one individual immunity reward. After it’s all said and done, both teams will go to Tribal Council and vote off a member – with only one person out of 16 being safe.
The reward portion of the challenge involves the usual mix of untying ropes, fishing for keys, and squeezing through holes. For all our complaints about Lea’s dictatorial behavior, he again proves invaluable during the first challenge. His constant barking of orders combined with his willingness to criticize an individual for the benefit of the team is the key to the men’s victory.
The immunity challenge offers the first real twist of the game. Each man has to dig up seven rungs, each of which is shaped differently, to correspond to a very specific spot on a ladder. Once all seven are obtained, the men must ascertain which piece belongs in which spot, assemble the ladder and then climb to the top. The less-famous but equally attractive John, last initial K, proves dominant.
His prize is enormous. Not only is he safe from his tribe’s voting this evening, but he will spend the day making new alliances (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) at Camp Yasur. After that, he will return to Lopevi in time to vote off one of his tribemates. He will remain in the Tribal Council area for Yasur’s vote as well. At this point, he will be empowered with the ability to give immunity to the hottest of the women, err, the woman who most deserves to stay in the game. That man is about to have a lot of cleavage thrown his way.
John’s decision-making process is best described as “hormonally driven.” His first question for the ladies is “Who here voted for Dolly?” The impact this has upon chesty young Eliza is hysterical. She goes from feeling confident about her ability to manipulate him through the power of her pectoral muscles to realizing that in his mind, she’s Public Enemy No. 1. She’s just stolen the life jacket from his potential girlfriend, after all. Even from a distance, Julie can sum the situation up perfectly. “Keep talking, Eliza. You’re digging yourself further in the hole.” We hate that girl so much.
John’s description of the encounter is more succinct. “Oh my god, would you please stop talking,” he says of Eliza. Quickly, he moves on to the pretty girls. Their request is simple. Do not give immunity to Twila or Eliza. You can actually visualize the white chalk outlines of their bodies at this moment. At this point, Eliza invites herself over to the discussion. A catfight ensues as the paranoid, insecure girl loses any remaining sense of dignity. From a distance, John watches with bemused detachment.
Realizing there is no hope of a tickle fight breaking out between the young, nubile, female combatants, the editing staff switches us back over to the men’s camp. There, negotiations are equally earnest, albeit considerably less impassioned. John P. continues to fight a presumably losing battle with Lea aka Sarge to replace Rory in the majority alliance. Lea seems to be swayed by the argument; however, when he runs it by Chris the man-hater, the idea is dismissed out of hand. Three minutes later, John P. is voted off.
When the women enter the voting area, John K. anoints the prettiest one not named Dolly as his choice to be immune from voting. We applaud his selection of Ami, who has a Michelle Pfeiffer in Ladyhawke thing going for her. From there, the Twila/Mia argument is rehashed again, which inexplicably leads to a discussion of the joys of hair braiding and fingernail polish. Twila admits that she’s always been a little curious, but she’s never tried it. Ami’s presentation is one of the most impressive Tribal Council moments in the show’s history. Based on John’s savvy in determining alliances among the women and Ami’s ability to mediate disputes among the members of her tribe, we think they are currently the best players. We must also grudgingly acknowledge that psycho Chris does seem to have things under control.
In the end, the voting choices appear to be Mia and Twila due to their earlier rift, Scout because of her challenge incompetence and Eliza for just being obnoxious as all get out (So. Much.). One notable comment comes during the actual voting. Scout says, “Mia, your volcano erupts more than I like. Good luck in finding a husband that’ll put up with ya.” That’s gotta burn. Really.
Though one might expect a tie vote due to the alliances being equally split 4-4, there is a defector again this week. Lisa, who previously had just been happy to be included with the pretty girls, votes with the other group. The vote is close, but Mia’s earlier rash behavior with Twila proves fatal. We look forward to next week’s round of “I Hate You, You Bitch. Get Colon Cancer and Die.”