I thought when Erik was ousted, that finger-pointing pretend gun was gone as well. Unhh-unhh. Right here, sitting on the beach, is GALU’s Dave pointing his and bragging that he and his former tribesmen are going to pick off the FOAns “bam bam bam bam.” And here’s the voice of Bwana Jeff giving credit for Erik’s surprise ouster to Natalie manipulating the GALU women and reminding us that Laura was mean to Shambo so Shambo fell into Russell’s embrace. (Shudder.)
Back at camp after last week’s Tribal Council, Brett is longing for a chocolate chip cookie with peanut butter; Russell is seriously worried, “I’m in deep trouble right now,” causing Natalie to assure him “I’m praying for you.” Hmm, that means Laura and Natalie are both prayin’—and not for the same thing.
IT WASN’T SELF-DEFENSE, YOUR HONOR
It’s Day 22 and Natalie decides to take her personal cameraman and her three miniature triangles of pink upholstery fabric held in place by big gold rings for a stroll in the woods. Luckily, she happens to be carrying a big club in one hand and a rock in the other, because sitting there in her path is the cutest little rat you’ve ever seen. “Oh my word!” she exclaims in mock surprise. Gosh, this is hard, she thinks, “Rock or Stick?” The rat, who isn’t the least bit suspicious of a blonde wearing nearly nothing, just sits there happily nibbling on his meal. While it would be an unsubstantiated accusation to claim that the rat was drugged and unable to defend himself, it would be remiss of me to not mention that Natalie IS a pharmaceutical sales representative.
She’s finding it difficult to do the deed. She doesn’t want the rat watching while she murders him, “Turn around. Eat your snack.” Then she whacks him. Good aim—she only needs one blow to dispatch him. “He was cute,” she tells us, “but I’m starvin’, just disappearing. I’ve never been this hungry in my life.” I’m looking at Natalie and wondering just where she’s lost this weight—for sure not in the chest area. Now Natalie’s problem becomes the transportation of her prey; no way is she about to touch the corpse. Fortuitously, there’s a coconut shell lying there and she scoops him up and bears him triumphantly back to camp, “I killed something y’all.”
Everyone is impressed, particularly Jaison, “When Natalie walks into camp in her little bikini with a rat and a stick, we’re shocked. When she first came out here, she was this little Southern belle. I’m sooo proud of her.” Someone (one of the guys, presumably) skins and dresses the rat and roasts it over the fire, shish-kebab style. Yummm.
THE NUMBERS GAME
Russell and Mick go to fetch the tree-mail, laughing that there may be another idol in the tree mail pavilion. Russell, however, is serious. He tells us “I’m convinced there’s another idol in camp. I’m gonna find it today.” The tree-mail promises a feast and a getaway.
On the Challenge Beach, Bwana Jeff is waiting, attired in an ice-blue bowling shirt and matching baseball cap from the Jeff Probst “island attire” collection at Walmart. He explains that the challenge is to run out and grab giant skewers with black and white blobs threaded onto them, then to line them up on a rack so that the white blobs spell out a sequence of four numbers. A blindfolded team member, using only their sense of touch, then has to get those numbers in sequence on a pretend lock. The winning team gets to go to a “genuine natural rock slide” that you can actually slide down (I know, it’s hard to believe) and a lunch of fried chicken and chocolate brownies. The teams are to be chosen randomly. Since there are eleven people, one person won’t be on a team, but will choose one to cheer for and then share that team’s fate. The Purple Team will be Shambo, Dave, Kelly, John & Monica. The Yellow Team gets Brett and Laura and three of the old FOA members, Russell, Mick and Jaison. Totally by chance. Totally by chance. Natalie is odd man out, and decides to support her buddies on the Yellow Team.
The race is pretty chaotic with Dave barking out orders to everyone on his team, and Bwana Jeff making mention of the fact that Shambo is “really slowing purple down.” Monica beats out Laura for the blindfolded deciphering, and Purple wins.
“I WAS BORN FOR THIS”
The reward spot is pretty cool: John loves the rock slide and gets shown repeatedly by the underwater camera and showing off with backflips. Monica’s so tiny she’s catapulted off the slide into the middle of the pool. They’re all sitting around chowing down on the fried chicken; that reminds Monica of her Puerto Rican family. She calls the food “ridonkolous.” Funny, that’s the word Probst used earlier in the season, complaining that’s how those funny shirts made him look. I don’t disagree.
Surprise! Lunch comes with a secret note telling them there’s a new immunity idol hidden back at camp. Uh-oh. Dave wants to share this news with all the GALU folks, “It’ll be a free trigger to pull.” Again with the guns. John has changed his tune a bit, no longer thinking it’s a Junior Varsity move to pick off the FOAns one by one. Kelly is convinced that Russell should be the next one they vote off. “But I don’t want Russell to go!” whines Shambo. Then she tries to cover up her unwise revelation by stuttering, “You know, he’s just, he’s sucks at challenges.” Kelly is thinking that if anybody’s likely to defect to FOA, it’s Shambo, but that still leaves GALU with a 6-5 advantage.
Meanwhile, the UnRewarded, including all the FOAns are back at camp. Russell looks directly into the camera and announces, “I don’t care about no damn reward. I’m gonna find the next immunity idol and I ain’t gonna tell a damn soul.” He’s sure it has to be near a landmark: the well, the beach, the wooden bridge. He’s on a mission to find it, moving methodically from one spot to another. Within what seems like moments, he’s lying on his belly, reaching under the bridge and producing the idol! I swear, the Troll on the scent of a Hidden Immunity Idol is like a French pig hunting for truffles. Without the charming accent.
Russell is thrilled, “I just found the second hidden immunity idol Without a Clue. This is craaazy.” He unrolls the pouch, “gonna check it out.” He displays it, “This might be worth one millyun dollars. This is it, number two, this is amaaazing. Am I that damn good? This is just unprecedented. I missed fried chicken and brownies for this second hidden immunity idol. Sounds like a good exchange to me.” He trots away, grinning from ear to ear.
Russell’s resolution to keep the new idol secret lasts all of three seconds. It’s too good not to share, “This is just the Gift that I have. It’s why I was born.” Realizing that FOA still only has four people and needs a fifth vote, he decides to confide in Shambo. The two of them are sitting on the bridge, fishing. Russell pulls the idol out of his pocket. Shambo’s so shocked she blessedly stops her determined scratching of the upper part of her all-too-fleshy inner thigh and grabs him for a smooch on the cheek. (Shudder) Well, that settles that, says Shambo, “She’s getting her head lopped off. It’s a frickin’ Samurai sword.” (She being Laura.) Russell, “You ridin’ the same boat I’m in now. It’s got no holes. You gotta help make sure they vote for me.” Russell calls Laura “Medusa” and tells Shambo if Laura wins immunity they’ll take out her minion Kelly.
THE PIECES FALL INTO PLACE
When next we see our fearless troupe, they are gathered on the beach for the dreaded Immunity Challenge. Here’s how it goes, Host Probst informs: They’ll line up on the beach with oversized hooks tied to ropes then throw out the ropes and try to snag two bags of puzzle pieces. All but three will be eliminated from the challenge. The top three then go to an upright frame with cut-out shapes. In their bags are two puzzle pieces. One does not work at all. As soon as they successfully fit their first piece into the frame, a second piece falls down which must be fitted. It’s succeeded by a third, and on and on, until all the holes are filled. First to finish wins immunity.
Shambo and Mick are the first two to get both bags. Russell and Laura are neck and neck pulling in their second bag; Laura beats Russell by a fraction of a second. The three head to their respective puzzle frames. Shambo gets the first one in; Mick follows. Laura takes a little longer, but then starts popping the pieces into place with methodical speed and accuracy. Bwana Jeff yells that Laura looks like she’s done this before. Shambo is fumbling, and Mick is just looking at the board. Laura makes quick work of all her pieces and wins immunity.
Insert Stock Footage of very mean looking sharks circling in the water. Subliminal suggestion of diabolical plans afoot.
Laura thinks Russell is going home tonight and that Natalie will try to prove her loyalty to the women by going along with the plan. Shambo is ever so bummed, “The challenge sucked, cause Laura won; now my heart is broken. So sad. I’m pissed. Plan B: eliminate somebody close to Laura."
Camera on: lizard at observation post, still plotting revenge for Ben’s treatment of his kinsman.
Breaking his vow to keep the second idol secret, Russell shows it to Jaison. Jaison is suitably awed, “You deserve this man.” Russell instructs Jaison to vote Kelly. Soon the remaining FOA members are brought into the plan. Mick can’t wait to put a dent in the condescending unfriendly GALU tribe.
The GALUans are hatching their own plan and it’s to rid Samoa of the Troll. Monica speculates that since FOA was at camp while they were picnicking that they might have another idol. John points out that Russell found the first one without a single clue. Dave arrogantly scoffs at the notion of Russell finding another idol, “I’d be shocked if he has a suspicion there’s another one here.” I’m thinking it’s no coincidence that DAVE and DUMB are such similar words. There’s a bit of conversation about voting Natalie instead of Russell. Ever lurking, the Troll overhears them and rushes back to his FOAn friends to report. Jaison suggests they spend the afternoon making sure the vote is for Russell.
Dave proposes that as soon as they get rid of all the FOAns they kill and eat a chicken, “I’m not sharin’ with anybody who’s not purple.”
DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN
AIGA arrives for Tribal Council, Laura wearing the coveted immunity necklace. They light their torches, and an obviously unhappy Erik comes in to take the first Jury seat. Bwana Jeff asks GALU if voting off one of their own meant they were no longer solid in their alliance. Why, no, Dave volunteers, “To be honest, our tribe was weakened from within by Erik’s presence and it was actually a strengthening of our tribal unity to have him gone.” That sets off Erik’s fury-button. He punches the air in frustration. And you know what, chimes in Kelly, “there was a lot of uneasiness, almost like having a snake in our tribe, and it all seems to come back to Erik.” I’m thinking Erik may be about to get up and go over to give black eyes to a couple of his former friends, but he restrains himself.
Bwana Jeff goads further, suggesting that GALU isn’t being very nice to FOA. Natalie, with faint-hearted praise, commends GALU, “well, they're not being mean or ugly to anyone.” Jaison speculates hopefully that “maybe there’s another Erik over there.” Shambo does her job, suggesting that “GALU is comfortable and FOA’s just holding on.” Dave superciliously reveals the GALU deselection process—“We just have to assess who’s the most dangerous, physical ability, mental ability, strategic acumen.”
After confirming that Laura doesn’t plan on relinquishing her immunity necklace to another, Jeff sends the survivors one by one to vote. Returning with the vote pot, Bwana Jeff announces for the first time this season* that “if anybody has the hidden immunity idol and you want to play it now would be the time to do so.” The Troll grins, stands up, reaches into his pocket and for the second time in as many tribal councils plays the idol.
The looks on the faces of the GALU tribe range from shock and dismay to chagrin and terror. Dave is grinning and grimacing in disbelief. Shambo gets her acting creds for this one: she seems genuinely amazed. Jeff announces that the idol is real; therefore any votes against Russell will-not-count. One after another, he pulls slips of paper from the vote pot, each time reading Russell’s name and announcing “there are still no votes.” Russell can barely contain himself. And every time Erik hears the name Russell, he punches the air and looks daggers at the traitors who voted him out last week. Finally running out of Russell votes, Jeff starts to read the FOA choice: Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. “The eighth person voted out of Survivor Samoa and the second member of our jury, Kelly.” Kelly is so shaken she can barely get out of her seat and bring over her torch for the traditional snuffing.
Laura whispers, “He just stirred up a lot of hell is what he did.” I think we all know the “he” to whom she refers.
Bwana Jeff’s parting thought is ominous as always, “Will this vote change the game or delay the inevitable? One more thing, the hidden immunity idol goes back into camp.”
I’m thinking it might be fairer to put it into a piñata and let everyone scramble to get to it first.
Tune in next week. There’s gonna be some ’splainin to do. Will Shambo’s treachery be revealed? Will Laura finally fail to win immunity? Did Kelly leave behind her striped knee-socks for the Yoga Group? And does Russell have enough pockets to hold all the idols he’s bound to discover?
*Elsewhere, Jeff Probst explained that the reason he previously has not asked if anyone had the idol was that its existence was supposed to be secret from the contestants who hadn’t seen the clues. He said that they were all informed at the beginning of filming that before counting the votes he would pause long enough to allow anyone holding an idol to volunteer to use it.