Cast your minds back four Survivor seasons.
Imagine yourselves in hot dusty Africa, a lion roaring just feet from the perimeter of your Boma.
Whispering in corners and crisis meetings ensue as Lex goes on a mission to discover the origin of the mystery vote thrown his way at the last Tribal Council.
No such subtleties at Drake beach, as Rupert arches his back and bellows “who voted for me…….Jon?”
He clearly already knows the answer to the question.
To his credit, Jon stands his ground against the advancing Rupert.
Rupert is an inch away from Jon, demanding he look at him, forcing him to explain why he voted against him.
He cites his reasons for writing Rupert’s name on his parchment and when Rupert asks who conjured up the plan, his admission that it was Trish is a factual statement rather than just an attempt to shift the blame.
Jon was concerned that Rupert might defect to Morgan post merge.
Rupert counter with “if that was the case, why wouldn’t I just have stayed with Morgan when I had the chance?
Jon nods, conceding that it’s a solid argument, which it isn’t.
Rupe, you had no option to stay at Morgan permanently.
You just went back to Drake a day early and gave up the chance of having a shower, on the beach, in full view of everyone.
It all ends in hugs, but Rupert is still left with the opinion that he should not be voted against due to his fish catching prowess.
We start the day over on Morgan beach.
The wind is starting to whip around their camp and Rhino assesses the conditions too poor to attempt to fish.
Savage confesses that he thinks their general lethargy is due to lack of protein. To underscore his argument, he mentions that when Rupert was there and he was catching fish they had a lot more energy.
They need to remedy this situation, they could either, a) go and catch some fish themselves b) get Rupert back on their tribe or c) merge and eat the fish Rupert catches for their new tribe.
Andrew’s demeanor suggests a) is a ludicrous suggestion, what with them being so lethargic from not having any protein b) is unlikely to happen so all hopes are pinned on c).
They take a slow stroll along the beach, that being a far better vantage point to see a boat coming, just in case the producers have written b) into the script.
Savage alerts Rhino to the presence of a disoriented stingray.
Stingray = protein.
Rhino gently grazes its skin with his fishing spear before running round after it in a big circle and watching it swim out to sea.
In the obvious absence of anything better, the Morgan’s settle down for a meal of beans.
You can package many varieties in the same ban of brine if you wish, but beans is beans.
It’s been a few episodes since Osten has “mentally checked out of the game”.
With the protein situation being as it is at Morgan, now seems as good a time as any for him to have his mind go walkabout again.
Hopefully he’ll be ready for the challenge when it comes.
[sarcasm] We know how valuable he’s been in the past.[/sarcasm]
Back to the Drake camp, in time to see the entire tribe going on a little excursion to collect the tree mail.
Shawn and Jon are in position at the front of the formation, from where Shawn informs us he’s “godda hunch”. Apparently, he’s not the only one. JFP believes this will be the biggest tree mail they have ever received. He doesn’t specify whether he means big as in important, just so he can take the credit should the mail be a mile long and weight 250 pounds.
Of course, with ten players remaining in the game, the traditional merge point is upon the tribes and while the rest of the Drakes apparently relish the prospect, Rupert is not so keen. He finishes his “I don’t want to merge, my team is strong” confessional by slapping the right side of his back with his left hand. There is either a bug on him or he’s trying to psyche himself up.
Shawn reaches the tree mail casket and waits for the others to catch up before opening it.
He holds up a large iron ring, strung with multiple keys.
Unable to see any connection to a merge, Sandra quickly voices her opinion that there will be one more challenge. Rupert cannot hold his tongue any longer, blurting out that he’d “take a challenge in a minute”. When Shawn delves back into the casket and removes a relatively small piece of parchment bearing the poem, Jon leaks out an embarrassed giggle as he points out that by “big” he obviously meant as in “having a big impact” rather than simply being large.
Taking the big ring of keys as his cue, Shawn suggests they’ll be locked together. His sentence trails off before he expands on how he feels the challenge will progress.
Rupert takes the clue and rereads the last line, searching for the meaning within, while the rest of the tribe file back to camp, their minds focusing on coconut “popcorn”.
“It’s made of coconut, but tastes like popcorn”, marvels Sandra.
The mouths of the remaining Drake’s are slavering in anticipation as Shawn decides there is not enough time to open, chop, dice and fry the coconut. This of course results in a fracas with Fairplay, who is in the process of chopping the coconut. Shawn insists upon a compromise, one half of the coconut can be eaten as is, the other toasted.
He starts to make his way to the rest of the group with half he has decided they will feast on “neat”. JFP is unimpressed and shoots him a snotty toned “they don’t want it like that” in response to the plan.
The argument soon ratchets into full swing, Jon’s voice becomes ever higher, his perm ever tighter with each exchange. Desperate for a day without a Jonny tantrum, Shawn gives in and places the rest of the coconut on Jon’s chopping board. Jon’s pleasure at being in possession of the entire nut, is tempered by his annoyance that Shawn is showing no interest in any stage of the popcorn creation process.
He uses the universal law of majority rule to shore up his argument with Shawn. Four out of five people want popcorn. Jon does not appear to have any problem with Christa and Sandra wandering aimlessly about their little battle vignette, but is more than willing to take issue with the fact the one dissenter in the group has not taken up a machete in pursuit of uniform coconut niblets. Sensing he could be on the brink of tears, Shawn sticks the boot in with a well aimed “you’re not gonna cry are yah?” Jon’s response contains the twin “staples” of “Dude” and “asshole”. Shawn’s “excuse me?” skillfully buys himself a little extra time to come up with a killer response. When Jon repeats the former insult, Shawn suggests the two of them might want to “go and take care of it” at which point I really hope he means by having a fight.
I’ve clearly displayed my perv tendencies, as Jon instantly knows Shawn has delivered an invitation to a rumble. He R.S.V.P’s immediately, accusing Shawn of being a Neanderthal and as most male posturing tends to, the argument fizzles out before a fist is swung.
Thankfully we head off to challenge beach.
The tribes either don’t notice there is a third cage structure in addition to the two we would expect to see at a challenge, or they have convinced themselves anew that it’s merge time.
Of course, if they were about to merge there would be an individual challenge so wouldn’t they all have their own cage?
They appear not to even be contemplating the third cage as Jiff launches into his challenge pre-amble.
He lists their adversities one at a time, assigning each to a different finger. The camera is fixed on Osten, Rhino and Tijuana when Jiff drops the first hint of what is to come. Only Tijuana appears to pick up on his comment that the six people who have left the game might not have bid a permanent farewell.
Jiff continues, “Morgan, Drake, your past has come back to haunt you”.
What little colour there is, drains out of Jon’s face, he thought he’d managed to get that little problem down below sorted out with a course of anti-biotics and liberal applications of a topical balm. Christa braces herself for the onslaught of accusations while trying to recall her best “Hitler was misunderstood” line of excuses. Both breathe sighs of relief upon realizing Jiff simply means the booted contestants still have a role to play in the game.
In walk the bootees, in the order they left the game.
Nicole, Ryan S, Lill, Burton, Michelle and Trish.
The camera scans the faces of the Drake and Morgan tribes. Osten sees what is happening, but doesn’t believe it. Either the booted out tribe mates are back or this is the world’s crappiest mirage.
Jiff introduces the tribe mates, Nicole, still has the look of bewilderment of someone always out of her depth in the game. Ryan S, who Jiff insists on calling Skinny Ryan, wearing a purple bandana bearing the legend “Die Jerks”. With the “Jerks” dead, Ryan and the rest of the “Geeks” can take over the world. Lill’s bandana is emblazoned with skulls and crossbones. The corners of her mouth are in their customary position, down at chin level. Burton already exhibits the air of a man declared leader. He stands tall, the tribe flag firmly in his grasp. His purple bandana reads “Outcast”. Michelle sweet smile cannot mask the evil within and Trish offers nothing more by way of a reaction to her name than to squint into the sun.
Jiff , clearly buying the whole unspoken “Burton is our leader vibe” emanating from the group, asks him if they have a name. Burton replies, “We’re the outcasts” and resists the temptation to point to his head and add “read the bandana A-hole”.
Jiff proceeds to launch into one of his pirate tails, hastily pieced together to try and bring some credibility to the production teams decision to bring back the bootees.
He decides to roll with a variation on the old “Inuit on an ice flow/Native America on the plains” tale of abandonment. If the abandoned do not die, they have one thing on their minds. He motions to Michelle to finish his sentence, which she does with “revenge baby, it’s all about revenge”. She maintains her wide leg stance shifting from foot to foot, arms akimbo in a Shirley Temple style display of annoyance.
The background music gives a “duh duuuuuuuhhh” to highlight the potentially sinister nature of her response. Once again the camera scans the faces of the Drakes and Morgan’s. Shawn looks unperturbed. Tijuana looks concerned. Osten looks on in disbelief. If everyone is coming back does it mean the show is starting from scratch, because he’ll really have to reconsider his future involvement what with his lungs being in the state they’re in.
After the break, Jiff explains that the Outcasts will compete against the Drake’s in Survivor’s first ever three-tribe challenge. If Morgan or Drake loses to the Outcasts, they will go to TC tonight and vote out one tribe mate. The Outcasts will then have a TC of their own where they vote one person back into the game.
If both tribes lose to the Outcasts, both will go to separate TC’s that evening followed by the Outcast TC, where they will vote two people back into the game. Any outcasts reintroduced to the game will be immune from elimination at the next TC.
Tijuana and Ryan decide the best way to handle this twist is to laugh about it, while Savage throws a “you bastard” glare in Jiff’s direction.
Jiff does his best to try and convince the tribes and the viewers that the challenge will be carried out on an even playing field, by informing everyone that the Outcasts had been on limited rations since leaving the game. That may well be the case Jiff, but did they have to sleep outside, hold back the tide with their bare hands, be brushed up against in the night by leaves that feel like snakes?
Lill’s hair is wayyyy too “foufee” to not be washed on a regular basis and the blue tube dress has clearly lost much of its three days of grime build-up.
Jiff explains the challenge. The tribe, save one member who has been elected as the rescuer, will be locked in a series of cages. The rescuer will run to another area of the beach and retrieve a flag in their tribal colour. They will then dig under and into the first cage, release the tribe mate, dig into the second cage, release more tribe mates and so on. There is some pole building and key retrieval sprinkled in there somewhere too, but that will all become evident once the challenge is underway.
Once all the tribe mates are free, the first tribe to cross the line with their flag wins.
On Jiff’s instruction, the tribes make a show of discussing whom they will select as rescuer, but it really is no surprise when Savage, Shawn and Burton step up to represent their respective tribes.
Jiff takes the rescuers to their starting position, a pole stuck into the ground, a band of each tribe’s colour painted on top on orange, purple, blue order. Savage places his hand on the orange band; Shawn places his on the blue. Burton casually places his in the region of the purple band, but it’s clearly in the orange. As I do not like Burton I’ll accuse him of trying to gain an advantage by this move, even though it’s unclear if there is really one to be gained.
On Jiff’s “GO”, the rescuers race along the beach. Clearly propelled by his illegal hand placement, Burton flies into the lead, reaching his flag well before Shawn and Savage.
It becomes evident that Jiff will be performing one of his insanely detailed running commentaries and I will spend the rest of the challenge battling to block him out.
Burton is first back to the cages, followed closely by Shawn and Savage; they all start digging their way into their respective series of prisons.
Still maintaining his slender lead, Burton is first into his cage and begins to untie Trish. Like Burton, Shawn burrows under with his hands, but switches onto his back to slide under the structure. Savage, just slightly behind in third place, decides on a face first, bulldozer style entry. It is really quite amazing how much muck you can displace with one eye and half your nose if you have a mind to do so.
Shawn unties his teammate, Christa, first and they burrow into the second of the cages to release Rupert and Jon. Burton releases Trish and after she clears her path, he helps her burrow underneath, joining Shawn in a select grouping of “male Survivor’s who have grabbed Trish’s arse”. The fuzzy nudity blob makes a short appearance beneath Trish’s skirt, before hopping into the Drake cage to cover Christa’s left boob, she adjusts her buff tube top before going to untie Rupert.
Burton widens the path Trish has dug enough to squeeze his own frame through and shuffles under, losing his bandana in the process.
Rhino and Savage are in last place for the Morgan tribe. No protein you see.
Drake and Outcasts have everyone in cage two free and begin building the previously mentioned pole, which they will use to reach through the cage to distantly placed keys which will unlock the final of the series of cages.
Rupert reaches the Drake keys first and they stream into the final cage and release Sandra before trying to reach a final set of keys, again using their pole.
Morgan’s pole breaks while trying to reach their first set of keys, Drake’s falls apart while they are straining to recover their second. The Outcasts reach their keys but drop them before they can maneuver the pole back into the cage.
At full stretch, Lill manages to reach through the bars of the cage and grab the keys, which Burton ahs been inching ever closer along the ground using the end of the pole.
The Outcasts release themselves from the cage and scramble across the finish line. Jiff declares them the winners and a mad celebration ensues. Shoulders launches himself at Nicole, hoping to employ the Shawn Cohen “butt hold”, but she swivels in the face of his oncoming rush and ends up dragging him round by the knees while he hangs onto her hips. Jiff walks to the other cages and releases the players, telling them “it’s over”… three times.
Once everyone is back in formation in front of Jiff, the post challenge questioning begins, with Burton shooting wayyyyy over the top in his responses.
Jiff – “So Burton, how big a victory is this?”
Burton – “Revenge is sweet, but these people here (he motions to the Drake and Morgan tribes), they haven’t seen low until they’ve been kicked out of the game.
That’s the lowest low you can get on the low scale of lows.
I’ve faced real adversity”.
Adversity? Oh you must mean the time you had to paddle across the Atlantic in a Starbucks Grande cup, your only oar a slightly chewed Triscuit. No? Oh, you mean the time you plotted to get rid of Christa and the rest of the tribe voted your arse out?
Jiff tells the Drake’s they will be first to TC, followed by the Morgan’s with the Outcasts last, when they will vote two people back into the game.
We go to the break while footage of the victory celebration is replayed in slow-mo.
We rejoin the show in the company of the Morgan’s who are returning from the challenge.
Once back at their beach, Savage arranges his tribe in a huddle formation.
Becoming increasingly angry, he states his opinion that the booted contestants have no right to be back in the game and demands everyone give their word to vote them out first chance they get.
Rhino casually states they will be immune from the first elimination, a comment that extracts a “you’re kidding” from Andrew, who clearly missed Jiff’s announcement during the challenge. Damn that lack of protein and it’s associated side effects.
Rhino convinces him it doesn’t matter because after that “it’ll be 3 –2 and it’s bye-bye”.
He performs a mini wave to add impact to his “bye-bye” statement, but that cannot disguise that, whatever way you slice it, there will not be a 3-2 split after the next TC.
Unless Rhino was left with the impression that both returnees would be joining the Morgan tribe. Jiff didn’t say that and it’s not logical to think the Morgan’s would get two returnees and the Drakes get none. The mind can play tricks on you though. Particularly when you’re lacking in protein.
Savage summarizes the situation, “so we vote someone out and it can’t be the person that just joined”.
No Savage it can’t, that was in the rules, not to mention the fact you’re going to TC before the Outcasts have even voted someone back into the game.
Can someone get this guy some damn protein?
While Savage is still desperately trying to formulate a plan that doesn’t result in the booting of a current Morgan tribe member, Osten’s mind executes its final dismount, bows to the judges and leaves the game entirely.
He wants to be voted out because his temple is closed for repairs.
Strange reason, but who am I to question another’s faith?
They all hug him and agree to vote him out, even though in confessional Savage thinks Osten will come to regret the decision.
The matter sorted at Morgan, we head over to the Drake beach.
We open there with a close up of their tree mail keys, for no apparent reason.
As they walk back into the heart of the camp, Christa asks who they think will be voted back into the game. Sandra answers without missing a beat, “Burton and Lill”. Foreshadowing?
JFP is not impressed by the twist the game has taken, angrily calling the Outcasts life long losers.
The conversation soon turns to who will be booted.
Sandra jokingly asks for volunteers to raise their hands. When no one does, she laughs and says, “don’t all jump up at once”.
Do you want them to raise their hands or jump up, woman?
No one jumps up, probably because Simon didn’t say.
In a perhaps too obvious display of alignment, Rupert, Christa and Sandra discuss who should leave. Sandra suggests they give each of the guys two minutes to state their case. The three of them rather arrogantly giggle at the though and I believe we are seeing yet another ultimately unsuccessful alliance.
Rupert approaches Jon and Shawn, requesting they each take a couple of minutes to try and convince him and the ladies why they should not vote them out.
Sandra chips in, in heavy-handed fashion, repeating the designated two-minute time limit.
No one has a watch, no one is likely going to bother to count to 120, but I imagine Sandra will just cut them off when she deems the two minutes is up.
Shawn is first to state his case, claiming to have been honest (Burton would likely disagree), Jon reminds everyone that he is loyal to Drake and a hard worker.
It really is anyone’s game until Shawn confesses that “you can only mess with me for so long before I come back and get yah”, thus making it obvious he will be booted.
Drake Tribal Council.
The Drake tribe files into the council area. As usual, Jiff’s disapproving glare dissolves into a full-dimpled smile as he sits and readies himself to begin the session.
Jiff reminds the Drake’s this is the second time in two days that they’ve been to Tribal Council. This fact has not escaped Rupert, who repeats the statistic three times, “twice in two days”.
Once again, Sandra voices her prediction that Burton will rejoin the game, but also makes it clear to Jiff that either Jon or Shawn will be leaving.
Obviously unaware of their previous two-minute opportunity to state their case to the tribe, Jiff offers first Shawn, then Jon, a chance to address the tribe, “that’s crumbling by the minute”. Nice dig Jiff.
Shawn decides to go positive with his response, hopes they can look forward, forget the past and become a strong tribe.
Jon starts out in ludicrous fashion by stating he cares more abut the tribe that he does about himself. The others listen, but it’s unclear whether they believe this particular argument. He continues, “I know how to split a coconut five ways”.
It is indeed much harder to split anything into an odd number of equally sized sections.
With an even number you can pretty much just eyeball it and end up with reasonably equal sections. Odd numbers are a whole different prospect though. Come to think of it, he never specified the sections would be even, so this really isn’t that impressive a skill.
Time to vote.
We only get to see Shawn’s vote for Jon “you’ve been backstabbing everyone, including me”, which makes no sense and Jon’s vote for Shawn, accompanied by the more succinct “F&#% You”, but minus his usual voting time swagger walk.
Jiff reads the votes and it’s goodbye Shawn.
He delivers his final words, about being surprised about the twist and how he was hoping for a merge, yada yada.
We have another TC to get to Shawn.
Morgan Tribal Council.
The Morgan’s take their seats.
Jiff explains that the Drake’s have been and gone and addresses his first question of “what happened when you got back to camp?” to Savage.
He explains about Osten’s latest, final and soon to be successful attempt at game suicide.
Having obviously viewed the post challenge footage, Burnett has instructed Jiff to make a really big deal of Osten’s decision to quit.
Jiff views him with contempt as he asks, “Had enough, Osten?”
Osten informs him that his body is done.
Jiff, once again directs a question to Savage, who states the obvious that the mind controls the body. This is clearly news to Osten who has been thinking with his biceps for years.
To underline his annoyance that Osten is just giving in, Jiff points to Burton’s obvious desire to re-enter the competition, risking the humiliation of being booted out again.
Osten doesn’t care. He mentions something about driving a car into a temple.
Jiff takes one final opportunity to emphasize how pitiful he feels Osten’s actions to be, by getting the others to admit they would not leave the game for anything.
You’d have to “curr me owut” to get rid of Darrah for God’s sake.
They confirm they will all be voting for Osten so Jiff declares the vote pointless, snuffs Osten’s flame and tells him to “go home”.
Once he has left the area, Jiff sticks the boot in a final time by suggesting to the Morgan’s they might be better off without him. Most of the viewers have been saying that for weeks.
Next week on Survivor:
Sandra dreads the thought of Burton coming back into the game.
Savage is determined the returnees won’t be allowed to progress in the game.
Translation – Burton will likely be back and an Outcast will likely outlast all the Morgan’s.