This was another great episode of Survivor: Caramoan and, thankfully, a more unpredictable episode than last week’s. We had a medical evacuation, an alliance betrayal, and a visit from the charming Tata. But we’ll get to him.
Things kicked off with one tribe at odds and the other being a little too friendly. Reynold was furious that Laura had told him to vote Shamar, and Eddie was even more vocal. These guys aren’t the best a buttering up the majority alliance. They should be trying to save their butts, not cause fights. Meanwhile, Andrea was peeved that Phillip was welcoming every person who’s not in their alliance into “Stealth ‘R’ Us”. He gave Brandon, Erik and Brenda all nicknames. I really wonder why Brenda has ended up on the bottom of the totem pole. She’s physically strong, smart, social. An all around savvy player. Does Andrea just not like her? What happened there?
Leapfrog and Lesson Time
The Reward Challenge tonight was very cool, and the reward itself was even cooler. Two tribe members had to work their way across some platforms being held by the rest of the tribe, and then everyone had to fit themselves on a tiny platform. It was a close race, but the Favorites came out on top. (Literally.) They won a visit from a local bushman, which always tends to be pretty useful – he showed them how to cook rice inside bamboo and other tricks.
Poor Shamar thought he won the challenge, because he was buried under a pile of teammates on the platform. I can’t stand the guy, and it was pretty funny, but I did feel for him.
At the Favorites’ camp, “Tata” provided, as Cochran quipped, “dinner and a show.” He was hard to understand, but immediately charmed all the women on the tribe with his four-foot stature and gap-toothed grin. Cochran hilariously pointed out that all the girls giving him a kiss on the cheek would “provide him with fodder for years to come, in his mind and heart.” Amazing.
Over at the Fans’ camp, Shamar was doing what Shamar does best – laying around in the shelter sleeping for 19 hours at a time, like the world’s laziest large, tattooed cat. Why would you even WANT to be in that shelter? There were rats in there! (Seriously, ew. Rats in the shelter at night is one thing that would make me pause about going on Survivor. I’d still go, obvs. But ew.) Shamar whined for Sherri to bring him some rice. Shamar sat and rocked back and forth. Shamar whined that his eye hurt. Pfft. Baby. Is it even that bad? I bet not!
Oh. It is.
Everyone on the tribe (and at home watching) was thinking that Shamar was blowing his eye scratch out of proportion. After all, the guy did almost quit the game recently. But medical was called in, and pronounced it was red and swollen. A dye test revealed that there was “a divet” in his cornea. That’s the important part of the eye, guys! In fact, it was so serious that they had to pull Shamar from the game.
No one felt bad, because the entire tribe was ready to vote him out anyway. I would have pitied Shamar if he’d ever seemed like he was excited to play the game. Instead, it was just a case of good riddance. His unscheduled departure meant that if the Fans had to go to Tribal Council this week, the vote wouldn’t be as easy as they’d hoped.
Brains vs. Brawn
The Immunity Challenge was also really good this week – they’ve done this one before, and it’s always fun to watch. Players had to swim through an obstacle course, jump off a structure to smash a tile, and retrieve a key. Then two players would use the keys to unlock a chest and one of them would use the balls inside the chest to knock bricks off of a ledge.
The Favorites killed it in the swimming part of the challenge, even though Laura (the Fans’ weakest player) was on lock duty. The Favorites just have stronger players left – Brenda, Malcolm and Erik were all really good in the water. And, they lucked out in that Phillip is very good at throwing but might have been a liability in the water. The Fans put Reynold on throwing, because he’s great at it, but that meant one less strong person in the water. Reynold made a pretty great comeback, but the lead was too big – Phillip secured Immunity for the Favorites once again. They’re beginning to really cream the Fans, which means one thing – a tribal shuffle is very likely around the corner.
Having lost yet another challenge, the decision for the Fans came down to one of Brains vs. Brawn. They could vote out Eddie or Reynold, which would keep the core alliance of five solid but weaken the tribe physically. Or they could vote out Laura, which would keep strong dudes on the tribe but undermine the core alliance. Everyone had a different opinion on what to do.
Matt The Bearded One wanted to vote out Laura. What, suddenly now it’s important to win challenges? That was a decision you made on Day One, buddy, when you decided not to side with the self-proclaimed cool kids. Matt’s BFF Michael wasn’t so sure, because he thought voting out Laura would be the end of the alliance. He wanted to keep the most trustworthy people.
Then there are Sherri and…this pale brunette girl never speaks. Julia? Julia, yes. Sherri told Julia that if the rest of the tribe began focusing on physical strength and voted out Laura, that the other women would be next. I think Sherri was absolutely right – it was in her and Julia’s best interests to keep Laura and vote out Eddie. (You had to assume that Reynold would play his Idol, I mean, come on.)
I’m of the belief that keeping trustworthy, secure alliance members is more important at this point than keeping challenge powerhouses. Eddie and Reynold are too pissed off to ever become rock solid alliance members. They’ll flip as soon as they think they have a better deal, possibly just out of spite. They can’t be trusted in the case of a tribal shuffle, and they can’t be trusted post-merge. It’s more important to have a solid alliance of five that is ready to absorb the rejects from the other tribe – in this case, that’s Brenda and Erik (and maybe Brandon, if he doesn’t go completely off his rocker next week.) It’s a move that has worked many a time – the majority tribe almost always has fractures when the merge comes, and that’s when the minority tribe swoops in and picks up those people. It’s rare that everyone in a nine-person alliance thinks they’re getting to the end.
I really thought that Sherri, Julia and Michael would stick to their guns and keep the alliance solid. But I was wrong. Reynold played his Idol because he’d have been stupid not to, but everyone on the tribe voted Laura. Her whole alliance betrayed her, and I don’t think they’re better off for it. I think this tribe will enter the merge in the minority if there isn’t a tribal shuffle, and if there is a shuffle, I think they’re going to really wish that Eddie and Reynold weren’t still in the mix. What do you guys think?
Next week, Brandon proves once and for all that the psychological testing for this show could use some beefing up. He pours out all the rice, guys! That’s insane! What are they going to do? I can’t wait.