Marty is lucky he picked a fight with Jane at last week’s tribal, rather than NaOnka. “If it had been me,” NaOnka vows, “I woulda hit him. Hard. Then I woulda hit him again.”
THE FEUD HAS REACHED CRITICAL MASS
Back at camp, no one is very happy with Marty’s tirade against Miss Jane, least of all Jane herself. She says Marty is “the jackass named Mr. Farty, ‘cause that’s what he’s going to be called from now on.” She isn’t worried; she thinks she can beat Marty both physically and strategically.
Come morning, Jane’s still ranting, “He knows there’s a noose around his neck, just waitin’ for the hatchet man to come and cut that rope. I’m gonna take him to the woodshed and whip his ass.” Umm, I just have one question: if the guy’s standing on the gallows with the rope around his neck and somebody comes along and cuts the rope, doesn’t that mean he won’t hang after all? Throw in the woodshed and you’ve got a real mixed Threat-a-phor on your hands. Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.
Marty must have stayed up all night plotting. He goes first to Sash to demand whether Chase voted against him. Sash assures him that Chase did not, and Marty is relieved, “at least that proves Chase has half a brain.” Marty explains his plan first to Sash, then to his bots Benry and Dan. The idea is to spread the notion that they’re voting for NaOnka, thus driving her up the wall and forcing out her idol, while really intending to oust Jane.
“ABOUT TO DO SOMETHIN’ CRAZY”
The tribe has arrived at challenge beach. Jeff explains that they’ll be divided into two teams. The winners will be ziplining across the treetops of the Nicaraguan jungle, then feasting on chicken, steaks, apple pie and potato chips. I thought the potato chips sounded rather random, but then I realized they were probably included to make up for the fact the reward was going to include neither one of those amazing Sprint cellphones or a charming Charmin bathroom boutique.
The Survivor Challenge Crew has been inspired this week by a famous work of literature, that classic ouvre “The Three Little Pigs.” Each team will have to navigate through an obstacle course which includes breaking through successive walls of––wait for it––straw, sticks and brick! After they’ve made it through, collecting three keys suspended high above their heads as they complete each segment, they’ll have to unlock a trifecta of padlocks. This is clearly going to require both strength and stamina, so it makes no sense at all when the odd-man-out (who won’t be competing), Chase, announces he’s “about to do somethin’ crazy.” And it is crazy: he chooses to share his fate with the girls’ team.
Host Probst is obviously concerned by the apparent unfairness of the women competing against the men. He insists that team assignment by gender was not intentional, “Amazingly, we ended up with men versus women.” Later, at tribal council, he’ll continue to harp on the subject. I’m a stout defender of the notion that there’s very little that men can do better than women, but when it comes to using brute strength to burst through a pair of brick walls, I’ll concede the advantage to that Y chromosome.
Here’s how the competition unfolded: the men took a huge lead right from the start, even with Lazy Dan just tagging along after the others had done all the work leveling the barriers. The women might have had a fighting chance but Jane, bless her heart, was suffering from near-total collapse. At several points, she fell to the ground in exhaustion, and by the end, her complexion had turned corpse-gray.
The women are disappointed, hungry and exhausted. Purple Kelly is near tears, but pulls herself together to put on a brave face, “I get to spend the afternoon with some awesome women. And Chase.” Yeah, Chase. Marty is disdainful, “Watching Chase join Jane was like watching the movie Dumb and Dumber/”
Jeff makes a proposal to the victorious men, “So guys, I have a question for you. In this social game, knowing there are votes at the end, is there somebody on the other team that fought hard, that you’d be willing to give up your space on the reward for?” It’s an offer they can–and do–refuse.
THE ZIP-LINES IN BROOKLYN ALL BELONG TO BURGLARS
The guys’ zip-lining trip is fabulous. Kudos to the cameramen for some amazing shots. Everyone, save Dan, is thrilled. He looks absolutely terrified: “Ziplining. It was OK. There aren’t any zip-lines in Brooklyn. If there are you’re a burglar.”
Marty spends the better part of the picnic lobbying for his strategy to burn NaOnka’s idol while ridding himself of his nemesis, Jane. Fabio agrees, but he’s worried about Brenda and makes Sash promise to keep her reassured, cool, calm and collected.
Sash, for his part, believes that he and Brenda are in complete control, “I believe Brenda and I are the two brightest minds out here and in the end she and I have the power to send whoever we want home.”
While the guys are partying in the jungle, Chase is getting on Brenda’s nerves back at camp. Brenda is incredulous that Chase chose the girls’ team over the boys’. “I don’t think Chase he made a smart move.” Sarcastic, she adds, “He didn’t want to disappoint North Carolina and Mommy Holly and maybe me.”
DON’T GO IRKIN’ BRENDA
While the original LaFlor tribe existed, Chase nearly worshipped Brenda. He shared others’ secrets and did her bidding. Now, he frets, he and Brenda just “don’t talk anymore.” He seeks relationship counseling from Naonka (?!?). She warns, “Don’t work her nerves! Just don’t get on her nerves.”
Chase ignores the advice and accosts Brenda, “I’d love Marty out first. What do you think? You seem really unsure.” Brenda brushes him off like a piece of lint. She has no patience with insecurity, “Chase is like a little baby that’s wahhh wahhh wahhh. One of the things I can’t stand is paranoia. You can be tall. You can be muscular, but where’s that Alpha Male?” Naonka cackles, “I told him ‘Don’t go irkin’ Brenda.’ So what does he do? He runs over here and irks you.”
Cut to: the next morning. The men are back in camp.
YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS
Tree mail arrives with the announcement of the day’s immunity challenge. Jane knows who she hopes doesn’t win, Marty. “I’m hopin’ the gods up there keep the good and triumph over the evil. There’s only one seriously evil person in this game and that’s Marty. If he don’t win immunity, the Fat Lady’s gonna be singing. The Fat Lady’s me, even though I’m not fat.”
Jeff explains the challenge. He’ll be showing the Survivors a sequence of six pirate-themed pictures. They will each have a six-sided block with matching symbols which they must hold up in the same order he displayed them initially. Jane and NaOnka get it wrong on just the third picture. Next out is Dan, then Holly and Kelly. Brenda, Benry, Chase, Marty and Fabio make it to round two. First goes Fabio, then Chase and Benry. Finally, it’s down to Brenda and Marty, who, Jeff mentions, “have not been the best of friends in this game so far.” Marty mumbles, “Not true.” Jeff counters, “Just sayin’ what I see.” Marty must have been a bit unnerved: he misses the very next picture, and Brenda gets the big shiny immunity necklace.
THE SMARTEST THING TO DO
It is the afternoon of Day 24. Benry and Fabio are gathering fruit. Fabio inquires, “Do you think that plan is going to work? We gotta make sure she flushes that idol tonight.”
Benry is cautious, “You and I gotta lay low, play dumb, say we’re voting NaOnka.”
Fabio sighs. “I hate to keep playing stupid, but that’s the smartest thing to do.”
Benry fortifies Fabio: “It’s easy.”
Fabio agrees. “It’s real easy.”
Marty and Dan attempt to convince Chase that it’s NaOnka on the block. Marty tries to put it in terms he thinks Chase will understand, “Let me put it this way, if a player walked into your locker room and took your wallet and your equipment is that a player you’d want next to you?”
Marty masquerading as a football coach isn’t nearly as successful as his pretense of being a chess champion. Chase goes straight back to Holly to tell her he thinks the guys are voting for Jane, not NaOnka.
Brenda isn’t worried about Marty’s power play, “Marty’s not running the camp. Sash and I are running the camp.” She and Sash have a confab on the beach. Brenda is aware of Jane’s potential, “She’s a huge threat. Anybody letting her go to the final is a fool.” Sash wonders aloud, “I thought all the women wanted Marty out.” Brenda affirms, “They do.” Still, she says, “All of a sudden, Jane and Chase and Holly’s clique, all of a sudden they’re demanding things.” Brenda and Sash are smug–they’re playing both sides at once.
Y’ALL KEEP TALKIN’ ABOUT THE DAMNED FLOUR
Jeff opens tribal council by asking for a rehash of the reward challenge, “Jane, you guys were outmanned.” Jane has found humor in the event, “when we hit the bamboo we bounced off; when we hit the brick wall we bounced off.” Her losing team-mates do not look pleased.
Asked about the maneuvering that might have happened during the guys outing, Fabio grins, “I’m sure strategizing definitely happened. I was just stoked we were eating while it was going on.” Gotta love this guy.
Marty, still keeping up the pretense that NaOnka is in jeopardy, gives a sermonette about how stealing people’s food is the most serious of offenses. So, Jeff asks NaOnka, what about that? “You admitted you stole, but you survived it.”
NaOnka gets huffy, “It was stupid. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. [pointed pause] JEFF. I’m not perfect. I’m a humanitarian. I’m human.” NaOnka human? Okay. A humanitarian? Not even when hell freezes over.
Jeff prods. “You’re mad at Marty.”
Damn straight she is: “I don’t like him. I don’t like his hair. The way he walks. He sucks.”
NaOnka tries to explain to Jeff, “It’s like a track meet. He’s in lane 5; I’m in lane 4. I’m gonna try to beat him but before we start I’m gonna go (here she’s waving her arms wildly and twisting herself into a pretzel) woot woot woot and try to scare him.”
Marty and NaOnka get into a serious argument, in which she threatens, “My daddy’s in Inglewood, California.” Marty shoots back, “He’s not going to be very proud of you tonight.”
Poor Fabio is befuddled, “This is crazy. Everything she says doesn’t make sense to me.” Don’t worry, Fabs, you’re not alone.
NaOnka continues her rant, “The talked so much s* about me yesterday. You irritate the f* out of me too.” And she’s heard enough, shouting, “Y’all keep talkin’ about the damn flour!”
Jeff is nearly laughing, “God, Naonka, I think I’m speechless. That you can go off like this tribal after tribal and still be sitting here tells me you’re gonna be sitting here in front of me at the final.”
NaOnka doesn’t care that she’s just been told, in essence, that no one in a million years would ever vote to give her the million dollars, “This is who I am. I’ve been like this for 27 years. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it.”
With that, Jeff calls for the vote. Jane, scrawling Marty’s name, rages, “You are a disgrace to every man who calls himself a father. There is no way I would let my child or grandchild come play with your children. Plain and simple.”
Marty holds Jane in equal contempt, “Y’all’s cat-fishing trip has been terminated, ‘cause y’all are messing with the wrong gator, Missy.”
Marty was wrong. It was his trip that was terminated, by a vote of 6-4. NaOnka applauds. Jane and Alina exchange triumphant glances. Fabio looks perplexed.
Jeff sends Libertad home with the observation that they’re no longer making decisions as a group, “This is where it gets complicated. Good night.”
Marty, for his part, is sorry to be leaving, “It sucks to not be in the game any more. Absolutely sucks. It’s frustrating that not enough people were playing the game. Obviously, tonight they were playing the game.”
Next week: “Oh my god! This is a day from hell!” What the dickens?! Have Dan’s shoes risen from the dead? Tune in again, same place, same time. Waywyrd will be reporting–if she survives the shock.