Thursday, September 23, 2010

Searching For Signal: #172 - “Survivor: Nicaragua” - Episode 2

We start off with a review of the developments on the last episode, where the mostly-clueless Survivors where divided into tribes of the Old (Espada) and the Young (La Flora). We see reaction shots of the players being all surprised by this move, but none of US are surprised because the promo ads all summer have been bellowing about this. Oh, and we see enough scenes with the Younger Tribe that I’m basically convinced that I can’t stand anybody on that team. Sue me.

Cut to the Espada camp, late at night after Tribal, with all of them marching back home after sending crazy Wendy back to Montana or wherever it is that she does things with goats. The focus is on Holly, who is “feeling on the outs” with the rest of the tribe, and “needs to re-think” her strategy. (Let’s start with re-thinking your hairdo, honey.) We see enough of Holly to realize that maybe Wendy wasn’t the only insane person running about in the jungle.

Roll opening credits. As the cast members are splashed across the screen, we see that they’ve already changed Jud’s name to “Fabio”. That’s special. Wonder how long it will take them to change Shannon’s name to “Chauvinist Pig”?

Next morning in the Espada camp, everyone’s whining about not getting enough sleep, so Jimmy J gathers everybody around and starts organizing activities to rebuild their crappy shelter so they can all slumber more peacefully. This is a wise thing to do. But Jimmy T is all up in arms that people are paying attention to Jimmy J. First, Jimmy T has already shown that he’s on the Wendy end of the Crazy Stick, and second, I can’t take anybody seriously that looks like Jimmy T. He’s one butt-ugly Missing Link.

Cut over to the La Flora camp, where Sash and NaOnka are chattering away on the beach. Sash wants to bring only Minorities to the end. (In a sidebar, Sash says that minorities “have a bond that no one else can share.” Really?) During this, NaOnka is flipping her hair around and trying to act all street. I’m not sure what street she has in mind, but I don’t want to visit.

Back to the Espada camp, where Holly completely freaks over the fact that Jill is eating snails. Holly actually snatches the container of snails that people have worked hard to collect, runs off, and dumps out the snails. What the hell? That’s FOOD, you lunatic freak. Jill runs to tell the others, and then we have several shots of other tribe members expressing dismay over Holly’s grasp on reality.

Holly comes back from the Snail Liberation Festival, and overhears Dan talking smack about her sanity. (Everybody was, but Holly apparently has selective hearing.) So she sneaks into camp, steals Dan’s shoes out of his bag, fills them with sand, and sinks them in the ocean. Not making this up. Girl has issues.

Dan soon discovers that his footwear is missing, and is none too pleased. (Let’s put aside the fact that he was an idiot to bring these shoes on Survivor, since they are special alligator-hide shoes that cost $1,600. Somebody who brings something like that to a jungle deserves to face some disappointments in life.)

Another sidebar with Holly, where she admits that she’s “struggling emotionally”. (Ya think?) So she calls a tribe meeting, and fesses to Dan about what she did. She just wants to be honest, and now she’s ready to focus 100% on the game. Loser Jimmy T, because he’s from another planet with too much methane in the atmosphere, says “I accept that.”

Dude, Holly filled Dan’s shoes with sand and sank them in the ocean. That is SO many kinds of not right. And they weren’t your shoes. Shut the hell up.

Back to the La Flor camp, where NaOnka is in a tizzy, thinking somebody “moved her socks“. Because she’s as grounded in reality as Holly and Jimmy T, she decides that it’s perfectly fine if she takes a pair of Fabio’s socks and starts wearing them. Fabio, very confused because he’s dumber than a rock, approaches NaOnka to deal with this, but before he can even say anything, NaOnka goes ballistic and tears into him.

What is WRONG with these people? Did they only recruit at mental hospitals this season? I’m all for equal opportunity, but when did schizophrenia become a requirement to get on Survivor?

Over to Espada again, where Holly wanders up to Jimmy J and asks to talk to him privately. They mosey out to the beach, where Holly fesses that she’ “having a hard time”, and she starts crying. Jimmy tries to be supportive and all, since he’s had experience with football players who take too many drugs and get confused on the field. Holly decides to buck it up and stick around for a while. Then she wanders off to talk to a nearby tree, so I’m thinking rehab might take a while.

Time for the Immunity Challenge.

La Flor comes marching in doing another one of their stupid dances, once again not taking things seriously and firmly convinced that their mere youthfulness will rule the day. At this point, that entire tribe could be swept away by a hurricane and I wouldn’t shed a tear. Can’t stand them.

Anyway, we have a muddy obstacle course that people have to run through, and then attack a pile of hay looking for a ball. Once four balls are found, other tribe members have to bounce the balls along using shields and work them into a barrel. And by the way, offers Jeff, this is also a Reward Challenge. The winner can pick from a tarp/rope combination, or some nice fishing gear. The tribes make appropriate lustful noises.

Jeff also explains that the Golden Medallion thing (currently held by the Espada tribe) is really super special this time. If you use it, one of the four balls is automatically placed in the barrel, thus giving you a great advantage. The Espada tribe takes roughly 1.5 seconds to decide they probably should use it this time. (Of course, it also means that they have to give the Medallion to the other tribe. So one of the Espada peeps carries it over and hands it to NaOnka, who looks horribly offended that someone would expect her to hold something, and she quickly throws it at another tribe member. Hate her.)

And off we go. It’s very close at first, until it’s time for Holly to look for the ball in the haystack. She takes forever, probably because she can’t decide which of her personalities should actually conduct the search. But she eventually finds it, and things progress. During the ball-bouncing part, the Espada tribe catches up to the youngsters and eventually surpasses them, winning Immunity. They decide they want the fishing gear for reward as well.

When the happy Espada tribe marches off to their camp, several of them make little whoops of victory, nothing too extreme. But the teenage La Flora tribe takes offense. Oh, come on. You rugrats marched in here all confident and cocky, doing your Cirque du Soleil tribute, and now you’re going to get an attitude?

Cut to the Espada camp, where everyone is very joyous and celebratory. Even crazy Holly seems to have found a second psychotic wind, and is now ready to conquer the world. As the tribe digs into the fishing gear, they find a clue for a hidden Immunity Idol. (It’s in the same cryptic language that youngsters Kelly B and Alina received in the tree-mail that they didn’t tell anybody about.) The tribe works on the clues together, figuring out most of them, and then everybody scatters to track the Idol down.

Scenes of people running all crazy-eyed and pawing in the sand.

Jill, trotting along on the beach, suddenly has an inspiration and figures out the part of the clue the tribe hadn’t fathomed yet. But instead of running to claim the prize, she goes up to Marty (and Dan, because he’s standing right there) and tells him where to look. This is an interesting move. Why would she willingly give the Idol away?

Marty and Dan race to the area that Jill mentioned, and start digging. They hit the failblog, showing that perhaps they aren’t the best and the brightest. (Well, we already knew this about Dan, because he brought those damn shoes along that cost more than 5 of my car payments.) Jill finally has to waltz into the scene for assistance. She points at a spot on the ground, Marty digs, and finds the Idol. At first, Marty bellows about HIM being safe. Then he glances at Jill, sees her upraised eyebrow, and changes his tune to “WE’RE safe”. (Memo to Jill: You better keep an eye on Marty. I’m thinking he doesn’t really understand the solid you just gave him.)

Back to the La Flor camp, where folks are discussing who should go home. As opposed to last week, when everybody wanted to send Kelly B home so she wouldn’t get the sympathy vote for her leg, Kelly B now seems safe because she kicked ass in the challenge, and nobody can deny that. Most of the clueless kindergartners think NaOnka should go, but then Kelly B hatches a better plan. Let’s send Brenda home. Several heads nod, except for Chase, because he’s kinda tight with Brenda. (In a sidebar: “I’m torn. I have no idea what to do.”)

Next we have NaOnka and Brenda, wallering around in the surf and assuming soft-porn erotic poses. NaOnka: “Let’s get Shannon out. Then Fabio.” Brenda thinks this sounds like a sweet deal, so they plot, thinking they can get Sash, Chase and Purple Kelly to join their cause.

A bit later, Chase comes running up to Brenda and lets her know that half of the tribe has fingered her for eviction. Brenda is clearly startled by this revelation. Brenda: “Who’s behind this?” Chase: “Shannon.” Brenda: “Then let’s take him out.”

This conversation, because nobody in the La Flor tribe seems to have any sense and they don’t take precautions to plot in secret, is overheard by Alina. She immediately runs to tell the Shannon alliance everything, which leads to Shannon in a sidebar: “I don’t know who to trust!” (Good, because I can’t stand you.)

Time for Tribal.

Jeff to Shannon: “Is it difficult being out here?” Shannon starts out benignly, mumbling about it being much more difficult living in the wild than he expected. Then he completely jumps the shark, saying that if Chase “goes with his girlfriend”, then Chase is going home next. This opens up a firestorm of accusations and threats. It gets wild. It’s clear that Shannon does not understand how to play this game, alienating even his own alliance members.

Jeff: In 21 seasons of Survivor, I have never seen an opening question at Tribal “lead to that much whoop-ass.”

Jeff to Brenda, and I quote: “While Shannon loses his mind behind you,” what do you think? Brenda politely tries to remain civil, but Shannon keeps bellowing the entire time.

Jeff to Shannon: Do you not understand that what you’re doing is not the wisest thing to do? (Jeff is clearly over Shannon.)

Shannon suddenly turns on Sash: “Are you gay?”

Every single person in the tribe is mortified by this. Except for Alina. She seems to think it’s perfectly fine to bring orientation into the mix, despite the fact that it has nothing to do with anything. Let’s add her to the “can’t stand” list, shall we?

Sash: What the hell are you talking about? I’m straight.

Shannon: “There’s a lotta gays in New York. Not in Louisiana.”

Jeff is completely fed up: “They’ve got a lot of gays in New York?” THAT’s your strategy?

Then NaOnka pipes up, ripping at Fabio, stating “Fabio, I don’t like you”, and whipping her hair around some more.

This mess is just unbelievable.

Fabio: “Can we just vote?”

Jeff to Kelly B: “Your thoughts on all this?”

Kelly B: We need to work for unity.


Time to Vote. If they don’t send Shannon home, I’m done.

Eventually, Jeff traipses in with the carefully-sequenced votes.

Shannon, Fabio and Alina vote for Brenda.

Everybody else votes for Shannon. He’s gone.

And he stomps out, totally stunned, which pleases me.

Jeff: “It’s very clear that the biggest threat to this tribe is the tribe itself.”


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