Episode Six: Me and My Snake
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
Our hero has just returned from his first tribal council, and we’ve finally uncovered the chink in his armor – he’s a very sore loser. He sits in the dark and pets his snake (literally, you pervs) while bemoaning the mistake his fellow tribemates made in throwing the earlier immunity challenge. He’s also regretting having voted for cute Michelle over Queer Eye for the Shawn Guy. Rupert needs a hug.
Unfortunately things only get worse before they get better for the lovable big man. Rupert’s newly adopted pet snake Balboa has died overnight. A surprisingly intense display of emotion ensues. Shawn expresses his condolences in his usual, levelheaded way. It breaks down to “I don’t know why he loved that ugly thing or why he cares that it’s dead.” It’s a good thing Rupert is the one that helps the troubled teens instead of his studly compadre. “So your friends hate you, huh? Ever tried drugs and alcohol?” Our only comment here is that we’re a bit surprised that Rupert likes snakes but doesn’t get along with Shawn.
After the funeral ceremony, we finally cut to the Morgan tribe, who for the second time in a row are not suffering the agony of defeat. Osten proves to be the anti-Rupert as a pelican comes ashore in search of shelter, companionship, and possibly employment. Ryan immediately comes over and befriends the big-beaked bird, naming it Pelican Pete (he must play Animal Crossing). Osten, on the other hand, threatens it with a stick. Maybe he’s just a snake person rather than a pelican person. There’s something comical about a massive body-builder type needing a foreign object to chase away a bird. Poor Pelican Pete! Osten’s so mean that if this were a Disney animated film, he would be the bad guy.
For his part, Osten explains his extreme dislike for animals of all sorts. When pressured for deeper clarification, all he says is, “I had a bad experience!” In order to make himself feel like less of a sissy, he goes back to sharpening his machete in the bird’s general direction. Ooooh, scary, scary!
While the Drake camp isn’t being overrun by territorial waterfowl, there are still a few problems. The worst of these is that the bedbugs really like to bite to the point that they have basically turned Rupert into a giant scab. The tribe makes a near-unanimous decision to try to raise their shelter off the ground a bit in hopes of reducing the problem. The lone dissenting voice is Shawn’s, as he wastes more energy in arguing against this bit of Bob Vila-ing than he would have expended if he had just shut up and done the work at first. This causes the entire tribe to turn against him, with Jonny Fairplay being particularly outraged. Jon, who must resemble Shawn’s mother, piles on the guilt so heavily that the lone remaining Gucci twin eventually does almost all the work himself.
Treemail arrives complete with cannonball, vaguely offering viewers the hope that Shawn and Osten will take turns being shot out of a cannon Sideshow Bob style. Alas, this isn’t to be; instead, the game turns out to be an elaborate version of Toss Across with cannon fire. Today’s reward for winning is the first one in a while that has offered immediate gratification as a grill, spices, and surf ‘n’ turf will enable the victor to turn its camp into a Red Lobster. The contest comes down to Morgan team leader Andrew versus Drake’s computer nerd Christa. Perhaps symbolically, Andrew misfires his cannon (you can get medical assistance for that, mister), while Christa paints the inside corner of her target with a curveball. The Morgan tribe’s winning streak emphatically ends at three. We think the key is that Christa wasn’t weighed down by a sports jacket.
Shawn says hello to his little friends – the lobsters. That’s right, even Shawn is more of an animal person than Osten (never mind that they’re dead.) Meanwhile, Rupert has one thing on his mind: Beef. It’s what’s for dinner. They immediately begin cooking the Banquet of Andrew Can’t Aim and join together in one of the tastiest-looking feasts ever to grace the Survivor screen.
It’s time to play “How to Win Friends and Influence People the Jonny Fairplay Way!” He shows up for the regularly-scheduled looting and teases possession of some previously hidden diplomatic skills. It’s just an act, though, as he waits until the right moment when his Morgan counterparts are at their most vulnerable – then he shivs them. As Andrew discusses the frustrations of losing six straight challenges, Jon graciously points out that it was actually seven. He then drops the bomb that his tribe is so dismissive of the Morgan team’s skill set that Drake deemed it necessary to throw an immunity challenge so that they could eliminate one of their own. If you pause the tape at just the right moment, you can see all of Morgan’s hearts breaking. Deathblow.
Probst ahoy! Today’s immunity challenge involves heart, strategy and strength – so clearly Osten is at a huge disadvantage. Each tribe must pick three members to hold a pole with weighted sandbags. As the challenge progresses, the other team picks one of their three competitors to load up with weights. The obvious strategy is to quickly eliminate the perceived strongest player on each side, so Rupert and Osten are immediate targets. This turns out to be a mistake on Drake’s part, as the real threat is Andrew "The Macho Man" Savage. He has used Jon’s taunts as bulletin board motivation on game day. His astonishing performance sees him last over twice as long as people carrying less weight, though kudos do go to Christa for – as Probst puts it – holding the same amount of weight that forced Osten to quit. Score one for the nerds! In the end, though, it’s not enough as both Ryan and Andrew are still standing when Christa becomes the last Drake member to throw in the towel.
It’s now time to play “It’s Anybody But Shawn,” though we do believe there’s actually some potential for the element of surprise this time. Shawn’s clever negotiation of a one-on-one alliance with Jon the manipulator is the wild card here.
Or wait a minute. Did we say “Anybody But Shawn?” Rupert flat-out states that he wants Shawn off “his” island. Hmmm. That means it really is anybody but Shawn. Now we’re confused.
Okay. Trish is now painting a bulls-eye on Rupert’s back. First of all, who is this Trish person? Is she a new co-host or something? We’ve seen more of the pelican and the snake than this chick. Second of all, who the hell does she think she is to threaten our beloved Rupert. NO TOUCHY!!!
The instant Jon hears, “Oooh! Potential votes against Rupert!” his mind immediately turns to how cool he would look to Vince McMahon if he eliminated Sasquatch. Since he’s sitting with Sandra and Trish and knows that Shawn will be desperate to deal in order to survive, Jon is convinced that this is already a done deal. Jon, you’ve watched Survivor before, right?
Sure enough, Sandra runs off to Christa and the big guy to alert them about the scheming in progress. We haven’t seen a look of betrayal like the one in Rupert’s eyes since Fox sold out Futurama fans. It’s evident from her reaction that Sandra is going to do everything within her power to punish Trish for even mentioning the possibility of voting against Rupert. Christa fully supports Sandra in this effort, so we would like to officially remove her from the “five least favorite remaining survivors list” from a couple of weeks ago and offer her up our most heartfelt apologies.
The game is now afoot as negotiations ensue involving all of the marginal players in the Drake tribe. It becomes readily apparent that Jon sees Rupert as the biggest threat in the game (and rightly so). He’s going to do whatever he can to eliminate Rupert, so his vote and Trish’s appear to be locked up. With the battle lines clearly drawn, the key becomes Shawn. Rupert and Jon both appeal to him about the situation, but it’s impossible to tell prior to council exactly where his priorities lie (it’s not like he hasn’t surprised a teammate before).
At tribal council, the mood is somber as Probst gleefully points out that they have just been beaten at a physical challenge. You get the feeling that there are baby-eating Columbian drug lords that Probst likes more than Jon. For his part, Rupert appears near tears as he can barely spit out the words that he believes half his tribe wants him gone. Trish then demonstrates an impressive ability at duplicity as she feigns total shock at the news that someone might be conspiring to eliminate Rupert. When Jon nods his head approvingly, you know that you’ve just told a pretty impressive fish story.
The votes are all shown this week (except for Shawn’s swing vote), along with comments from each of the tribe members. As Probst calls out the results, there is a particularly satisfying moment as Trish sees her name on the ballot for the very first time. Doubt creeps in further as the results stand at three for her and two for Rupert, but Jon doesn’t look worried. But then, a fourth vote is revealed for Trish and the co-conspirators both look like they need a hanky and a blanky. Trish is the sixth Survivor voted off the island, and Jon is facing three long days of begging a very scary, very large man for forgiveness. We gleefully picture your average episode of Oz.