You know, I think I’m starting to see the problem with this “haves versus have-nots” twist in this season’s Survivor: it’s not FUN to watch starving people keep losing and keep starving. It just isn’t. If it were, half of the Third World would be the greatest tourist destination in the world. And it’s also not that fun to watch the rich Moto people lolling around in their luxurious hammocks. We only like watching well-off people when they’re on TV proving themselves to have utterly horrible lives.
I was willing to let this go in the first couple of weeks of Survivor: Fiji, because there was a chance that Ravu could come back, win a challenge, get some food and stop whining. Hell, if they’d even get off their palm leaves and build a shelter, I might be happy. But I think three weeks makes a trend, and I’m just going on record that I don’t get much enjoyment out of watching the same tribe lose challenge after challenge. And I propose a solution – a coup. Ravu needs to raid Moto’s camp and fight for control of the luxury camp. Wouldn’t that be more fun? C’mon, let’s have some hand-to-hand combat, folks! Or, at the least, Ravu should initiate some midnight raids on Moto. Take the rice, take a pillow, whatever. Just, for the love of god, do something besides sit around and moan.
Yeah, it’s possible I’m getting a little fed up. It’s just dreary to watch the same people lose week after week.
This Old House: Fiji
We rejoin the “action,” such as it is, right after Ravu kicks out Erica for her freak-out during the last immunity challenge. Back at camp, Yau-Man says all these losses in a row are affecting them. “We are not quite connected together yet as a tribe,” he says. Rocky says it’s like they’re under a jinx or a curse. Yeah, it’s called “poverty,” kids. Try getting a good job and doing it well every day when you’re always hungry.
Anyway, Rita – I think – suggests they appoint someone to be in charge during challenges, or at least agree to only talk one at a time, and says they have to put their egos aside and concentrate on winning. Until the next challenge, they plan to drink lots of coconut water and continue trying to make fire from thin air.
Over at Moto, they have the time and energy – and paint – to paint the floor of their shelter. Seriously. Where previous tribes have struggled to build themselves a roof out of palm leaves, this tribe has blue paint just lying around. Lisi claims that not only will it look prettier, but it will help seal the floor against ants. Because ants are apparently a problem here in paradise. Wow, that really sucks for them. I know I’d hate to be sleeping peacefully on a comfy couch and be awoken by marauding insects. They’re really suffering there.
“We’re just having a party out here, really,” says Boo, who appears to have managed to go five minutes without cutting off any of his own limbs. He says they’re telling jokes, relaxing, lounging, and not having to do much work at all. “It’s not even survival,” Boo says. “It’s thrival.”
Thank God Someone Is Nearsighted
The next day at Ravu, Earl returns. Remember, Earl was sent to Exile last time. As he arrives, they ask if he happens to have any water or fire on him. He asks if they haven’t managed to find either of these things. The answer all around is no. “It was like walking on the beach to begging children,” Earl says.
They do ask him about the hidden immunity idol, but Earl pretends he doesn’t even know how the clues work. All in all, it’s a rather depressing homecoming.
Michelle decides she’s going to focus on trying to start a fire. Armed with someone’s glasses – probably Yau-Man’s. Don’t all you people who make fun of the nearsighted among us feel silly now? -- she hunches over a coconut husk, sings some little song to the sun, and waits. And waits. And waits. But finally, the sunlight focused through the glasses lens ignites a spark in the coconut husk. Excitedly, Michelle hands it off to Anthony, who takes it to everyone else and they all work feverishly to keep it alive and fan it into a full-on fire. Surprisingly, they are successful – they now have a fire, and you’d think they won the lottery they’re so excited. Much jumping and hugging ensues.
“We’re so fired up it’s ridiculous,” Rocky says, apparently not intending to make a pun.
Have They Never Seen a Slip-N-Slide?
Their elation carries over to the reward challenge, where they excitedly tell Jeff they made fire. Jeff is impressed. “You have done what very few tribes have done in this game,” he says. That’s true, they rarely can figure out how to make their own fire, although again, I don’t understand why people don’t learn this before they go on Survivor. Anyway, now that they’ve made fire, they’ve earned their flint. No more huddling over spectacles for Michelle.
The challenge will go like this: members of each tribe will race each other to get down a slippery, slidey track, grabbing a numbered ball on the way, and then tossing the ball into a basket at the end. The first tribe with eight or nine balls in their basket (I don’t remember the exact magic number) wins. Winners can take either their own luxury items, another set of fishing gear, or a fruit basket. Also, this time the person sent to Exile is not immune from the vote when it comes time to boot the next person.
And they’re off! Everyone slips and slides down the track, and many people fall, and a lot of them quickly figure out to dive onto their bellies and slide as far as they can. Gary, the big Moto member they call Papa Smurf, is the first one to go on his tribe and immediately falls hard on his back. But he makes his basket. Rita and Cassandra go head to head next, and about all I can say about that is that both women should have considered bringing along a more adequate and supportive bra. I see fuzzy blobs, and I wish the fuzziness were more full-coverage, as I wish their tops were as well. Bounciness runs amok.
Boo makes his ball in one shot, and Moto is ahead. Sylvia turns in a dismal performance, sliding no more than a few yards and then flopping in place like a dying fish while she tries to slide a bit further. Meanwhile her opponent has run down, gotten the ball, and makes the basket around the time Sylvia manages to get to the end of the track.
Those are the highlights – Moto wins, predictably, and takes the second set of fishing gear as a reward. They also send Sylvia to Exile.
Back on Exile Island, Sylvia says she knows she didn’t do well in the challenge. “Totally choked” would be more accurate. She says it’s the second time in seven days she’s been separated from her tribe. She gets a clue that basically tells her where the immunity idol is – it tells her to dig under the arch of the cave entrance, while everyone else is asleep. Sylvia just hopes she can get a chance to look for it before tribal council, because her position is pretty tenuous.
The Motoans – Motoites? – are happy they won, but they don’t appear particularly surprised. “We take no prisoners, not even women and children,” says Dreamz. I think he’s mixing up the concept of taking prisoners with the “women and children first” rule of rescues, but whatever. The Motoans say their morale is just going up, while Ravu’s is going down.
Dreamz, he of the verbal diarrhea, can’t shut up about the challenge, and teases Gary about his hard fall. It’s no joking matter, though, apparently – Gary quietly tells one of the women that he can’t take a deep breath. People begin to look worried, as Gary says it feels like he broke a rib, and admits to feeling dizzy. The tribe decides to call in the medics, and Gary tells them it feels like a knife in his chest and that he’s having some confusion.
Cassandra says Gary was afraid and didn’t want to die in Fiji. The medic pokes and prods him, then says it’s probably not too serious and that, from their poking, it seems musculoskeletal. I think that means it’s a muscle or rib issue, not a punctured lung or heart attack, but what do I know, I sucked at science.
Anyway, they decide he should rest and see how he feels the next day. Alex says, though, that if Gary can’t breathe, he should go get more medical attention, and that maybe he shouldn’t stay. He tells Gary not to be a hero, to tell them if he feels worse. Treemail arrives and says the next day’s immunity challenge will test will, not brawn, which is good for Gary, but Alex says that if Gary can’t perform, he should maybe think about calling it quits. Alex claims to think Gary’s health is more important, but it also sounds a lot like he thinks a weak link should be gotten rid of.
You Have a Bit of Tentacle In Your Teeth
At the challenge, Sylvia returns to her tribe. Jeff announces that this is an eating challenge – they’ll be trying to eat gross stuff before the competition eats the gross stuff. Ravu looks thrilled – hey, it’s food! It might be squid lips, but it’s still food. “We’re a lot hungrier than these guys,” someone says.
For the first round, the delicacy of choice is giant, raw clams. Ew. Rocky wins quickly. The second round is Syliva versus Dreamz, and they must eat octopus tentacles. Sylvia acquits herself well, but Dreamz wins.
Third round is Lisi versus Mookie, and they’re eating some sort of horrid-looking worm. Mookie eats it easily, and taunts Lisi, trying to make her throw up. This leads to snorts of disgust from Boo, who thinks it’s unsportsmanlike. He tells Jeff it harms the goodwill between the tribes. What goodwill? See, this is just like real life – the people who have nothing don’t feel goodwill toward the people who have everything, they feel resentment. They’re itching to win a victory over the people who have everything. And the people who have everything never understand that. Besides, it’s a freakin’ game. So shut up, Boo.
The next round is Earl versus Alex, and they’re eating sea cucumbers. Alex wins. Between Michelle and Edgardo, eating fish eyes, Edgardo wins. When it gets to Gary and Anthony, who must eat horrific pig snouts with hair still attached, Gary wins easily, despite his health issues – he eats his snout and is done while Anthony is still trying to swallow his first bite.
And with Gary’s victory, Moto wins the challenge. Again. For the fourth time in a row. How… surprising.
Rita Goes Lone Wolf
At camp, Sylvia tells her tribemates she was mortified by her piss-poor performance in the other, slippery challenge. She says she still feels connected to them, but she’s not sure they feel connected with her. She knows she’s the oldest and the weakest, and by every rule of the jungle she should be left in the wild to die. Ok, maybe she didn’t say that last bit. But she knows the tribe is likely to vote her out, and she wants the idol to save her ass.
Yau-Man has just about decided Sylvia doesn’t have the idol. Anthony says he is trying not to scramble, just to be patient and believe Sylvia is the one out, unless she has the idol. Rocky tells Rita that Sylvia is indeed the one out, but that some people will vote for Anthony as a back-up, in case Sylvia has the idol. Apparently there’s a groundswell of dislike for Anthony. Rocky think he’s whiny and Erica-like, in that they can’t read him. Rita agrees, but says privately that their decisions have been an effort to make the tribe stronger and that it hasn’t worked, so she’s going to do her own thing this time.
I guess she’ll do it alone, because Rocky’s not the only one fed up with Anthony. Mookie is really pissed that Anthony did so badly in the eating challenge – he was unable to swallow even one bite. Anthony’s excuse was apparently that he didn’t have any spit in his mouth to swallow with, but Mookie doesn’t care.
Mookie also tells Sylvia Anthony will be the one going tonight. She isn’t sure. She thinks she knows where the idol is, though, so she decides to start digging even though everyone’s sitting around the area, in broad daylight. I know at least Yau-Man notices.
Nothing Personal, But You Suck
At tribal, Jeff asks them to give him a one-word assessment of the state of the tribe. We have a few “tired,” one “hungry,” a “bad,” and then Yau-Man’s “not very happy.” Which would, in fact, be three words, and I think Ravu better pray there are no math challenges coming up.
Jeff is blunt. “I’m watching a group of people that are disintegrating emotionally before my eyes,” he says. “The game is slipping through your fingers.”
Mookie says they need to win, but that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Sylvia, making all about her, says she’s disappointed in herself.
Jeff asks Anthony about the challenge, and he says he just had no spit. Jeff then asks something about trust, and asks Anthony if he thinks Mookie is trustworthy. Anthony says he gives people the benefit of the doubt, and that he hopes people like him. That is not the way to win Survivor. Mookie admits he was mad at Anthony, and they have a little snippy back-and-forth before Mookie says he doesn’t want to make it personal. Anthony shoots back that a lot of people didn’t win their food contests but he’s the only one that put Mookie over the top. I foresee some drama back at camp! Or, at least, I can hope. In reality, these lamos will probably just go sit on their palm leaves and be passive-aggressive.
And it’s time to vote, and unsurprisingly, it’s four for Sylvia, three for Anthony. She’s outta here. But remember Rita’s intention of bucking the tide? Yeah. She voted for Earl. Like that won’t earn her some anger back at camp.
Sylvia waves and wishes them luck as she leaves, and says later that she liked everyone.
Gary is still hammock-ridden. Liliana makes a move on at least one of the guys, by offering a backrub, and Anthony gets criticized by Rocky, who tells him he’s too sensitive. It’s possible, judging from the previews, that Anthony will cry. God, I hope so.