Survivor recap: Seeing Red (Rover)
Colton is irate about everyone else playing so nice, so tries his best to stir the pot. SHOCKER!
Welcome back for another week of fun in the sun with the 20
suckers contestants of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. But first, an exciting announcement! After years of watching Jeff Probst shill for Charmin and Sprint and Home Depot, I figured to myself, hey, I should get some sponsorship for this here ‘Survivor’ recap as well. I mean, why should Probst and Mark Burnett get all the spoils? In any event, I finally nabbed our first ever sponsor! I used my Time Warner connections to sign up Warner Bros. Pictures as our first ever Survivor recap advertiser, so just sit tight for this super quick movie trailer and then we’ll be off and running on episode 2 of Survivor: Blood Vs. Water.
First, they brought folly to Wally World. Then they delivered new world hijinks to old world Europe. They decked the halls with mischief for Christmas, and then gave new meaning to the word “craps” in Vegas. Now, the Griswolds are back and firing up the Family Truckster one last time for…‘National Lampoon’s Horrible Vacation’! Where do you go after punching a moose in the nose and brutally murdering Aunt Edna’s dog? To the land of hilarity, that’s where! Chevy Chase is back as Clark Griswold, and this time he’s taking the family to the one place they’ve never been — a deserted island! You’ll chuckle as Ellen swears off clothing, leading to more pixelating than you ever thought humanly possible! You’ll guffaw as Rusty and Audrey make a pact to vote off poor Cousin Eddie and all of his Hamburger Helper. You’ll gasp when Clark gives away his hidden immunity idol to a hot model in a red Ferrari! Warner Bros. Pictures proudly presents a Harold Ramis film — ‘National Lampoon’s Horrible Vacation’. The only thing that will be voted off of THIS island is a gut…because you’ll be busting it with laughter! (This film is not yet rated.)
Okay, now that our little business is complete, let’s get right to it. Episode 2 of Survivor: Blood Vs. Water starts off with the longest, most confusing “Previously on…” segment you’ve ever seen in your entire life as Jeff Probst attempts to succinctly explain all 384 twists that occurred in the premiere. I don’t now how anyone who missed the first episode was able to make heads or tails of this “previously on…” segment. In case you missed it, it went a little something like this:
“Previously on… [dramatic pause]…’Survivor’! Ten former ‘Survivor’ players returned with their loved ones, but as the game began, they were split apart into two different tribes. Then, both tribes were forced to vote someone out immediately. The returning players voted off Candice while the tribe of newbies said goodbye to Rupert’s wife Laura. But then the tribes were shocked to learn that Redemption Island was back in play! And then they were shocked to learn that the loved ones of the people that had been voted out could take their place. To do so, they were required to stand on one foot while patting their head and rubbing their tummy and reciting the Gettysburg Address. But then, the other tribe could veto the Redemption Island swap-out if they could all simultaneously perform the “Macarena” dance while successfully naming the correct batting order of the opening day lineup for the 1954 Chicago Cubs. HOWEVER, this veto to the swap-out to the person that was voted out to go to Redemption Island could ALSO be voided should someone on the original tribe that was trying the swap-out find access to a hidden time machine placed somewhere on the island that would take them back to the ‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ season where they could then steal the Medallion of Power, return it to the present, and then watch the entire universe implode upon itself. Twenty players are left. Who will be voted out tonight?”
NEXT: Colton practices his super bitchy face
The episode — not unlike this recap — then FINALLY begins as we see poor Marissa arriving at Redemption Island. Apparently, I was not the only one that was perturbed by the proliferation of frowny faces on the votes as Marissa seems annoyed by it as well. The person most responsible for her ouster — Brad — will also join the growing anti-frowny face chorus, although Brad manages to do it in a much more misogynist-sounding way than Marissa or I ever could. In any event, I think we can all agree — the frowny face movement needs to be crushed no matter what the cost.
Over at Galang, the tribe members seem to be spending their downtime reenacting a crucial scene from The Human Centipede. (They claim it is a group-massage line, but we all know that is merely a gateway drug to full human centipede action.) However, Colton wants no part of any of it. The big group love-in is simply bumming him out. “I came to play Survivor,” he stews. “I didn’t come to play Red Rover.” Okay, nobody — and I mean NOBODY — disses Red Rover! Do you know how badass Red Rover is? You’re basically running full steam at a line of people and crashing into their arms as hard as you can. I once suffered a very bruised — repeat: very bruised — arm once playing Red Rover and spent several hours with an ice pack affixed to my elbow. Red Rover is hardcore, dude! In fact, I don’t know why challenge producer John Kirhoffer has yet to institute a full-on Red Rover Survivor challenge. I mean, we’ve had variations on freaking bowling and darts. Why not bust out a little Red Rover? It’s basically just one big “Attack Zone,” which for you Survivor historians dates back to Survivor: Thailand and the first time contestants were basically allowed to bet the crap out of each other in a challenge. (And now visions of Robb strangling Clay are dancing through my head.)
In any event, Colton is done pretending to be Mr. Nice Guy. He then attempts to rent out a fleet of Greyhound buses and throw every single member of his tribe under them, but Aras and Gervase shut it down. “I don’t believe any of that talk,” Aras says. Colton can’t believe nobody will strategize with him, but perhaps that has something to do with the fact that he is Colton.
While Colton is busy dueling with his tribe, we have an actual duel about to go down at Redemption Island. (That is if you can overlook the fact that a duel is, by definition, a contest between only two people. Details, details…) One of my problems with Redemption Island when it was first around is that you didn’t even need to win to stay alive. You just needed to not lose. They changed that when they brought it back for Survivor: South Pacific, admitting that the group duel concept was less dramatic and moving to one-on-one contests instead. So I can’t for the life of me figure out why they went back to these three-person contests here. But they did. So that’s that.
In Redemption Island 3.0, everyone from every tribe now gets to go watch the duel. After both tribes enter the “arena” Marissa proceeds to stare down the people who voted her out and inform Gervase she was kicked to the proverbial curb due to his DeSean Jackson-type taunting, telling him that he rubbed salt in their wounds. “I’m gonna rub some more,” he responds, clearly not getting the message. “I promise you that.” Gervase is offered the opportunity to swap places with his niece, but as Jeff Probst predicted when I spoke to him after the first Tribal Council, he laughs in the face of said offer as if he just defeated it in a challenge.
NEXT: Rupert gets eliminated without ever having a vote cast against him
But here’s where the confusion sets in. When I spoke with Probst on location when the game began, he said that any loved one could swap out with any other loved one before any duel. Yet in this episode we never saw Rupert and Candice’s spouses given the opportunity to swap in. So either he asked them but it got edited out for time, or I misunderstood the rules, or the rules changed — which is entirely possible. [UPDATE: I had a whole section here about Probst and then exec producer Tom Shelly changing the riles for the hidden immunity idol at the last minute while on location for Survivor: Panama — Exile Island, but as several readers pointed out, the timeline facts of how an idol could be played don’t back that up. And they’re right. My bad. I was confusing it with the rules on how someone could send someone else to the then-new twist of Exile Island, which was still being worked out right up until day 1. In any event, the point — that last minute changes do occur — still stands, even if I completely screwed up the example.]
So was there a last minute switch here, or was that part just edited out, or did the rules simply get lost in translation? You’ll have to read my weekly Q&A with Probst to find out! (I know: rude.) Anyhoo, the duel is a variation on a challenge we have seen before: players must guide 10 spools through a channel and stack them on top of each other without the stack falling over. Last place is eliminated. It’s essentially a balance competition and I think those always tend to favor women, however Rupert tears through it, keeping pace with Candice. Until, his stack falls, that is — causing Gervase to crack up laughing while sitting right next to Rupert’s wife. “DON’T LET THAT FOOL YOU, RUPERT’S WIFE!”
So Candice wins, followed by Marissa, meaning that Rupert — who was never even voted out of his tribe — becomes the first casualty of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. “I have no regrets,” he says before burning his buff in the urn. But he should. As I wrote last week, Rupert’s hero move to save his wife from Redemption Island was bad strategy, plain and simple. Consider, the money is going to the same joint bank account no matter who wins — Rupert or his wife. I wrote last week that by doing this, he pissed off his own tribe who wanted his strength and fishing ability, put himself in danger of going home first, and put his wife with a bunch of people that did not even want her. When Rupert did that, the chances of that million dollar check making its way to the Boneham household decreased significantly. Now he’s gone and we’ll have to see how long Laura can hold on.
But there is still business to conduct here at Redemption Island arena, as Candice gets to give a clue as to the whereabouts of the hidden immunity idol to any person from either tribe. She chooses her hubby. I am of two minds on this. On one hand, the hidden immunity idol — when used properly — is a super valuable tool in this game. On the other hand, it makes the person who holds it — or even holds the threat of obtaining it — an immediate target. Was Candice dooming John by giving him the clue? No, but John may have doomed himself by what he did once he got it.
NEXT: What John should have done with the idol clue
Here’s what John should have done. He should have immediately gone to his Sausage Party alliance and said, “Bros — may I call you bros? — I am going to find the idol and have figured out the best way to use it to protect our alliance. I am going to hold onto it so that way we have a safeguard if there is a tribe-swap and they put a few of us over with some of the returning players. That way, if we are either even or outnumbered, we can play the idol and use it to gain a numbers advantage to take out the returnees to keep our numbers in tact. This way, the idol will be used for all of us.”
All I know is, if somebody tells me that, I am all in. I make sure that guy and that idol stay safe so we have an ace in the hole should the tribe swap happen. But did John do that? No. Which is why people now are starting to get paranoid about if he has it and what he plans to do with it. Cody! You blew it, man! You may have your astronaut good looks and effortless charm, but you need to listen to me when it comes to strategy! Me or someone with the last name of Baskausas. They seem to know what they’re doing.
Speaking of which, Vytas has an interesting strategy. What’s a way to make the other team weaker even if they win? By voting off a weak member of your own tribe in the hopes that their stronger loved one will take their place. It’s brilliant, actually. Vytas says they should get rid of Rachel so that maybe Tyson will pull a Rupert and swap-in. Of course, John wants no part of this plan since Tyson is a strong challenge competitor and could send his wife home. How hard will he push against it?
While we’re on the subject of pushing, Colton wants to push his whole tribe over a cliff because they are all being so damn…nice. HOW DARE THEY?!?!? All this kumbaya talk is making Colton positively irate. In fact, he’s so irate he’s even splashing his own face with water. He then goes on a Cumbie rampage — which, by the way, sounds like the least threatening rampage ever — lying to everyone about what everyone else is saying about them. He then instigates some bizarre face-off between Tina and Kat, before telling us that, “I hope we get to the immunity challenge tomorrow and get slaughtered,” while also somehow greenlighting another entry into the Chevy Chase–Beverly D’Angelo film franchise.
All this does is serve to unite the entire tribe against him. “He is a gay Russell Hantz,” says Aras, immediately setting of a burst of inappropriate tweeting from @RussellHantz on Colton’s lack of qualifications to be mentioned in the same breath as him. A new five-person alliance is formed with Aras, Gervase, Tina, Monica, and Tyson. (Well, Colton, you wanted strategizing and action? You got it!)
Challenge time! I know a little about this one since I was able to perform it myself during a test run, making me neither the first nor the last man to find himself strapped to a sweaty Parvati Shallow (who was also there as a member of the press for TVGN). I would like to mention that being strapped to Parvati Shallow did…ahem, climax…with a victory, but in truth the challenge was not one of the most epic ones I’ve ever got to partake in while on location. I was bummed we didn’t get to do the first challenge out in the water where I could have really strutted my Aquaman stuff. Instead I just kinda rolled a barrel along. And yes, I realize I am complaining about being in bondage alongside Parvati Shallow and yes, I realize what a ridiculous complaint that sounds like. Anyway, moving on…
NEXT: The shortest Tribal Council in the history of Tribal Councils
So, yeah, three people from each tribe have to roll another tribe member in a barrel to four stations where they retrieve bags of balls that will then be used by the remaining players to basically play skeeball and try to land six balls in six holes. Winners are safe and also score some pretty sweet fishing gear. Glanag has an extra member so sits out Kat, although they basically sit out Tina, Laura Boneham, and Colton as well since none of them lifts a single finger during the entire contest.
Tadhana takes a small lead going into the ball throwing portion, with Hayden then doing the rolling and giving his squad a 2-0 advantage. But then Gervase finally does some performing to back up all his smack-talk, dominating and giving his tribe the victory, 6-4. “Marissa! That’s for you, baby!” he yells, even though I am relatively confident it was really for Gervase, Gervase, and Gervase.
So Tadhana — who I and pretty much everyone else on location assumed would dominate because of their big strength advantage — loses again and they are none too happy about it back at camp. “Is it just me or is Jarvis as stupid as he looks?” asks Brad, who is apparently not smart enough to learn his adversary’s name. “When can we have a physical challenge? I’m gonna bodyslam the f— out of him.” Ooooooh, sounds to me like someone is itching to play Red Rover!
Lots of scrambling then commences, with Brad and Vytas wanting Rachel out, but John fighting against it so that Tyson does not opt in and take on his wife. John tells Ciera it’s gonna be Rachel, but now she gets scared it might he her if John gives Rachel the idol, so she and Katie decide to vote for John. And now Vytas is worried about John’s allegiances and he’s talking about voting out his Sausage Party alliance-mate.
What’s going to happen? Let’s head to the shortest Tribal Council ever to find out! How short is it? I actually timed the sucker, and from the moment the contestants sit down to the moment Probst announces that “It IS time to vote,” the whole thing lasts a mere 1 minute and 44 seconds. 1:44! Hell, that’s shorter than my unauthorized trailer for National Lampoon’s Horrible Vacation! Perhaps it is so short because it does not take long to realize that Rachel will be the one going, and she is, in fact, voted out alongside the requisite frowny face.
What does it all mean? Will Tyson take Rachel’s place? (The preview makes it seem so, but previews can be misleading.) Will Colton quit after giving his fiancé a lap dance at Redemption Island arena? And will John ever find that damn idol? We will see soon enough, but until then we have plenty of goodies for you. Jeff Probst weighs in on Colton and more in this week’s Q&A. And you can enjoy an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode as well as my pre-game interview with Rupert and Laura in the video player below. And stay tuned for my exit interview with Rupert as well as my chat with RC Saint-Armor (who was sent home along with her dad from location just two days before filming began due to his high blood pressure) on the next edition of the InsideTV Podcast. And of course, for more Survivor news and views, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
But now it’s your turn. Who is playing the best game so far? Are you loving or loathing Colton 2.0? And did Vytas make the move of the game so far in trying to draw out Tyson? Hit the message boards to let us know, and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!