Survivor Guatemala Recap
The Hidden Immunity Doll
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
November 4, 2005
Previously on Survivor, we learned that Jeff Probst isn't planning to return as host next year. Also, Sheriff Amy tried to lay down the law, but the law won. The law of Survivor, that is. Never Get Hurt. As the show ended, the two tribes were in the process of merging, which is good, because SOMETHING NEEDS TO HAPPEN. There have been insurance seminars with more excitement than Survivor: Guatemala.
Night 18 finds Yaxha invading Nakum as if being the away team squaring off against a huge home field favorite. As if that weren't problematic enough, they're also outnumbered 6-4. 7-4 if you count Judd's fat ass twice. Realizing that solidarity is their only hope for "survival", the remaining Yaxha members discuss strategy. They agree that their best play is to lay low and try to help out the other tribe while displaying as bright an attitude as possible. No one has ever fallen for this tactic in the history of Survivor, but then again, Jamie hasn't played in any previous seasons. Barring a colossal choke by Nakum, we should know three of the next four people to be voted out. Once the group is down to seven, things can get a little more complicated as betrayals become better strategy. For now, though, everyone at Nakum should realize that they have to press their numbers advantage.
"It was real tough for me to walk in here tonight because I can't be around Stephenie for more than five minutes without wanting to vomit, and I can't be around Jamie for more than five minutes without wanting to knock him out, so I don't know what I'm going to do." -- Bobby Jon
Please let it end in violence. Please let it end in violence.
The slumbering Nakums are awakened by the marauding Yaxha quartet. Everyone is surprised at the new arrangements, and they happily exchange buffs. Stephenie, who always focuses on what really matters, notes that the buffs don't stink. Of course, in order for that to happen, the producers would have had to put "pre-stink" on them. Either way, it's probably not the best idea to bid on these things when they come up for auction at eBay later this year.
The cavemen grab their clubs and start debating ominously about whose is bigger. Bobby Jon tries to quest for fire, at which point Jamie monosyllabically suggests that there's no room in the tent for another manly man, and that Bobby Jon should be happy with sleeping arrangements that put him outdoors. At this point, Bobby Jon monologues to the camera about smashing Jamie's teeth. Raaaaahhhhhr!
The other homoerotic moment of the evening occurs as Brandon asks hunky quarterback, "Is that a log?" Gary proudly stands up, puts his hands on his hips and replies, "You're damned tootin', it's a log! Meet me in the locker room, big guy!"
All of a sudden, something interesting happens! Yes, we know this is unlikely, but the producers have finally come up with something to make Tribal Councils interesting. They have hidden a small immunity idol "somewhere" in the jungle, and the person who locates it will have a "Get Out of Jail Free" card to use at their discretion. It may be used to obtain immunity at any Tribal Council before the Final Four. It's an ingenious way to throw the players for a loop and add a bit of intrigue. Also, the Yaxha people now have a chance!
After a brief free-for-all search, the cameras cut to Bobby Jon, who is somehow managing to have a discussion with Stephenie without throwing up. He's sounding more like Sling Blade by the minute. Uh huhh, He tells Steph that all he really hopes for here is to make the jury this time around. She tells him she can't make any promises, but will do her best to help him. She confirms our suspicions that Bobby Jon and Brandon are the first two people targeted for elimination. The camera then slowly pans over to the new immunity idol that Bobby Jon and Brandon desperately need, cleverly hidden in a rock formation where it blends perfectly.
Though apparently no one else in the group cares, Lydia is pumped about giving the tribe a new name. After soliciting opinions to absolutely no enthusiasm, she combines the old titles of Yaxha and Nakum into Xhakum. We can't wait to have to spell that for the rest of the season. Meanwhile some more half-assed idol searching leads to hilarious results for Rafe. He deems the most likely hiding place to be the middle of a hornet's nest, which ends in a hysterical visual as we see his terror-ridden flight as the insects attempt to prevent his escape. The SciFi Network immediately snapped up all rights.
As an aside, a speech from Stephenie where she whines about the fact that the merge brought no food reminds us that we're growing to loathe her. There has been a ground swelling of character assassination against her throughout the season, and we've tried to stay out of the fray. But no more. She's starting to remind us of a music diva. You know the type. She's so humble and appreciative as her first album takes off. She thanks her fans at every opportunity and lets them know that without their support she'd be nothing. Eighteen months later, she's sold a couple million albums, won a few Grammys, and she's Whitney freakin' Houston. We haven't seen an America's Sweetheart take this much of a tumble since Sandra Bullock started dating that filthy guy from Monster Garage.
"Am I a member of the Axis of Evil?" – Rafe, realizing that there's probably a pretty good reason to flip-flop.
It happens every year. The tribe with the numbers advantage - this time the former Nakum - gets super cocky. They believe they're completely in control of the game, and have to do nothing to secure their position. The minority is viewed as monkey butlers there to perform various menial tasks. The majority members wouldn't want to break a nail, after all. What really leaps off the page is that Nakum is not a six-player team, but rather a core of three jerks (Steph, Judd and Jamie) plus three players who have little in common with their tribe's power players. The four members of Yaxha, on the other hand, are a tightly knit unit whose cohesiveness could prove troublesome to the overconfident Nakum ringleaders. Yaxha even becomes so frustrated with Nakum's bitching that they head off together for a boat ride to escape the oppressive atmosphere for a couple of hours. As usual, the quartet is in complete agreement. Nakum sucks.
The Immunity Challenge is Machiavellian in design. Driving home the class structure of the merge, the people who "feel safe" are allowed to skip the festivities entirely in order to feast. Anyone who doesn't feel safe about his or her position skips the meal in order to have an opportunity at immunity. Steph, Rafe, Jamie and Lydia all hit the pine. They repine in luxury, eating a magnificent meal while the lowly serfs attempt to win the title of Court Jester by balancing a jug on their heads. It doesn't just end there. Jamie openly taunts Brandon and (especially) Bobby Jon about their precarious situations in the game. He flatly states that Judd is participating in the competition to protect his group's interests, and that one of the two former Yaxhas will be going home that night. To his credit, not only does Judd participate in the competition, but he also becomes incensed at his ally's recklessly sharp tongue. Rafe feels uncomfortable on the sidelines to the point that Steph grows concerned that his loyalties might change. And oh, by the way, the contest goes into sudden death, wherein Gary Hogeboom becomes King of the Mountain. He ascends the Mayan structure while keeping the jug on his head to win immunity.
Back at camp, it's time to play It's Anyone But Brandon. The discussion that plays out between Bobby Jon and Jamie isn't going to qualify either man for Mensa. Imagine the worst message board flame war you've ever seen, but somehow dumber. That's what we're talking about here. It goes something like this:
Jamie: So you know Brandon's getting voted out tonight.
Bobby Jon: Well, you're saying he is, but it could be me.
Jamie: No, but Brandon's head is on the chopping block.
Bobby Jon: My head could be on the chopping block.
Jamie: I am telling you that Brandon is going home.
Bobby Jon: But I could be going home.
Never do we learn who's on first.
There's some discussion about what an ass Jamie is and that he is the one who really deserves to go home tonight. Much hand wringing is done over whether to vote out the person who is the biggest threat or the person who deserves to go home (with extreme prejudice). We've read this book, and we know how it ends. There are a lot of semi-sincere statements that Jamie isn't worthy of advancing further, but as we said at the top of the show, it's pretty obvious how this is going to play out. Bobby Jon and Jamie argue more at Tribal Council, everyone else looks incredibly uncomfortable, and Brandon is voted out exactly down tribal lines.
On a side note, after watching Jamie and Judd's deplorable behavior at Tribal Council these past two weeks, we understand why Probst has had enough. If you want to make the rest of the season interesting, let him play Russian Roulette with some of the contestants.