Welcome back to "Survivor," where we can’t begin a new day without remembering the last one. Remember last week? When Cirie ignored Jonathan’s whining to become temporary queen of the Favorites? Good
times. But now it’s the morning after the night before. And it is AWKWARD here in the Favorites camp. This isn’t just wow-weren’t-we-both-drunk awkward. This is the-safe-word-was-"raspberry"-and-I-know -I-said-"raspberry"-at-least-twice-and-my-wrists-really-hurt-now awkward. By which I mean Jonathan is pissed over Cirie flipping alliances, and Cirie sees little reason to apologize to him. Jonathan waggles his finger a whole bunch and no one trusts anyone else. And thus begins yet another episode of good wholesome family entertainment!
Seriously, "Survivor" — if you’re going to bother flashing "Fans" and "Favorites" subtitles over the names of the tribes, why bother having the tribe names? Why not just make "Fans" and "Favorites" sound vaguely tribal and leave it at that? "Fanii" and "Favorika," maybe. It’d make things easier on us all. In fact, I’m taking matters into my own hands.
Fanii Natalie, a personal trainer who’s been pretty quiet up until now, explains that, indeed, that is exactly her strategy — she’s keeping her head down and tending the camp like a good little tribe member,
presumably until she can make her own vicious grab for power. Natalie mentions this because old man Chet’s just sitting around, neither plotting nor working, which is simply unacceptable. Mikey B says that Chet is bad for morale, and that "he’s gone." That seems like a pretty bold pronouncement. But Mikey B has already proved himself to be much better at talking about this game than actually playing it. (And he’s not that good at talking about it.)
Meanwhile, Eliza is apparently not up to the rigors of "Survivor"-ing — which would make sense to me if she were a newbie, but nope, she’s an alleged Favorite. What season was she on, "Survivor: Club Med"? Does she have secret limbo skills I don’t understand? James speaks for Favorika’s Hook-up Kids when he says that they’re annoyed about getting rid of Yao-Man when clearly they should have gotten rid of the hundred-pound weakling. Eliza is totally offended when James and Ozzy openly discuss these basic concepts of Darwinism right in front of her. She may be a secret limbo-ing Creationist. She also hates
everyone on her tribe. Lotta love on this island.
Reward challenge! There are some coconuts with letters written on them, submerged in an underwater cage. So the coconuts need to be fished out of the water before being taken back to the beach, where the other half of the team will unscramble the coconuts to spell a word. You know what is compelling TV? Watching people fish one or two coconuts out of a submerged cage. You know what is not compelling TV?
Watching people fish 20 coconuts out of a submerged cage. But Ozzy shows the first real sign of being a veteran Survivor when he implements a solid strategy for coconut-fishing that gives Favorika a solid lead. And Gravedigger James is the one to figure out the word! Even he’s surprised!
The Favorites win chickens, a rooster and chicken feed. I’ll be seriously surprised if that rooster lives long enough to even get a taste of chicken feed. They also send Ozzy and Fanii Kathy to Exile Island. This actually annoys the Fans — half because she’s not a team player, and half because she gets to hang out with Ozzy all day. (He is looking less and less like David Faustino as the weeks go by, so I
suppose I see their point.)
Out on the "island," Kathy (burned out from her previous two trips to Exile Island) has no interest in looking for the immunity idol. So Ozzy blows her off to go searching by himself… and he finds it! Could have been you, Kathy! Way to be a quitter!
Ozzy proves yet again that he is pretty sharp on strategy, crafting a fake immunity idol to take the place of the real immunity idol was. This means that another visitor to Exile Island, down the line, might confuse Ozzy’s fake with the real idol, and try to play it later on. But while Ozzy is good at strategy, he is not good at arts and crafts, and it’s doubtful his fake idol (which he nicknames "Eeyore") will really fool anyone. He is able to do all this right under Kathy’s nose, though, so perhaps I shouldn’t go overestimating the intelligence of these kids.
And off we go to the immunity challenge — which is frankly ridiculous. Most of these challenges tend to gain inspiration from practical skills, but I cannot figure out what’s going on here. Six players from each team are bound together on a six-pronged hub that they have to maneuver around an obstacle course while collecting bead necklaces that plug into yet another word scramble… You think it sounds ridiculous? Imagine spending 10 minutes of your life watching it. Here’s what matters: the Fans lose big-time. And you know what that means?
If you think it means "a full five minutes of Mikey B’s overanalysis," then you are right. But according to Mikey, this Tribal Council is a no-brainer — Chet is weak and everyone is done with him. Except for Chet’s buddy Tracy, that is, who decides to stir up some fun by asking Joel why, exactly, he’s rolling over for Mikey. This is, as it turns out, a fantastic way of getting Joel to do what you want. Tracy tells him that if he can get one more person to join them, they plus her Chet-and-Kathy alliance can get rid of Mikey right then and there. Joel doesn’t initially seem thrilled by the idea of keeping Chet around, and even Chet is underwhelmed by Tracy’s attempts to save him…
But! At tribal council, Darwinism does NOT prevail, and Tracy’s plan works, with Mikey B getting the big snuff-out, five votes to four. Analysis of the post-credits sequence shows that Eric cast the swing vote. Eric probably has some beloved grandma whom Joel threatened to "pay a visit." Ah, well. Goodbye, Mikey. I’m sure we’ll see you on the message boards.
Next week: It’s time for the tribe switcharoo! Now I am actually going to have to start remembering the tribe names. Crap. Also, Joel reflects fondly on medieval times, when he would have been allowed to kill Chet himself. Yes, he actually says that. Heaven help us all.
– Liz Shannon Miller