What a weird episode of Survivor. I’m not talking about Phillip sticking a feather on his head. Or David scratching his ass while hanging upside down. I’m not even talking about Ometepe’s bizarre “buddy system.” I’m talking about two entire episodes being squeezed into one. At first I thought I had simply consumed too many Milwaukee’s Bests and was seeing double. But no! We’ve had episodes with two Tribal Councils before, but that was always one of those lame challenges where both teams had to vote somebody out. This was more like someone in a rush hitting the fast-forward button to cram two episodes worth of challenges, Tribal Councils and general beach living into 60 minutes so they could use the extra hour to go do something important. As if there is anything more important than ‘Survivor’!
If you’re like me — and pray that you are not — you also most likely found yourself shocked that an episode featuring two immunity challenges and two Tribal Councils could produce so little drama. (Humor, yes. Drama, no.) Which is exactly why I support the idea of the Survivor fast-forward. This season started so promising, but let’s admit it — it’s fallen into a bit of a rut. There is almost always a pre-merge lull, so that was expected. Things definitely livened up last week when Matt went through the Redemption Island revolving door and found himself right back where he started, but now with Ometepe clearly in control, and the next vote-outs sure to be Zapatera, there was only so much drama we could hope for. The solution: Get through it as quick as possible. I totally support the decision. Just imagine if they had done the same thing for Survivor: Nicaragua. Hell, we could have jammed through that entire season in an hour-flat!
Also, it’s a numbers game. When Survivor went up from 16 contestants to 18 (and sometimes 20) that meant that unless people started quitting or being evacuated by Dr. Ramona that there were going to be some double eliminations. I always hated a tribe winning a challenge and still having to vote someone off, so I’ll take a super-stuffed episode over that any day. That’s not to say this is exactly the way I would have done it, though. Here’s what I would have done: have the first challenge, everyone then goes to Tribal Council, Mike gets voted off, and then Probst says, “Guess what, suckas? It’s time for another immunity challenge and Tribal Council — right here, right now! BAM!” They then perch each contestant on small platforms and make them take part in some sort of endurance challenge (like they did for the final Tribal Council-set challenge in Survivor: The Amazon). As each person drops, they go back to their stump and await the end of the contest/beginning of Tribal. Last person out wins the pimped-out immunity necklace and we’re immediately back to voting another person off.
C’mon, not bad, right? Almost as good as my idea to bury hidden immunity idols in pre-merge tribe challenges to tempt people at the bottom of their tribes to stop helping their own team in the hopes of digging up an idol and saving their skin — another idea that will never see the light of day. But enough of my Survivor day dreaming. Let’s get to last night’s episode, from the top.
NEXT: Return of the Robfather