Morgan's only compelling reason for anyone to keep her around is by bragging about how terrible she is. It doesn't work.
Maybe LJ was right. The same way he warned Tony not to get hypnotized by the heaping helpings of flesh protruding from Morgan’s chest during that reward challenge a few weeks back, perhaps I was merely in some sort of trance. Maybe it was some sort of mind control not unlike having your heart touched by the staff of Loki, sending you into an immediate zombified state. Maybe I simply was grading her on a curve — no pun intended — because I know that Morgan is “used to things being easier for me and not having to work that hard to get things.”
I don’t know what it was, but I do remember writing back near the beginning of the season that “Morgan has a little bit of game.” Now, I was clear that it was not a lot of game, but I thought she had a little. I saw the way she got busted for searching for a hidden immunity idol but covered her tracks pretty well when put on the spot. I liked the way she threw Jeremiah under the bus after he voted off Brice. I thought that was a pretty savvy move to cast doubt on him in front of his alliance, but it turns out I mistook spite for strategy. And imagine if Jeremiah had not actually been good looking! She would have torn him to shreds, because being “not young” and “not cute” is probably the ultimate low in Morgan’s book. (Incidentally, this is not to imply that Morgan actually has a book or has ever read a book.) I’ll also never understand people who use age as an insult. It’s like, do you not realize that you are getting older even as you read this very sentence? You are on your way to becoming exactly what you criticize. Have you not figured that out? Also, getting older is great! I mean, it beats the alternative.
I write this mea culpa about Morgan because it is now clear that the woman had no game whatsoever. She was terrible in challenges, we knew that, but what was surprising was her absolute lack of a social game. She went through this entire season with a sense of total entitlement. She wasn’t friendly. She refused to do any work around camp. She sulked. In short, she gave nobody any reason to keep her around except by pointing out how completely terrible she was in every facet of Survivor. Of course, Morgan was not cast on the show to be great at the game. She was cast on the show for two very big reasons, and I think we all know what those are. But if you want to blame CBS for shameless sexpot casting, that street goes two ways. Just look back at One World where they cast a bunch of brainless beefcake hunks who treated us to one of the worst seasons in the history of the show. These alleged hottie contestants rarely give us anything. In any event, I kinda hoped Morgan might prove us wrong and bring some other dimension to the show, but in the end, she was just Boobs McGee. Nothing wrong with that — at least in her proverbial book, apparently — but that’s all we got. And that’s why she’s now out of the game and on the jury.
Now let’s take it from the top and recap this bad boy of Survivor: Cagayan! The tribe makes its way back from Tribal Council and Spencer is pissed about Kass flipping. “I want you to understand I’m not personally mad,” he tells her. “I’m not upset. I just think it was a bad move.” He’s right, it was a bad move. Terrible, in fact. So terrible that Spencer doesn’t want to hear it: “Kass, you taking strategy? Just stop. It’s an embarrassment.” But Kass is convinced that her move was a “triple win” because she got rid of Sarah and both the big guys played their idols. “I’m a free agent,” she boasts, apparently not recognizing that free agents tend to not win Survivor because they have absolutely nobody to protect them.
NEXT: Return of the awkward product placement!
Well, there may be plenty of hurt feelings but I’m sure everyone will be nice and cheery in the morning, right? Wrong. Kass is now upset because Morgan refuses to lift a finger to help with anything around camp, so she equates her tribemate with “an old dog” who pees on the floor and just sits there. Now, I don’t really think that’s fair at all. Morgan doesn’t strike me as the type of person to pee on the floor. She’s more of a pee-on-the-fire-to-put-it-out-so-all-the-old-ugly-people-have-to-suffer type of gal. Of course, Morgan has a theory as to why Kass doesn’t like her. See if you can pick the actual quote out from the options below:
A. “She doesn’t like the fact that I don’t do any work at all around camp.”
B. “She thinks I am aloof and superficial. By the way, what does aloof mean?”
C. “She does not like it when I pee on the floor and just sit there.”
D. “She is a bitter, ugly, old lady. And I think she hates me because I’m cuter than her and have always been cuter than her.”
Well, clearly it is D. After all, imagine how infuriating it must be to have to play with someone who is cuter and always has been cuter than you. That is simply no way to live. Am I the only one having Survivor: Amazon flashbacks every time Morgan talks about how other older, less endowed women are so bitter and jealous of her appearance? It’s the Jaburu tribe all over again.
Okay, back to the game. It is time for the reward challenge and you know what that means! It means that this portion of today’s Survivor recap is brought to you by Outback Steakhouse! That’s right, throw on a little Men at Work and your favorite Crocodile Dundee movie because we are ready to bring a taste of the Australian Outback to America! Through the Philippines! Which makes no sense! But that’s okay because once you bite into one of our juicy Grade A steaks the only destination you will be feeling is…Heaven. Whether it’s our Bloomin’ Onion®, our Alice Springs Chicken Quesadillas®, or our world-famous Grilled Chicken on the Barbie®, Outback Steakhouse has all your taste buds covered. And why not wash it all down with our brand new Grilled Pineapple Rita®? So what if margaritas aren’t particularly Australian in the least? It’s a big fruity cup full of booze and our markup on it is 698% so DRINK THE F— UP! Outback Steakhouse — serving our customers one Australian stereotype at a time.
So in case you hadn’t guessed yet, our contestants are playing for a feast from everyone’s favorite cultural wasteland of a chain restaurant. They are split into two teams that must go through obstacles in the water until they reach a chest. They must then drag that chest to the base of a tower, climb the tower and pull the chest up before two tribe members than solve a vertical puzzle. And I cannot believe the word “chest” was just used that many times while having nothing whatsoever to do with Morgan. It’s actually a pretty cool challenge for such awkward product placement. (At least they don’t have to carry around a big “Gulliver doll” like when they were playing for a Gulliver’s Travels screening back in Nicaragua.)
On the Orange team is Spencer, Jeremiah, Morgan, Jefra, and LJ, while the Purple team is comprised of Tony, Woo, Kass, Trish, and Tasha. It is a back and forth battle with teams trading the lead. Purple gets their chest up first, but then LJ and Spencer positively smoke Woo and Kass in the puzzle to claim victory.
NEXT: Rule #1 for getting more camera time
Back at the tribe beach the losers lick their wounds, with Tony informing us that, “It’s better to be pissed off than pissed on,” which may or may not be another clue that Morgan is indeed peeing on the shelter floor. Meanwhile, Kass is still trying in vain to legitimize her flip: “What if I made a mistake? So what?” she says to no one in particular. So what? Well, you just guaranteed you won’t win the game, so there’s that. That’s a pretty big damn “what?” if you ask me.
Hey, here’s a tip for all future Survivor contestants. Looking to get a few extra seconds of air-time? Afraid you might live up to your last name of Bland with none of your confessional interviews ever seeing the light of day because you are so damn boring? Well, here’s a sure fire way to gain some screen time: just relentlessly praise any and all Survivor corporate sponsors and you are good to go. Why, just look at the winners of this episode’s Outback Steakhouse reward challenge. They know how to play ball.
Here’s Morgan: “It was honestly the best salad I’ve ever had! We went on to a full-loaded baked potato and the steak was just amazing!”
Check out LJ: “This is perfect!”
Don’t forget about Spencer: “The steak was the best thing I’d tasted probably ever!”
Why even Ms. Bland herself, Jefra, got in on the act: “This is the best day! Thank you, Survivor gods!” (Yes, even her effusive praise is boring.)
I can’t help but wonder if there is some sort of language in the product placement contract about exactly how many glowing testimonials are required for the sponsors to fork over their money. Of course, the most laughable glowing testimonial in the history of glowing testimonials has to be from Coach during the South Pacific season when he waxed eloquent on the joys of Adam Sandler’s Jack & Jill — quite possibly one of the worst movies of all-time. But not to Coach! “Jack & Jill — loved it!” said the heir to Roger Ebert’s throne. “I love Adam Sandler. Personally, I’m a fan. It was good because it was funny. But at the same time there was a message, and the message was — hey, family comes first.” (Of course, this flat-out lie by Coach about the merits of Jack & Jill still does not come close to matching his greatest moment of that season, when he reached into his famous book of quotes and pulled out this gem by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius: “Some of the greatest inspiration is born of desperation.” Wow. Great quote. Only one problem: Marcus Aurelius never said it. Instead, that quote is actually from Jheri curl magnate Comer Cotrell. I guess Coach figured it sounded more dramatic coming from a Roman emperor than a dude who made his millions concocting a strawberry scented oil sheen for afros. And no, unlike Coach, I am not making this up. You figure someone with incredible flowing locks like Coach would be able to keep his haircare icons straight. But I digress.)
NEXT: Let the mad hidden immunity idol scramble begin!
Okay, conspiracy theorists, I know what you are all saying next: How does that hidden immunity idol clue end up in Spencer’s napkin? The fix is in!!!!! Producers set it up so he would get it since they like him and don’t want him to get voted out next. Look, nobody loves a good conspiracy theory more than me, but I’ve said this before and I will say it again — it’s just the luck of the draw. I have been on location for filming multiple times and there is a standards and practices person right there during every challenge to make sure everything is on the up and up and there is no repeat of the quiz show scandals of the 1950s. So no, producers did not plant the clue where Spencer and only Spencer would get it. They put it in a napkin and whoever sat there happened to have access to it.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I particularly like when they hide the clue in someone’s specific spot. Unlike the conspiracy theorists who erroneously feel this is too targeted, my problem is actually the opposite — that it is too random. I prefer when the clue is hidden in a more communal space because that tends to reward the person who is actively seeking it rather than someone simply stumbling upon it due to where they happened to sit at the table. I prefer to see strong gameplay rewarded rather than dumb luck.
However, Spencer almost did not even find the clue due to his insistence on eating like a ravenous beast. But find the clue he did, and once he got back to camp that meant one thing — chaos. Not #ChaosKass, mind you, just plain old chaos. Spencer goes off to find the idol, but is tailed by “Ninja Stealth Mode” Woo. And evidently, part of being Ninja Stealth Mode Woo is stealing people’s pants! Or, rather, the clue, hidden in the pants. That’s right — Woo just got into Spencer’s pants. And Spencer is none too happy about it. Both players run to get reinforcements, to the point where the entire tribe is all searching for the idol in the same general location. It’s bad news for the new majority alliance, but good news for me as my episode 1 pick to win it all, Spencer, eventually finds it and learns that it is a “normal idol,” which is to say it is not a “Tyler Perry idol,” which essentially is just a new name for an old idol because the infamous Tyler Perry idol can be used after votes are revealed — the exact same power hidden immunity idols held back in the Panama and Cook Islands days. (I’m not sure why Tyler Perry now gets credit for something that already existed, but whatevs. Does that mean we can also bring back the Medallion of Power and call it the Medallion of Dalton? Just asking.)
Let’s head to the immunity challenge and see if there are any immunity idols hidden there! I’m actually not kidding. I have lobbied for idols to be hidden at challenges for years now, but that would be for pre-merge team reward challenges so a player would have to decide whether to help their team or help themselves by trying to locate an idol instead. I still have no idea why producers have not taken me up on this genius idea. I guess it turns out I have slightly less clout than Madea.
NEXT: Notorious flip-flopper Kass considers flipping again
The challenge in question this time is an endurance contest. I love these. Simple yet dramatic. In this one, the players have to balance on their toes with a block wedged between their head and the top of the frame. When the block falls, you’re done. So all the players take their position up on… Oh, wait. Sorry, Kass is already out. That was quick. Jeremiah, Trish, and Tony soon follow — Trish being the surprise for me because I thought her background as a pilates instructor would have trained her for this one. Apparently not. 25 minutes in and Morgan and Woo fall — Woo being another surprise due to his martial arts and surfing background. Jefra and LJ go out at one hour and it is down to Tasha and Spencer. It takes over 90 minutes, but Spencer eventually emerges victorious, which is pretty key because now he can sit and hold onto that Outback Steakhouse idol. (By the way, maybe at this point all hidden immunity idols should have corporate sponsors so they become like college bowl games. “Hey, check it out! I found the Beef O’Brady’s idol! It give me immunity and a case of the runs!”)
So who’s in trouble? The new majority alliance meets and decides to target Morgan because she doesn’t deserve to be there and nobody likes her enough to give her an idol. On the flip side, Spencer convinces the others to vote for Tony, since he just used up his idol. But he knows that won’t get it done when it comes to numbers, so he goes and attempts to woo Kass back, who reminds us for approximately the 3,872nd time that she is a “free agent.” After calling Morgan “annoying” and a “bitch,” Kass once again tries desperately to convince us what a rebel and a badass she is. “I do trial by ambush,” she announces. “It’s not a recommended strategy by any legal authority. It’s probably not a recommended strategy by any Survivor authority.” No. No, it is not. Can I just say that Kass sounds like a positively terrible lawyer? Does she just change the plea depending on her whim? Not guilty, your honor! On second thought, you know what? Let’s try guilty on for size. Sure, guilty — what the hell Actually, can I flip sides, your honor, and be the prosecutor instead? DON’T MAKE ME PEE ON THIS FLOOR TO GET WHAT I WANT!!!
Off to Tribal Council we go, where Spencer makes a bold statement clearly directed at Kass that, “I play the game to win the game. I would rather risk going out now for a shot at winning than extend my stay in the game.” Then Morgan tells us how everyone has always done everything for her in life because of her looks and that’s okay because “if any person in the world can decide to be ugly or cute, most would pick cute.” (She’s not wrong, incidentally, but I’m not exactly sure what her point is.) But indeed it is Boobs McGee that gets voted out. Has she learned anything from this experience? Has she matured and realized that you need to contribute something to a society besides merely looking hot? Let’s find out with her final comments: “I just want to say how proud I am of myself… They can say whatever they want at Tribal, that I was spiteful or that I was lazy, but I could care less what they said. I mean, Kass is a child and if she was upset with me — whatever. Grow up. You’re 40. Get over it.”
40? Whoa! Stick her on a leper colony or something! How embarrassing! 40! Wow, she just put you in your place, Kass…and that place is a wheelchair at an early bird special just outside the Leisure Village Retirement Community. Dissed and dismissed!!!
NEXT: Your exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode!
So the new majority alliance held strong, but with Chaos Kass and Gotta Make A Move Tony around you can’t help but feel that everyone should be watching their backs over the next few weeks. Probst always likes to say after Tribal Councils when he is dispensing his litte nuggets of wisdom that anything can happen, and this season, that seems particularly true.
But what’s happening right now is my Q&A with the hostmaster general himself as Probst gives some insight on how they hide those hidden immunity idol clues. Also make sure to check out an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode in the video player below. And check back Thursday afternoon for our InsideTV Podcast interview with Morgan (which can also be heard at noon on SiriusXM, channel 105, along with a chat with last season’s winner Tyson Apostol and his loved one, Rachel Foulger). Plus, for Survivor scoop sent right to your virtual doorstep, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
Now it’s your turn? Did the right person get voted off? Think Kass did the right thing by staying with her new alliance? Does Spencer still have a shot? And has anyone actually tried the Grilled Pineapple Rita? Hit the message boards to let us know and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!