A brutal accident at a reward challenge kicks off a night of big moves and big moments.
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

We knew this time would come. We couldn’t continue the charade forever. It was nice while it lasted, but alas, that time is over. I’m sorry to break it to you all, but yes, we now finally need to learn the actual Survivor tribe names. Well, two of them at least. I have no idea what the actual White Collar tribe name was. Mascara, maybe? Mesculin? No! Masaya! That’s it. Poor Masaya. Literally the most invisible tribe name in the history of Survivor, save for Bayoneta and Viveros, which were disbanded just four days into Survivor: Panama. Yes, four days. As in they lasted all of one episode.

So anyway, now that that the players have been switched up and contracted from three to two tribes, we actually have to start using the real names, which I believe are Nicorette and either Eskimo or Pablo Escobar. Wait, that doesn’t sound right—let me look them up real quick…. Okay, that was wrong. Nagarote and Escameca. Whatever, I was close.

But can you blame me? I always get so confused when there are official tribe names but the tribes are only referred to by some other moniker like “Heroes” or “Fans” or “Older Women” (which I still can’t believe didn’t get Jeff Probst killed). Further confusing matters is that this season is called Survivor: Worlds Apart, yet when Probst revealed whom he was booting at Tribal Council for the first few weeks he would say “The second person voted out of Survivor: White Collar Blue Collar No Collar…” Why do that when Worlds Apart is the title of the show and about a million times easier and less repetitive to say? Also, you never would have said “The second person voted out of Islands of Fire…” or “The second person voted out of Earth’s Last Eden…” By the way, bonus points if you can name what seasons those were. (Sorry, you’re not eligible, Max.)

Thankfully, Probst figured this out and by week three just went with “The third person voted out…” But again, why not just say, “The third person voted out of Survivor: Worlds Apart”? Hey, I may not know my mom’s telephone number, but I can obsess over minutiae like this any and every day of the week. Which brings us to Max and Shirin. I just don’t get it. Do they not realize that constantly pointing out how much you know about Survivor IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN POSSIBLY DO ON SURVIVOR?!? When I was out there in Samoa for Johnny Cochran’s first season of South Pacific, I watched him spewing out lots of Survivor factoids for the rest of the tribe and I came this close to breaking the sanctity of the “do not interact with the castmates” rule to smack some sense into him. (Had I done that, I also would have commanded him to not be so scared of colored rocks.)

The point is, if I were playing Survivor, the first person I would get rid of would be the person who knew too much about Survivor—so yes, basically I am saying I would get rid of myself. But then again, if I were playing Survivor, I would not idiotically go around telling everyone everything I knew. I wouldn’t be all “You know, if Wanda just had kept the singing to a minimum she may not have been eliminated at the schoolyard pick ‘em on Palau before they even formed tribes.” And just to close the circle on this confusing Catch-22 example, the entire exercise is actually moot because I would never even go on Survivor because I have no aspirations whatsoever to be a reality TV contestant. So there’s that.

Look, I want to root for the superfans. I like when superfans play. I just hate when superfans let everyone know they are superfans. It’s just not smart and paints a huge target on your back. As Jenn herself said, “Why would they let us know they know that much about Survivor?” Excellent question. The fact that Max has made a living by obsessing over Survivor can’t help but make him a kindred spirit of sorts so I would have liked to have seen him do well. He can partly blame the tribe switcheroo for his demise, to be sure. But he certainly didn’t help his cause either. Also, foot warts.

Okay, sooooooo much to get to with two episodes, a challenge injury, a tribe switcheroo, and Rodney’s enlightened take on the female sex, so, let’s spend way too much time attacking this sucker.

NEXT: A Brutal Blow

A Challenging Situation

Let’s start off with the first reward challenge because clearly there is a lot to get to with this one. First off, a reward challenge! Welcome back off the endangered species list! We missed you! With three tribes, producers clearly thought we needed more time at the camps to get to know everyone so ditched the reward challenges in the first three weeks. Makes sense. But I’m glad they’re back. Okay, the set-up for the challenge is this: Each team sends a blindfolded pair out to collect 4 items and a flag, which are then hoisted up one at a time with the help of another blindfolded team member who pulls on a rope to raise a platform with the item to the caller at the top of the structure. The blindfolded helper then needs to bring the platform back down for the next item as the others race back off—and that is the key component of what is about to transpire.

The challenge is pretty much like any blindfolded challenge. There is one person (Shirin) who keeps banging her crotch into things and another person (Lindsey) who keeps getting frustrated by the directions being yelled out by their caller. But something else is happening as well. Will (for No Collar) and Dan (for Blue Collar) are almost getting hit while letting their platforms drop down after raising items to their callers, and it looks dangerous. Part of the problem is the other blindfolded person raising the platform on the other side is letting go and taking off to get the next item—which means Will and Dan can hold on to the rope and hope the other side does not bash them in the body when the other person lets go, or they can also let go and hope the thing does not come crashing down on top of them. Two pretty crappy options. “Will, be careful when that drops,” Probst tells the guy who is still miraculously in the game. Then Dan lets his come crashing down. And then Will’s almost nails him again. “That is on you,” yells Probst about being safe. “Take care of that platform!”

They don’t listen. And then things get scary. Dan lets go of his rope again, and the platform crashes down right on Kelly’s head. It’s bad. You can see blood gushing right through the buff. Probst stops play immediately and brings medical in. Doctor Ben—who looks all of about 14 years old but seems to know what he is doing—comes in and gives his official diagnosis: Kelly’s face is super F’d up. Well, the doctor is a bit more specific. He says there is a 3- to 4-inch gash in her forehead, which is convenient because it is also just large enough for me to puke into. (After the challenge, Kelly will get six stitches to close the wound.)

Okay, I had a lot of questions when this all went down. But the main ones were these:

  1. When the Dream Team—whose job it is to test out all the challenges—did their rehearsals, was there any indication that there might be a safety issue with the falling platforms?
  2. We all know about concussion protocol these days in sports and how athletes may not return to action until it has been proven they are not putting themselves at further risk by performing. Considering she just got bashed in the head and wanted to go back into a competition that involved being blindfolded with a good chance of bashing into things, was there any concussion testing for Kelly after the accident?
  3. Once play resumed, were the contestants directly instructed to not let go of their rope, because everyone appeared to be much safer after that.

Since these were my three biggest questions about this entire incident, I asked them all to Jeff Probst and you can read his answers in this week’s Q&A. But outside those questions of safety, I can say this: Kelly is hardcore. I heard neither tears nor complaints. Now, for all I know the lack of emotion stemmed from the fact that she was loopy at the time from getting bashed on the head and therefore thought she was V.I.C.I. the robot from Small Wonder and was therefore incapable of feeling any pain. But regardless of the reason, she handled that about as well as anyone—man or woman—could. And it’s a good thing she did since we all know women should “hold themselves to a higher standard.”

In any event, when all was said and done and bandaged up, first place No Collar wins three hens and a rooster, second place White Collar wins 10 eggs, and Blue Collar has insult added to literal injury.

NEXT: The most bizarre Survivor preparation ever

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Chickens will always have a special pace in Survivor lore thanks to the infamous finger-wagging argument between vegetarian Kimmi and Alicia over eating the birds in Survivor: The Australian Outback. (By the way, if you just watched that linked clip, how weird is it to see contestants wearing sunglasses? So old school. Let’s bring back the gong and trunk of cash at Tribal Council while we’re at it.) This situation was not as volatile, as vegetarian Jenn’s biggest protest came in the form of calling Joe “Satan” and then walking away into the woods over him killing one of their chickens for Will’s birthday. But then Jenn actually did something very smart. She used her time—which the rest of the tribe could chalk up to needing some alone time—to look for the idol, and sure enough, she found it. “Winner winner, chicken dinner,” she proudly exclaimed. I haven’t been too impressed with Jenn’s game so far, but props must be given when props are due.

Meanwhile, over on White Collar—or I may as well call it Masaya while I still can—Shirin was happy they didn’t win the chickens because none of the other White Collar would have known how to kill it. But Shirin would! According to the bottomless wonder, she prepared for Survivor by watching a video on how to kill a chicken. Fine, I guess I can see that. And then she also…SLAUGHTERED A RABBIT!!!

Okay, time out. What does she men she slaughtered a rabbit? First off, why? Did she watch Night of the Lepus one time too many? (By the way, every man, woman and child should see Night of the Lepus immediately, if only to see footage of a grown man in a killer bunny costume.) Secondly, where in San Francisco did she procure the rabbit to slaughter? Did she lure one in off the streets, because I’m guessing they’re not exactly hopping around outside the Transamerica Pyramid? Did she buy one at a pet store for the sole purpose of killing it? Or did she go ahead and buy two, watch them have sex, and then ring her neighbor’s doorbell and then tell him all about the rabbit sex before eating the poor sexually satisfied bunnies? And then what did she do with the bunny after she killed it? Did she at least eat it so it served some sort of practical, non-psychopath purpose? Or did she leave the body somewhere and then send a note to the police with the town name misspelled and simply the word “Cadaver”? With this whole situation, I’m honestly more confused than outraged.

Rodney on Women

Well, when we heard Rodney talk a few weeks back about how “Girls, they want to sit back and let a man take the leader role” we knew he was not exactly someone you would describe as “enlightened.” Tonight’s edition of “Rodney on Women” focused on how “Girls need to hold themselves to a higher standard than guys.” Apparently—and I may get the particulars on this wrong as I was having a bit of a hard time following his logic here—Rodney is a bit upset that guys have to put a lot of work in when they go to a club to score a babe while a babe can just hook up with any guys she wants. (SO UNFAIR!!!!) But I guess she… shouldn’t? Is that what he’s saying? I have no idea.

He’s also talking about how men are dogs but when he settles down he wants his “girl” to be angel. So, I guess it’s okay for men to be dogs, but not for women? SURE! MAKES TOTAL SENSE! It’s hard to take Lindsey seriously when she gets mad at someone because Lindsey is always mad at someone, but you can’t fault her for responding about Rodney by saying, “If you were my son, I’d break your jaw and feed it to you for breakfast.” (Of course, I’m overlooking the obvious fact that Rodney would not be able to eat his own jaw—or anything, for matter—for breakfast if he, you know, didn’t have a jaw. You can’t feed someone their jaw if they don’t have their jaw to eat it, no matter how high a standard you hold yourself to.)

NEXT: Throwing away the collars

The Rope-a-Dope

This looks like a fun immunity challenge as each tribe is attached to a rope and has to go one-by-one through an obstacle, grab a bag of balls, and head to the finish. When everyone does that they must balance on a beam while maneuvering the ball up through a bunch of holes to one of three slots. The first two tribes to put three balls into three slots wins. (I know it doesn’t show, but I just went to great lengths to make that not sound completely disgusting… and yet I still failed.)

Not a lot to report here though. Will predictably is terrible once again, and Rodney does not hold himself up to the high standards he espouses for women by also getting confused untangling the rope. In the end, No Collar wins, while White Collar takes second. Time for Blue Collar to boot someone out.

Rodney or Lindsey?

It becomes very clear very quickly that someone with a questionable tattoo is about to be voted out, but will it be Lindsey or Rodney? Dan “listens like a girl” while Lindsey yaps about how Rodney needs to go, while Rodney yaps to us about how “I’m the leader. I’m gonna be the leader no matter what. I’m the Tom Brady out here.” A questionable comment considering the last I checked, Rodney has neither Tom Brady’s four Super Bowl trophies, Tom Brady’s supermodel wife, nor Tom Brady’s hairline.

Ultimately, it looks like Mike and Kelly will be the deciding votes, so we head to Tribal to see what happens. And what happens is this: Rodney informs us that “I’m just stating facts that women disrespect themselves,” Probst responds that “I know that comment just offended millions of women” and Lindsey talks a lot about how much she loves the tribe—which is certainly curious seeing as how she is always yelling at the tribe (even at BFF Sierra during the reward challenge). The winner of Survivor: Worlds Apart may indeed be from this tribe, but it will not be Lindsey, as she is voted out after a three-way tie (between her, Sierra, and Rodney) to protect against a hidden idol. (Bonus points to Mike for writing his vote as “Lindsee-ya.”)

We didn’t see much from Lindsey except her talking smack to or about people. No strategy or anything, just being upset a lot. Was that her 24-7, or did they just selectively pick out her most volatile moments, which you may have noticed tends to happen on reality TV? I look forward to asking her when we speak on Thursday. Okay, that will do it for this week. Make sure to check out the exclusive deleted scene in the…wait. What? There’s a whole other hour to go? It’s only halftime? Sweet! Let’s get to it!

Switcheroo Time

When Jeff Probst tells you to “drop your buffs,” it’s either an awkward sexual advance or a sign that that a tribe switcheroo is on the way. Granted, every time it has been the latter, but you never know. Not only are we switching the players up, but we’re contracting down to two tribes. After everyone takes a covered buff and reveals, we are left with the following tribes

Escameca (a.k.a. the blue tribe)








Nagarote (a.k.a. the red tribe)








Okay, first impressions. In terms of physicality, the tribes could not be more disparate. Escameca has all dudes and perhaps the most athletic woman in Sierra, while Nagarote got stuck with Will and Max as their only men. Of course, not every challenge comes down to brute strength, but for ones that do, Escameca has a clear advantage. So producers were probably not too psyched about that, especially with the next two challenges being so physical. (Sure enough, blue trounces red at the ball catching reward challenge that follows to win kitchen supplies as well as the previous White Collar rewards.)

However—and this is a big however—those same producers could not have asked for a better split in terms of strategy and social game. For while the former Blue Collars are in the majority at the new Escameca, the tribe also features an outsider/swing vote in Sierra. And Nagarote is even better, having a swing vote in Kelly, as well as a potential flipper in Carolyn. If I’m Probst or Matt Van Wagenen or any of the other producers, I’m liking all that story it’s giving me.

NEXT: Culture clash

The New Nagarote

The difference between the two threesomes (old No Collars and old White Collars) here at Nagarote could not be starker. Hali talks about how they can just hang out and watch and the game will come to them, while Shirin is into immediate game mode, wooing swing vote Kelly over to her side. “This is like going into a house to buy drugs from people you totally don’t even know,” says Kelly. Well, that depends. Do these drug dealers refuse to wear anything below the waist and have a bunch of bloody bunny corpses on the floor? And do they randomly break into the National Anthem and/or whistling for no apparent reason, possibly while pooping—after telling everyone that they are about to start pooping? So, like, those kinds of drug dealers? Because they sure as hell must be on something.

As for Max, he isn’t doing much better with the rest of the tribe than Shirin. His problems begin when he gets nailed by stingrays in both feet. This is a problem in Nicaragua. I was never stung in my three trips there (and I spent a lot of time in the water), but others have been. You are supposed to shuffle your feet in the water as opposed to stepping. That way you don’t step down on one, and the shuffling movement also warns the stingrays that you’re there. You heard this quickly referenced after he got stung. You certainly can’t blame Max for getting hit up twice by the little buggers. So what do you do in such a situation? You find Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien to come pee on you! Unfortunately, Kathy’s not a contestant this season—although I’m sure Shirin would have been more than happy to reenact the entire thing—so Max has to submerge his stung feet in the tribe pot, which is filled with hot water. Only one problem, Max is rocking a GINORMOUS planter wart. And, as we know, planter warts are super-contagious. So, hey, who wants some rice?!?!?!

I feel for Max. None of this is his fault. He got stung, and he’s doing what you should do when you get stung. But a foot wart in the tribe’s eating and drinking pot is a foot wart in the tribe’s eating and drinking pot. Not the type of thing to exactly win you any alliance partners.

The New Escameca

Over at the other tribe, Dan’s outburst at Sierra after the previous Tribal Council—in which he nonsensically went out of his way to point out how terrible she had been in challenges—could be coming back to haunt the Blue Collar majority. First off, Mike, Dan, and Rodney idiotically leave her alone with the others to tell them all about how “these people suck!” Then, after Mike begs Dan to tell Sierra he’s sorry—by saying that “My personal experience with women, they don’t want the explanation. They just want you to say you’re sorry so they can say they were right,” which is a whole other thing which I can’t even handle getting into right now because seriously, have you ever heard more condescending attitude towards women than in these here two hours?—Dan goes to offer his apology. Only instead, he can’t help himself and starts hammering her again. “It was the crappiest apology I’ve ever received in my entire life,” Sierra says. Nice damage control, Danimal!

Be Careful What You Wish For

The fourth and final challenge of the evening turns the contestants into mushers on the Iditarod as they must place pots on a sled and drag them through obstacles and then put the pots on stands which must then be smashed with a wrecking ball. It seems like a pretty cool contest, but it also seems like no contest, which it is, as the blue tribe—still getting used to the names here—dominates thanks to brute strength and Dan excelling at breaking stuff.

However, certain members of the red tribe don’t seem so distressed. Max even tells us that the toughest part was not smiling too big after they lost because he was ready to vote someone out. DUDE, NO!!! I thought you considered yourself a Survivor historian! You of all people should know that the second those words came out of your mouth you were doomed. How many times have we heard the cocky contestant talk about being excited to blindside someone, only to get blindsided themselves? It’s a full-on Survivor tradition! Just ask Kat Edorsson. Apparently Max needs to go back to college to take his own Survivor course.

Jenn is certainly not impressed with Max and his Survivor obsession, especially when he breaks past winners down by… astrological sign? (Is this his attempt to fit in with the wavy-gravy no collars? “So, anyway, Jenn. I also studied which Survivor winners have smoked the most weed and let me just say, Fabio’s record is positively Cal Ripken-esque in terms of untouchability.”) “Why do you know this much?” Jenn wonders about Max’s Survivor obsession. “It’s like people that remember the 1996 Bulls game against the Heat on October 13th, or whenever basketball happens.” (She is kind of right. October 13 counts as preseason basketball, which is like regular season basketball, only a million times lamer.)

NEXT: Carolyn makes a big move

Survivor: Botox Island

Jenn and Hali can’t decide whom they like less, Max or Shirin. Meanwhile, Max says he wants to blindside Will. (Although I am hereby throwing a penalty flag on the beardsman for inappropriate use of the term “blindside.” When two groups of three come together and one group of three votes for someone from the other group of three, in no way, shape, or form is that a blindside. That’s just voting someone out.)

Now, Carolyn, on the other hand, is on the verge of doing something interesting. “I am not part of that three” she tells Jenn. “I am 150 percent in,” she says about switching over to yes, blindside, Max or Shirin. Okay, let’s pause for the cause to play a little game of Good Move/Bad Move on Carolyn’s flip. The first instinct is to say Bad Move, because she moves from an alliance of three to potentially the bottom of an alliance of five. Moving down the totem pole is almost always a bad idea. However, let’s look closer. If she stays put, she is a clear third wheel with Max and Shirin, but there appears to be much more fluidity with the others. Kelly has just joined in, so she’s in play, and I don’t get the sense Will is particularly close with Jenn & Hali. That makes a potential new power trio. And even if that doesn’t work out, this new alliance would seem to give Carolyn more maneuverability and options, especially with that hidden immunity idol in her proverbial pocket.

So I am going to go ahead and stamp this as a Good Move. (Unless, you know, she gets voted out next week. In all seriousness, it would still be a good move even then. You can’t always judge the quality of the move by the results. You need to play percentages in terms of what gives you the best chance to succeed long-term. Just because it does not work out doesn’t mean it was not the right play to make.)

But whom will they vote out? “The debate is who is more annoying,” says Will. “I think it’s neck and neck.” Jenn echoes that by announcing that, “It’s like a race for who’s more annoying.” So off we go to Tribal Council to find out who is more annoying. Shirin definitely pulls into the early lead when she stops mid-ramble to accuse Probst of making a face. “I am?” a clearly confused Probst replies. And then comes the best thing Jeff Probst has ever said in the history of Survivor. Ladies and gentlemen, strap yourself in for an explosion of Probstiness, the likes of which you have never seen nor heard: “Hold on. Let me check myself,” the host tells Shirin. “Because maybe the Botox isn’t working.” I…just…can’t…even. This is so amazing on so many levels and I am not sure I have ever loved Probst more than I do right now. Well, maybe that one time he wore sunglass during a challenge…in the rain! And maybe the time he deftly diffused a tense racial moment between Steve and Phillip during the Redemption Island season, opting for class over sass when most hosts would have sought to exploit and exacerbate the situation for drama. But this may have even topped those.

And the follow-up was almost as brilliant:

SHIRIN: “You just look really intense.”

PROBST: “Okay, well, that’s just me.”

It certainly is. In any event, somehow we then get into a prolonged discussion about a tribe swap from One World—which is perhaps the worst Survivor season to get into a prolonged discussion about—before we head to the voting. Shirin votes for Will because “we need a lot more space in the bed,” which is a bit rude, while Jenn just says “Please stop talking” while casting her vote. Probst goes and retrieves the urn and then asks if anyone has a hidden immunity idol they want to play. “Hey, Jeff. Hold up, Bro,” says Max while reaching for his bag. But it is just a super nerdy ruse—a callback to Malcolm in Survivor: Caramoan. “I just always wanted to say that,” says Max, to which Probst in perfect deadpan responds, “Okay.”

Personally, if I were going to mimic any line at Tribal Council, it would be Shane Powers’ declaration of “Oh my God, I’m going to have a chocolate ice cream bar in about one minute!” upon being voted off in Panama, but that’s just me. Oh, and speaking of getting voted off, it indeed is Max—the guy who was so gleeful to lose the challenge so his tribe could go to Tribal—who gets the boot. Probably not the Survivor imitation he was looking to perfect.

But you’re not done hearing from Max! Because Max is the star of this week’s exclusive deleted scene in the video player below, as he details Shirin’s butchering and skinning of rabbits in great detail. And you can also check out my Thursday exit interviews with Max and Lindsey on Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105). Plus, for all the scoop on what went wrong in that first reward challenge, read our exclusive Q&A with Hostmaster General Jeff Probst. And for Survivor scoop and updates sent right to ya, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

But now it’s your turn. How do you feel about all the comments by men about how women are and what women should be like? Did the right people go home? And who was helped and hurt the most by the tribe switcheroo? Hit the message boards to weigh in, and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!