Survivor recap: Dumbest. Tribe. Ever.
The men make a blunder for the ages as fear and peer pressure lead to a truly shocking tribe decision
Right after the Survivor: One World premiere — in which the men won the immunity challenge after Kourtney had to bow out with an injury — I wrote the following:
“Regardless, the challenge is over, unless Probst can somehow convince the men to do the dumbest thing in the history of Survivor and continue on under the threat of possibly losing their immunity. But seeing as how the tribe is not made up of Erik Reichenbach, James Clement, J.T. Thomas, Tyson Apostol, John Cochran, and Brandon Hantz, that’s not going to happen.”
I would just like to state for the record that I was wrong. Dead wrong. Turns out all you need are Colton, Tarzan, Troyzan, Jonas, Bill, Leif, Jay, and Michael. They’re totally dumb enough! I’m working really hard — at least as hard as someone can work after consuming three Milwaukee’s Bests — to come up with reasons for why agreeing to go to Tribal Council after winning the immunity challenge is not the stupidest move in Survivor history. So far I’m coming up empty. It’s dumber than a single individual giving up immunity because it is easy for one person to be a moron, but very, very difficult for there to be such a high level of collective idiocy. All it took was one single person among the eight Manono tribe members to say, “Nope. I don’t agree with it. Worst case scenario I get voted out. Best case scenario we lose our numbers advantage going into the merge. No thanks.” And yet no one did. (It should be pointed out here that even though there may be a tribe shake-up next week —as previews suggest there could be — no way anyone could have known that was coming.)
Yes, winning an immunity challenge and then going to Tribal Council anyway is, in many regards, no different than simply throwing a challenge — as we have seen tribes do in Pearl Islands, Cook Islands, and Redemption Island. But there is one big difference. In those instances, not everyone was in on it. Each of those tribes had at least one person that was still fighting to win and stay in it. This is not to minimize the stupidity in throwing a challenge, but rather to maximize how complexly ludicrous this action — which required 100% compliance — was. (I would argue that the tribe simply had one big brain fart, but that would imply that gas passer extraordinaire Kat was somehow involved.) Need any more proof as to how dumb these men are? They keep treating Colton like he is some sort of genius with all encompassing powers. Colton! When you get moronic behavior on such a grand scale, what you end up with is…well, Survivor: One World.
And with that, let’s take it from the top of the episode. Things begin with the men returning from voting the Rooster out at Tribal Council. “These guys don’t know what they’re doing,” says Michael in a statement that initially comes off as sour grapes but later seems like more of a warning. It is right around this time when it is revealed that Leif is, in fact, a vampire. An inventive vampire at that — using one of the Do-it-Yourself reward challenge crates as his makeshift sleeping coffin. (Step right up, ladies, for your Team Leif t-shirts! Edward and Jacob are so yesterday’s news.)
NEXT: Christina gets a leg up — two legs, actually — on the competition
The women know how to ward off a vampire — lots and lots of snails. Sure enough, Leif cannot come within 50 feet of the ladies cooking breakfast so he sends Jonas over to do his bidding instead. Jonas tries to hypnotize the women with his painfully slooooooooooow drawl into giving him their fishing net — promising them with half of the catch as well as the promise that he will stop talking in return. “I know I sound like a cold hearted bitch and I’m not, but we can’t be feeding our enemy,” says Chelsea, while conveniently forgetting that her enemy allowed her to thaw her freezing fingers in their shelter and by their fire. Defeated, Jonas decides to return back to his camp to do what he does best — talking out loud about what a mastermind Colton is. Jonas reminds me of Stevie on Eastbound & Down, the disturbing guy who keeps going on about how incredible Kenny Powers is, even if there is little-to-no evidence to support that finding.
I’d actually love to see both Stevie and Kenny Powers on Survivor. Just imagine them at a reward challenge. Now imagine us at a reward challenge because off we go! The challenge begins with Colton fondling his genitalia as the women enter, because apparently that is what masterminds do. The contest involves using a slingshot to fire coconuts at a massive wall of targets, needing to knock out five targets in a row. Winners get to choose either pillows and other comfort items, a tarp, or donuts and coffee.
Tarzan is the first to knock out a target and celebrates by doing his best Johnny Weissmuller impersonation. As for the women, The Farting Bandit knocks out their first target and celebrates by dancing awkwardly and taunting the men. “Like that? Smell that?” she asks, and I think we all know what she’s referring to with that last question. With the ladies on their way to a blowout victory, the only drama left to be found is figuring out how high Christina’s legs will go in the air when she falls on her own booty, and whether Tarzan will ever stop calling Jonas “Jason.” The women do win — which Tarzan chalks up to “pure luck” — and they wisely decide on the tarp.
Back at camp, Sabrina comments on Tarzan’s “crusty ass,” and the men take part in a post-challenge challenge of their own — the goal being to come up with the lamest excuse for why they lost. “The challenge itself was kind of a fluke!” reasons Jonas, who becomes more infuriating by the second. “We didn’t have enough time to learn the game!” insists Tarzan. Bill is tired of hearing the excuses. “They won three, we won three. That’s out the window man!” This comes on the heels of last week Bill informing us that “One World is out the window!” Evidently, Bill throws a lot of crap out of his window.
And all of America will want to throw Colton out of a 74th floor high rise window after what comes next. Michael reports to King Colton (or Queen Colton, as it were — his designation, not mine, by the way) that Leif and Bill have been chatting, sending the Manono despot into a tizzy. “That little munchkin is about to get knocked back to Oz!” he steams. “Where is he? Call Leif over here!” Yes, Colton is full on doling out orders from the throne now. And what’s even crazier is that people are following him! “Hey, Leif. Colton wants you,” serf Michael announces.
NEXT: Copy that!
Colton then gets Leif to admit he told Bill his neck was on the line, so now he has two people to obsesses over hating. “Bill’s more sneaky whereas Leif’s more stupid,” Colton surmises. “He’s turning into an annoying little Oompa Loompa.” And there you have it. In a matter in seconds, Colton has managed to compare Leif to oddly dressed little people from two major motion pictures. What’s next? Time Bandits? Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs? The Station Agent? How many movies with little people are there? And do Hobbits count or is that a bit of a gray area?
Colton continues to berate Leif, and Leif sits there and takes it because for some bizarre reason everyone is scared of Colton. It’s seriously one of the most nonsensical things I’ve ever seen. So he has an idol. So what? Flush it and then vote his ass off. What’s so difficult to figure out here? The women, meanwhile, have received puzzle pieces warning of an upcoming Immunity Challenge. The Farting Bandit says she needs to be with someone who is good at puzzles because smart things are not up her alley. When Alicia volunteers her services, Kat responds by informing Alicia that “You’re not good at puzzles.” This is like one of those scenes in an old western where the piano player immediately stops and then everyone rushes out of the saloon before the angered party starts opening fire. And Alicia indeed opens fire. “I know you are not calling me stupid,” the teacher with a heart of gold responds before going on about how great she is at puzzles. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is called foreshadowing.
The immunity challenge involves three different puzzles, which must be solved by three different pairs tied together. Up first for the men are Tarzan and Colton, who will be taking on Alicia and Chelsea. Poor Tarzan and Colton. They will clearly be no match for Alicia’s self-advertised puzzle-solving prowess. What’s this? The men are already done! I know this because Colton is repeatedly shoving his teammate over to the key and rolling his eyes whenever Tarzan opens his mouth. And now the men are done with their second puzzle. “Women still working on their first puzzle,” announces Probst. “It is the easiest puzzle and it is taking them a long time.” “I can’t believe we can’t do this,” sighs puzzle master Alicia.
Then the women employ the exact same tactic they used last week in their come from behind victory. They just copy off what the men have already completed. Under instructions from Kim and Christina, Alicia and Chelsea walk right over to the men’s table to study their puzzle. And here’s the best part of all. They still can’t figure it out! With Tarzan yelling “CHEATER!” at the top of lungs and the Farting Bandit threatening to pull an Alicia and go slap him, the women finally put together the first puzzle. And when they get to puzzle number two, Probst not only does not stop them from copying, but encourages them to do it! “The only good news to being behind is there is a model right next door to look at,” announces the host, which leads the second group to go examine the men’s triangle.
NEXT: Insane in the membrane
In one of my more prescient — some might say lucky — moments, I actually asked Probst about this very topic of puzzle-copying in last week’s Q&A. He says sometimes they put up partitions to eliminate such behavior and sometimes they don’t. I will say two things about it. I think there should always be some sort of partition whenever possible. Or people should be forced to stay in a certain area so they cannot simply walk over and study their competition’s handiwork. But if no such rules are in place, and being a copycat is the fastest way to get back into a race, then you would be a fool not to do it. An absolute fool. Win the challenge within the rules. And if that is within the rules, as it is here, then go and do it. (Sorry, Tarzan.)
It doesn’t matter, of course, as the women are annihilated, leading Leif to jump up on the puzzle box and commence some truly awkward booty shaking. “That was a blowout. That barely qualified as a challenge,” announces Probst. “You walked over, looked at it and couldn’t get it.” Apparently, Alicia finds her sheer ineptitude positively hilarious and starts chuckling. Back at camp, Sabrina is upset with this lack of competitive fire and wants Alicia gone. Will it be Christina or Alicia?
How about neither?! A truly odd turn of events is taking place over with the men. Bill tries to “squash the beef” between him and Colton with a man-to-man chat. Colton wants no part of conversing with the hoi polloi and refuses to engage while at the same time denigrating Bill to his face. “I hate him,” Colton explains to us before slipping back into Queen Colton mode. “I want his head on a platter. I want him gone.” And when Colton says he wants Bill gone, he doesn’t mean in three days. He means now. This is the impetus for one of the lamest examples of peer pressure I have ever seen. Colton brings up the concept of offering to go to Tribal Council instead of the girls. “I don’t like that idea,” says Jonas whose spine is roughly as firm as that of a jellyfish. “But at this point Colton is calling the shots so what am I going to say — no?” Yes, that is exactly what you say — you say no! Again: WHY IS COLTON CALLING THE SHOTS?!? And don’t give me that crap about the idol. That does not give him anywhere near the power these people think it does.
Jay follows suit in being too scared to say no. Then Tarzan not only does not say no, he starts leading the charge to make the whole thing happen — only he wants Leif gone. Then, incredibly, the two people most likely to be voted off — Bill and Leif — agree to it as well!!! The insanity virus is running rampant over at Manono and there seems to be no cure. So the men show up at Tribal. “Bill, what are the chances this will go down as the single dumbest move ever in this game?” asks Probst. “Dumber than someone giving up their individual immunity. This is a tribe. Eight people agreed to do this.” (Bill really should have waited to answer until after he got voted out.)
NEXT: Tarzan — king of the jungle (and the odd Tribal Council freak out)
Eventually, Colton starts bashing Bill again for being obnoxious, loud, and a “struggling stand-up comic,” which he puts in air quotes to properly convey his utter disdain. It is only a matter of time before race is brought up, and the bomb drops in what can only be described as a delightfully awkward and telling exchange.
COLTON: “Yes, I did go to a private all-white school. But I do have, like, African-American people in my life.”
COLTON: “My housekeeper. She is like a member of our family.”
PROBST: “A paid member.”
COLTON: “Yes, she doesn’t work for free.”
That is genius on too many levels for me to even count. (One level being that Country Club Colton’s family pays someone to be his only black friend.) It’s so delicious I just have to stop myself right now or we’ll be here all day. Plus, Tarzan might try to slap me upside the head if we continue much longer on this topic. Tarzan no want to talk about race! Tarzan mad! Tarzan want Jane now! Tarzan also want new shirt that no make him look like he step out of 1980s Tommy Bahama catalog!
So who will be the sucker that agreed to go to Tribal Council only to get voted out? That would be Bill, who at least goes out with a lot of class — not climbing down into the gutter with Triple C and instead perfectly illustrating what separates the two men. “He judged me on my differences,” Bill says after being voted out, “and I accept him because of his.” Bad for Bill for ever agreeing to go to Tribal, but good for Bill for not allowing someone as awful as Colton to drag him down into the muck.
What does Jeff Probst think about all this craziness? Make sure to read our Thursday Q&A to find out. And no Survivor experience is truly complete until you check out our exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode in the video player below. Finally, for more Survivor scoop, you can follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Now it’s your turn? Where does this move by the men rank on the dumbest plays ever tote board? And how does Colton measure up on the list of most annoying Survivor players of all-time? Hit the message boards to let us know and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!