We begin the show in the company of the Balboa’s traipsing back to camp post TC.
Sandra launches straight into a tirade of “emm effs” directed at Jon, the snake, screaming to Tijuana and Darrah that he cannot be trusted.
So, anyone thinking the show would be boring after Rupert left might be changing their opinion right about now.
The arguing continues, with Jon accusing Sandra of riding Rupert’s coattails and Sandra accusing him of planning the demise of every booted person, which is really more of a compliment in the context of the game than an insult.
Burton, suddenly appears, and asks who threw out the fish Rupert had caught earlier.
He instantly follows that general question with the same one, but this time directed squarely at Sandra.
She of course explodes at the implication she had anything to do with the disappearing fish. Normally, it’s a fairly safe rule that whoever protests the most is the likely guilty party, but as Sandra was already mid rant it seems only natural that she would continue in that vein. In the face of Sandra’s run of expletives, Burton changes tack completely, accusing Christa of dumping the fish rather than pursuing his previous line of enquiry with Sandra. When she denies it he accuses Sandra again, while Jon convinces T it was Christa.
With only suspicion, accusations and denial circling the camp, as no admission of guilt appears forthcoming, they decide to retire for the evening.
I can’t say I blame them, simply watching that segment was tiring.
As they settle down to sleep, we are subjected to a creepy night vision shot of crabs swarming the fish. No “snake eating lizard” symbolism this week, unless of course this is a far too graphic warning of the dangers of STD’s, ewww, no, no symbolism this week, it’s just some crabs eating a fish.
Morning comes soon enough and brings with it the stench of rotting fish flesh.
Burton takes Lill on an expedition into the forest to try and locate the source.
They soon find Rupert’s catch, quietly decomposing.
Lill, always ready to trail after Burton, both physically and in his line of thinking, immediately concludes that Christa threw out the fish because she was upset that Rupert was voted out.
Jon and Burton confront Christa again, accusing her of foul play and sabotaging the entire tribe, which she once again denies vehemently. Sandra decides to leave the area, a telltale smirk appearing on her face.
She then confesses that she was the fish dumper, but it was an accident, she tripped over a vine.
Not a very likely story Sandra.
Rather than feeling bad that Christa is getting the blame, she is more concerned that a revelation of her guilt will get her voted out.
Never mind poor Christa currently confessing her desire to exit the game and into the arms of “her man”.
That’s the kind of, don’t give a crap about anyone else, self-serving attitude that will get you a long way in this game Sandra.
Jiff calls the guys in as always. The challenge coming hot of the heels of a Christa’s “I feel so alone” confessional, signals to the seasoned Survivor watcher that the Family Challenge is upon us.
He explains that this challenge will be for reward and is based on an old pirate execution called “walk the plank”. This is opposed to the version these new pirates have discovered, called “kiss the Lill”.
When asked if the thought of making people walk the plank is appealing, Jon replies in the affirmative, further questioning from Jiff causes Jon to reveal the plank walkers of his choice would be Sandra and Christa. This is not news to Sandra, who is already pointing at her chest with her thumb before Jiff has even finished the question.
Jiff then springs the surprise on them, the plank walkers will be their loved ones.
T squeals, Lill puts her hands to her face and begins an understated sob, Jonny Fairplay claps his approval, while Sandra looks to see where her loved one will appear from.
First to emerge is Marcus, Sandra’s husband, whom she appears to refer to as “puppy”.
Jiff advises her to fill up on love, before inviting Marcus to take up position on the sidelines. At this point, Lill still has her face in her hand s and is expressing her emotion through the medium of a dry cry. Lots of shoulder shaking, very little evidence of tears.
Jiff introduces Tijuana’s former High School sweetheart, William, who is rather delicious looking. Sadly, the camera moves from William far too soon as we are introduced to Burton’s mother Dede, who is closely followed by Lill’s husband Lonnie.
Lill dissolves into tears as soon as Jiff mentions her name to indicate her visitor is up next.
Lonnie is sporting a sharply angled military haircut, giving him his the appearance of a fat GI Joe.
Hmmmm, “ex GI Joe who let himself go. Now with free leather recliner”.
You might want to get on board that action figure idea Mattel.
Lill grabs him with less enthusiasm than she managed in attacking Burton last week and the eventual kiss is less passionate, Lonnie’s reaction less lacks any revulsion.
Next we meet Darrah’s boyfriend Bradley, a clean-cut college looking boy, D approaches him for a hug but obviously doesn’t break her usual silence.
Christa’s finance appears, only to be met by one of her best gargoyle faces. Christa is not an attractive crier. Pete has the look of a military man, but Christa looks as though she could take him in a fight. Their embrace is the longest and prompts Jiff to declare he’s about to cry himself, the others find that possibility most amusing.
Finally Jon’s buddy Dan, bounds into view, walking in a stoop, shaking a waist high “Fairplay” with each hand in time with the tempo of his exaggerated bent leg strides.
Jonny allows his fingers to temporarily compromise their perfectly held Fairplay pose in order to signal to Dan he’s final seven. They shake hands and pull each other in for a single armed man hug.
The hug over, Jon asks Dan how his grandma is. Dan delivers the devastating news – “she died dude”.
She died dude? What was it, a surfing accident, or has he been perusing the new line of Robb Zbacnik greetings cards? Also featuring, “You lost your job? Bummer!” and “I love you - like totally”.
Jon goes back to join the other Survivor’s, where Lill is waiting with a comforting arm.
Jiff notices Jon’s mood has changed from happy to sad and asks for an explanation. Jon tells him that his grandmother was supposed to come out to see him.
“What happened?” urges Jiff.
Jon replies that she’s “not around”. Jiff is handling this matter so tactlessly, why not go the whole hog Jiff, laugh and say, “What is she dead or something?”
Perhaps it’s because I know JFP is despicable, he’s told us often enough, perhaps it’s because I’ve known about the Big Lie all season, but as soon Jon comments that he “hopes he can win the challenge so he can find out more about his grandmother”, I start to think either grandma died years ago, or she’s back home and as fit as a butchers dog.
The skeptical look on Sandra’s face as we go to break indicates she might be thinking the same thing.
After the break, Jiff explains how the challenge is going to work.
The Survivor’s and their loved ones have each been issued mini chalkboards and chalk.
Jiff will ask questions, if their answers match the Survivor will get to select one of the other loved ones to take a step back on their plank, which has been sectioned off with paint into three different shades of orange and a random green sector. The fourth time you are selected to take a step back the loved one plunges into the ocean. So, yet again the Survivor’s success I this challenge is not related to how well they actually do, but to whether or not the others target them for elimination.
Jiff instructs the loved ones to take a place on a plank of their choice so the challenge can get underway.
What is your Survivor’s nickname?
Sandra and Marcus correctly match up with “Changa”.
T answers Tia, but William answers “Marissa”. I have no idea how he gets that answer, but he’s so pretty I just don’t care.
Lill answers ‘Lill”, Lonnie flips his chalkboard to display his answer as “Big Lill”, which I think is not a match personally, but since it makes no difference to whether Lill will win the challenge I have no problem with Jiff deeming the answer correct. John answers “Jonny Fairplay”, Dan answers simply “Fairplay”, which puts an end to my theory that Jon himself is the only person who calls him that. Bradley answers “D.J”, failing to match with girlfriend Darrah who answers “Nub Nut”. Bradley gives a look as if to say, “Oh, I forgot about that”. I would suggest you have to be extremely forgetful if you can’t recall that your girlfriend has a nickname that sounds like a painful side effect of five days in the saddle at the Tour De France.
Burton and his mother match when they both list his nickname as Burton.
His nickname is his real name. Does the guy have any friends, or are the ones he has just really unimaginative?
‘You’re about to marry this guy”, says Jiff to Christa, “how well does he know you?”
They both answer “Lovie”, so I guess he knows her pretty well. I don’t know her at all and would have suggested KKKrista.
Time to decide who the Survivor’s who answered correctly would like to take a step back along the plank.
Sandra chooses Jon’s friend Dan. Disgusted by her lack of compassion for JFP, Lill retaliates by choosing Sandra’s husband Marcus. Jon, clearly thinking everyone else should forfeit the challenge so he can catch up on the news about his grandmother, takes the rather aggressive stance for a newly bereaved person of snapping that “some people obviously don’t give a…”. Sandra interrupts, pointing out to Jon that not everything is about him, clearly indicating that he’s right, she doesn’t give a…
Jon acts as though he has no option but to choose Marcus. Burton takes his ridiculous targeting of Tijuana into a third week, by requesting William take a step back.
Christa, still holding up her board with her answer on it, asks Burton’s mother to take a step, which she does with a little wave.
Favourite home cooked meal?
Sandra selects arroz con gandules, producing a “huh?” response from Jiff. She translates her answer to rice and beans, which is exactly what Marcus has for his written.
Tijuana claims to like mashed potatoes and chicken, but William sees her as more of a Mac N’ Cheese gal. Lonnie correctly answers that Lill loves spaghetti.
Burton and Jon both love steak, their loved ones know that.
Darrah loves “meat and potatoes”. Bradley, you’re a lucky man.
Brad guesses cornbread and milk. Cornbread and milk? Doesn’t she have any teeth?
If not, then Bradley, you’re a lucky man.
Pete has answered “Chicken”, with “roasted” hastily written in smaller letters above it.
I doubt Jiff would penalize you for getting the method of preparation wrong Pete. Actually, Christa looks the type to give you a slap though so you were probably right to add it.
Sandra chooses to make Lonnie take a step back, Lill retaliates pushing Marcus to the brink. Jon pretends to be sorry that he makes Marcus make that final step and resulting plunge into the water.
Sandra tells him she loves him twice and even after Jiff urges him to say goodbye to his woman, Marcus jumps into the ocean without a word.
Burton has shown a high level of pettiness of late and selects Christa’s fiancé to take a step back, likely in immature retaliation for her choosing his mother in the first round.
Christa requests Bradley take a step back and we are left with all the remaining loved ones in the same green section of their respective planks.
What would your Survivor’s dream job be?
Just when the challenge has started to become a little tedious, Burnett steps I with some nifty editing. The answers are quickly revealed. Christa wants to be a housewife and mother, Pete thinks she’d like to be a tourist which isn’t technically a job is it Pete?
Darrah has modeling aspirations, but Bradley is convinced she’d like to be a nurse.
Going from burying people to saving their lives is mortician treason isn’t it?
William correctly responds that Tijuana would like to be a teacher.
We are no longer seeing everyone’s answers or everyone’s steps back.
Peter is out next, saluting before he drops into the water.
What personality trait could cost your Survivor this game?
So eager is Burnett to get through this challenge, the answers are now being shown as while Jiff is still reading out the question.
Lill thinks her kindness will be her downfall and with Lonnie plumping for “over sympathetic”, they both ignore the far more obvious handicap that she’s crazy.
Burton feels he’ll eventually be hampered by the fact he’s funny. Indeed Burton, you’re hilarious. So funny in fact that your mates have chosen to reflect that hilarity in your wonderfully amusing nickname of Burton.
We then cut to Lonnie taking a step back, “father’s death” showing on his chalkboard, so another question has obviously been asked.
Burton makes Bradley take a step back and out of the competition. He blows a kiss to Darrah who doesn’t acknowledge him in any way.
The next question asks everyone to name the Survivor’s favourite music genre.
No idea what Lill's answer was, but obviously she and Lonnie are simpatico as she has the option to force a loved on to step back. She chooses Dede, consigning her to a watery end to the game. As Dede prepares to jump, John calls out “you have a great son”. Obviously instantly sensing the etiquette where Jon is concerned, she ignores the comment altogether in favour of taking the plunge off the plank.
Jon asks William to take another step, sadly his last. After giving his condolences to Jon, he cannon ball’s off the plank. Hmmm, all that and athletic too.
With only Lonnie and Dan left in the game, Burton has to choose whether to take Lonnie out or select Dan, who has one extra “life”, forcing Jiff to ask at least one more question.
He chooses Lonnie, telling him he has an amazing wife. I assume his added comments of “she’s a great kisser” is on the cutting room floor.
When Jiff asks him why he has selected Lonnie, he responds that this is the worst day of Jon’s life, clearly Burton wasn’t there when Jon had the curlers taken out revealing his perm.
T says the rest of them support the decision to give the reward to Jon and Lonnie takes the leap.
Jon walks among the group, hugging them in turn. He posts and intention to hug Sandra, but forces his arms to detour when it becomes clear she has no desire to be anywhere near him.
Jon races over to hug Dan. Burton advises him to go careful, as Jon has lost 30 pounds. In the way that only really true friends ever do, Dan busts out a joke about Jon’s scrawny arse, commenting that he though Jon looks as though he has gained.
Jiff informs the group that Dan will be going back to camp with Jon, while the others will go to a separate camp. He gives Burton a machete and some waterproof matches and sends them on their way.
I would have thought that moment was a good time for a commercial break, but we’re pressing on. The Survivor’s arrive at their new, temporary home of Isla Hermita. They alight the boat to the backdrop of “voyage to the New World” style music, and stand on the beach looking lost and a tad bemused.
They gather themselves and make their way along the beach. Burton goes into hunter/ gatherer mode, spotting a stray coconut, which he instantly begins to chop. He busts the fruit open, leans in to assess the suitability of the nut via a sniff test and takes in a huge whiff of rotting coconut flesh. He discards the coconut, my guess it is likely one of many tainted fruit strewn randomly about the place by the production staff.
We are not privy to any conversion about their next move, but apparently the consensus is that their best course of action is to sit on a dead tree trunk looking a little sorry for themselves.
It’s confession time as first Burton and then Lill give their thoughts on the decision to allow Jon to win the reward challenge. Burton states that the rest of them can see their loved ones at a later date, while Lill, claims to know Jon hurts just as much as anyone else.
We pan across to the Balboa camp, a close up their flag confirming our location.
Jon is looking very smug for someone with a dead grandparent, he congratulates Dan on a great performance. He must mean in the challenge, right?
Jon asks Dan what he thought of his performance, adding that he couldn’t cry, the two tears Dan claims to have seen were just sweat.
We cut to a Jon confessional where he informs us that his grandmother is at home watching Jerry Springer. So, she’s alive, just trashy.
He leads Dan into the heart of the camp, showing him the tribe flag, taking particular care to point out the snake in the centre.
He informs Dan he will be in the top 2 and thanks him twice for praise that is not forthcoming. He claims to have never come close to being voted off, clearly choosing to ignore the narrow 6-4 vote he was on the positive end of the night Andrew was voted off.
Dan confesses that “grandma” was a scam Jon came up with before leaving for Panama; a plan Jon himself feels will go down as the dirtiest thing ever to be done in the game.
He’s probably right as it appears to have already eclipsed Lill’s kiss on Burton of last week and the two-ton lovin’ of Ted getting all up on Ghandia.
We begin with a close up a lizard which I would love to think is the same one from last week having made a miraculous escape from the belly of the snake. Unlikely I know.
The rest of the tribe arrive back at Balboa camp, Jon and Dan walk over to meet them.
Jon’s question of, “were you alright somewhere else?” is met by Burton’s quick witted response of, “depends on you definition of alright”. I see what you mean Burton; you’re a funny guy.
Jon’s definition of alright is, of course, sitting at home watching Jerry Springer.
It’s time for Dab to leave the camp and he does so with the minimum of fuss. No hugs or handshakes for the other Survivor’s not even a kiss from Lill.
He is on his way with just a simple wave.
Sandra instantly has her head back in the game, explaining via confessional that she and Christa have identified Tijuana as the best person to try and rally to their cause.
They take her and Darrah into a clearing in the forest where the attempted convincing commences.
Sandra opens with “ Jon said Christa is the strongest female on both tribes, that’s why if Christa goes next, that’s why Christa is going”. T’s response of “right” would indicate that not only does she miraculously understand what Sandra just said, but also agrees with her. Sandra goes on to point out that Jon and Burton will take Lill to the final three, but T seems unconcerned with the conclusion Sandra’s observations have led her to make.
So, Jon and Burton have a plan to take Lill with them to the final three, then kick her out, leaving them as the final two. Anyone here not know that? Exactly. They’ve mentioned it often enough. So why they feel the need to excuse themselves from the group after dark, to go off into the clearing and further discuss this very simple plan is a mystery. Not exactly subtle.
Champion eavesdropper Sandra springs into action, urging Tijuana to follow her on her latest information-gathering mission.
They take up position in time to hear Burton, tell Jon that he wants the two of them to be in the final two. Didn’t they go over this last week? “We’ll party our assess off on the final day”. Just the two of them, no women, like every high school party Jon ever attended.
Burton continues to outline their oft discussed plan to carry T and D to the final five, and confirms that Jon is doing a god job in working T into thinking he is going final two with her. Having heard all they need to, T and Sandra race back to camp, where T instantly relates what she has heard to Darrah. They decide that should Burton not win immunity he will be voted out next. This of course tells us that either he will win immunity or he won’t and will not be voted out.
We know this will be IC day and are soon transported there without warning. Evidently the poem guy has had a relapse.
Jiff takes the cutlass back from Burton and as always declares immunity to be “up for grabs”.
They should literally do that one time. Just have the immunity idol dangling someone while the Survivor’s circle it, grabbing at it. The winner is obviously the one who manages to get the firmest grip on it. Okay, maybe not.
As if he needed to, Jiff reminds them that after 30 days in the game they’re tired, hungry and likely having trouble thinking. The challenge today will test just that, as the Survivor’s are required to complete a word scramble.
Each Survivor will be placed at a board, with the words Survivor Pearl Islands spelled out in moveable tiles on one half and a chalkboard on the other.
Jiff informs them they have to make 20 words, 3 with 3 letters, four and so on, finishing with two of at least seven letters. The words must be English, no plurals, proper names etc. etc. and no, you cannot claim to have unscrambled the words “Survivor”, “Pearl” or “Islands”.
Jiff gives his “Go” and the scrambling begins.
Correctly identifying that watching people write down words is not the most visually compelling past time, Burnett directs the editors to spare us the “action” and cut pretty much right to Christa throwing her arm in the air to signal her feeling that she has completed the task.
Jiff tells the others to stop writing and turn their backs to their boards.
He points out a word she has misspelled, but does not let the viewers in on the word in question.
He banishes her to loser bench and restarts the game.
Tijuana writes down her one remaining word and Jiff stops the game again when she declares to all that she has “got it”. Jiff instantly picks up on her bid to try and flout his no plurals rule and pitches her put of the competition.
We begin again, stopping after a few moments for Jonny Fairplay to also erroneously declare himself the winner. Jiff detects his selling error and invites him to take up a spot on the bench.
The game gets underway again, Burton being the next person to claim challenge success.
Jiff scans his offerings and declares him the winner and only safe person at that night’s tribal council.
They start to make the trip back to camp and before Christa, Jon and Lill have even exited the challenge area, Jiff calls them back with a “Yo, Survivors, come back”.
Following his directions, they gather around Burton’s board, where Jiff points out a misspelling that he had previously failed to notice.
He takes the cutlass back from Burton and explains that a new challenge will take place between Sandra, Lill and Darrah.
The fresh challenge gets underway, with the new words ‘Outwit, Outplay, Outlast”.
This time the challenge will be a time trial, the Survivor’s have one minute to find as many words as possible of four or more letters.
Once the minute is up, Jiff counts Lill’s words, declaring to all that she has ten. Darrah has 14 “legal” words, so clearly she doesn’t write the way she talks. As Sandra can only manage 12 words, Darrah becomes the first female to win individual immunity this season.
After the break, we join T and D walking along the beach, T discussing the upcoming vote. She correctly identifies the two of them as swing voters and they move into what has become the powwow clearing to discuss their strategy for the night.
They realize this may be the only opportunity to get rid of the strongest player, good thinking. T then commits the classic Deena/ Alex/ Christy move of getting a little too power crazed. She says Christa should be next to go after Burton because, “hey, we gave her three more days”. At this point we have to realize she might suffer the “Deena/Alex/Christy” fate of getting booted right away.
While Darrah and Tijuana are discussing booting Burton, Christa and Sandra are in the water having a similar discussion.
In a stunning move of complete cockiness, T informs Jon that unless he goes along with the majority he will be in danger. That alone would have been enough to galvanize Jonny into self preservation action, the little laugh she added at the end of the statement was overkill and provided the impetus he needed to instantly approach sworn enemies Sandra and Christa with a “lets all us old Drakes vote together again” proposal.
Jon tied to win Christa’s vote by claiming she would be next to go after Burton according to T’s master plan. “She promised you on a silver platter, she hates your guts”, he claims. Of course T could only use the promise of a Christa boot to tempt Jon if he too hated her guts, a fact that seems to have escaped Christa and Sandra. If he hates her, why wouldn’t he lie to win her vote? His decision to offer his word on his Springer loving grandma, plus the promise to dump Lill from his end game plans appears to be enough to seal the deal and we head into TC, with a Tijuana boot looking increasingly likely.
After the Survivor’s have taken their seats, Jiff summons in the current jury members, Ryno and Rupert. One might think that 27 days in a tie-dyed “wife beater” was enough for any man, but Rupert turns up wearing yet another of what is likely an extensive collection. The appearance of pants covering his lower half indicate his love affair with his A-line, khaki wrap round skirt has come to an abrupt halt.
After T informs Jiff that the tribe is in chaos, he asks Sandra for her interpretation of where the tribe is at. She decides to ignore the question and launch into the take of the missing fish. Jiff gives Christa the opportunity to answer the allegations against her, but she admits although she did not do it, she has no concrete alibi.
The small matter of Jon’s dead granny is covered, allowing Jon to present some rather competent acting as he tells Jiff that the news has redrawn his list of priorities so that back stabbing and dishonesty no longer take top billing.
Jiff asks Darrah if she wants to assign immunity to anyone else.
Having filled her self-imposed word quota for the day in tactical talks with Tijuana earlier, she simply slowly shakes her head.
The voting over, Jiff posts his intention to go “tally”.
He returns with the urn and leaves one vote unread as he reveals a 4-2 vote in favour of giving T the cocky player’s classic treatment.
Next time on Survivor:
Alliance’s change yet again.
Burton prepares to knife Lill