Disclaimer: No cute, charming, funny or pleasant people were harmed in the filming of this episode.
It’s night at FOA FOA after Ben has been voted off at tribal council. Russell is being consoled for having had to vote for his buddy Ben, but Russell says it’s all okay: after the way Ben behaved he had no choice. Preppy preachy Jaison, as usual, is whining: “I’m hungry; I’m tired, frankly right now I have to say that coming here is the worst decision I’ve ever made in my entire life.” (I have heard rumors that he wanted to bring his butler and valet with him to the island, but producers wouldn’t allow it. Just rumors. Totally unsubstantiated.)
DAY 9: It’s a Brand New Day
At FOA,Jaison and Russell are walking on the beach commiserating about how draining it was to go through tribal council. Russell confides to us: “I really think if Ben woulda stayed, Jaison woulda quit the game. Now what kind of Man is that? Now I’m willing to get rid of Jaison. Whoever I want to be gone is gone. I’ve got it all under my thumb right now.”
Shambo is singing the praises of FOA FOA to her GALU tribemates: the sand is whiter, the air is cleaner, the people love her. It’s just about Paradise. She boasts to the camera: “Over there was an appreciation for Shambo. I have no problem going to FOA FOA because I have a following there; if I can make it to the merge I know damn well I’ve got their votes.” I’m thinking this sounds like such a sure thing somebody over at FOA must have carved “FOA ♥s Shambo” into the trunk of a palm tree with the machete.
Erik pulls Shambo aside to strong-arm her to tell him what clues about the immunity idol she got while visiting FOA. He knows that if there’s one hidden at FOA, there’s no doubt one right in their own camp in a similar place. “See,” Erik says, intimating that there’s no way in hell she could find it on her own, “if I can find it, then if you need it I can give it to you.” Uh, oh, here comes the rocket scientist, John. He has the same idea.
Shambo falls over like a bowling pin, giving them both her clues. And all she wants in return? “If it comes to a jury trial, you better give me your vote for being honest sharing this. And if you don’t, well ‘bad on you.’ She cheerfully trots away. Erik and John are grinning in astonishment. I haven’t seen a dumber move since Jemima Puddleduck accepted the Fox’s invitation to come into his house.
BWANA GOES MISSING
Tree Mail has announced a reward challenge. The Maitais can only bring one guy and one gal with them. Dr. Mick takes Bad Russell because he’s good at strategy and Natalie for her ability with puzzles. Dreadlock Russell picks Shambo and Dave. He doesn’t give a reason but I’m betting he was going for the intimidation factor—those two are definitely scary looking.
So, everybody is on the beach, obediently on their color-coded mats, waiting for Bwana Jeff. You can’t have a challenge without Probst. Can you? There’s a big sign saying REWARD hanging on a crate of chickens. Some distance away is an intriguing pirate’s chest. Dave wonders aloud if they should just “jump.” Simultaneously, Russell and Dave make their moves. Dave goes for the chest. Shambo dashes for the crate with the chickens, grabbing one around the neck and the other poor thing by its right wing. She’s running across the sand, a fowl under each arm, heading who knows where, when Dave yells at her to put the poultry back. The chest has instructions and equipment. There are what look to be papier-maché purple and yellow balls and a flag. They’re to plant the flag and then take turns tossing the balls at it. It’s the kindergarten version of horseshoes. Or bocce. And you’ll never guess who wins! The team with the ball closest to the flag! At this point I’m pretty sure Bwana has just put his foot down about being associated with one of the lamest challenges in Survivor history and is back in his tent ironing his safari shirt. After a boring ten minutes of ball-tossing, Dave practically hits the flag-stick with his last try, and GALU wins. Again. Dr. Mick is totally dispirited: “It’s so demoralizing. We couldn’t even win friggin’ bocce-ball. It totally splits me in half to see GALU with those chickens.” Dr. Mick’s dual selves not shown.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
With Shambo, Russell and Dave away from GALU camp, Erik is using his ill-gotten clues to search for the hidden Immunity Idol: “I’ve got ten minutes.” He digs frantically at the base of a tree; John pretends to doze in the hammock but watches Erik’s efforts intently. With no success at ground level, Erik climbs into the tree nearest the campfire. Success! “I knew it was in this tree,” he gloats happily. No blabbermouth he, Erik vows to keep his possession of the precious secret and buries it in a rock pile.
The conquering heroes return, bird in hand. Dave warns that they have to be careful that no one allows the fowl to escape from the crate. Dreadlock Russell is throwing his arms into the air doing victory chants, “We Won We Won,” as though he were solely responsible for the booty. Dave, who threw the winning ball, is royally chaffed over Russell taking all the credit, “I’m trying to stay humble and centered around camp, but I Won Chicken. Peace!”
Everyone is fussing over the new arrivals. Shambo enthuses that chickens have to have lots of fresh water. “That’s your job, I’ve already assigned it,” says Russell. Shambo tells the guys that she knows all about chickens because she’s a country girl: “Chickens have to get to know you and trust you and like you. The Survivor chickens will know Shambo and will give me eggs because I will be kind to them.” (I’m starting to wonder if Shambo has an evil twin: she keeps talking about herself as if she’s another person.) She pretends to Be a chicken, clucking and flapping her wings. With that hair, she may very well be related. Russell proudly gathers everyone around and announces that the chickens will lay eggs each and every morning and that their names are Daisy, Ella and Millie. It seems to me a really bad idea to get so up close and personal with your potential dinner.
Over at FOA, in between stuffing mouthfuls of mango into his maw, Jaison is still complaining about being tired and hungry and thirsty. Bad Russell is beginning to wonder if Jaison has “the right stuff” to make it to the promised final two: “I might have to take somebody like Natalie. She’s gonna ride my coattails the whole way. She’s too stoopid to do it by herself. She needs me. I could stand up there and say ‘she rode my coattails all the way; she rode me like a horse.’”
Natalie and Russell are chatting on the beach; Russell assures her it’s all good. Natalie may be sneakier than he gives her credit for: “If it comes to me and Russell at the end I could definitely beat him because a lot of people in the tribe have been ridin’ the wrong way.” I’m envisioning a bunch of jockeys flying around the track facing the horses’ rear ends.
THE GREAT ESCAPE
Morning dawns at GALU and Brett is coveting the taste of Kentucky Fried Daisy/Ella/Millie. I told you it was a bad idea to give them names. Shambo reaches into the crate to retrieve an egg and starts yelling, “Escaped chicken. 911. 911.” Erik and Shambo are running around like, well, not to be indelicate, like ‘chickens with their heads cut off’ trying to retrieve the fugitive fowl. Erik inadvertently clotheslines himself on the camp clothesline and goes sprawling. The hen flies into a nearby tree, where she looks down disdainfully on her tormenters. Shambo starts trying to talk to her in fowl-language. Pun intended. The hen gives her the silent treatment. Shambo is defending herself to the tribe: “I produced an egg.” Yeah, Shambo, as in Zero. Erik snorts, “She didn’t produce an egg. The chicken did. This tribe sucks.” Eggs?
Shambo is astounded, “I had no idea they could fly.” Two things I should mention here—I was cheerleading for the bird all the way and Russell was right in saying it was dumb to think something with wings couldn’t fly; there’s a reason they build chicken coops with wire covering the top.
Meanwhile, Yasmin is complaining, “Every time I try to take a nap, Erik interrupts me.” Kelly is working hard on opening a coconut, while Yasmin watches, asking hopefully, “is there milk in there?” Kelly isn’t exactly impressed with Yasmin’s work ethic: “I’m tired of Yasmin sitting around doing nothing. Yasmin’s not a team player. Say we do lose a team challenge, I think Yaz should be the first to go.”
Everybody’s on the beach, ready for the big Immunity Challenge. Bwana Jeff, to our immense relief, has not been eaten by cannibals and once again takes charge. He reveals that Ben was axed at the last Tribal Council. Several members of GALU nod in approval. The contest will be two part, with four members from each tribe competing. Maitai Russell picks Shambo, Laura, Dave and himself to sit out.
In the first leg of the race, the tribes will race across pendulous netting carrying a large number of boxes, which they then have to stack atop one another. The boxes must stay in place for a five-count. On the second leg, each tribe member has to make his or her way across a suspended rope to another, larger pile of boxes which are tied by knotted cords inside a bag. These boxes must then be stacked. Okay, let’s just be frank here. This season has had the lamest bunch of challenges of any season of Survivor ever. One of the CBS interns must have lost all the pages in the last half of the “How to Build Challenge Courses” book, because every single one hinges on rope courses, untying knots, and stacking boxes. Beach Blanket Bingo would be more interesting. Give FOA a real shot at some of those nice throw pillows.
I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of the challenge except to say that Jaison does not distinguish himself on the rope bridge, but Monica moves across it like cold molasses. Russell scoots across like a chimp in the circus. The second pile of blocks is so tall that the girls have to stand on guys’ shoulders to reach the top. Natalie places the final block and FOA wins its first immunity. Bwana Jeff gives FOA the Scary Immunity Idol. He warns GALU, “I don’t know what Mother Nature has in store for you, but there’s a big cloud over your head. It’s going to be an interesting afternoon at camp.”
GET TO KNOW YOUR GALU TRIBE
We’ve seen so little of GALU, it’s a bit hard to distinguish some of the players. Dreadlock Russell we know, though, and he’s gunning for Monica: “I saw Monica disappear at that challenge.” Darn, I missed that—and I love Magic. “She’s just a young girl, hangin’ out at camp like it’s Club Med or sumthin.” Back at said Club Med he philosophically observes, “We’ll keep movin’ and groovin’ ‘til it’s time to do what we gotta do.” He and Erik have a little confab and Erik says ambiguously, “You know where my mind’s at.”
Dave, Brett, Laura, Kelly and John are taking things into their own hands. It’s clear they like Monica and don’t want her to be the one to go. They observe that Shambo totally screwed up, lost part of their fishing gear and a third of their livestock and that Yasmin does exactly nothing around camp, just sits by the fire and watches the others.
Shambo, perhaps sensing her own vulnerability, is lobbying for Yasmin’s vote against Monica. Yasmin is playing by her own set of rules: “Around this camp I ain’t steppin’ up to do nothing, cause these people they prey on you. They just waitin on somebody to screw up like lettin’ the chicken go. I’ve had my game face on since Day 1. I’m here to play and I’ve did that. I’ve been runnin’ with the fellas and helpin’ with the challenges. If you wanna penalize me for steppin’ up, so be it. My body needs a rest, dammit.”
Erik wants to cover his bases and tells Russell the others are thinking of voting for Yaz. Russell is livid: “So these people have an alliance. That pisses me off. If I’m Chief, do I want cutesiness or do I want performance. I want the strongest tribe. I’m the leader; these people have gotta listen to me or there’s gonna be some serious ass kickin’.”
MYSTERY AT TRIBAL COUNCIL
Shambo gets to speak first. She reports that everyone was uneasy this afternoon, lots of whispering, walks on the beach. Brett comments that some people at camp are more than pulling their own weight, but that Yasmin is doing less.
Bwana Jeff notes that Yasmin is rolling her eyes. She is only too happy to respond: “I find that a bit of surprise, because anything anybody has asked me to do I has did it. If he had a problem with me he shoulda come to me and asked me to step it up. Maybe I don’t belong in the jungle because right now I’m wearing high heels because I wanted to dress up and look nice for you Jeff.”
Camera on: a pair of black suede hooker-heels festooned with chains any dominatrix would have been proud to own. Worn with socks. This begs the question: “Where the @#%$ did those come from?” Earlier in the day we saw Yasmin on the beach toting a pair of running shoes. Since no one else appears to have come to Tribal Council wearing their Party Shoes, one has to assume either Yasmin’s spent all her free time fashioning this new footwear out of old tires washed up on the beach or some producer has been smuggling luxury items to her. Wait ‘til Jaison hears about that. He will get into a pout.
Others are asked for their opinions about tonight’s vote. Russell opines that the challenges are what is most important, but Laura thinks it’s who’s helping out most around camp. Dave punts: “I think ultimately what’s good for the tribe is good for me.”
Everyone takes their turn writing down a name and Bwana Jeff fetches the vote pot. Monica gets two votes (Yasmin and Shambo) and Yaz and her boots get the boot. Shambo and Russell look nauseated—Shambo because she was totally in the dark and Russell because he caved, voted with the others and chickened-out on his promised “ass-kickin’.”
Jeff sends GALU back to camp with one of his usual foreboding remarks, “Not only did you lose a tribe member, you lost Momentum. Question is, can you get it back?” If he’d shown up for that challenge, of course, he would have known the chicken’s name was Millie, not Momentum.
Tune in next week when it will be raining cats and dogs. Did I mention that a chicken’s feathers are waterproof? Beach towels and throw pillows not so much.