On the last Survivor: Caramaon – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit we were privy to one of the greatest, most unexpected Tribal Councils of all-time, with confusion going into the vote causing to Malcolm flip his vote to Reynold and then subsequently persuade Reynold to gift his own Immunity to Malcolm. That series of events we knew would be hard to beat, even to approximate. To think so, to hope so, would be reckless and negligent, and truly unfair to the institution known as Survivor.
But this show is predicated on surprising you. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, there might just be another shocking, breathtaking turn of events right around the corner.
First, these kids are creepy. An unwelcome visit from Kid Sister and My Buddy. Can’t tell if they’re expressing joy or crying for help, like Hasidic children on a school bus.
Following the hectic Tribal Council last week, Stealth ‘R’ Us CEO Former Federal Agent(?) Fillip calls a company meeting in the usual place, within ear and eyeshot from the fire, well within range of anyone not yet a SRUs employee. Guys, little pro-tip, if you want to have a secret meeting of a covert operation, don’t do it within a four-foot-radius of your competition, and don’t end it with a team cheer. But Team Bro is all whatevs, we’ll just find like ten Immunity Idols tomorrow. NBD. Brewskis?
We’ve had a lot of fun exploiting Brenda for her variety of shakes and wiggles, but it’s not all sexy gyrations for the so-far silent one. As it turns out, she kinda runs like The Penguin.
Where is Brenda running to? Did Michael Skupin pop-by for a visit and fall into the fire again? Did Shamar return to to pick up his last pay check from Sherri’s fast food franchise and stub his toe? Did Cochran finally submit to crippling doubt and insecurity, his self-deprecation devolving into full on self-loathing? Did Andrea trip and fall on her face while squashing grapes? Did someone lose their dragons?? Nope. None on those things. Instead, Brenda was responding to Dawn’s pained wails, having just experienced every high school girls’ biggest nightmare: losing her retainer. Apparently she has several of her bottom teeth in there and if Reynold sees her without her retainer she’ll die. SHE’LL JUST DIE. And if she can’t find the retainer then she’s not going to the dance. She’s just NOT GOING. In Dawn’s defense, she’s more coherent here than she was after the dental surgery.
Totally normal reaction.
But, hey, Brenda needs friends. Anyway she can get ’em.
With Dawn’s teeth firmly back in place it’s off to the Reward Challenge, where Jeff promises the winners a day at a Pretty Good Western where they’ll be offered a nice lunch and decent drinks and have full access to a not bad pool. The challenge was pretty much an excuse to tar and feather the competitors (with mud and rice standing in, respectively) along with, of course, a good ‘ol game of toss at the end, so we went ahead and did you all a favor and whittled it down to the highlights.
Thanks to Reynold’s heroics (stealing Malcolm’s strategy of finding all the bags of balls at once, which Malcolm, in turn, learned from Penner last season), Reynold, Erik, Dawn, Fillip and Cochran win the challenge and a lunch that Caramoan’s top food critics have called “fine, if you’re really hungry.” Brenda, however, is not happy with the loss.
Neither is Harry.
So Jeff sends the losers home with nothing for them (except all that rice). Too bad that Brandon had a psychotic break and drove himself out of the game; this challenge seemed to suit his skills perfectly.
Once the winners arrive at the 2 1/2 star resort, Former Federal Agent(?) Fillip immediately hops into the pool and attempts to send an SOS to any of his agency buddies who might be flying a helicopter above. Either that or Goose just died.
Meanwhile, back at losers’ camp Andrea makes like a girl in 1997 with poor taste in sitcoms and spends most of her time with Malcolm & Eddie, or at least that’s what Dawn is afraid of.
For the last few episodes (and maybe last few decades) Dawn has been on an emotional roller coaster that would make Six Flags’ Goliath look like a people mover. In addition to losing her retainer, she’s admitted to also losing her marbles (perhaps also found by Brenda), and sleep deprivation has been furthering her descent into madness. Her fellow members in Stealth ‘R’ Us have noticed her mood swings, and have begun grow wary of her instability and bizarre behavior around camp.
However, Dawn finally gets a good night’s sleep and wakes up reborn and Pippi Longstocking.
Unlike most weeks, there was nothing in this installment of Caramoan that was a nod to Survivor: Palau, at least not directly. However, the Immunity Challenge, if not a Palau throwback officially, was one in spirit, as it demonstrated the endurance and physical exhaustion that was a hallmark of so many Palau competitions. And in this challenge, so reminiscent of the Snakes drill that we dreaded during swim practice, we learned that Reynold does not only excel at tossing, he’s also extremely adept at running, swimming, and placing life preservers on posts (which is nearly a ring toss, but we’ll still let this one slide as a rare non-toss challenge). In that way, he’s placed a life-preserver on himself, and shows that he has a little bit of Tom Westman in him, winning when his back’s against the wall. Former Federal Agent(?) Fillip, on the other hand, shows he has very little Tom Westman in him and demonstrates conduct very unbecoming of a former federal agent (or a lion or a gorilla), bowing out of the challenge, citing a childhood incident involving a dock and a dock owner, disregarding the fact that more than half of the challenges have been water-based (and also forgetting that FFAF had no problem skinny dipping at the Caramoan Pretty Good Western mid-sized pool the day before). If we lived our life avoiding things just because of every bad experience that we had down at the docks then we’d never do anything. We think it’s safe to say the Federal Agency that Fillip (maybe) formerly belonged to was not the Navy Seals (or any other one). Unless, of course, Fillip was throwing the challenge. Which he obviously was (if that story suits his purposes later on).
With an Immunity win for Reynold, the pressure shifts back to Malcolm & Eddie who
are a mismatched pair of roommates and business partners, one responsible and down to earth, the other wild and unpredictable are now the prime the targets of a confident Stealth ‘R’ Us. Team Bro, they conclude, just no longer has the numbers to pose a credible threat, even if they split the vote between Malcolm & Eddie, who live together and co-own a bar downstairs don’t have any Idols, or so they believe. Their only hope, SRUs figures, is if Malcolm somehow manages to find an Idol, and we know how supremely difficult that is. Remember the last time Malcolm looked for an Idol?
DOES ANYBODY ELSE WANT TO LOOK FOR THE IDOL? ANYONE? NO? OK.
So, once again, for the fourth time in this game, someone finds an Idol pretty much immediately after commencing their search for one (that’s 2 for Reynold, 2 for Malcolm, both 2 legit 2 quit). Either the Survivor production team really doesn’t feel like exerting themselves too much to hide these Idols or Malcolm and Reynold are basically the Hardy Bros. Whatever the explanation, Malcolm has himself another Idol, and, with that, some hope.
Please welcome the first member of your jury, Michael!
It appeared, to us at least, that Malcolm might keep both Idols for himself, use one that night, since its discovery had been immediately broadcast camp-wide, and save the other one for a future Council. With a couple of Immunity Challenge wins and the concealed Idol in his pocket, Malcolm could conceivably make it to the end without an alliance, a one man Team Bro. After last week, when his cover was blown and grand plot completely unraveled, it seemed like he had perhaps lost all trust, and would be playing this game on his own. How committed to Team Bro was Malcolm, really?
You may recall in our (highly and wholly unscientific) Survivor: Caramoan player odds we had posited Malcolm as one of the favorites. He was playing the game with the confidence and expertise of someone who had played the game before combined with the skill and aptitude of someone who probably should have won on his first time out. Biding his time while Stealth ‘R’ Us dominated the early party of the game, it felt like Malcolm would eventually make his move, upend the alliance, and put himself on top, possibly to stay. The last Tribal Council changed all that, it was Malcolm who was upended, and we began to think that we had overestimated him and, perhaps, he had overestimated himself. He could have won with a straight but tried to win with a flush and got beat when they called his bluff.
Well, Malcolm might have lost the hand in last round. And lost big. But he held onto his chips, found a few more in a rock crevice, and went all-in this week (or close to it). In a move that somewhat surprised us, but was a stroke of genius and restored our faith in him, Malcolm revealed his second Idol and passed it off to Eddie, essentially enacting Brommunity. Not only that, but he did this before the vote, sending Stealth ‘R’ Us into a tizzy, inciting chaos that even Jeff could barely control. We thought the previous Tribal Council was something special. Well, this one made the prior look like the appetizer. An instant classic followed by a total game-changer. Just look at these faces.
By divulging both Idols, and their intention to put their three votes towards Fillip (the “fun suck”), Team Bro puts the pressure on Stealth ‘R’ Us, encouraging them to turn on each other, much like Rome turned against itself when Hannibal approached from the south (or so we learned from last week’s Community). A Stealth ‘R’ Us divided against itself cannot stand. And, initially, it looks like it will be Andrea who will be betrayed by the corporation for which she had worked so hard, for which she only had eleven days left until retirement. But then the CEO steps forward, and instructs his employees to adhere to their organizational goals of splitting the vote between Malcolm and Eddie, Idols be damned (Erik, apparently having finally regained speech after his diabetic coma, does suggest the possibility that they may not play one of the Idols, that the big pre-vote show is a clever ruse, an elaborate scheme). Perhaps as a function of hubris, or another in a long line of delusions, or, perhaps, emblematic of a real commitment to his fellow agents, Fillip willingly risks his life in the game for the good of Stealth ‘R’ Us. Whatever his intentions, he stands prepared to go down with the ship.
And, with Malcolm and Eddie making good on their promise to
use their lotto winnings to turn the truck garage into an auto repair shop play their Idols, that’s exactly what Fillip does. The Specialist now specializes in sitting out challenges, alienating another players and being sent home.
ALWAYS REMEMBER, FILLIP, LOOSE FORMER FEDERAL AGENTS(?) WHO DON’T PARTICIPATE IN WATER CHALLENGES IRONICALLY GO DOWN WITH SHIPS.
With the head of Stealth ‘R’ Us deposed, the VPs – Dawn, Andrea, Cochran – can no longer hide behind their boisterous, buffoonish leader, they can no longer bring him along to deflect heat and provide an important vote. With FFAF gone, the entire complexion of the game has changed. Malcolm may have only meant to save Team Bro for one more week, but what he might have done was begin a war of succession, a battle he just might win. All because of a little friendship bracelet found in the nook of a rock wall.
Which brings us to our A-B-C of the Week:
Always Be Committed
Love or loathe Fillip, there’s no denying that he was unconditionally committed to his alliance and Stealth ‘R’ Us and this imaginary world he created. You can debate how much he actually believed, how much was a delusion and how much was strategy, but you can’t debate that he had a plan, and he had a character, and he stuck to them. For better or (ultimately) worse.