If you haven’t seen this week’s episode of SURVIVOR, avert your eyes. Otherwise, let’s go back to the island and find out who got wooed, who got immunity and who got played!
Spy Games: Phillip, who has mercifully covered his pink panties with a downright respectful blue bathing suit, tells Sherri that when he first saw her, he thought, “Damn, she’s hot!” Apparently, not throwing up in the back of her throat at his words means she’s passed her initiation into Stealth ‘R’ Us, because she’s given the name Tenacity. At this point, I can’t help wondering if there’s anybody left who hasn’t been inducted into Captain Cray Cray’s Super Spy Camp. As if reading my mind, Sherri responds to Phillip’s behavior by theorizing, “They’re all crazy out here!”
Boys Will Be Boys: How simple is tonight’s reward challenge, which involves throwing a ball as an opponent tries to block it? So simple that Phillip easily scores a point. Heck, just about everyone does except Dawn, who must surely love that Jeff constantly points out she’s “the oldest woman in this competition.” It comes down to a battle of the hair, with Eric scoring against Malcolm. The winners get to rappel down a waterfall to a picnic site. Hold up… rappel? How does facing death translate into a “reward?” Anyway, the winning team is all men – Michael, Cochran, Eddie, Eric and Reynold – who commence doing what men do when alone: They chew with their mouths open, burp and talk about shutting the women out from this point on. It’s part He Man’s Women Haters Club and part GOP summit meeting. Cochran plays along, but admits, “I don’t want to be engaging in any sort of masculine tomfoolery with these numbskulls!”
Love Notes: Left behind, Malcolm tries pulling Sherri and Dawn – aka The Oldest Woman In The Competition – into his plan, but it starts to look as if his loose lips may sink his ship when Phillip – aka “How The Hell Is He Still In This Game?” – figures out what he’s up to. Andrea flirts with Eddie to sway him, and the producers clearly want us to see this as a budding showmance, because there’s sweet, romantic music playing in the background. But you could cut the supposed sexual tension with a non-existent knife. “I am indirectly hitting on you,” says Eddie, who it turns out is perhaps the worst flirter in reality television history.
Waterworld: For the immunity challenge, the contestants are put beneath a cage-like contraption as the tide rises, leaving them less and less breathing room. By the time I’ve consulted my Official Donald Rumsfeld Guide to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques to find out whether or not this qualified as torture, Phillip is already out. Huh. How is he still in this? Honestly, I could probably do this particular challenge forever… I may be, well, let’s go with plump, but like Shelly Winters said in The Poseidon Adventure, in the water, I’m a very skinny lady. Except I’m not a lady. Soon, it comes down to Andrea and Brenda. I don’t know who this Brenda chick is – was she on the island this whole time, or is she like one of those people who gets dropped off two blocks before the finishing line and then claims to have won the marathon – but she wins immunity.
Who’s Zoomin’ Who?: Back at camp, everybody pretends to be happy for – and know the name of – Brenda. Andrea and Malcolm lie to one another. The difference? She knows that they’re both lying, he’s so clueless that even Dawn says that he’s “not dialed in.” As the pre-tribal council maneuvering begins, Andrea has the rug pulled out from under her, and Dawn proves that if bugging were an Olympic event, she’d be a gold-medal winner. Around the campfire, Phillip begins babbling on about Spies ‘R’ Us, and his tribemates work so hard not to bust a gut laughing that I can only hope the medical team is on standby. As voting begins, I know only two things for sure: Cochran wants to slap a few of the folks seated around the fire, and someone on the production crew is clearly slipping Andrea beauty products. I mean, the girl looks gorgeous! When Jeff asks if anyone has the immunity idol, Reynold whips it out… only to have Malcolm successfully talk him into handing it over! But it’s Michael who is voted out as Malcolm tries (without much success) to look surprised, and Reynold realizes he got majorly played. The lesson here? Neither a borrower nor a lender be!
Richard Simms is the Executive Editor of Soaps In Depth magazine and the author of Crimes Against Civility, which is available on Amazon.com.