Hello, my Survivor friends! It’s finally here…another season of Survivor and to celebrate, I chased a chicken. No, really. I did, and let me just say, I have a new respect for contestants giving chase to feathered fowl. Those suckers are fast! I couldn’t catch it and I don’t know what we would have done with it if I had…chicken nuggets, maybe? Anyway, I’m so excited that they’re bringing back two veteran players again. But since Boston Rob finally pulled out a win, I am a little disappointed we won’t be seeing him. This time around, we get the Dragonslayer with all of his honor and integrity and the Winning Machine. Redemption is the obviously going to be the buzz word of the season. Will either of them get redemption in this game and a shot at the money or will they be targeted for an early oust? Can’t wait to find out…
Clay Aiken 2.0
The players arrive and are divided into tribes when Jeff lays the news on them that the gang is not all there. Cue Ozzy and Coach’s arrival by helicopter. Ozzy’s reputation for winning precedes him and contestants seem excited to see him coming. Coach…not so much.
- Ozzy – recycled contestant from Cook Islands and Micronesia; competition killer, and we won’t mention the sleazy porn incident
- Keith – surfer dude with pretty hair and nice tats, reminds me of Robbie Benson(Shhh…don’t tell anyone I had a Teen Beat poster of him on my closet door when I was like, 12)
- Whitney – Nashville country singer inspired by both Jesus and Elvis. Really, y’all.
- Dawn – the emotional English professor, mom of 6
- Jim – poker playing medical marijuana dispenser with a MBA who lied and said he was a teacher…as long as he doesn’t start growing the wacky tabacky in the jungle, his secret should be safe.
- Semhar – spoken word artist aka poet
- Mark –former NYPD detective aka Papa Bear who has been gay for most of his life
- Elyse – the dancer who admits she isn’t very outdoorsy and hopes the Great Spirits from her Native American ancestry help her out. Um…good luck with that.
- John – It’s Revenge of the Nerds meets Survivor. Lord, help him. With contact lenses and some good hair gel, he’s Clay Aiken.
- Coach – recycled contestant from Tocantins and Heroes vs. Villains; Dragonslayer…need I say more?
- Rick – rancher and resident good ole boy, y’all
- Edna – fragile looking little thing but she really likes Coach
- Sophie – med student with a moustache
- Christine – kinda bitchy, that’s all I can say about her
- Stacey – mortician and mom of 4
- Brandon – Russell’s nephew…compares his uncle to Hitler(Yikes!) but plans to keep that branch of his family tree to himself…let’s see how long he can keep that under wraps
- Albert – quiet athletic guy, hardly knew he was there
- Mikayla – lingerie football player…really? They do that?
Jeff asks Christine what she thinks of the return of Coach and Ozzy to the game. She dismisses them as temporary players. Jeff then calls out John who asks to be called by his last name, Cochran. He feels he fits with players like Donaldson, Penner, and Mariano and notes that Jeff calls them by their last names. So Jeff agrees to call him
AikenCochran. Annoying little twerp has some big shoes to fill. He admits he’s a big fanboy and even has a buff collection at home. Ozzy and Coach are then asked to choose paint eggs that are filled with either red or blue. Ozzy smashes his over his heart and it “bleeds” red, landing him with the Savaii tribe. They’re thrilled to have him, recognizing what a hunting, fishing, winning machine he can be. Coach’s egg is blue and to say Upolu is disappointed to have him is a bit of an understatement.
Ozzy and Coach face off right away in the game’s first challenge. They must climb a pole to retrieve a wooden turtle, dig their way under a log, then transfer a pyramid puzzle across a series of tables by moving only one piece at a time/smaller pieces on top of larger pieces. The first person to transfer their puzzle to the table with the cute little turtle on top wins reward for their tribe. Reward is taro, a root-like vegetable similar to a potato, and flint. Of course, Ozzy scales the pole quickly and grabs his turtle. Coach isn’t far behind, but Ozzy digs his way under the log much faster. The equalizer, however, is the puzzle. It’s tougher than it looks since you can only move one piece at a time and smaller pieces on top of the larger ones. Ozzy asks for help from his tribe and before long, he’s making progress. Upolu is helping Coach but seems to have too many voices calling out different instructions and the guy doesn’t know which way to go. Ozzy nails it, winning reward for his tribe. Jeff says he feels like he needs to congratulate the whole tribe to which Ozzy responds, “Hell yeah, you do!” He gives props to his tribemates and they head off with reward. Coach’s tribe leaves empty-handed and only Edna stays behind to see if he needs any help. This isn’t Coach’s first rodeo…he knows his ass in danger of going home first.
Savaii arrives at their campsite and gets busy kissing Ozzy’s ass. They’re looking to him to tell him what to do. They make introductions and Semhar tells them she’s a poet and performs with spoken word. Mark puts her on the spot asking her to say something and she comes through with a dramatic verse about walking miles and miles on black and white checkered tiles like when Billie Jean was not MJ’s lover…yeah, something like that, only more poetic. Ozzy was muy starstruck and respects her passion. He thinks he could use someone like her alongside him in the game for the long haul. Because all of that passion will um…keep him warm on those long, cold, lonely nights. Ozzy thinks they have the best tribe ever so they shouldn’t break their necks. They should relax a little and go swimming. So, they all strip to their skivvies and hop into the ocean. Cochran is uncomfortable with the idea of stripping down because his skin is translucent and he doesn’t want to look like more of a pathetic twerp. His words, not mine…but I was thinking it. He comments that this is the 90210 tribe and he’s one of the zeroes. Finally, he goes for it, strips down to his boxer briefs, and does his best Bo Derek slow motion beach run into the water. Clay Aiken is somewhere hiding his face in shame.
Over at Upolu’s camp, Coach is afraid because he knows his dragonslaying ass is on the line. He puts a bit of strategy into play, apologizing for losing the challenge and indirectly putting some responsibility on them by pointing out that it was a team effort. Upolu makes their introductions and Sophie is a recent college grad who speaks Russian. Surprisingly, Coach speaks some Russian as well and they have a brief conversation. Sophie wasn’t real impressed but heck, I am. Even if I couldn’t understand a word of it. Now the rancher’s country jargon? That, I comprende. Coach uses his experience and know-how to get a shelter built. Edna likes the tricks and hints that Coach is sharing with the others.
We Don’t Be Needin’ No Shelter, Mon
Coach may be taking charge but Ozzy’s laid back style of leadership is stressing out Dawn, the organized mom of six. She’s worried that they haven’t started working on their shelter yet, but Ozzy is fine with them sleeping on the ground as long as it doesn’t rain. Ozzy is a little too much Bob Marley for her liking. Typical Ozzy, if you ask me. He never was a team player. While working on Upolu’s shelter, Christine says she’s going to look for firewood but Coach realizes she’s actually searching for an immunity idol. Add that to her crack about him being a temporary player and that makes her target #1 in his book. Coach and Mikayla notice Brandon’s “Loco” tattoo on the side of his neck. Mikayla thinks it’s badass but Brandon is ashamed of it and hopes the tribe doesn’t get the wrong impression of him from it. He was once crazy and was on the wrong path but now God is first in his life. Coach asks him if he thinks Mikayla is pretty and he likens her to Delilah. He doesn’t like the way she flaunts her sexuality since he’s a married man who was brought up in church. Didn’t see her throwing herself at Lil God-fearing Hantz, but alrighty then. Sitting out under the stars, Coach wisely plants a seed. He tells the four that he's sitting with that if you have a strong alliance of five going into the merge, you're sitting pretty. Of course, they're all ready to roll with him and just like that, an alliance is born...Coach, Rick, Albert, Brandon, and Sophie.
Back at Savaii, Dawn is having a bad morning. She’s all emotional over who knows what because it’s only been a couple days. If old girl is cracking now, she’ll be a basket case should she happen to make it to say, 39. Papa Bear tries to get her to chill out by reminding her that they’re the oldest and therefore, they will be the first to go. Ozzy then calls himself the “anchor” of the tribe *snicker* and tries to talk her down. Even she comments that the one who breaks down is the first to go. Still, she can’t seem to shut off the waterworks and suck it up. Weak. On Day 3, Semhar teaches the tribe how to brush their teeth with ash.
AikenCochran takes a pass on the ash toothpaste. Finally, I’m with him on something. Ozzy finally figures he better get off his laurels and help build a shelter. While he’s okay with everything as it is, he knows that the stress of camp life is getting to some and will definitely soon get to the others. They get to working on the shelter and work on cutting open coconuts for food/water. The Great Spirits must have had some form of coconuts out on the plains. Or maybe it’s that they were so good with a machete because Elyse is chopping into the coconuts like a pro. Cochran, on the other hand, is a little clumsy at it. Maybe someone should hand him a microphone and see if he can sing. Okay, okay…I’ll stop. Ozzy questions Cochran’s physical abilities and wonders if he can contribute to the tribe in that way. Cochran hopes his charm and good humor will be enough to keep him around. Just might be. For some reason, everyone except Ozzy seems to like him.
Dr. Seuss Never Made Granny Shots
Brandon realizes that his uncle lacked in his social game. He plans to make up for that. He also plans to do something Russell never did…provide food for the tribe. He catches the first fish. It’s a puny little thing, but a fish nonetheless. As long as he doesn’t take his shirt off, he thinks his secret will be safe. Guess he doesn’t think it looks fishy that he’s out there swimming around with his shirt on. Sophie, although she’s in the secret alliance with him, feels like he’s hiding something and doesn’t trust him.
With immunity up for grabs, tribes must race through a zigzag of pathways, then through a web of coconuts, and over a ten foot wall. One tribe member will then dig up a machete and use it to chop through a series of ropes releasing a bin of coconuts. Three tribe members will then shoot coconuts like basketballs into a basket. The first tribe to get enough coconuts into the basket to raise their tribe flag, wins immunity. Losers will go to tribal council and vote someone out. In addition, winners will win one clue to the location of a hidden immunity idol. Also, Upolu will be playing for flint since they do not have fire. Tribes take a minute to strategize on who will do what. Ozzy and Keith both say they will shoot for their tribes and Semhar says she can also shoot. She says she can aim and shoot and also, that basket is so big. Jeff gives the go ahead and both tribes breeze through the first part. Upolu gets through the coconuts and hits the wall first. They have a good system of getting everyone over. Rick…who let me just say is in great shape for an older guy…and Albert get on top of the wall and pull everyone else up. Coach and Brandon are boosting everyone from the bottom. Good teamwork. Rick digs for the machete while Savaii struggles up the wall. By the time Rick finds the machete, Ozzy is close behind him but Rick chops through the ropes “like butter,” Christine says. Brandon, Mikayla, and Albert shoot for Upolu. Ozzy, Keith, and Semhar are going at it for Savaii. Semhar landed maybe two coconuts, I think, in the basket. For all her talk about aiming and shooting, her granny shots were way off the mark. Maybe it was the way her boobs were flapping out smacking her in the face every time she got off a shot. Or maybe the Dr. Seuss tights were making her too hot. She was kinda sweaty. I dunno. Seriously, who dresses these people? I digress. Upolu easily lifts their basket and their flag winning immunity for their tribe. Jeff shows them how close the competition was by barely lifting Savaii’s basket. One more coconut could have done it, he says. Way to twist that knife in, Jeff. But victory for Upolu means Coach can breathe a little easier. For now anyway. Jeff asks Semhar how she feels. She responds that she feels “sorta bad” and Jeff notices that Jim is making faces behind her. He asks what’s up with that and Jim gains a fan in me. How I love a good smartass! He says he feels sorta bad when he runs out of milk….he feels worse than sorta bad. He feels like crap that they lost and have to vote someone out. Jeff sends them back to camp reminding them that someone is outta there at tribal council. Jim is pissed, privately saying there is no reason to keep Semhar. She wanted to shoot for the tribe, only made two baskets, and then wanted a sub. This isn’t tag team wrestling, Jim says. This is Survivor.
Upolu celebrates back at camp but they all eventually break off to look for the hidden immunity idol. Stacey comments that she’s probably stumbled right over it, had it looking right into her face and not even known it. Cue camera to pan right over the idol hidden in a hole in the bottom of tree. Things are way more tense over at Savaii’s camp. Semhar calls out Jim for making faces behind her back. She says she feels terrible but he made her feel more awful. He apologizes if it came across that he was turning on her. So she already performed poorly in the competition and then she causes a scene with Jim. Not smart. Papa Bear tells Dawn that he won’t write her name down. They agree to stick together and that Semhar deserves to go because of her performance and the drama that followed. Ozzy doesn’t think that she should go, however, and tries to sell getting rid of Cochran to Jim, Whitney, and Elyse. Jim questions Ozzy’s motives for wanting to keep Semhar. He even wonders if Ozzy has an alliance with the girls saying it blows his mind that the snuggle factor is part of Ozzy’s million dollar decision. Ozzy gives Smehar a heads up telling her to do some campaigning to stay. She does so and everyone pretty much tells her not to worry. Jim gives Cochran a heads up as well. When he hears that Ozzy is pushing for him to go, he starts freaking out a bit.
At tribal council, Jeff asks Dawn if they’ve talked about Redemption Island. She’s thought a lot about it and lost a lot of confidence. She tells Jeff she cried and blah, blah, blah. Boring. Moving on to Elyse, Jeff asks who she thinks might be worried. She answers Semhar based on the conversation that took place back at camp following the immunity challenge. This leads Jeff to Jim who says he’s a competitor who hates losing. He felt Semhar was confident in her abilities and she wanted to do it. She failed. Whitney says she thought she could do it but Semhar was so outspoken in her abilities that no one else got a chance. Ozzy speaks up saying he would rather play with someone like Semhar who has heart and steps up to try. Dawn thinks Cochran might be another target because of his physical inability. Cochran defends himself with how quickly he flew through the coconuts at the challenge but that lead to Papa Bear chiding him for hesitating when trying to go over the wall. He slowed his tribe down. Cochran wants a chance to defend himself further before the vote so Jeff tells him they’ll wait as long as he wants. He launches into a long-winded campaign of why he should be kept over Semhar. He’s an eager student who is learning and all Semhar does is stand by the pot tending the fire all day. He’ll be their genie in a bottle and they won’t even have to rub. Scary visual, but it made someone happy. Semhar was voted out and sent to Redemption Island. As she walked away, Ozzy said, “I should have taught her how to make a fire.” Shoulda, coulda, woulda, mon. You were busy swimming.
A tribute to Semhar, in spoken word :
Cuz see, you will walk miles and miles
All the way to Redemption Isle
Grapple with the cold hard reality
That it was the drama, trauma you caused
Though you say, hard, you fought
But really, a granny shot?
Doubt was cast, trust was broken
And now? The tribe has spoken.
Next week, Cochran reinvents himself as a working machine since he fails miserable at the physical challenges. Also, Brandon’s secret weighs heavily on him and it draws the attention of the Dragonslayer.