The remaining survivors attempt a puzzling challenge.
Speaking of being on fire, reigning endurance queen Carolyn continues to show off her strategic chops by keeping her options open. She cozies up to Mike in case he wins immunity again and tells him they need to get Dan out because of his advantage. It’s a smart backup plan. I know I sound like a broken record, but I really don’t get why Carolyn has not gotten more credit this season. She found an idol with no clue. She has deftly bobbed and weaved into different alliances. She has done great in challenges. I’m not saying she’s the second coming of Tom Westman or anything, but respect is due, ladies and gentlemen.
Alright, let’s head to the reward challenge, which gives me a chance to once again wonder why we have seen so few individual reward contests this season. Just one, I believe. Maybe two. I’m too lazy to go back and look. I asked Jeff Probst about this in our Q&A so you can read his reasoning for it there, but I’ll just say that I tend to prefer as many individual competitions as possible (especially when they lead to tough choices like whom to bring with you and leave behind, although the Rodney birthday entitlement drama has somewhat made up for that).
This challenge involves racing through obstacles and untying knots to release a doorway. Then someone has to use a hatchet to release a rope and puzzle pieces that will then be used to solve the infamous familiar phrase. It is truly a challenge with all the fixin’s…if you will. For the winners (which is to say, Not Rodney) it will be the traditional Survivor chopper ride as well as a surf & turf meal. After going through all the instructions, Probst can’t help but poke the rat in the cage, asking Rodney how he’s been feeling with no reward victories so far. This leads Rodney to once again begin campaigning shamelessly and relentlessly through social media to be cast again on the show for next season. Wait, what? No. Sorry about that. I got confused and was thinking about all that other campaigning going on right now.
Instead, Rodney is once again campaigning for someone to give up their spot should he or she win so he can eat instead. This sort of response is like crack cocaine to the grand inquisitor who stands before him. “So I got to ask,” says Probst, “is it entitlement that you’re feeling that people should give you a reward because you haven’t had one?” KA-BLAMO! Then all of a sudden we’re back on the subject of Rodney’s birthday and oh my God I can’t believe we’re still talking about Rodney’s birthday!!! Also, does Rodney spend half of his year complaining about his birthday that just passed and the other half preparing everyone for his birthday about to come? Are we all just trapped in some sort of wormhole time loop vortex consisting solely of Rodney’s birthday and the word “fixin’s”?
Anyway, Rodney joins Dan and Sierra on the blue team while Mike, Will, and Carolyn comprise the red team. It’s all pretty close until the puzzle, and if I were Jeff Probst I would have just let blue win once Rodney offered up his guess of “A reward that will fix wishin’.” I don’t know what it means, but I kind of love it anyway. As Probst inches closer and closer to just giving the answer away with his ever increasingly easy clues, I could not help but be reminded of the genius fire-making tiebreaker between Becky and Sundra in Cook Islands, when neither could make fire with flint. And then neither could make fire…with matches! Sundra eventually ran out and Becky finally got it after the entire jury had taken a nap. To reiterate for emphasis: Jeff Probst had to give the contestants matches to make fire, and yet one of them still could not do it. GOD I LOVE THIS SHOW!
So naturally the non-Rodney team wins, and then Carolyn does her best impression of Eliza attempting to cast a final Tribal Council vote—hemming and hawing almost to the point of Rodney’s next birthday. She can’t decide whether to give up her spot or not. And then doesn’t. Which is really the worst possible way to handle that situation. You don’t put all that thought into it and then not give it up to the guy. That’s just cruel and unusual punishment. Give the man a quick and painless death. Don’t drag the sucker out like the last 45 minutes—and five fake endings—of Return of the King.
NEXT: Mike creates chaos around camp