Survivor Vanuatu: Episode Ten

Gender Wars...And It's Getting Ugly

By David Mumpower

November 11, 2004

I'll kill you if you make fun of my first name.

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Nine contestants remain as we start tonight's episode. Effectively, we have seven future bitter members of the jury along with a pair of folks who will go, "Neener neener! I beat you." He-Man Woman Hater club founder Chris has put two and two together (or, more correctly counted three versus six) and Jethro Bodine-cyphered that the final two ain't gonna have the Y chromosome. Good call voting out John, big guy. It was the Survivor equivalent of sepukku.

How well has Chris sussed out the situation? Well, two hours after the vote, he states: "So this is men against the women. This is the first time I realize that." The next morning, he makes a similar statement. He also thinks John Kerry should concentrate on winning Ohio.

Conversely, Ami can scarcely contain her glee. Never has someone who was only two votes away from elimination come back from Tribal Council so thrilled about her situation. She's either completely flipped, or she really does not care who wins as long as they were born without a penis. Xena fans are not this militantly anti-weiner.

The lone member of the newly united Alinta (I think it's a product that cures either male pattern baldness or erectile disfunction) tribe who is feeling some regret is Twila. Obviously one of the two most honorable members of this set - along with Sarge - she is remorseful about having to betray the fellas. Her comments would indicate that she went along with Julie here more than that she chose this strategy herself. I like Twila and all, but it's a scary thought that Julie is the brains of that operation. It's like deciding who the better private investigator is between Shaggy and Scooby-Doo.

Elsewhere on the island, Sarge has gone to a dark place. I am talking Colonel Kurtz dark. As if sensing the eclipse of his soul, recovering flower child Scout comes over to make things better. Apparently not realizing she is on Survivor instead of American Idol, she begins to sing. The look Sarge shoots her at this point verifies to the viewing audience that he will not be holding up a cigarette lighter while shouting "encore!" any time soon. So withering is his scowl that for just a moment, I consider the possibility that he might jump across the campfire, snap her neck and cook her before the other tribe members return. I immediately dismiss this notion, realizing that eating a woman primarily composed of hemp would just give him the munchies again.

Scout reminds me what is wrong with classic Disney characters. Nobody can stand to be around anyone that sunny for more than 30 seconds. Anything longer than that is going to lead to a manslaughter conviction. Of course, if the jury saw the clip of Scout singing, there is no way they would convict Sarge. She's a walking definition of justifiable homicide.

Today's Probst sighting is one of those trivia challenges that emphasize which alliance has numbers over the other. If a contestant gets a question right, they get to burn the skull (literally) of a competitor. Three torched pates means elimination. This type of challenge is done a couple of times a season to accomplish two tasks. On the one hand, it creates tension among the outnumbered folks who are impotent to save themselves from near immediate elimination. On the other hand, it inevitably causes members of the power party to turn on each other. The frequent outcome is an unexpected schism.

The funniest moment comes at the end of the first question. Sarge gets the question right, then flies on wings of joy over to the skull representing Scout. His pleasure is near-orgasmic as he torches the hollowed-out cranium representing the woman who had the audacity to sing Memories to him this morning. Roughly two seconds later, all three men have been eliminated.

With Phase A completed, the women turn on one another. Eliza, the first one of the ladies assassinated, gets into a backbiting contest with Scout. We hit 7.3 on the Bitch-o-meter with this exchange. Scout: "You are a smart one." Eliza: "And you are really not." Who wins a fight between Scout and Eliza? Society.

In the end, the most non-threatening members of the tribes frequently win. In Alinta, that would be Leann, the woman who is cleverly letting Ami do all the heavy lifting while she bonds with the girls. Her victory allows her to grab a buddy, jump on a helicopter, and enjoy a meal served on the cusp of a volcano. As far as reward challenges go, this one is among the most memorable. Leann selects her buddy, Julie, which allows the woman to get away from Sarge for a couple of hours.

The scorned Lea is so bitter about Julie's betrayal that he has even rubbed off the face paint she so carefully decorated upon him the day before. Sure, it may all sound like a Love Boat episode waiting to happen, but we are pretty sure that Captain Stubing won't be showing up to reunite the dueling lovebirds any time soon.

Over a bottle of champagne and a bucket of chicken wings, Leann and Julie talk strategy. They agree that Eliza is a gullible motard and Scout is annoying. Also, they think Hitler and the Unabomber are bad while sunsets and puppy dogs are good. In the end, it's decided that the final four should be Ami, Twila and them. Honestly, this is the combination that makes the most sense on several levels. No one can stand to be around Eliza, so she's in a world of hurt. The men also recognize this, so they strategize to make her as vulnerable as possible before Tribal Council. The women would still have numbers at 5-3, but that would mean the men would only have to swing one woman's vote to tie the alliances up again.

When the ladies return, the men are rafting while discussing the above. This allows the women to pull off Chickengate. They have brought back enough wings for each person to have one, but with the men away, the women can split two each before they return. When the fellas get back, they discover chicken bones. Not realizing that their share has been stolen, the guys gleefully gnaw the bones. They're not even getting what's in the doggie bag, they're getting the trash left over from the doggie bag.

Along with the immunity challenge announcement, the tribe gets a pig. We hope they name it Ned Beatty.

Driving home the men's plight, the immunity challenge is a game of color coordination. It's about the closest Survivor can come to a game where you match your shoes with your purse. After round one, the only three people eliminated are... Chad, Sarge and Chris. That means the only remaining Survivor who has anything to gain is Eliza... and she loses. Not that it matters now, but Queen Bee Ami wins the necklace.

Rather than play "It's Anyone But" this week, it's instead "Anyone With Hair On Their Legs"...oh, wait. That's everyone. Let's say "Anyone With Hair On Their Face." The show, of course, tries to sell Eliza's vulnerability, but the choice is clear between Sarge's strength and Chris' strategizing. Frankly, if those are not the next two contestants voted off, it's a choke. Eliza might be annoying, but six women (and Chad) should be the end game.

In order to increase Eliza's vulnerability, Sarge makes the sound strategic maneuver of going to Twila to guilt her into coming back to the fold. With Scout already likely to vote against Eliza, one more vote is all they would need to eliminate her. With the help of Twila and a bit of luck, the men could very well snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

But they don't. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the strongest remaining physical threat, Sarge, is eliminated. Oddly, even Chris votes for him though he does claim he does this as a way of showing he will make each of the women burn for their treachery.

The military guy gets eliminated on Veteran's Day. Classy.



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