I find it interesting that this week’s "Previously On…" casts Parvati as a straight-up double-crosser, when last week, we saw that Cirie was also a huge proponent of betraying past alliances to vote out Ozzy. But in gauging the aftermath, perhaps the "Survivor" editors have a point. Because while Cirie stays mostly at the sidelines this week, Amanda is actively annoyed by Parvati’s girl power plan, and both she and James are pissed.
Parvati isn’t oblivious to this, and first tries to save her relationship with "Survivor" boyfriend James. But James is too busy ruminating on how Parvati can’t stop eating "the apple" (of temptation?) to really take her apologies seriously. Here’s a thought, Parvati: when your "Survivor" boyfriend can’t stop comparing you to Eve in the Garden of Eden — your reality TV love may just be DOA.
Almost as awkward is Parvati’s conversation with her (possibly former) BFF Amanda. Cirie wanders over just in time to confirm that it’s her, Amanda and Parvati to the end. But for some reason, Amanda doesn’t totally trust the two women responsible for voting out her "Survivor" boyfriend. Amanda? Not as dumb as she looks.
We cut away from the drama to focus on important things. Like this season’s blind auction. This element of the season always makes me feel deeply uncomfortable, like the producers are rubbing America’s excesses in our faces. After all, Cirie spends $120 on a hot dog and french fries. Tell me what’s more American than that.
Other highlights of the auction include James enjoying some fruitbat soup, and Natalie winning a large chocolate cake, which she and three others have to eat in 60 seconds. She of course chooses her alliance of Parvati, Alexis, and Cirie, and afterward Erik offers $20 to lick their fingers. Cirie takes him up on it. YOU’RE MARRIED, CIRIE. There is an entire montage of people licking chocolate off fingers.
Like I said, uncomfortable.
One interesting twist does come up during the auction — because Ozzy never played his immunity idol before being voted out, a new immunity idol has been hidden. We find this out because Natalie wins a chance to send a whining Jason off to Exile Island. "Maybe this time you’ll find a real idol," Jeff observes.
After the auction, everyone talks about getting rid of Jason. But that doesn’t stop Jason from finding the hidden immunity idol easily. He thinks that this is a sign that Natalie sent him there on purpose, and that he and Natalie are in an alliance. But back at camp, Natalie calls him a "bitch" like four times while discussing how she and the other woman will target him at tribal council, with James ready as a second choice. Erik isn’t on the table, because today it’s Erik’s birthday and "as evil and diabolical and manipulative as women can be," Natalie says, "we want Erik to have a good birthday." Wow.
Natalie’s a real peach.
Today’s immunity challenge is a mash-up of every single puzzle-assembling challenge. And before they get to it, Natalie pulls Jason aside and whispers to him that he should let anyone but James win this challenge, because James is on the chopping block. Damn, Natalie’s a good liar. At least when it comes to men. Jason is putty.
The challenge comes down to Erik and James, but Erik manages to take it. Happy birthday, Erik, here’s individual immunity!
Of course, it just means an extra few days among these women, who are really enjoying their new power. Parvati nicknames the alliance the Black Widow Brigade, because they are spinning the men around and devouring them. Yes, that’s what she says. Yes, we keep cutting to inserts of giant jungle spiders when she says it. Yes, it’s starting to creep me out. This show keeps providing stronger and stronger arguments in favor of misogyny.
Blissfully unaware of any of this, Jason is proving to be way too trusting. By way too trusting, I mean he’s doing stuff like leaving his bag unattended while he goes fishing, assuming that the women won’t search through it to learn if he found the secret idol.
So the women search through his bag and learn that he does have it, but they’re not too worried, because all they have to do is make sure he’s comfy and cozy that night, so he won’t play it and thus leave himself open to elimination. Natalie talks some more about how much fun she’s having, discovering her true self: who turns out to be a stone-cold bitch. Her words, people. Natalie likes the word bitch a little too much. Also she wants to floss his teeth with Jason’s jugular. Does she think she’s being cute right now? She’s sure grinning like she does.
At tribal council, the big tense moment is not the voting, but whether or not Jason is going to play his idol. And he doesn’t! James does the cutest double-take. But James still freaks out as the votes get read off, because wow, James got more votes than I was expecting, honestly. And Parvati gets one vote! Parsing the post-credits sequence reveals that vote came from James. A "Survivor" boyfriend scorned… But Jason is eliminated, the big dope. It’s going to be funny, when Ozzy and Jason get a chance to say their piece. Based on the way Ozzy’s been glowering off to the side, I bet he’s already got some choice words picked out.
Next week: James’ hand is screwed up! Families come to visit! And Erik continues to be my favorite ever.
— Liz Shannon Miller