Survivor recap: After Dark
The night-vision cameras come out as couples form in both the Fan and the Fave tribes, leading alliance members to turn on their own
No, see, I go kind of back and forth on how I feel about Probst sporting a baseball cap. On one hand it’s…excuse me for just a second. CHET! GET OUT OF THE WATER! GET OUT! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Okay, sorry about that. Where was I? Right, the baseball cap. As I was saying, the baseball cap is notbad per se. It’s just that it comes off as a little too Americana, instead of all exotic and tropical, which is kind of how I like my Survivor to feel. On the other hand, it’s also not nearly as…wait. I’m sorry to do this. Just give me a minute here. CHET! YOU PAGEANT-COACHING BASTARD, WHAT DID I TELL YOU? GET YOUR PATHETIC SWIMMING ASS TO SHORE, PRONTO! PRONTO MEANS NOW! SO THAT’S WHAT I MEAN — NOW! DO IT, NOW! My sincerest apologies. So, the baseball cap. Not the best chapeau, but also not nearly as offensive as that unflattering Guatemala getup. I realize that makes me sound like a bit of a hypocrite because here I am saying that Probst needs to get more exotic with his headgear choices, yet when he does, I take him to town for it. Look, the fact of the matter is Probst is so good at what he does I have to find something to razz him about, and it’s just that…Sorry, I promise this is the last interruption. Just hold that thought for me….CHET! MY HEAD IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE FROM YELLING AT YOU SO MUCH! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? DO YOU WANT MY HEAD TO EXPLODE? BECAUSE IF IT EXPLODES, THEN I CAN’T COMPETE IN CHALLENGES, AND IF I CAN’T COMPETE IN CHALLENGES, THEN WE ARE GOING TO LOSE! PLUS, YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED MY HEAD IS FREAKIN’ ENORMOUS! IF IT EXPLODES, YOU MAY GET BRAIN GOO ALL OVER YOU! GRANTED, SINCE YOU ARE STILL IN THE OCEAN REFUSING TO RUSH TO SHORE, I SUPPOSE YOU COULD JUST WASH IT OFF PRETTY EASILY, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT! THE POINT IS — GET YOUR ASS TO SHORE BEFORE I KILL YOU! Okay, deep breath. Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeep breath. Anyway, all I was going to suggest is that if Probst is going to wear a baseball cap, why not just go all the way and wear one of those classic early-’80s numbers with the wings on the side, but now I’ve lost all the momentum after channeling my inner Joel.
You can forgive me, though, right? Because, after all, there are few things more genius than watching tribe members lose it and start yelling at each other in the middle of a challenge. Maybe watching Tom Westman fall down drunk, Sundra and Becky trying to make fire at tribal council, or Rafe trying to climb a rope ladder, but that’s about it. Joel’s meltdown at Chet’s inability to swim down and retrieve a key was the boiling-over point for a tribe clearly divided by age. This episode things starting badly over at the Fans camp when they couldn’t figure out how to use the flint, neglecting to rub off the magnesium needed to make the sparks burst into flame. I would mock them incessantly for this, only I made the same mistake when I spent my little overnight getaway on Exile Island. (The only difference being I was told I wasnot getting flint so I did not bother preparing myself in advance on how to use it. Not that that’s much of an excuse considering that I’ve sat through close to 200 episodes of Survivor and should have been able to do it blindfolded with an arm tied behind my back. Which is why I’m not mocking incessantly, although you should feel free to mock both me and them should you feel so inclined.)
Then things just started getting downright bizarre. The old-fogy threesome of Kathy, Chet, and Tracy (basically, anyone over the age of 30 on this show is considered a fossil) decided that since they had no shelter, they would see about making some space under the cave. Except Jason was already doing exactly that and exclaimed, ”Well, this is my habitat tonight.” So much for respecting your elders. This caused Kathy to start shedding tears to the camera while saying, ”It’s just makes you relive things in your life, high school or whatever, when you didn’t fit in and you were kinda outcast.” Dammit! I thought we were done with the self-absorbed pity parties once we finally got rid of Denise, and now we have another sob story to endure? (Also, Kathy, hate to break it to you, but ”outcast” is kind of a dirty word in theSurvivor universe — at least to those people who watched the Pearl Islands season. You, being a ”fan,” should know that.) Eventually, the fogies went and built their own shelter, which the young, hot posse realized was 10 times better than anything they could construct, so they asked for help building one for themselves. Hence a second shelter for them. Wow, talk about a tribe divided — literally.
Over at the Favorites camp, however, it was all about getting closer. I remember thinking something funky was going on when Ozzy was bringing a clam onto the beach and all of a sudden we heard some ’70s porn music playing. What exactly is Ozzy about to do to that clam, I wondered? And do I really want to watch? Actually, I think I kinda do! But then Amanda showed up and ruined everything. They talked about how cute they thought each other was, and soon enough it turned into Survivor: After Dark, and the two were sucking face back at camp while everyone was sleeping. At least they thought everyone was sleeping. Cirie and Jonathan woke up, thankfully decided not to start sucking face themselves, and then talked about the dangers of letting all these lovebirds stay in the game.
There was also a possible romance brewing over with the Fans. Mary was flirting like crazy with Mikey, and who could blame her? After all, doesn’t every woman go crazy for a dude with a humongous ticket stub tattooed on his back?
NEXT: A Fan gets smoked by his Fave
Finally it was challenge time — a reward-immunity combo. Probst told the teams they needed to pick five swimmers, three puzzle makers, and one key master. A key master? What is this, freakin’ Ghostbusters? Where’s the Gatekeeper? Is Sigourney Weaver hanging out with Gozer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on the island somewhere? While Chet calling himself out as a good swimmer and then completely floundering was obviously the high/low point, equally interesting was the head-to-head match-up between Ozzy and Jason. Before the game, Jason spent half his time discussing what an exciting experience this would be and the other half drooling over Ozzy. It bordered on a bit creepy. He kept talking about how he was a man of nature who lived off the land just like Ozzy and how he couldn’t wait to meet him and compete against him. When the contestants set up for their cast photo before the first challenge, Jason even tried to position himself as close to Ozzy as possible. Like I said, borderline creepy. So the question was, could he back up the comparisons he was making when it came time to perform? The answer? No. Ozzy smoked him in the first leg.
So the Faves won and sent Kathy to Exile Island and then sent Cirie along with her. Together, the two went back and forth looking for clues on a series of small islands — a journey that was almost as exhausting to watch as it was for them to perform. If only I could have written my own clue: ”Watching contestants turning over clue after clue/Was not on my list of fun things to do/This journey back and forth is pretty damn boring/Can we get back to camp where…uh…something that rhymes with boring?”
And back to camp we finally went. Though at first it looked like Chet was a goner, Mikey started worrying that Kathy would find the hidden immunity idol. He devised a plan where the four younger guys would vote for Chet and the three babes would vote for Tracy. That way they would be protected should Kathy give the idol to Chet. It was pretty smart, but Joel — walking around in some antennae-shaped bamboo-leaf hat that was far worse than anything Jeff Probst has ever put on his head — became wary of all the strategizing Mikey was doing and decided to turn on him by getting rid of his ally Mary instead. (Apparently, then Joel became wary of himself, because he did not even follow his own plan, voting instead for Tracy.)
Tribal council was a hoot, and I don’t use the word ”hoot” lightly, ladies and gentlemen. It actually started with Chet’s pre-TC advice to Kathy on how to handle herself: ”Like I tell my pageant girls, answer the question and shut up. Don’t ramble; get off the stage.” But it was Chet who didn’t handle himself too well. Probst asked him about faltering in the challenge, and after Chet said that he just wanted to get someone less tired in the water, the host pounced. ”With all due respect,” said Probst, ”that’s giving yourself a little more credit than I would. It took you forever to get back to the beach.” This caused Mikey to chime in at how irked he was by Chet’s performance. Finally, before the voting, Joel decided to show the tribe his sensitive side by announcing, ”I don’t care if anyone goes home. I barely know these people.” Nice way to build those bonds, Mr. Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.
So Mary was blindsided, as were Mikey and Ozzy Lite (Jason), who apparently was not let in on the plan either. It was a very risky move by Joel, because what’s to stop Chet, Kathy, and Tracy from now joining up with Mikey and Jason to gain the numbers advantage? If I were him, I would’ve stayed put and made a move once I was sure I had the numbers in every possible scenario. Then again, if I were him, I would also be able to lift small cars over my head, so…
What do you think? Was it a solid strategic move by Joel, or did he jump the gun? Which Favorites couple is less annoying: Ozzy and Amanda or James and Parvati? And what the hell is going on with that promo for next week’s challenge?
Don’t forget to check back Monday for a new episode of Survivor Talk, where Josh Wolk and I will chat with Mary and ask her where it all went wrong. You can see that and last week’s interview with Jonny Fairplay at ew.com/survivorvideo.