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Hi again. Let me start out this week with a caveat: I’m writing this while doped up on cold medicine. I’ve got a cocktail of vitamin C, leftover Nyquil, Dayquil, and some baby aspirin running through my veins. But I really think that I did not imagine some of the weirdnesses of this week’s show, no matter how confused Nyquil makes me. I’m just putting it out there, though, so in case I recap an entire scene that didn’t actually take place – like Barbra Streisand bursting through the trees, wearing a grass skirt and an ascot and riding a donkey, just as an example – you have my permission to let me know.
Not Making Herself More Likeable
Last week, Raro booted poor Stephannie after she made the colossal mistake of admitting to a craving for mashed potatoes. I mean, I thought everyone who watches Survivor should know that! Not. Anyway, before she went, the tribe managed to piss off Cristina by telling Jeff that actually, no one likes Cristina and she’s a bossy britches.
We rejoin the tribe later that night, and of course Cristina is less than thrilled with how tribal council went. There’s a lot of tension, she says they’ve been rude to her and she’d been wondering why. Adam says she’s just annoying. Brad says privately that he thinks calling Cristina annoying to her face is a low blow, and that Cristina is used to being in control because she’s a cop, and not used to people telling her what to do. Say it with me, people – “this is why she was cast.” Duh.
Cristina says she never thought this was what the tribe thought of her. But she survived other things in her life, like being shot, and she’ll survive this. Yeah, because having a bullet tear into your body is anything like dealing with bitchy tribe mates. But hey, whatever.
At Aitu the next morning, Ozzy and Jonathan are fishing. Well, Ozzy is fishing, and Jonathan is holding the boat and accepting the fish. Ozzy says he has his own fishing spot, complete with “special holes” in a coral reef, and he always finds lots of fish there. Jonathan notes that Ozzy can hold his breath for ages, but Jonathan is worried long-term. “We need his strength as a group to go forward,” Jonathan says, but as an individual, Ozzy is a threat, and if the merge happens, Jonathan does not want Ozzy there, because he’s a strong player. Makes sense to me.
I’ll Let Go Of This Pole When You Pry It From My Cold, Dead Hands
It’s challenge time, and everyone assumes it’s your average reward challenge. Cao Boi, however, wants to take the immunity idol with him to the challenge. Even though there’s no need for it whatsoever. He explains that to him, the idol is like a god, another member of their tribe, and he just wants to take it. Jonathan – shrinking violet that he is – speaks up against this idea. He thinks taking the immunity idol is like sticking it in the other tribe’s face. Jonathan says he respects Cao Boi’s opinion but that they’re a team, and it should be a team decision. Cao Boi pissily says that Jonathan can have it his way. Jonathan says privately that Cao Boi is getting on people’s nerves, but that no one else spoke up against him.
At any rate, having that idol isn’t going to matter, as Jeff announces when both tribes arrive at the challenge. It’s a double elimination this week, and both tribes will send one member home. The reward will be a feast of lamb, bread and cider, and the winning tribe will eat it after their tribal council, while watching the loser’s tribal council.
The challenge is this – three members of each tribe wrap themselves around poles. The rest of the tribe forms two-person teams to drag those people off their poles and onto a mat. First to get all three people to the mat wins. The people on the poles are Candice, Ozzy, Sundra, Cristina, Nate and Jenny. Cao Boi sits the challenge out.
It turns out that this challenge is extremely physical. The pole people do not let go easily, and there is a lot of pulling, scratching, and wrestling. It takes forever for them to get Candice off her pole; later, Cristina and Jessica are warned not to choke each other, they’re fighting so hard. But eventually, Aitu wins – again, and Jeff promises one more surprise at tonight’s tribal council before sending everyone back.
The Power of Hoodoo. Hoodoo? You Do. Do What?
Back at camp, Aitu is proud of themselves. “I’ve never wrestled a cop before,” Jessica says, adding that Cristina pulled her hair. I’d have loved to see these two on the same tribe, by the way – they seemed to have formed a serious hatred for each other.
Now, here’s the part that’s nuttier than even anything my Nyquil can dish out. Cao Boi takes Yul aside and tells him he had a dream. In it, supernatural people were in a village, and yanking people away and they vanished in the air. A shaman-type woman asked for his credit cards, and told him he needed three of each. Cao Boi woke up and decided this was a metaphor for a strategy – he can flush out that hidden immunity idol, which he thinks Jonathan has, by getting three people to vote for Jonathan and three for Candice. That way, if Jonathan has the idol, he’ll have to use it, and if he doesn’t, they still get rid of one of those two people.
Yul dubs it “Operation Voodoo” and says it’s actually an ingenious idea. Even though he knows Jonathan doesn’t have the idol, because he has it himself. But it would break up the white alliance.
Back at Raro, Nate says losing the feast and a member is a double-whammy. But, he’s determined they’ll eat well regardless, and catches yet another octopus.
Cristina says she realizes she’s probably the next person out, and goes to Brad and Parvati to ask for a second chance. Brad says no problem, Parvati claims she hasn’t even thought about who to vote for. Cristina says her performance in the challenge might help her, but she’s still trying to work it; she goes to Adam, apologizes for their clashes in the past, and asks for a second chance as well. Adam says she’s scrambling, and while he says something noncommittal to her, he doesn’t seem inclined to keep her around. He tells Jenny not to worry, that they’re sticking to the game plan.
Cristina approaches Nate, too, who says she did give her all. He seems inclined to let her stay. Nate says Cristina would be totally loyal if they save her now, whereas he doesn’t trust Jenny, who he thinks would realign with her original Asian teammates.
At Aitu, Operation Voodoo is under discussion. Yul and Jonathan are talking, and presumably Yul isn’t telling him Cal Boi’s plan, but Jonathan does say he is less worried about making enemies than Yul is. Jonathan wants Cao Boi out. “He’s a bit of a wild card, and it’s time to vote him off,” he says.
Cao Boi, meanwhile, is spreading Operation Voodoo to the others. Sundra says she’s suspicious of Jonathan, and Becky, too, tells Yul the girls don’t trust Jonathan. Yul says it’s starting to rub off on him, if everyone else seems to get a sneaky vibe off the guy.
Ozzy says there’s a lot of chaos, people aren’t sure who they’re voting for, and he’s playing it by ear. Yul says he wants to play honestly, but everyone seems to trust him and think he’s in their alliance, and he can’t vote with everyone. Cao Boi reassures Jessica that they’re going to be ok, and says he trusts Becky and Yul. And, Jonathan says he’ll be shocked if he’s voted out.
My Kingdom For a Lamb Chop
So with all that in mind, let’s move to tribal council. Cao Boi brings the immunity idol with him, which seems to baffle Jeff. “I haven’t asked for it back. What are you going to do with it?” Ozzy explains Cao Boi’s thinking, and says perhaps the differences over whether that’s a good idea symbolize the differences within the tribe.
Yul describes Cao Boi as a shaman/cheerleader/fire tender, but says he doesn’t really understand him. Cao Boi says he’s usually either hated or loved, but that eventually people usually realize he means well.
Asked whether the tribe has any leaders, people say that Cao Boi and Jonathan are the most vocal. Jonathan says it’s not his fault, he doesn’t assume that role. “I certainly don’t patronize these people, or talk down to them,” he says. I’m sure “these people” are thrilled to hear it.
Asked how he’s deciding his vote, Cao Boi launches into another spiel that has me checking my Nyquil label for “hallucinatory properties.” He says he’s looking down the road, and this is like a chess game, and he wants to expose the queen. Jeff is confused, but asks if this means Cao Boi is trying to flush out the hidden immunity idol. Cao Boi says yes. Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just … say so in the first place?
Anyway, it’s voting time. Jonathan votes for Cao Boi. Jessica votes for Jonathan, saying she lost trust in him. Cao Boi votes for Candice, as part of Operation Voodoo. And everyone else … votes for Cao Boi. He’s out. He sets down the idol, salutes Jeff, and goes off. In his parting words later, Cao Boi says he had a great time, but he should have known not to trust his fellow Asians.
Everyone else moves over to the jury box and tucks into their lamb/bread/cider feast while Raro files in. Candice winks at her old teammates as she chows down. Drool forms on some people’s mouths – over the food, not Candice. I don’t think. After all, Billy’s not here anymore -- but when asked, Adam denies lusting after the feast and claims he doesn’t like lamb so he’s fine.
Jeff says Raro has lost three challenges, and Adam admits that’s very frustrating. Brad says Aitu might have a stronger team pound-for-pound, but it’s important to look at the big picture. I don’t know what big picture he sees – the one I’m watching has Raro losing every challenge. Brad also says he felt bad for Cristina the night before, and that some things are better left unsaid.
Jenny says she can see how Cristina was offended. But Adam is unapologetic. “Her personality just clashes with ours,” he says, adding that it’s not Cristina’s fault.
Nate rambles for a bit about being the “fourth quarter crew” who come from behind, and then Jeff announces the twist – Aitu will “kidnap” one member of the Raro tribe. That member will get the lamb feast, will be immune from tonight’s vote (but can’t vote), and will stay with Aitu through the next challenge.
Aitu takes Nate. I don’t know whether they’re doing him a favor or not – I could easily see Adam organizing an insurrection to get Nate out while he’s gone. But anyway, Nate gets a plate of food and his tribe mates start voting. Aitu is sent away, however, before the results are read.
Adam votes for Cristina, saying she’s nice but the tribe is stronger without her. Jenny gets two votes, and Cristina gets four. She’s gone, and says in her confessional later that she feels like she was taken advantage of, and while she met some good people, some others were awful.
Nate’s presence stresses Aitu out, since they don’t want to talk strategy around him. Ozzy catches more fish, and – against a backdrop of Exile Island and lightning in the sky, the voiceover says “one exiled survivor takes a beating.” So, um, I guess it storms, and stuff.