Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment
Dalton Ross
March 22, 2017 AT 09:00 PM EDT

OTHER ODDS & ENDS

• In case it was not clear, I LOVED the joint Tribal Council twist. It felt like the first pre-merge Tribal Council, which is almost always a great one. I don’t think I need to elaborate much more on why it is such a fantastic idea seeing as how I just devoted a novel to the repercussions of said twist, but suffice it to say it gets a huge thumbs up from me. However there was also a far less celebrated twist in this episode, the two-on-two-on-two reward challenge.

Now I generally like to see everyone compete. That’s why they’re out there, and we as viewers want to see them in action. But every once in a while it is nice to shake things up and have what amounts to a hero challenge. In this case it was basically: Everyone pick your two strongest players and let them battle it out. This was a hero or goat situation, and in this case, Brad Culpepper was the hero, while Troyzan was the goat. Again, I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it, but as a one-off, I liked it because every single player’s actions were magnified. There was absolutely nowhere to hide. On the downside, though, all six of the competitors were male. If they were to do this again, I would probably tweak the rules and say you had to pick one male and one female to compete — it’s just more interesting that way.

• About that reward, though. Maybe this is just because I don’t drink coffee. But let’s say you do — because everyone on this planet over the age of 15 except for me seems to. If you’re a big coffee drinker and spent the first few days out on the island battling caffeine withdrawal, wouldn’t it be in your best interest to stay off the stuff once you’ve already gone off it? I honestly wouldn’t know, but I would at least think that would make some sense. Aren’t you risking another day of headaches if you start chugging coffee and then have to go cold turkey again? Coffee drinkers of the world, please illuminate me! Are coffee withdrawal symptoms an actual thing?

• Ozzy caught a sting ray. Because of course Ozzy caught a sting ray. And of course he won his individual portion of the reward challenge (before Troyzan literally threw it away). I questioned Ozzy before the game if he still had it at his age (which is hilarious since I am like a dinosaur compared to him), but so far, so good. His strategic and social skills remain a question mark at this point, however.

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• Is it just me or was there a glaring lack of groin hits in this blindfold challenge? Usually the blindfold challenge features a brutal montage of hits, crashes, and shots to the crotch that rivals any America’s Funniest Home Videos best-of episode, but not so much this time. Very disappointing. Speaking of disappointing, how about Jeff Varner on that table maze? Oh, I love Jeff Varner so much, and he was sooooo proud before the game began of all the physical training he did before this season, but with the exception of him as the caller here, his performance in challenges has been suspect at best. And sure enough, he lost a massive lead here at the end to Andrea from Tavua, sending his team to Tribal Council, and sending Malcolm — the guy who told him, “We have a huge lead, take your time” — out of the game. Whoops!

Okay, that’s enough out of me. But there’s still plenty more for you! Make sure to read my weekly Q&A with Hostmaster General Jeff Probst, where he breaks down all the insanity from that Tribal Council. Also make sure to enjoy the exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode below, as Troyzan shares his thoughts about sitting out a challenge. And I’ll be chatting with the ousted Malcolm at 9:40am on EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105), and you can read/hear that later right here on EW.com.

But now it’s your turn. Did you like the joint Tribal Council twist? What do you think about J.T. and Hali at Tribal Council? And what would you have done in that situation? Have at it on the message boards and make sure to follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss for more scoopage. Thanks for enduring and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!

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