In the Thanksgiving episode of ''Survivor,'' it's a whole new game: Chris is a sitting duck, but then Twila upsets the pecking order and knocks the stuffing out of Ami

By EW Staff
November 26, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Leann Slaby: Monty Brinton
  • TV Show

”Survivor”: Give thanks! It’s a whole new game

Fish, turtle, snail, hog. What I ate for Thanksgiving? No, Twila’s guess on the symbols in this week’s Survivor reward challenge. But I’m guessing it’s probably pretty close to what Twila eats on Thanksgiving anyway. (Or whatever road kill she finds on the job.) Not me, though. I rocked and rolled on some turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and even a tiny taste of my wife’s cranberry sauce. (She made me try it.) But that was merely the appetizer, my friends. No, the main feast was Thursday night’s episode of Survivor.

But first, let’s flash back, shall we? (Now’s the point in time in which your computer screen should get all wavy as we travel back in time. Of course, your screen may just be wavy because you have a crappy Internet connection, but as a writer for a magazine owned by AOL Time Warner, I couldn’t possibly insinuate what type of connection that could be.) Anyway, let’s go back — waaaaaaaaaaaay back. Actually, only a week back. (Sorry, I got carried away.) I wrote an open letter to CBS saying to just skip this week’s episode of Survivor because it was all so damn boring and predictable and Chris was obviously a goner. In that same spirit, following is an open letter to myself:

Dear Dalton,

You’re an idiot.



P.S. Lay off your wife’s cranberry sauce.

Actually, as this turkey-night episode started, it did look like another snoozer. We were being stuck with another one of those unbearably sappy visits from friends and family back home, only made exciting when someone lies about supposedly dead relatives. (Thanks, Fairplay.) Seriously, outside of Twila informing us that ”I don’t know how to type,” this was another exercise in tears . . . of boredom! I want to see people suffer on Survivor, not get all weepy at the sight of an acquaintance that they’ve been separated from for less than a month! Eliza won the reward challenge and then got to have her mother spend the night. I was happy for her victory, because we got to see her mom strip and say how she was worried that Eliza ”wouldn’t be flossing every day.” I have to assume that was joke, but either way it was pretty damn funny.

But after most of that family-reunion crap got out of the way, things began to happen. Leann and Ami made the blunder of the game by telling Scout that she and Twila were no longer promised the final four. Why would you do that? What does that possibly gain you? Besides a one-way ticket home. Of course, it seemed Twila and Scout would once again be too timid to do anything about it. Then the loved ones came back again for the immunity challenge. Truth be told, I actually didn’t even notice them at first because I was too distracted by Jeff Probst’s sunglasses. It seems we were all in agreement last week that Probst should ditch the baseball hat, and I vote no shades as well. Yes, I know it may get sunny and may be hard to officiate things without them, but this is Survivor, man! Rough it a little. Plus, I think it makes him look like one of those rock stars who constantly wear sunglasses at night so they can, so they can . . . (Corey Hart will always have a place in this column, thank you.)

I was moaning when I saw the friends and family make what was now their third appearance, but I do have to say the immunity challenge was pretty cool, especially watching Chris practically burst about 20 veins yelling at his girlfriend, Laurie. (Speaking of Laurie, did you catch her reaction when Ami won immunity? It looked like she was about to go Artest on someone.)

So, okay, that ends, but so much is being made about Chris going home if he doesn’t win that I figure something must be up. Mark Burnett would never make it so obvious. And then the ladies meet, talk, have a powwow, whatever ladies do when they convene, and decide to vote off Eliza instead. ”Oh,” I say to myself. ”That’s kinda cool. A little shake-up.” In what has been the most predictable Survivor season ever, this qualifies as satisfying. But then Twila goes and does it. The woman finally wakes up. She realizes where she stands in the pecking order and does something about it. She tells Chris to talk to Eliza and try to form a new alliance with her and Scout. Nice move in two ways: One, she gets in a better position in a new alliance. Two, she makes Chris do the dirty work, so if it backfires and the other women find out, the heat doesn’t come down on her. Suddenly, that fish, turtle, snail, hog is sounding pretty damn good. Am I right?

So Chris flips Eliza (who would’ve flopped right out had she not complied) and all of a sudden, we have a new game and a new show when they vote off Leann. All I can say is…thank God! This thing has had Thailand written all over it for the past two months, but now everything is up for grabs. It was also fantastic just to check out the assortment of hilarious facial expressions at Tribal Council as a result. Chris was laughing, the guys on the jury practically high-fiving, and Leann completely shocked. (Actually, the best one came early on when Eliza got her first vote and turned to Ami, who then started to nod her head yes as if to say, ”That’s right, honey. It’s your time, tonight. Sorry, sweetie.” Not.

”I feel like the world’s biggest idiot,” Leann said in her concession speech. Well, sister, us idiots need to stick together. Call me up. We’ll do lunch. Just leave the cranberry sauce at home, okay?

What do you think? Will Twila’s shake-up save the season? Will Ami recover? And where do you stand on the big Jeff Probst sunglasses debate?