Survivor recap: Cornea Karma
After days of screaming, sleeping, and threatening to quit, Shamar is ultimately done in by a bad eye
Those of you who go back with me a few years — well, more than a few at this point — know that I may have commented once or twice about a certain someone from the Survivor universe. She had a passion for knee socks and her name was Sally. Survivor Sally, her friends called her, and oh, how I desperately wanted to be her friend. She may have lost on Survivor: Panama — Exile Island, but she won something else: my heart. Yes, perhaps my interest in fair Sally bordered on “obsession.” Sure, some might have considered my behavior “concerning.” And okay, there may have been “restraining orders” involved.
But I’m here to tell each and every one of you I have moved on. Because there is someone new in my life. Someone else ready to give mind, body, and soul to the Survivor experience. Someone so irresistible as to inspire a simultaneous orgy of lips all over the face. And someone who will clean up around the home and be sure to have a hot, delicious meal ready at suppertime each and every night. I’m referring, of course, to my main man Tata. STEP OFF, YOU CREEPY PREDATOR, COCHRAN! NO ONE HAS DANCE MOVES LIKE TATA! That’s right, you think Tata would sit out a reward challenge? Or get sunburned…on his feet? Or have decent dental care? THINK AGAIN! YOU’RE IN TATA’S HOUSE* NOW! (*Footnote: You may not actually be physically able to fit into Tata’s house due to the three foot high ceilings.)
Tata is full-on Filipino pimp! You see him macking on four different women — at once?!? That’s Tata style, baby. And you know why he’s called Tata? Because that’s what he says to island beyotches after he’s done with them. Oh, Tata, you can stuff rice in my bamboo anytime. But first I have to get through this here Survivor recap. Then you can try on these knee socks* I bought you. (*Footnote: Due to size discrepancy, knee socks may extend all the way over head.)
The episode begins with me failing my Survivor math exam. Because it is right after the third person has gotten voted out, but it’s only day 7 instead of day 9. (Another byproduct of having 20 people.) Eddie can’t believe what just happened. “It’s mindboggling to me we got rid Hope tonight,” he says. “Because she’s the prettiest one here.” Like, I know, right?!? How dare they vote out someone for being pretty? Mindboggling! My mind is totally boggled right now! Reynold is equally upset: “I don’t want to be associated with you guys. I have absolutely no respect for any of you.” Of course he doesn’t. Because why would you respect people for playing the game they signed up to play? That would be absurd!
But why do the Fans keep losing? Is it lack of strength? Lack of experience? Lack of tribe chemistry? Nope. I think it all boils down to something else: lack of nicknames. Look at the Favorites. Phillip is on a nicknaming spree! He’s even naming people outside of his alliance: Brandon is now The Conqueror, Erik is The Silent One (which at least explains his complete lack of airtime), and Brenda is Serenity, thereby inspiring scores of geeks to immediately take to Twitter demanding the immediate uncancellation of Firefly.
NEXT: A rewarding reward challenge
Did someone say reward? No? Too bad because it’s time for the reward challenge and no, that is not a misprint. The reward challenge is back, and it is a classic contest, an adaptation of one first seen back in the Cook Islands: two tribemates must stand on platforms out in the water and then be transported via planks to a third platform. Then the whole tribe must swim to a fourth, smaller platform and attempt to all fit on it without falling over. The victors win the services of a local bushman, which sounds a lot seedier than it actually is.
Adding to his humiliation of being told to take on a woman instead of a man in the first water wresting challenge, Cochran is selected by the tribe to sit out this affair. Having Cochran go all Abi-Maria Gomes and sit out any challenge is doing a huge disservice to the viewing public who is thereby robbed of potential hilarity at every turn. (At least Arlene Cochran can breath a huge sigh of relief.)
You guys know I’m a fan of any challenge that takes place out in the water, and while this one is not as close and as tense as the Cook Islands affair (which featured several classic out-of-context Probstisms such as “Parvati now on her second pole!”), it’s still pretty tight. And the winners are…the Fans! THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT!!! Yeah, Fans! Way to get back into the game. I wasn’t sure that strategy of having Shamar bending down (and taking up more space) instead of standing straight up was going to work out, but I guess it did because you guys totally won! This could be just the catalyst you all need to take this game by storm.
It’s like when Dewey defeated Truman back in 1948. Nobody thought he could do it, and we all know what an awesome president he turned out to be. Watch out, Favorites — these Fans aren’t the pushovers you thought they were and now that they’re on a roll there’s no stopping… What’s that? The Favorites actually won, you say? Oh, well…okay. My bad. I was just going by what my man Shamar told me. I mean, seeing as how the Faves finished first. I guess that makes sense. Dammit! I knew I shouldn’t have trusted Shamar, who is now being informed by The Specialist of the actual outcome of the competition. And I have to say, when it comes to Shamar, it’s bad news when the person serving you a reality check is Phillip Sheppard.
So it is the Favorites who are on the receiving end of a visit from Tata, who is either a wise village elder or some homeless dude production found passed out in their trash. Honestly, it could go either way with this guy. “He’s like a Filipino Gollum,” says Malcolm. But Tata knows all! He knows how to…um, row in a boat! And he can…er, cook rice! And don’t forget the way he went and…uh, tied bamboo together! What a local magician! Is there anything Tata can’t do?
Shamar looks like he could use some Tata. That way he would have someone to serve him breakfast in bed — a bed he does not plan on vacating for the next 19 hours. But since Tata is busy smooching with Bikal babes, Shamar must make his tribemates cater to his every whim. “I’m not leaving, but y’all gonna bring me rice once a day,” he orders. Sherri can’t believe it: “I would never do this in my real life. I don’t even wait on my husband.” But then she goes and does it for Shamar anyway. Suck it, Sherri’s husband!
NEXT: Shamar dies! I mean…dyes his eye
But it looks like the Fans won’t have to put up with Shamar’s shenanigans much longer, because the next morning the big fella starts complaining that he scratched his eyeball somehow. Next thing you know, here comes Jeff Probst with not one, but two doctors to the tribe’s beach. Now, there have been people on Survivor that have gotten legitimately injured and been pulled out of the game against their wishes. And there have been other people who used not feeling well as an excuse to get out of a situation they no longer cared to endure. When Probst and Survivor medical first arrived to look at Shamar, I think it is safe to say that it was not just Reynold, but all of America that had the marine pegged as a big faker. After all, Shamar had already threatened to quit a few days prior and was then demanding to be waited on hand and foot if he stayed. This had phony baloney injury written all over it.
So it was shocking when the doc’s magical orange eye dye revealed actual divets in his cornea. My feelings about this are so mixed. I’m sorry the guy got hurt, but also happy the injury was real so that for all of Shamar’s faults we did not have to add “faker” to the list. I’m sorry for anyone — well, except Colton — who gets pulled from the game due to injury, but also happy that I don’t have to watch Shamar anymore since the repetitive nature of watching him yell the same things at the same people really was ruining the season. Like I sad, I’m conflicted. I guess Reynold of all people summed it up best: “When Shamar was claiming his eye was scratched so bad, I was thinking he emotionally didn’t want to play anymore. But it turned out it was very serious. So that’s my mistake. Still, he was disrespectful, lazy, and I’m just happy that he’s gone.”
Okay, immunity challenge time. Once again we are back in the water and once again we are puzzle-free. (That makes six challenges this season so far, and still not one single puzzle. And who exactly is to thank/blame for this puzzle-free season? Check out my weekly Q&A with Jeff Probst for the answer.) This challenge is also a variation of one we have seen before, as players need to run and swim out to a big platform, climb to the top and then jump and smash a tile, retrieve a key and swim back. Once they have all five keys, they use them to open a chest full of sandbags which are then used to knock blocks off of a ledge. First team to knock all the blocks off win.
The Fans basically lose it right off the bat when Sherri is unable to release her key on the first smash, enabling the Favorites to soon lap the newbies. Although master tosser — and yes, that sounded much dirtier that I intended — Reynold once again leads a furious comeback, he and Gota fall short once again. Since Shamar is no longer around, there is no confusion over who actually wins this time.
It would appear that Eddie or Reynold is now on the chopping block. But what if the next challenge involves chopping? Duck Dynasty is concerned about Laura’s ability to do anything physical and proposes to alliance-mate Michael that they keep the tribe strong and vote out Laura instead. Matt then tells Reynold and Sherri the same thing. Obviously, Reynold is in, even if he doesn’t completely trust them, but which way will Sherri and Michael lean? I think this move makes sense for some, but not others.
NEXT: The cases for dumping and keeping Laura
If I’m Matt or Michael, I dump Laura. Not only is she a liability in challenges, but if that five person alliance later falls along gender lines as it appears it may, then the men (Matt and Michael) are in a minority against the women (Sherri, Julia, and Laura). Dropping Laura evens out those numbers. The only part of the plan you need to be careful about is you need to make Eddie and Reynold feel like you’re with them now so that if there is a tribe shake-up, you maintain their loyalty and they don’t jump over to the Faves. But the chances of a tribe shake-up this early are slim, so it’s worth that risk.
If I’m Sherri, however, I keep Laura for a few reasons. For one thing, you lose your gender numbers advantage for deeper in the game. For another, you lose the person who appears (to us at least) to be your closest partner. Losing someone you can count on and trust this early in the game is a huge concession. You also have to worry about how that impacts the trust and bonds you try to form with others. Why should they trust you later when you already slit a strong ally’s throat? I could be wrong. Maybe Sherrie and Laura weren’t that close at all. It’s hard to tell judging on the snippets we’ve seen of them together, but the one thing I am pretty sure of is that Sherri has more to lose with this change of strategy that Matt or Michael did. I’m not going to even bother writing about what Julia should do because I don’t even know who the hell she is.
Off to Tribal Council we go, where Eddie once again proves to be America’s sweetheart by going on about how physically inept all the women are. He basically calls out Sherri as being weak, Julia being strong…for a girl, and Laura as the weakest person in the tribe. Yes, they have lost five out of six challenges. However that can’t be all the fault of the females. We know Reynold has been a challenge beast, but what exactly have Eddie, Matt, and Michael done to outdo the Bikal males (with one of those males being Cochran)? Not a whole hell of a lot. GIRL POWER, BABY! (Although, to be fair, I’m not sure how much “power” Laura brings to the proceedings.)
So Reynold does use his hidden immunity idol, but it turns out he didn’t need it as the tribe unanimously boots Laura instead. Too bad. I actually liked Laura. She seemed to have a good grip on the strategic side of the game. Unfortunately for her, that is but one side of the game. So was this a one Tribal stay of execution for Reynold and Eddie, or will Duck Dynasty and his partner in crime make a new Sausage Party alliance with the fellas? Only time will tell. But trust me on one thing: If it does not meet with Brandon Hantz’s approval, homeboy will go full-on loco!
And you would be loco not to check out this week’s Q&A with Jeff Probst, in which the host discusses Shamar’s injury, the lack of puzzles, and the one and only Tata. Also treat yo’self to an exclusive deleted scene in the video player below. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Now it’s your turn. Did the Fans make the right move in voting off Laura? Happy to see Shamar go? Surprised to see Tata have more game with the ladies than Cochran? Hit the message boards to speak your mind, and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!