Episode Four: Pick a Castaway…Any Castaway
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
Day Ten: The tide is high but Morgan’s holding on. They’re going to be your number one -- as long as the Drake team is nowhere in the vicinity. Morgan’s camp is being overrun because of heavy surf due to stormy conditions, and they’re trying to reinforce their fort logs with…wait for it…sand. They should have gone with sofa cushions and blankets instead as that would have been equally effective. As it turns out, all they succeed in doing is to give their castle a nice little moat.
Morgan leader Andrew decides that it’s “us against the world.” The world has a big enough lead that we’re not sure that even Peyton Manning could lead a comeback. With the Red Sox and the Cubs doing so well in the playoffs this year, it’s nice to know we have some lovable losers to fall back on.
We cut from the gray skies of Camp Failure to the sunny oceanfront property of Drake. Some cracks are beginning to show beneath the surface as Jon is muttering incomprehensibly about a jug. We assume that he’s just upset that none of the other tribe members have a washboard, making it impossible to start a band. Christa and Shawn’s awkward but brief conversation screams of “bad blind date” -- and the check isn’t coming any time soon. Christa begins to vent about the hardships of winning, saying that she’d actually like to see some people gone, namely Shawn, Burton and Michelle. Christa apparently doesn’t fully appreciate the intricacies of mathematics and democracy since she is in fact outnumbered three to one.
The most fascinating conflict occurs as Burton notices that a hole has formed in an unfortunate location on Rupert’s skirt. Thank heavens for bad camera work. At this point, the schism in the tribe is readily apparent for the first time. The Gucci Twins fraternity and little sister Michelle appear to have formed a solid alliance, while the non-beautiful people feel alienated. The bad news for the Am I Hot Or Not crew is that there are five “ordinary people” as opposed to the three models-in-training.
Probst sighting! It’s reward challenge time, and today the contestants are required to dive underwater and dig on the beach to find pieces that will help them solve a puzzle. The prize is an old-fashioned sewing machine (it’s not just Burton upset by Rupert’s exhibitionism) and, as always, a piece of the treasure map. Team Morgan shows that it has learned from prior mistakes by starting their strongest swimmer, Ryan. He only gets beaten 2-1, so things aren’t going that badly for Morgan in the beginning. But then Tijuana demonstrates a stunning lack of teamwork by jumping in front of the woman in the diving mask and diving into the ocean. She manages to flash the teams onshore with both halves of her T and A before getting stranded in the water several minutes as she is unable to find a piece in the murky ocean. Hey, do you think that’s what the mask might have been for?
Remember last week when we called Osten the Titanic? Once again, the nickname proved to be prescient as his dog paddle fails him, requiring two members of his tribe to come out and save him from drowning. Yes, we’re serious. While Andrew and Ryan perform basic lifeguard duties, Drake gains an insurmountable lead. At this point, we speculate that Mark Burnett does his best Don King impersonation by calling for a dive, as Trish takes several minutes to dig up Drake’s final piece. All this does is turn a complete blowout into a partial blowout, as Morgan is able to get 13 pieces before Drake finishes the puzzle. This makes Drake 6-0 in competition and reaffirms that Morgan really is the Washington Generals of Survivor.
Drake begins Day 11 by getting ready for the Oscar parties. Rupert makes himself a lovely new skirt, and once again the Gucci twins take the opportunity to poke a little fun. After he’s finished, the group sets off in search of treasure, since they already have all three pieces of the map. Score one for the hotties, as Shawn and Michelle locate the place where X marks the spot. (By the way, we finally figured out how to tell Burton and Shawn apart -- Burton is the one with the necklace.) When Drake opens the chest, things are a little stinky and moldy, but the group is delirious to find a bottle containing chocolates. Go endorphins! We also uncover the optimists and pessimists of the tribe, as Burton proclaims that anything is better than nothing, while Jon bemoans past Christmas indignities by comparing the situation to asking for an Incredible Hulk doll (who would ask for such a thing after this summer’s movie?) but instead receiving his sister’s Ken doll painted green.
At Morgan, Ryan and Andrew do their best impersonations of Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber as they decide to traverse an impenetrable forest (Rodents of Unusual Size not included). Surprise! They get hopelessly lost, but we do give Andrew bonus points for the movie reference we would have made had he not stolen it (Blair Witch Project). All we can think of is how sorry we are for the cameraman who has to follow these two doofuses around.
Meanwhile, back at Morgan camp, the ladies (yes, we include Osten in this group) receive company as Drake’s Trish arrives for the daily pillaging. She has apparently read too many comic books and takes their green lantern. The tribe busts her chops over the theft, but then reveals that this is the item that they had been angling to have stolen over the last two lootings.
Meanwhile, Andrew and Ryan have crossed over to the other side of the island, only to discover that the grass is not as green as expected. Worse, now that they’ve reached the supposed promised land, the pair is exhausted, has no water, and is at the wrong spot so there’s no fishing to be done. Wouldn’t you like to see them try to work a Rubik’s Cube?
Back over at Drake, there’s some scheming going on the night before the next immunity challenge. Burton has sussed out the fact that the only way they’re ever going to lose an immunity challenge is to throw it, and he’s also realized that there are five ugly people vs. only three cute ones. He approaches belle of the ball Rupert ("like the beard -- gives me something to hang onto!!") to suggest an alliance and a possible plot to lose the next challenge so that they can vote off one of the ugmos. After agreeing with Burton to his face, Rupert seethes at the treachery of his first mate. Note to Rupert: YOU’RE NOT REALLY A PIRATE. Making Burton walk the plank will get you a felonious assault challenge.
Here are our five least favorite remaining survivors:
1) Jon…not only is he whiny and borderline racist (what was with the ghetto crack?), we’re fairly confident that Nerd Ryan could wipe the floor with his scrawny ass.
2) Christa...it’s hard to believe she’s a computer programmer, isn't it?
3) Osten…he’s like a Ferrari with a bad engine. You look at it and it’s soooooo pretty, but try to drive it home and you’re looking for AAA’s phone number.
4) Tijuana…why are you still smiling? You’ve lost EVERYTHING!!!
5) Andrew…if this were a professional athletic team, coach sports jacket would make Pardon the Interruption’s Tony Kornheiser hyperventilate.
This list is dedicated to the memory of Lillian. Your spot at number one is still being kept warm.
Apparently it’s not just us hating Christa, as Michelle indicates that the three beautiful people are all onboard with the scheme to tank and eliminate the anti-social blonde. Meanwhile, the theoretical fourth member of the alliance, Rupert, has described the discussion to Trish. At this point he professes that the only person he would consider voting out is Burt. (Ernie shall live for at least another three days.) It is revealed that Rupert will be sitting out the immunity challenge to level the playing field. He’s okay with throwing the challenge as long as the person who suggested the tactic is made a victim by it.
The immunity challenge must be very good, because we don’t understand it. People walk the plank, they shove each other off, and they walk some more across a maze to finish in a boat. Jon has his shirt off, though, so that’s worth a laugh.
Drake’s strategy to throw the immunity challenge is out the window a little bit as none of the macho guys will want to lose a man to man competition. Even so, it’s very difficult to win a Survivor challenge when your heart isn’t completely in it, and Morgan is driven by the fact that they’ve been kicked around like a soccer ball for the past 12 days (poor Wilson). In the end, Morgan does exactly what Burton had hoped by winning the immunity challenge.
Alas, nothing ever goes as planned, as godhead Burnett steps in and confounds expectations. The winning tribe is allowed to poach a member of the losing team, and just to repeat it in case you think we’ve mistyped it, Morgan really did win. With absolutely no hesitation, they nab Rupert, and he sails away with the immunity idol once again. Fittingly, he has now kept possession of that idol longer than any pre-merge player in the history of the game.
Back from the commercial break, Drake has a power vacuum that needs to be filled. Jon is all too excited to step up to the plate. He cozies up to the Gucci triumvirate so well that Christa, who is under the impression that she has an alliance with Jon, grows concerned about his intentions. For our part, we’re much more concerned about how religiously he quotes various pro wrestling catch phrases. A 102-pound man has no business impersonating Dusty Rhodes. The best part of this segment is Jon gleefully telling the camera that his is part of a five-member alliance with Rupert, Trish, Sandra, and Christa, a four-person alliance with Shawn, Burton and Michelle, and a one-on-one alliance with Shawn. With this revelation, sirens go off.
When we cut to tribal council, Jon is taking the yo-ho-ho-and-a-bottle-of-rum lifestyle a little too seriously. Rupert would have been so proud if he had been there. Jon appears to genuinely piss off Jeff Probst when he confesses to being loaded. From there, a discussion ensues about whether the immunity challenge might have been thrown, an allegation categorically denied by Christa and Burton. Guys, you might not be aware of this, but YOU’RE ON CAMERA!!! They have footage of your plans!
From there, we go straight to the vote, and for the first time this year, there’s a touch of suspense in the air. Arguments have been made for the elimination of both Christa and Burton, and Jon revels in the fact that he is the swing vote. A genuine shock occurs as Burton is voted out 6-2. The big surprise is that one of these six votes comes from Gucci Twin Shawn. While Jon doesn’t have enough hands to adequately pat himself on the back for this result, we are significantly more impressed by Shawn’s gameplay. We saw more than enough of the nerd puppet master last cycle as Rob finagled his way to the final three. Shawn’s betrayal, on the other hand, is fresh and exciting, and the promo for next week teases the resulting fireworks. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out.