Wow. And you thought #SevereGastrointestinalDistress was bad! Call this one the anti-Fishbach. While our good pal Mr. Poopy Pants couldn’t stop going to the bathroom last season, Joe had the exact opposite problem this week on Survivor and couldn’t start. A victim of his own self-inflicted Steakocalypse, Joe began residing in the Constipation Station and simply could not move out.
I’ve gone on and on in recaps before about how all contestants should practice moderation on food rewards due to the havoc the sudden influx of grub can have on a starving system, but they never listen. And sometimes they must then pay the price, be it in the form of stomach pain, vomiting, and, yes, #SevereGastrointestinalDistress. But Joe’s bill came in another form — the fact that he could not eject any of those 8,749 beef kebabs.
Not since the Bruce Kanegai era have we seen someone suffer so much from the inability to — in the immortal words of Kanegai — “pass a deuce.” As bad as Fishbach’s situation appeared, this end of the spectrum (no pun intended) looked even worse. Medical tried to help. It didn’t work, and Joe had to be pulled from the game. In the cruelest of all cruel Survivor twists, Joe had just finally won an individual challenge, and it was the challenge reward he earned that ultimately did him in. Brutal. Absolutely brutal.
Brutal for him and brutal for us, because it meant the third medical evacuation this season, and the second evacuation that denied us getting to see a crucial Tribal Council vote (the first being right after the merge when Neal was taken out due to an infection in his knee; that first post-merge Tribal vote is always among the most pivotal and we never got it).
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I have to give Joe credit. He wasn’t the most dynamic personality, and probably got less screen time than Mark the Chicken. But watching him give it his all for 34 days in perhaps the toughest Survivor conditions ever was inspiring. I hope like hell I’m in half as good shape as that guy is when I’m over 70. The dude certainly earned my respect, if not my ever-lasting interest.
But let’s recap in graphic detail exactly how it got to this point. Well, maybe not graphic detail considering the circumstances of his evacuation, but you catch my drift. And I’ll try to breeze through it as quickly as possible because it is that time of the season where I present my newly updated Survivor season rankings. Where will the annoyingly accented Kaôh Rōng fall? You’ll have to read on to find out.
And to those of you new to these recaps asking “Why are you ranking the season now instead of after the finale?” the reason is that my finale recap is always waaaaaaaay too long as it is, so I do it here instead while reserving the right to raise or drop the ranking depending on what happens in the finale. Last season’s Survivor: Cambodia — Second Chance went from 8 to 5 after the last episode, so it can happen.
So anyway, you have that to look forward to (and argue against) a little bit later, but for now let’s take this penultimate episode from the very top. We begin with a humbled Tai trying to figure out why he was left out of the loop on the Michele vote. Even though he was basically dictating before Tribal Council that everyone get rid of Michele, now Tai claims he is upset because, “we always listen to each other.”
Michele finds that comment curious because Tai has turned on alliances three times already. But the person Tai is really upset with is Aubry, so he finally has his night-vision chat with her, where she explains how everyone did not like the way he was giving orders (with everyone equaling Cydney). “I’m confused. Are you with me or are you not with me?” asks Tai, to which Aubry replies. “I’m confused.”
WHAT?!? No, don’t say you are confused. Say you are with him! If somebody — ANYBODY — ever asks if you are with them, you say yes. Because if you are not with them, you are against them, and that means they are against you and working to get you out. I honestly don’t understand her response here. This is just a weird conversation all-around between Tai and Aubry and either something was lost in the editing or she is doing a terrible job of calming a person she just betrayed at Tribal Council.
NEXT: A reward challenge twist!