The host goes missing while Jaison struggles and Shambo begins referring to herself in the third person

By Dalton Ross
February 28, 2015 at 03:06 AM EST
Monty Brinton/CBS
S19 E4
  • TV Show

You know who rocks? U2. Man, those guys have been rockin’ forever. You know what wouldnot rock, though. Going to see U2, only to find out they’re playing a rhythm-section only instrumental set with no Bono or the Edge. Hey, switching gears, do you know what is positively delicious? Bacon cheeseburgers. Wow, I could eat bacon cheeseburgers all day long (if it wouldn’t kill me in about 38 hours). But you know what would totally suck? A bacon cheeseburger…with no bacon! That’s just wrong! There is no U2 without Bono and there is no bacon cheeseburger without bacon! And guess what else? There is no Survivor challenge without Jeff Probst. Until now, that is.

Selected tribe members from Galu and Foa Foa showed up for a reward challenge, but instead of hearing that all too familiar “Come on in, guys!” there was no Probst to be found. So they waited. And waited. And then began fighting over chickens. Probst, it turned out, had gone all Doug Henning on us and disappeared. What gives? Where was Probsty? Maybe he was sick. Maybe he was recuperating from Ben beating the crap out of him for snuffing his torch. Maybe he couldn’t take seeing Foa Foa get their collective ass kicked yet again. Or maybe he just knew the challenge was so deathly boring — bocce, seriously? — that he decided to finally break his Cal Ripken Jr-esque ironman streak of challenge-announcing, and sit this one out.

Whatever the reason (and I’m guessing Probst is shedding some light on the subject over on his blog), it was weird. Don’t know what you got (till it’s gone), 1980s hair metal giants Cinderella once opined. And while that song is sandwiched somewhere between Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and White Lion’s “When the Children Cry” on the list of Awesomely Cheesy Power Ballads, its words — and incredible video featuring the singer for some reason playing a piano out in the middle of a desert — ring true after seeing a challenge run without Probst’s Al Michaelsian play-by-play to ramp up the drama. Instead of Probst letting us know where everyone stood throughout the course of the competition, we had to settle for less-than scintillating Big Brother type recapping from the contestants themselves (sample from Dave: ” At this point we are not going home with the chickens.” Thanks for that, Dave-O.). Instead of Probst raising both hands in the air at the end while exclaiming, “Galu wins!”, we had Dave and Dreadlocked Russell doing their own measurement and just sort of hovering over the winning bocce ball throw. (Wow. Intense.)

If Probst’s absence was some sort of Survivor experiment, it was a failed one. It actually reminded me of back in 1980 when NBC aired a football game between the Jets and the Dolphins with no announcers. (Anyone else care to date themselves and admit to remembering that?) If anything, all it did was serve to enforce how good Probst is at what he does. Who knows, maybe the whole thing was one big contract ploy by the host to give his bosses a peak at what they’ll be missing if they don’t resign him to a fat new contract when his current one expires after season 20. Actually, you know what the challenge should have been? Find Jeff Probst! It would have been like Where’s Waldo, only without the bitchin’ barbershop motif. It also would have been a hell of a lot more fun than bocce, that’s for sure.

NEXT: Jaison goes from hero to zero

Okay, enough about that. Hey, remember how Jaison made a total tribal power play last week to get Ben out? Remember how he showed verve, pluck, spunk, moxie, and lots of other words that people haven’t used in 50 years? Yeah, well, now he’s tired. And hungry. Took a lot out of him that big Tribal Council beat-down of Ben did. “I right now believe coming here was the worst decision I made in my entire life,” said Jaison the morning after his big move. As much as I loved Jaison for taking a stand at Tribal, I just hate, hate, hate hearing this stuff from contestants. There are thousands upon thousands of people that would do anything to play Survivor. Things you don’t want to know about. Things that may be illegal. So for Jaison to be ready to throw in the towel — and I have a feeling he just may in the next few episodes — that is akin to smacking all those hardcore wannabe contestants in the face. This is why fans of the show have no tolerance for quitters. And it’s why they get so upset when Survivor trots out casts full of recruits, as opposed to applicants. When that happens, you are bound to have this happen — people who regret coming and don’t want to be there. You gained a lot of fans last week, Jaison. And lost a lot this one.

Speaking of characters that have had their ups and downs, it turns out Shambo is so high on herself she’s begun referring to herself in the third person: “There was a huge appreciation for Shambo,” she said of her time at Foa Foa. I told you all last week that I’ve been on the fence about Shambo. Well, this week took me off, but not on the side she’d like. First, she went and told Erik and John all about the two clues she received for the hidden immunity idol. Why do that?!? You’re not even in an alliance with them! Does anyone even watch this show?!? (I actually love the way they started ignoring her the second after she spilled the beans so they could begin plotting ways to find it.) You know what, Shambo? Shambo got what Shambo deserved. And there’s not a huge appreciation for Shambo gong on after that move. But then it got worse as she went and lost one of the chickens that Galu won at the Great Probstless Bocce Experiment of 2009. I couldn’t believe it when…

We interrupt you from your regularly scheduled Survivor TV Watch to bring you the following newsflash: A chicken is a bird. Repeat: A chicken is a bird. Furthermore, unlike penguins, a chicken is not a flightless bird. Hence, chickens can fly. So, to recap: Chickens are birds and do possess the power of flight, albeit for very short distances. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Survivor TV Watch, already in progress.

…and that further backs up my theory that Natalie from Foa Foa and Kelly from Galu are actually the same woman who simply hops back and forth from tribe to tribe depending on which one is more in need of a blond in a bikini with nothing remotely interesting to say. But you know who is becoming interesting? Erik. He accosted Shambo to get the hidden immunity idol clues, practiced out his WWE moves by getting clotheslined while chasing the chicken (that sounds vaguely dirty for some reason), and also went and found his camp’s hidden immunity idol. That makes him the second person to find the HII without officially receiving any clues. Honestly, half the time I watch this damn show I expect to find an immunity idol just sitting under my couch. (Sadly, unless they have taken the form of crushed Milwaukee’s Best cans, no luck so far).

NEXT: Yamsin plays the heel

Considering that we were seeing more of Galu this episode than the past three hours combined, it was pretty clear that they were going to lose the immunity challenge. And lose they did. But although the outcome was obvious before the competition even began, it was still a very cool contest and almost — almost — made up for the bocce. The cool thing about it is that there were parts where the tribes had to work as a team (stacking boxes), but there was also a section where people and their individual weaknesses were exposed, and that section was the rope bridge. Oh, Monica. At first I thought there was something wrong with my television and that the DVR was stuck in slow-motion. But no, that was your actual tortoise-like pace. Probst, who was back from hisSurvivor sabbatical also noticed that Evil Russell made up some serious time on Brett. While Probst was doing this I noticed something myself — that I had no freakin’ idea who the hell Brett was! Is that where Probst went during the reward challenge, to find this Brett cat and see if anyone would notice if he slyly inserted him into the game?

So the big question after Galu’s challenge defeat was: Who would pay the price? Dreadlocked Russell wanted Monica gone for her failure in the challenge, and that seemed like a good call since she was still probably still stuck up on the rope bridge and therefore unable to defend herself. The rest of the tribe, however, wanted Yasmin gone due to her lack of work ethic round camp, a lack she confirmed by boasting to Shambo that “Around this camp, I ain’t steppin’ up to do nothin’.” Great strategy! Almost as great as wearing high heels into the jungle! Yasmin even sported her fancy footwear to Tribal Council where she informed Probst that, “I wanted to dress up for you, Jeff, so I thought I’d look a little nice.” Personally, I was surprised Probst didn’t flee from the set right then and there (ensuring he’d miss plenty of more challenges to come), but he kept his cool to the end when Yasmin (or “Yazee” as Monica voted) was sent home.

Yasmin gave us some nutty nuggets along the way, but she may just have saved her zaniest for last, mentioning in her parting words that “I personally feel that I’m such a strong competitor that had I made it to the end, it would have been really hard not to vote for me.” Yamsin, unless this vote you’re referring to was going to be conducted by your peers on the planet of Crazytown, there is no way in High Heeled Hell you would have received even a single vote had you made it to the end. Just FYI.

But I don’t mean to dis and dismiss. Yasmin was bizarre enough to give us some truly memorable moments, so although she had no real business being there in the first place (again, I’m guessing recruit instead of applicant), she’ll be missed in her own special way. And I’m sure she’ll have some more kooky things to say when she joins Josh Wolk, Survivor Tocantins‘ Stephen Fishbach, and me on Survivor Talk. Check back Friday afternoon for that insanity. In the meantime, enjoy the exclusive deleted scene below, and make sure to take a gander at Jeff Probst’s blog for some stellar insider insight. And then, tell us what you think. Should Galu have voted out Yasmin, Monica, or Shambo? Will Jaison quit? And what do you think of the Probstless reward challenge? Hit the message boards and let us know!

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Jeff Probst leads adventures in the ultimate (and original) reality series.
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