Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Survivor recap: Played Out

The challenges were lame — Jeff Probst, do better! — and poker pro Jean-Robert is finally dealt a losing hand

Posted on

Monty Brinton


TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

First of all, I’m sorry I wasn’t around the past two weeks. Sorry for abandoning you? Kinda. But more sorry because I have been waiting to write about an episode in which someone busts out a fake hidden immunity idol ever since Austin first made one back on the original Exile Island. So, I take a little break, and that bastard Josh Wolk gets to have all the fun. Oh, well. Bad timing on my part.

For a second there in this episode I thought I would actually get my chance after all with Jean-Robert. It’s as if he was playing some weird game of stupid Survivor one-upsmanship with Jaime. ”Oh, you thought it was embarrassing when you played what you thought was a hidden immunity idol at tribal council only to have it tossed in the flames by Jeff Probst? Well, check this out — I am going to come right back at the next tribal council and try to play the exact same thing!” Unfortunately, Erik seized the opportunity to prove he is not, in fact, the most boring Survivor contestant in history by informing Jean-Robert that James in fact had the idols, thus denying us another fantastic Survivorfoul-up.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take it from the top, people. The episode began with James informing us that the Zhan Hu tribe members were all losers because they were ”not trying to win a million dollars. They’re trying to win the high-school friend contest.” I don’t know what kind of high school James went to, but that is a pretty lame-sounding contest to me. Also, say what you will about Peih-Gee, but the woman has been playing the game hardcore from day one. Now, I’m not saying she’s been playing it well, but she has been playing.

Apparently no one else had anything interesting to say because we went to an early reward challenge — a challenge that involved two teams of four throwing buckets of water into a boat full of killer break-dancing robots to try to sink the assassin droids before they could unleash a stream of laser fire on the contestants while forcing Probst to reenact entire scenes from the Styx stage show ”Kilroy Was Here.” (Okay, that was my best attempt to make the challenge seem more interesting than it really was.) Unfortunately, the challenge wasn’t any more exciting than if I had set up a video camera to record me splashing around in the pool with my 4-year-old daughter, and believe me, that’s not exciting. Not really sure what they were thinking with this one. People pour water in boat. Boat sinks. Yep, that’s pretty much the way it works.

At least we had formerly most boring Survivor contestant ever — Erik, aka the virgin — providing a moment of comedy by explaining why his team was picking its last player: ”We’re gonna go with Courtney because she’s light.” Ouch! Dude, why not just toss her a dozen jelly-filled Dunkin’ Donuts while you’re at it? The irony of it all, of course, is that Courtney ended up being completely useless, flailing and flapping her arms, and finally just sitting there in the boat rubbing her eyes. As I did — out of boredom.

For her part, Denise did her best to turn the show into a tearjerking after-school special, explaining ”I’m big. I’m fat. I’m always the last one picked. It’s been that way my whole life, and here it is again.” I suppose I would feel sorry for her if I didn’t have a rule to never, ever feel sorry for reality-show contestants who decide to put their lives on display in front of millions of people on a weekly basis. Plus, if anything about Denise was going to drive me to tears it would clearly be the haircut. I mean, c’mon…

While Denise was throwing her own one-woman pity party, Amanda showed proper respect for the ancient Chinese village she was visiting by forcing producers to pixelate her ass as she entered the 1,000-year-old compound. We also learned during this reward trip that not only is there an immunity idol, two hidden immunity idols, and several fake immunity idols, but, according to clueless, wine-swilling Jean-Robert, anAmerican immunity idol as well. (Wrong show! Wrong network!) When they got back to camp, Jean-Robert went to extraordinary lengths to locate a real idol, even going so far as to behead a statue! He finally took down the flying bats, and we were all set for Tribal Council Hilarity, Part II, but the virgin later had to go and screw everything up. (Not often can you legitimately use the words ”virgin” and ”screw” in the same sentence.)

NEXT: Bad touches