Thursday, December 16, 2010

Searching For Signal: #183 - “Survivor: Nicaragua” - Episode 14

We start out with the traditional march back to camp after they’ve voted someone out (Benry), with folks stumbling along in the dark and looking like confused aliens. Sash pulls Fabio aside and tells him they sent Benry home because Benry was targeting Fabio. It’s all good. Fabio doesn’t care, as long as it wasn’t him or whatever his real name is.

We’re only two minutes into the episode before Sash can’t help but stroke his ego in a sidebar, going off about how he’s in control of this game. (Never mind that he’s thin enough to be used as wallpaper.) And by the way, Fabio’s going home next time. Now, could you carry me back to camp? Because I don’t have any muscles left in my body.

Fabio in a sidebar: “I think they believe that I’m more gullible and naïve than I am.” (Dude, they don’t think it, they know it.) He thinks it would be really funny to make the other folks go “What? I didn’t know Fabio was that smart.”

This is not going to happen in our life time.

Roll opening credits.

Folks get tree mail, and this is the one where they get a Sprint cell phone with snippets of family members wishing they were back home. (Wouldn’t it be fun, for once, for some disgruntled relative to say: “Would you mind staying on the island for a while? Our lives have been so much better. We’ll send your clothes.”) This means that everybody is going to cry when they see their particular significant others.

Everybody cries. (Side note: How did Danny manage to produce such attractive boys?) This is actually one of my favorite parts, but I can’t really make fun of it without people coming after me with pitchforks and burning torches, so we’ll just skip ahead, shall we?

Chase and Fabio, discussing the upcoming reward where the winners will get to go do something fun with their clean relatives. They both promise that the two of them and Sash should all go on the reward together, if one of them wins. Then a coconut rolls by and the conversation ends, because they can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. (Sounds of Jane giggling and then running back into the forest.)

Time for the Reward Challenge.

Jeff does some more shilling for the Sprint Evo phone, then explains that the winner will get to eat food and float down the coast of Nicaragua. Along with one of their loved ones. (Cue everybody bursting into tears again.) Bring ‘em out! So here we go with the emotional mini-reunions, with waterworks flowing, tight hugs, and the city folk thanking God that Survivor is not presented in Smell-a-Vision. (And it is extremely touching when Danny’s son keeps smooching him on the head.)

Several gallons of smeared mascara later, Jeff explains the challenge. The Survivors have to run across this little bridge thing, dive in some water, retrieve some puzzle pieces and bring them back to their relative, who have to spell out a phrase. (Danny will not be winning this, sayin.) In the end, Chase and his mom triumph.

Jeff tells Chase to pick one survivor to go with him. (Chase, and everybody: “Just one?” Because we know they always get to pick two. What up?) Chase picks Sash, which is fair, since Sash hasn’t been in quite some time. Then Jeff lets Chase pick another, setting up the drama. Chase picks Holly. (That sound you hear is Jane’s and Fabio’s last nerve snapping.)

Chase to Jeff: “What happens to the rest of them?” Jeff: “They will be taken and executed.” (Okay, Jeff needs to be funny more of the time.) Then Jeff goes for more drama: “Fabio, you seem upset.” (If, by “upset”, Jeff means sobbing hysterically at not getting to go, then yes, Fabs is a bit distraught.) Fabio calls out Chase for going back on his promise. Chase basically takes it, nervously picking at his baby beard. Then Jeff tells the losers to say bye-bye to their loved ones, so there’s some more ruined mascara. Then he waves the Sprint Evo around for a bit before handing it to Chase.

Cut back to camp, where Fabio, Dan and Jane go on a hate fest. They are none too pleased with Chase at the moment. Dan: “He’s done with us.” Fabio: “Even today we talked about him taking me.” Jane: [Snippet deleted by Bonnywood Manor censors] They are all convinced that Chase has just lost the money in the end.

Cut to the winners arriving at the riverside feast, where things are a bit happier. (Chase makes sure to capture the goings on with the Sprint Evo phone, just in case you didn’t realize he had one.) Then Chase, Holly and Sash decide that they are going to be the final three. (The relatives politely hover in the background. We don’t know how much they might have known when this episode was filmed, but we do know that surely there’s a Survivor assistant hiding in the river, ready to drown one of the relatives if they start to pipe up with some intel.)

Another side note: Chase’s mom is the first to break out the supplied champagne. This is important information to have should you somehow get invited to the Finale wrap party and need a drink.

Back to camp once more, where the losers are already sleeping when the winners come waltzing back home. As expected, there is a tense discussion between Fabio and Chase. Chase tries to be nice, but the writing is on the wall about Fabio being on the outs. Too bad that Fabio can’t actually read the words.

Time for the Immunity Challenge.

Jeff explains: They will be blindfolded, attached to a line, have to crawl over and under some sawhorse things, fondle a shield with some raised metalwork, grab bags of pieces, crawl back, then open the bags and put the pieces in the right place on a new shield. (Once again, there’s no chance of Danny winning. He’s barely moved an inch when the others are already at the other end, feeling and grabbing. Jane makes it back first, but it comes down to Fabio and Chase. Fabio wins Immunity. (Jane immediately whips off her blindfold and kills an entire flock of sheep with one withering glance.)

We cut back to camp, with Danny leading the way as the tribe staggers home. (Which will be the only time that Danny is first in anything.) Everyone congratulates Fabio, but you know they don’t mean it. (Sash in a sidebar: Fabio winning is the only thing that could have screwed things up today.) Danny lets everyone know that he’s completely exhausted. (Why? When has he done anything?) No one cares.

Well, maybe Chase does. He waits a bit then tells Fabio that “Dan’s done” and he should go. Fabio thinks Jane should go. Chase runs to Sash to share what Fabio is thinking. Chase pushes for sending Dan home, but Sash is on board with the Jane thing as well. Chase is apparently fighting a losing battle. To confirm things, Holly comes waltzing up with news that Dan and Fabio want Jane to walk through the creepy cemetery.

Lo and behold, here comes Jane. She tries to dig, and based on the trio’s hesitation and waffling, Jane immediately knows the score. She forces them to spill. Sash: “The truth is, we think you can beat us in the end.” Jane flips him off. (Love her.) Then she stomps away and has a small breakdown in a sidebar, hating on everybody, especially Chase: “If I was Chase, I wouldn’t show my ass back in Carolina.”

And it goes downhill from there.

Jane goes on a rampage, hissing at everybody and cussing their mommas. At one point, she takes a bucket of water and pours it over the fire. She makes sure of the damage by dumping another bucket on the wet ashes. “By God, I started it. I’ll put it out.” Which is true, she was the one who got the fire started in the first place. Holy cow. (And still love her. Me thinks Jane will and should get at least the fan favorite money in the end. Just sayin.)

Time for Tribal.

Jeff to Dan: “Crazy afternoon?” Dan: He starts to spill about Jane, then holds his tongue. Jeff prods him until he spills about the fire thing. Jane: “Can I have my say?” And off she goes, not holding back and trashing everybody, much to the delight of the giggling but mostly silent jury. And she hits all the right points, country or not. She babbles about the alliance, that Dan and Fabio were supposed to be next, and “that’s how Benry got voted off”. (Shot of Benry seeing the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.)

Jeff: “Let me ask the alliance in charge.” (Chase, Holly, Sash.) “If you vote out Jane, who’s next?” Chase: “Whoever doesn’t win Immunity.” Jeff: “So it’s Fabio or Dan?” Chase takes the plunge, asking Holly and Sash: “Would you guys agree with that?” They squirm, but they eventually do. Bold move.

Shots of the jury members nearly wetting themselves over all this action.

Jeff pushes hard for Fabio and Dan to pay attention to this. Why don’t you and Jane form your own alliance? Jeff to Jane: “What do you suggest to do right now?” Jane: “Us three vote Holly out. Chase and Sash have an Idol.”

There it is, right there, folks. Here’s your open chance to upset the apple cart. Will Fabio and Dan take it? Jeff keeps pushing them. (Personally, I think he’s still just as sweet on Jane as the rest of us. He wants her to stay. Fair or not, he does everything he can to convince Dan and Fabio.)

Time to Vote.

Jeff comes back with the tally? Anybody wanna play a Hidden Immunity Idol? Chase and Sash nearly knock each other over trying to hand over their little stick dolls. (It’s the last night they can use them, why the hell not?) Votes cast for Chase, Sash and Fabio will not count. Jeff opens the little wooden crockpot.

It’s Jane. Meaning Dan and Fabio completely deserve to go home next for not even trying to change it up, knowing full well that they are next. To her credit, Jane doesn’t kill anybody on her way out. (“Ya’ll have fun!”) Jeff, holding back his irritation, sends folks back to camp.

In the closing credits we see that Jane’s lone dissenting vote was cast for Sash. Sash? So even if Dan and Fabio had flipped, it wouldn’t have mattered. Was Jane, knowing that she was going home anyway, giving the finger to Sash and still looking out for her ex-buddy Chase by not casting a vote against him, or did she hit her head on the way to the voting booth?


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