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–Who knew? Sprint named its new 4G phone after Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I hope Rachel Ray takes them to court.
–Who knew? The Vogelchecks on Saturday Night Live were inspired by Dan and his slobbery son.
–Who knew? You can be thicker than a plank and still attend the University of North Carolina. Not looking for Chase’s name when the list of “Top Tar-Heels of 2010” gets published.
–Who knew? Drowning shoes is a crime in North Carolina.
SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS A SPRINT CELL PHONE CAN BRING YOU JOY––Chase, on cue.
Last week, Benry was thrown overboard. He does not seem to be much missed. Sash makes a feeble attempt to divert Fabio’s attention away from himself and onto Benry, all the while plotting, “As long as Fabio doesn’t win the immunity challenge, he’ll be the next to go. Fabio isn’t deceived. Privately, he reveals, “I’m on high alert right now. They kinda underestimate me.” He foretells the surprise to come and what the others will be saying, “I didn’t know Fabio was that smart.” He makes a face, “DUH.”
Tree mail has arrived. It’s a Sprint EVO phone. Oh, hallelujah! I was so afraid we weren’t getting a Sprint Infomercial/Family Visit Episode this season. I should have had more faith. About this family visit: ever wondered exactly when those family members are flown in? As soon as jury level is reached? Does a member of every contestant’s family get brought to location, just in case?
Let me give a shout-out here to the CBS interns who had to fly all over the country with their Sprint phones making twenty-second videos and instant message back and forth to get them all on one phone, ready to be delivered to overjoyed castaways. Highlights of the vids from home:
•Dan’s sons telling him, “People haven’t ever gone as long in their life without being yelled at by you.”
•Fabio’s gorgeous mom calling him –Juddy
•Jane’s daughter unable to come up with anything better than, “Hope you enjoy the crazy rice you’re eatin’.”
I’M SO TOUCHED BY ALL THIS AFFECTION––Jeff Probst
By now, you’ve probably guessed that the reward challenge will provide the opportunity for the six remaining players to spend a little–or a lot if they win the challenge–time with a blood relation. Remember when the only “significant other” Coach could produce was his assistant-coach? Jeff promises that the winner today will be taking a river-cruise, and enjoying food, champagne, beer and chips while in the company of their loved one.
Amid smiles, copious tears and repeated declarations of “I love you,” the folks from home are introduced:
•Chase’s mom Connie.
•Fabio’s mom Ann. When Jeff informs her that her son has a new nickname, Fabio, she isn’t surprised, revealing, “They used to call him ‘Jud the Stud.’”
•Sash’s mom Leigh. He trots out the tired old apophthegm, “Growing up we didn’t have much money, but we had a lot of love.”
•Dan’s son Matthew. Dan actually manages to trot a couple of steps to fall into his son’s embrace. Son slobbers all over dad, planting dozens of kisses on his head, and rubbing his hand over dad’s chest and forearm. Probst is “touched.” I’m grossed-out.
•Jane’s daughter Ashley. Jeff asks how she thinks her mom looks. Ashley isn’t complimentary, “Skinny as hell.”
•Jeffy gets all cute and pretends there is no one else and that Holly will be left out. Quickly, though, he relents and brings out Holly’s hubby, Charlie. Holly confides that she missed their 25th wedding anniversary to be here.
As is the custom on these occasions, the survivors and their loved ones will have to team up for the challenge. The survivors race out and up a plank to dive into the slime-farm, er, emerald green bathing pool, retrieve a couple of bags of puzzle pieces and return them to a table where their family member must unscramble to spell out the puzzle.
Poor Dan, he’s still hobbling over to the pool by the time all the others have retrieved their puzzle pieces. He should have just opted to sit and let Matthew smother him with some more kisses. No way did they have a shot of winning this thing.
As the puzzles are being unscrambled, Holly’s husband Charlie, exhibiting exemplary enthusiasm for the competition, makes a big boo-boo when he excitedly screams out that “family” has to be one of the words. Chase’s mom is the first to figure out “Family Comes First,” and for the second consecutive week, Chase will be forced to choose which of his compatriots will share his reward. Earlier, back at camp, Chase has solemnly promised Fabio that should he win again, he’d be bringing along both Fabio and Sash, “the younger guys.”
Jeff instructs Chase to select one person. He chooses Sash, because, he explains, Sash hasn’t been on any rewards recently. When Jeff gives him one more pick, Chase asks with dismay, “What happens to the rest?” Jeff cheerfully replies, “They’ll be taken out and executed.” After hemming and hawing, Chase adds Holly to the afternoon party. Fabio is distraught. Tearing up, and quite obviously feeling betrayed, he chides Chase, “You know how much my mom means to me. If I’d won, I’d have taken you. You know I would.” Has Chase just committed the Survivor equivalent of Hari-Kari?
Dan is furious at being excluded, “He’s a scumbag.” Matthew tries to shush his papa, “Don’t worry about it.”
Fabio’s mom hastens to reassure him, “We’ll have tons of time together when you get home.”
CRUISIN’ AND BRUISIN’
As to the reward itself, I’m deliberately giving it short shrift. Why should I promote the Sprint EVO for free? And if I may, a word to our Emmy-winning host: Aren’t you embarrassed to be constantly shilling for some sponsor? Sometimes I have to look at TVGuide to figure out if I’m watching Survivor or “The Price is Right.”
On the trip Chase finds a hidden immunity idol clue, but dismisses it as useless. He and Sash are already equipped with those, thank-you-very-much. Holly, Sash and Chase declare themselves shoo-ins for the Final Three.
The left-behinds return to camp grumbling about Chase’s perfidy. Dan is disgusted, “How many times does he have to suck up to Holly? It means he’s done with us in the game. We’ve outlived our usefulness.” Fabio is genuinely hurt, and feels betrayed. He’s confided in Chase how much his mom means to him, “He straight-up lied to me.” Jane thinks the fact that she chose to spend her summer playing Survivor rather than back home with her college-bound daughter should have entitled her to the reward. About Chase she says, “This was a million-dollar decision he made today.
Chase anticipates what faces him at day’s end, “Damn, I gotta go back to camp and face wrath.” He isn’t wrong. As the lucky ones return to camp late at night, Fabio sarcastically asks Chase, “How was it? Was it great?” Chase begins to wax rhapsodic about the “greatness” of the day. Fabio interrupts, “It was a rhetorical question.”
Aha! Now we know that Fabio knows about rhetorical questions. Can it be that Fabio is not such a dumkopf after all? It’s beginning to seem he knows exactly what he’s doing. To the camera the next day, he’s very philosophic, “You can’t hold grudges out here, be super ticked off. I guess the best thing I can do is try and win immunity.”
And that’s just what Fabio does: go out and win immunity! The challenge is a blindfolded one, where the survivors have to find their way over and under a series of rails, try to identify by touch eight symbols placed on a shield, grab a bag of shapes identical to the symbols, make their way back, and from memory place the pieces on a blank shield exactly as they are in the exemplar. With Sash hot on his heels, Fabio has to make one last-minute switch of pieces, but gets the victory. By the end of the challenge, Dan, to no one’s surprise, is still wandering in the wilderness. The fact that he remains on-island after 36 days is proof that in this game it pays to “lay low, say nuttin’” –and vote as you’re told.
LIARS, CHEATS, BACKSTABBERS
No sooner have the six survivors returned to camp than Dan announces, with great agony, “I’m exhausted.” I don’t think we need a news bulletin to alert us to the fact that Dan is tired. He’s been that way since the plane landed. Voting him out would be tantamount to a mercy killing.
Chase is thinking the same thing. He tells Fabio, “Dan’s about done. He’s done.” Fabio agrees, but he’s smarter than Chase, “Why don’t we vote Jane out tonight and Dan tomorrow.” Chase wants Jane to stay. Fabio entreats, “Think, man.” By now Sash has joined the confab, “If she makes it through, none of us gets the million dollars.” Chase continues to whine, “I wanna keep Jane around and beat her at the Final Four.”
Now it’s Holly, Sash and Chase discussing Jane’s imminent demise. Like a corpse materializing out of the ether, she walks up to them and demands, “Is it me?” Chase, looking completely sheepish, admits, “That’s what we discussed.” Holly mumbles, “This is not easy.” Chase protests, “It’s already been decided. You know I don’t want to do it.”
Jane is furious, “Y’all been conniving this the whole time.”
Sash tries to soften the blow, “The truth is the three of us think you can beat all of us for the million dollars.”
By way of reply, Jane gives them the finger and walks off. She’s about ready to explode, “They’re obviously flippers; they’re liars, they’re cheats, they’re backstabbers. I’m most disappointed in my homeboy Chase. If I was Chase I wouldn’t even show my ass in North Carolina.”
And she doesn’t have a high opinion of Sash, either: “Sash’s Momma, she raised a damn liar. I got a little bit of thankin’ (thinking?) to do before tribal council. The rabid Jane will break out tonight.”
Most of the remaining tribe members are gathered at the campfire. Their faces register complete shock as Jane appears with a bucket of water and viciously tosses it on the flames. “By God I started it,” she spits, “and I’ll put it out.” Obviously determined to leave not so much as a glowing ember, she returns with a second bucketful and repeats her action.
GOIN’ TO THE DOGS
Tribal council assembles. Jeff announces the jury members, omitting the disapprobation due NaOnka and Kelly Purple for having quit. How quickly they seem to have been forgiven by our Host.
Jeff has to work hard to elicit any sort of discussion. He finally gets Dan to tattle about Jane killing the fire. (Dan would be the one most concerned about that; he spends all his time lazing around it.) Oh, well now, Jeff observes, “That’s sort of a philosophical statement.”
That’s all Jane needs to launch her tirade. She accuses Holly, “You call yourself a mentor, then you steal fourteen hunnerd dollars worth of property. Where I come from you go to jail for that.” Dan nods sadly in agreement.
Chase, as usual, starts talking when he should be quiet. “Jane was in a four-way alliance. This afternoon, we decided it’s in our best interest to vote out Jane.”
That’s just the opening Jeff had hoped for, “So who’s next to go?”
Chase thrashes around for an answer, “Uh, I’d say whoever doesn’t win immunity. It’s Fabio or Dan.” Realizing that he’s surrounded by incriminating silence, he begs Holly and Sash to agree with him. Reluctantly, they assent.
Jane cackles, “It’s the writing on the wall, Fabio!”
Jeff, who as a rule doesn’t get involved in strategy, tries to talk Fabio and Dan into voting with Jane to create a new alliance. Holly would be the target of that: both Chase and Sash have hidden immunity idols. Chase is wearing his around his neck, and when questioned, Sash admits he has one in his bag. I don’t know why he’s being so secretive; it’s not as if everyone didn’t know he’d conned it out of Marty ages ago.
Oh, and about those idols, Jeff casually throws out, “Tonight’s the last time they can be used.”
Chase is having a hard time following all the developments. Jeff observes, not too kindly, “Chase, the look on your face is utter confusion.”
After all this, there’s nothing left to do but vote. When they’re counted, Jane is headed back to the hills of North Carolina to sleep with her dogs. Turns out Jeff’s helpful suggestion is ignored by both Fabio and Dan, whose vote goes to Jane along with those of the Triumvirate of Holly, Chase and Sash.
Jane is so angry with Sash she casts her vote for him, even though he’s immune. Her parting remarks are nothing if not bitter, “You find out people’s true colors out here. Sash is a big-ass liar.”
I’m a bit puzzled as to why everyone seems absolutely convinced that if she’d made it to the finals, Jane would have won the million. She must have one helluva sob story to fall back on, because from what we’ve been shown, she’s a vindictive, unforgiving, and thoroughly unpleasant woman.
Jeff sends the last five survivors back to Libertad camp for their remaining three days, “based on everything said tonight, it should be the craziest three days in the game.”
Don’t forget, this Sunday night will bring us the final episode of this interminably long season. The previews claim, “only one thing is sure, every one is a threat.” Even Dan? If that happens, I’ll stab myself in the heart with a pickle-fork.
**Yes, the spelling of firecide in the title is deliberate. At this time, whether or not that is a crime deserving jail time is under debate by the Supreme Court of North Carolina.