Everyone starts arguing with everyone else as Shannon takes on Sash — and an entire city.

By Dalton Ross
Updated August 03, 2020 at 06:41 PM EDT
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S21 E2
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Before we get to last night’s episode of Survivor, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I have never — NEVER! — gone three days without showering or brushing my teeth. Just putting that out there. I don’t want you ladies thinking that just because Fabio has questionable hygiene practices that all men are negligent when it comes to soap and toothpaste. Although there was the one time where I…

…We interrupt your regularly scheduled Survivor column with some breaking news first reported by our on-the-scene correspondent and tolerance expert Shannon Elkins. This just in: New York has been infiltrated and overrun by an army of gay people. The news of the invasion has been confirmed by the mayor, currently protected by armed guards at City Hall. “It’s true,” the mayor announced in a statement emailed to the press. “The gays are everywhere. I don’t know where they came from or what their demands are. They just showed up out of nowhere, like zombies or something. GAY ZOMBIES!” The mayor went on to acknowledge that perhaps his administration had ignored the obvious clues leading up to the gay uprising: a 4000% increase in ratings for all Bravo programming in the city, the erection (no pun intended) of a Rip Taylor memorial statue in Central Park, Liza Minnelli selling out a month’s worth of concerts at Madison Square Garden, and a general uptick in “fabulousness” in all five boroughs. “Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, we were unable to repair our Gaydar4000, which would have picked up on these abnormalities. Instead we had to give that money to some damn schools or something. And look where that got us!” Repeating our breaking news, first reported by correspondent Shannon Elkins: New York is now completely filled with gay people. We’ll continue to follow this developing story, and perhaps take time out for a screening of To Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar. In the meantime, back to your regularly scheduled Survivor column, already in progress…

…and that’s when I discovered that brushing your teeth with Tabasco sauce probably wasn’t the smartest idea, no matter how many times you are “triple dared.”

Hey, you know what else isn’t smart? Shouting crazy homophobic comments at Tribal Council! And not just homophobic comments, mind you, but homophobic comments that make no sense. For Shannon to say (out of nowhere) to Sash—”Hey, I’m gonna get this out of the way right now. Are you gay?”— well, that makes him a jerk and a bigot. (He also used a gay slur in an interview with a reporter before the game, so this was by no means an isolated incident.) For him to then follow that up with, “New York is filled with a bunch of gay people”? Say what?!? Sounds like the dude is preaching from the gospel of John Rocker, that enlightened relief pitcher who once described New York as “You’re riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids.” I would say these two should go live happily ever after together, but maybe that would be too, you know, gay.

NEXT: A crime against alligator shoes!

I’ll make this brief, but I’ve lived and/or worked in New York for close to 20 years now, and do you know what makes it such an amazing place? The diversity. It’s a city where you can find all types of people — people of all ethnicities, people of all economic classes, people of all faiths, and yes, people of all sexual orientations. “Gay people”? Sure, we got ’em! The same way we have every other type of person you can imagine. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Besides, if you want to bust on New York, pick something that at least makes sense‚ like, say, the smell. The mix of urine and trash in the summertime is pretty gnarly. You got us there. (Okay, tangent over.)

While Shannon was proving himself to be crazy ignorant, other contestants were acting just plain crazy. HOLLY! Who are you and what planet do you come from? You made Wendy the goat rancher seem positively normal! The fun started when Holly saw Jill eating snails and came to the conclusion that the critters were not edible. But instead of simply abstaining or voicing her concerns, she grabbed the pot and dumped it out while calling everyone stupid. Right, because that was so incredibly smart. Dan then astutely remarked that Holly was “crazy as s—.” Determined to prove Dan wrong, Holly did the sanest thing she could thing of: she filled his $1600 alligator shoes with sand and tossed them in the water. See, totally 100% not bonkers!

But wait. She wasn’t finished. Holly then gathered the entire tribe to tell them exactly what she had done! I’d love to be privy to her thought process here and what made her possibly think that this was not the most idiotic thing this side of Erik giving away his immunity idol in Micronesia. I imagine it went a little something like this: “Okay, they thought I was crazy for throwing out their food, but then I filled Dan’s shoes up with sand and sank them. That should make them realize I am an intelligent and trustworthy tribemate. Oh, stupid me! How will they know I did that unless I tell them? Once I announce it to everyone that I ruined Dan’s $1600 shoes out of pure spite, then they’ll know I’m someone they can trust and count on. I like baloney.”

The best part of Holly’s admission was that the reaction of the tribe was not anger, but rather complete confusion. Why would she do that? And why the hell is she telling us?!? Even Dan — who might be a little loco himself for spending $1600 on shoes and then wearing them in the freakin’ jungle — was so unsure of what had just happened that he kept repeating himself — “She stole my shoes. She stole my shoes. She stole them.” — as if that would somehow help make sense of the whole thing.

NEXT: Some inside scoop on the immunity challenge.

Of course, any good missing pair of shoes needs a missing pair of socks to match, right? Meet NaOnka Mixon, everyone! She couldn’t find her socks, so dubbed her tribe “bitches” and went and stole Fabio’s. (What’s up with everyone going all Russell Hantz with the shoe and sock swiping?) When Fabio walked over to her to see what was going on, NaOnka took a preemptive screaming strike because that’s just the type of classy lady she is. You know, classy, like describing Kelly B. as a “charity case” and proudly stating that “I’ve already told myself that if there is a challenge where we are going to have to race and that leg falls off, she’s out of here. For real.” Classy. Like my man Freddie Blassie.

While nobody appears to have immunity from the insanity, let’s take time out for the immunity challenge anyway. A down and dirty challenge all the way. I know because I ran it along with other members of the press against the Dream Team. (See my Twitter background for the ugly visual evidence.) However this wasn’t exactly the challenge we ran, as some last-minute changes were made by production. Originally, instead of retrieving balls out of the hay piles, players needed to locate much smaller packages of puzzle pieces. And then, instead of tossing balls from paddle to paddle, the people who didn’t crawl through the mud had to solve a puzzle. Personally, I liked the original way better, but that’s just because our team killed it and won a case of beer for our efforts —mmm, beeeeeeer — but maybe producers realized they had puzzles up the wazoo this season so decided to mix it up. Whatever. The highlight was still diving into the mud. (Even if it did give me a few battle scars and require me to visit Survivor medical after. Lovely people at Survivor medical.)

I made it abundantly clear last week why I was down on the Medallion of Power, and here was a perfect example why. The older tribe used the Medallion this time, giving them a one ball advantage, and they won. But it’s a cheat, isn’t it? They really should have only been up 3-2, and then who knows what happens. And then if the older tribe goes on to win without any unfair advantage, it’s much more of an accomplishment, and both they and we feel better about the victory. Now, instead, it feels tainted, kind of like a case of “Yeah, but…” Why dampen the drama like that? I think it is entirely possible that the Medallion of Power could go down as the worst twist in Survivor history, just edging out the haves/have-nots and Outcasts. And I still feel cheese dripping out of my fingertips every time I have to type the words “Medallion of Power,” and for that, Survivor, I curse you.

Other quick notes about the challenge before we move on: Interesting how Sassy McSass Sass NaOnka chose to sit out the challenge, even though she is a PE teacher. Even more interesting how Kelly Bruno tore through the mud and the hay. She promised the artificial leg wouldn’t be a hindrance, and she backed it up. Big Time. The producers were also on their game here as well, saving their big money shot for the end by zooming in on Purple Kelly’s muddy derriere as she walked back to camp. That was Freddie Blassie, all the way.

NEXT: Is it really coming down to who’s had hotter girlfriends?

The older tribe selected the fishing gear as their prize and went back to camp to party. (Is that Tyrone and Jane doing Da Butt?) And what should they find in the fishing gear but a clue to the hidden immunity idol. Probst told me before the game that the idol clues would be much harder to decipher this time around. Or, not so much. At least it wasn’t too difficult for Jill, who then counterbalanced that intelligence of figuring out the clue by moronically giving the location of the idol to someone else, Marty. Where do they find these people? I loved Marty’s reaction upon finding it: “I got the Idol! I got the Idol!” [Pause] “We got the Idol.” Yeah, we. Surrrrrrrrrre.

Meanwhile, the losers over at La Flor had taken sides. One side wanted Brenda out. The other wanted Shannon. In yet another epic blunder, Chase told Brenda about the plan to vote her out…with Alina sitting just a few feet away. That led to Shannon’s freak-out at Tribal Council, taking on Chase and then Sash. As disturbing as the whole thing was, I do have to admit to finding it mildly amusing when Shannon and Sash started arguing about who could claim to have had hotter girlfriends. (Stupidest argument ever?) Equally entertaining was Probst simply repeating Shannon’s claim of “New York is full of gay people.” Just letting it hang out there for the absurdity to completely sink in. No other comment needed. Perfect.

And poor Fabio. First he had to sit through and watch his alliance-mate self-destruct before his eyes (“Be quiet, dude. We’re on the same team for the next 2 or 3 weeks!”), but then all of a sudden NaOnka started randomly blasting him again. What could this guy have possibly done to rankle her so? He seems so positively harmless. By the end of Tribal, Fabio looked like he wished he had his snorkel mask back on so he could simply swim as far away as possible, or at least work on the fire a little. His exasperated “Can we vote?” line was perhaps the best of the evening. Why, yes, you can, Fabio? Fabio stayed with Shannon and voted for Brenda, but Benry and Kelly Bruno had heard enough and switched sides, thankfully sending the smack-talker home.

So who gets your vote for craziest contestant: Shannon, Holly, or NaOnka? Are you loving or loathing the Medallion of Power? And whom are you rooting for at this point? (I’m liking Fabio and Kelly Bruno.) Hit the message boards and let us know. But first, make sure to check out what EW.com blogger Jeff Probst has to say over at our PopWatch blog (his latest column will go live at 7 a.m. ET), and click on the video player below for an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode and to see why Jeff Probst had a feeling Shannon wouldn’t last long before the game had even started. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.

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