Survivor: Amazon

Episode Four: Trapped

By Dan Krovich

Sure, she's smiling now, but if you're deaf, watch out.

With the women on a winning streak, we begin in Camp Vagina. It looks as if everyone is asleep except Joanna, who is up early and sharpening the machete, perhaps preparing to murder the tribe in their sleep. Instead we get some development of the real divide in Survivor that has played itself out more consistently over the seasons than any gender issue - the divide between the older, hardworking tribe members and the younger lazy tribe members. I think it's a good bet that next season the tribes will be broken down into an under 30 tribe versus an over 40 tribe. Joanna and Jeanne pick up the slack as the younger members, particularly Shawna, Heidi, and Jenna, lie about. Hard work and providing for the tribe would help you survive in this situation, but will not necessarily help you in Survivor. To her credit, Heidi does seem to recognize the fact that she's a lazy bitch and also realizes that these characteristics may ultimately help her in the game more than a strong work ethic.

The other general theme that seems to be developing in recent reality shows that have broken along gender lines is that a group of men will find a way to work together and compete against each other in a relatively agreeable manner, while a group of women will devolve quickly into unorganized bickering, backstabbing, and cat-fighting. (Oh stop that furious complaint e-mail typing, I realize that is an oversimplified generalization based on a couple of reality television casting decisions. You women are so touchy.) Camp Penis has been set up and running smoothly since day two, and now the only issue seems to be that the fishing isn't going so well. Dave comments that they are not catching enough fish to feed seven healthy men, so either the editors are playing around with timing a bit or everyone's favorite rocket scientist can't really count all that well. What he lacks in mathematical skill, though, he makes up for with mad poetry skills as he busts out a limerick.

The men eventually come up with a revolutionary idea to improve their fishing. They're going to try to use worms as bait! Now, I'm no fisherman, but if you gave me a pop quiz on what bait I would use if I were going fishing, worms would have been my first answer. So the guys go out looking for worms. The rest of the tribe heads off, leaving Matthew behind, and Matthew realizes he might be in some trouble. He teamed up with Ryan and Dan early on, and oops, Ryan and Dan are no longer there. He definitely has an uphill battle going now as the outsider, but he seems to have a fair grasp on what he needs to do to get back into the game as long as he has enough time to do it.

Friction continues among the women as during a discussion, Joanna gives a Camp Vagina monologue about the virtues of hard work and character. "Beauty will fade with time, but only your virtue and your character is what's gonna last." This hits too close to home for Jenna and Heidi. Jenna essentially gives the "don't hate me because I'm beautiful" speech, while Heidi is confused as to the meaning of the speech. Well, let me explain this to you, Heidi, one day you're going to look horrendous like Joan Rivers with an overly plastic surgeried face and ridiculously over-enhanced boobs, and you'll just be a bitter, shallow, sad old woman. Jenna and Heidi just get uglier and uglier the more they open their mouths. But, say what you will about them, they have a plan. They tighten their Heathers-esque bitch-clique alliance with Shawna, and realize that they need to pull over one of the ugly girls to gain an advantage. They choose Deena as their Martha Dumptruck, and Deena joins the clique. While it's a good move to be in the majority group, I'm not sure how wise it is to be the one person to stick out like a sore thumb in a group of four. It's like how those boy bands always have one really ugly member.

Matthew continues his road to redemption as he tries to get back into the good graces of his fellow tribe members. He makes the first substantial fish catch of the tribe and works to interact with his teammates. As every day passes, Matthew works his way out of the danger zone, and Roger begins to slide in to take his place.

But enough of all this strategizing, it's time for a challenge. It's the fire reward challenge. The goal is to build a fire to burn through four ropes, one at a time. The reward is a functioning refrigerator stocked with blatant product placement. The women take the early lead as they burn through the first two ropes before the men burn through their first, and it looks like maybe they'll continue their winning streak. Strong winds complicate the challenge, though, and the only solution is to use their bodies to block the wind from the fire. The men catch up as apparently Heidi's cold heart sucks the heat from the women's fire, or perhaps it has something to do with the heat capacity of silicone. Either way the men zoom past the women and win the reward.

Shawna takes the loss particularly hard, I mean really ridiculously and pathetically hard. One loss and she has a complete breakdown and is ready to quit. The other Heathers are livid that she has chosen now to fall apart. Their entire plan is based on the four of them sticking together, and now Shawna is saying that she wants to go home. I have to agree with them though; this is really one of the more pathetic displays I've ever seen on Survivor.

At Camp Penis the men enjoy their catch of fish and blatant product placement along with each other's company. The fun just keeps continuing into the night as they have a karaoke night and Rob breaks into "You've Lost that Loving Feeling." He's actually not so bad, but when the rest of the guys join in they sound like a group of dying animals. Roger continues to be his judgmental self. While singing karaoke might not be everyone's idea of fun, I'm not sure it's particularly "pathetic." (That didn't sound too defensive, did it?)

We waste no time moving on to the immunity challenge this week. We've been in the Amazon for three and a half episodes, and finally it's time to break out the piranha. When I realize that everyone's favorite man-eating fish are going to be involved in this challenge, my hope is that it's a repeat of that challenge from Thailand where they tried to push each other off into the water. No such luck though, and it's just a fishing challenge. It's a very straightforward matter of whoever catches the most fish by weight wins, and it's the guys who win for the second challenge in a row.

So this time, the women have to do the voting off. Just a short time ago, it seemed like the voting was all worked out. The three pretty girls and Deena would use their majority to vote out Joanna and Jeanne. That plan has been complicated by Shawna's death. Okay, so Shawna hasn't literally died, but she has turned into worthless dead weight. She can seemingly barely stand up, much less contribute to the tribe, so under most normal circumstances, she would be the logical choice to go. Heck, she even wants to go. But that's not what the Heathers had planned. They are getting a little worried about the situation and have to go into some crisis control. Red Alert! Red Alert! Plan B! Plan B! Make friends with the deaf girl! In desperation, they decide to let Christy into their little club because they can no longer count on Shawna. So the decision comes down to whether to vote off the person who does more than her share of the work and provides for the tribe or the person who can barely stand up on her own power. So, Joanna, it's time for you to go.



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Sunday, December 9, 2018
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