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Survivor recap: Welcome to the Puppet Show!

Shambo is elected tribe leader, but who is really calling the shots at Galu? (Hint: not Shambo.)

Posted on

Survivor Shannon
Monty Brinton/CBS


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

“When we’re down to the final 5 we can burn her no problem. Bros before hos — period.” — Dave talking bout Shambo

I was shocked when I first heard this quote from Dave. Positively shocked. I mean, I had no idea people still said “bros before hos.” All off a sudden I feel like I’m in a 1990s rap video, smoking big fat reefers with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. I certainly hope Dave also remembers to “check himself before he wrecks himself,” because “all sell outs need to get the hell out.” But the other thing that struck me when I heard this was the following: Shambo is gonna go far in this game. All the talk of puppet regimes, and how stupid Shambo was, and making her tribe leader because, according to Erik, “She’s gonna feel so important and so flattered that she’ll be as deep in my pocket as the lint at the very bottom” — it all feels like a big tip-off that at some point Shambo is gonna somehow flip the script (you like that, Dave?) on her new Dudes Alliance.

I also can’t help but feel Shambo will make it far due to something Jeff Probst told me before the season aired. As I wrote yesterday, he told me that Shambo was “one of my all-time favorite characters ever…. I think Shambo is going to be an audience favorite.” Yet Shambo has done nothing so far to even come close to earning the status of fan favorite (unless you love people who lose chickens and fishing gear, idiotically give out clues to the whereabouts of hidden immunity idols, and would prefer to exterminate yoga from the face of the planet). That tells me Probst has either seriously overestimated her appeal, or she must do something to earn people’s admiration — and my best guess is that must be sticking it to the people who are playing her like a fool. Of course, being the underdog didn’t make Sierra remotely likable last year, so who knows. I’m not trying to completely dis and dismiss (look at me go, Dave!) Shambo. There have been far more annoying contestants than her. I’m just trying to figure out what all the hype was about, and maybe we’ll find out in upcoming weeks.

In any event, after Shambo was voted the new leader of Galu, we were off to the reward challenge, which basically amounted to a big game of memory — with a few twists. For one thing, there were four dummy items that had no match. For another, a team could keep the items they matched if they were willing to give up the point they earned for hooking them up. I really like that last twist, even if it didn’t end up paying many dividends in the drama department. Any time you are giving contestants a choice and a chance to sabotage themselves in the game (like when idiots take food instead of an opportunity to compete for immunity), that is a good thing in my book. What would be even better is if people had to choose between helping the team or doing something that would help them individually (like my proposal a few weeks back about adding a hidden immunity idol into a challenge). Anyway, I dig it.

NEXT: A Mark Burnett crossover episode?