Quitters and flippers never win ... or do they?

By Dalton Ross
April 16, 2015 at 10:05 AM EDT
Credit: CBS
S30 E9

Welcome, everybody. Welcome. Please go ahead and take a seat, and thanks for coming to our annual meeting of SQA—the Survivor Quitters Alliance. I’m Julie McGee, our chairwoman. I’m taking over for Janu, who…well, quit. But we have a new application we need to review for potential membership. The name I put before you tonight is Jenn Brown. Thoughts?

“Yeah, I have a question.”

The chair recognizes Osten from Pearl Islands.

“Yeah, did Jeff Probst take her torch and throw it down in utter and absolute disgust?”

Well, no.

“Then she can’t join.”

To be fair, Osten, if that were the case, you’d be the only member.


Okay, anyone else.

“Yep, over here!”

The chair recognizes Lindsey from Cagayan.

“Soooooo, did she want to quit because her alliance partner got voted out so she sulked and made up some cockamamy story about needing to do the ‘mature’ thing by leaving or else she was going to punch somebody, even though punching somebody is the least mature thing you can do?”

Well, not exactly. I mean, yes, she seems ready to quit because her alliance partner got voted out, and she probably does want to punch Dan, so I guess…kinda?

“Hey, I have a question: HOW ‘BOUT DEM COWBOYS?!?”

Ugh, the chair recognizes Jimmy Johnson. And for the last time, Jimmy, do you have an actual question beyond ‘How ‘bout dem Cowboys?’

“In fact, I do. So is Jenn trying to do that thing where she’s trying to quit but doesn’t want it to look like a quit so she asks everyone to vote her out instead so it does not seem like a quit when it really is?”

Actually, yes. Good question, Jimmy. That’s exactly what she is trying to do.


In fairness, I don’t think you own that move, Jimmy. Shawna tried to do that in the Amazon way before you. It’s actually been done a bunch of times, but like with you, the cameras don’t always show it.

“Hey! It’s time for you to take my question before I knock you down like a one-legged woman.”

The chair recognizes NaOnka from Nicaragua.

“About time. Look, can you let me know when there are, like, only nine minutes left in this meeting? Because I want to quit this meeting right before we finish but then still be able to vote on the ultimate decision.”

“Oooooh, me too! I want to do that too.”

Fine. The chair will inform NaOnka and Purple Kelly when it is time for them to quit this meeting yet still allow them to vote. Anyone else? No? Gary from Fiji? You good? Okay, we will take a quick a brief recess and then continue further deliberations…

Wow. Listen, I don’t blame the SQA for being a bit confused when it comes to Jenn. What a bizarre situation. On one hand, she insists on saying positively infuriating things like “I’m kind of stoked now to get voted out” and “If they’re going to ask to keep me around I’m going to give them a reason to kick me out” and “It sounds pathetic to ask people to vote for you, but I don’t care” and…well, you get the point. If you’re a longtime fan of the show, you hate to hear this kind of stuff. Hate it. And you realize just how truly lame it is when contrasted with Joe, who was voted out but desperately wanted to stay in the game, saying “I want to be here. I want to play. I have waited my whole life to be here…. I love this game too much to just not fight for it.”

On the other hand, Jenn is still kicking butt in challenges—granted it’s because she thought that was her way out (“Is it really sad that I fought so hard in that challenge today so I could have a ticket out?”)—but even still, she at least has kept trying in certain regards. And she has refused to actually walk out. So maybe we should cut her a little slack.

But let’s go back to that first hand again. When Probst challenged her and said “Why don’t you do the greatest No Collar move of all: Just get up and walk out?” Jenn responded “That’s quitting. I don’t quit.” But isn’t that just semantics? Jenn is actively trying her best to get voted out of the game. Is that really any different from quitting? I mean, she said “dammit!” when she wasn’t voted out for crying out loud. Think about that for a second. Joe pointed out that Jenn has “already quit mentally, emotionally, physically.” Doesn’t this make her a quitter? If you are trying to leave the game, isn’t that pretty much the same thing. I asked Jeff Probst this and you can read his response in our weekly Q&A. But what say you? Hit the message boards to weigh in as I’m curious what your take on this is. In the meantime, let’s recap the rest of Survivor: Worlds Apart.

NEXT: Will takes a nap while going down the slide

You know what? Dan took a lot of heat from yours truly and others last week for his comments to and about Shirin, so as long as he keeps his mouth shut this week, I’m willing to cut the guy some…. Wait, what? He’s already at it again?!? How long have they been back from Tribal Council, like two seconds? And yet here he goes. “I don’t understand how a fan like you cannot understand the difference between a flip and a blindside,” he starts in on his favorite target.

Then he and Shirin get into a really weird argument where they try to kill the other with sarcastic kindness by claiming the other is actually smarter. Shirin tells Dan he knows more than her, while Dan counters by calling Shirin “Miss Know it All” and saying she is the one who knows everything. (Thanks?) On the plus side, he doesn’t threaten to hit her. That’s progress, I guess. Leave the fighting to Rodney, who claims he’s going to hit his fellow Blue Collars “with a Mike Tyson knockout punch,” which is a bit odd of him to say considering I thought Rodney wasn’t a big fan of facial tattoos.

After Jenn tells us how excited she is to leave the game, Shirin plots her next move, going to Mike and Sierra and saying she wants to work with them while attempting to shift the target over to Carolyn. She talks about how Mama C has Will, Tyler, and Rodney in her pocket. Whether that is true is irrelevant. It’s a smart play because Shirin just mentioned the names of all the people Mike has to worry about the most. If Mike senses they are in cahoots against him, then they become a much more pressing concern than Shirin. “Maybe I’m not in the driver’s seat right away,” says Shirin. “But I’m in the passenger seat backseat driving.” Welllllllllll, technically you can’t backseat drive if you’re in the passenger seat because the passenger seat is in the front seat, but yeah, okay, I catch your drift.

DO MY EYES DECEIVE ME?!? Is that a mirage or is that actual water…at a challenge?!? A water challenge? In Nicaragua? Hallelujah! In this reward contest, the players are divided by schoolyard pick ‘em into two teams of five. One person at a time swims/races through a series of obstacles. Once they get to the platform, the next person goes. When the whole team gets to the second platform they need to use a grappling hook to retrieve rings in the water. First team to get all five rings wins. And what do they win? An opportunity to be in an advertisement for Mars Inc. That’s because it is a “chocolate bar” stuffed with the company’s various candies.

Look, I could take you through the entire play by play on this challenge, but you know and I know it is all about what is happening in the video below. Enjoy!

What exactly is happening there? I mean, Dan is just falling on his ass and it is glorious and wonderful, but not a lot to dissect there. However, Will is another matter altogether. I mean, just look at how completely limp his body is. Seriously, go back and look at it again. It’s like he popped a handful of Diazepam before sliding down and just went full Mellow Yellow. I half-thought I was watching Molly Ringwald’s sister on her wedding day from Sixteen Candles for a second, but the lack of any “Donger” sightings made me realize that was not the case. Even more magnificent than going full flaccid was the fact that full flaccid Will was able to somehow manage to flip from his front to his backside for no apparent reason in mid-slide while not exerting a single muscle. A transcendent performance all the way around, and honestly the most impressive thing Will has done all season long.

NEXT: Rodney performs at Island Open Mic Night

Eventually, thanks to Mike’s expert grappling, the blue team of Mike, Tyler, Shirin, Dan, and Sierra win, and you know what that means—time for contestants to talk about how much they love this week’s product placement! As a well-educated student of the game, Mike knows the way to guarantee extra camera time is just to wax ecstatic over whatever it is that needs to be advertised, and he goes into overdrive: “I’ve been dreaming about Snickers since day 1 out on this island, and we got Snickers,” he says. Later, he informs us that “Opening that Snickers and smelling that caramelly, peanut, nougat goodness really brought me back to my childhood.” Holy crap, did someone script that for him? Caramelly, peanut, nougat goodness? Who the hell talks like that? The in-episode advertisement gets so ridiculous I half expect Mike to hand grumpy, argumentative Dan a Snickers bar and watch him magically transform into Ozzy after taking a single bite. Of course, in Mike’s defense, it’s not hard to get excited about a candy bar after starving for three weeks. It’s not like he had to pull a Coach and talk about how much he loved the comedic stylings of Adam Sandler in Jack & Jill.

As for the challenge losers, Jenn is back at it, telling us how depressed she is being in a place she doesn’t want to be. Her complaining extends to back at camp when Joe and Rodney kill a chicken. “She’ll get over it,” scoffs Rodney. “Life goes on.” Not for the chicken! (BA-DUM-TSS! Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Don’t forget to tip your waitress. I’ll be here all week!… Seriously, I’ve been doing this for, like, 15 years now. Where the hell else would I go?) “People suck,” Jenn informs us before adding that “This would suck less if the people sucked less,” which, logically speaking, appears to make sense but also seems like blaming others for your own inability to deal with living on a beach and playing fun games on super elaborate competition courses for a month. I say this as if I would not go cuckoo for Cocoa-Puffs while being stuck with Rodney and Dan, which on second thought does seem like cruel and unusual punishment to a degree.

Look, I’ve been hard on Rodney. There are no two ways about it. And I’m pretty confident he and I will never have a bro-down throw-down while discussing the finer points of how women need to hold themselves to a higher standard than men. But let’s just come right out and admit it: That was a spot-on impersonation of Mike he busted out. I mean, right on the freakin’ money. The accent. The raspy voice. It was all working. Not sure how this is going to help him in the game, but there you have it. I have now fulfilled my Rodney Props Giving quota for the season.

On to the immunity challenge we go, and it is one we’ve seen before in which the players need to balance on their toes with a block wedged between the top of their head and the top of the frame. When the block falls, you’re out. Because I am super-annoying and insist on obsessing over the tiniest details, I always cannot help but wonder how they get all the measurements perfectly even. Obviously, they adjust the height of the platform to the height of the contestant, but this is one where even if one measurement is 1/32 of an inch off, that could make a major difference. This is the type of thing that keeps me up at night. This and taking pictures of obsolete entertainment formats like the universe’s worst technology ever: the 8-Track.

“It’s gonna hurt and it’s gonna hurt fast,” warns Jeff Probst, with a disconcerting undercurrent of glee. And then people start to drop. Carolyn. Will. Shirin. Rodney. Dan, who makes like a bull in a china shop upon his exit. “Be mindful of the others,” says Probst. (Not really Dan’s strong suit.) Then Sierra, Joe, and Mike. It comes down to Tyler versus Jenn, who—in a bizarre twist—is fighting desperately to win so she can get voted out. She figures if she wins and gives Joe immunity the others will then have no choice but to get rid of her. Like I said, bizarre. But that germ of an idea could actually sprout into a deliciously diabolical game show of its own that I plan to go pitch to CBS as a Survivor spin-off. The basic gist is this: Contestants are forced to stay in some terrible setting with terrible people, and the only way they can leave is to win a challenge. I call this show Will, in honor of this season’s Worlds Apart player, because he would never leave and other contestants would just continually roll in and defeat him.

NEXT: Apparently it does not take a lot to shock jury member Hali

Unfortunately for Jenn, she loses—which means she gets to stay in the game, which is seriously confusing me right now. “Is it really sad that I fought so hard in that challenge today so I could have a ticket out?” she asks. I don’t know! I still can’t figure it out!!! But she’s right, because Shirin is the deciding vote, and Shirin is trying to get cozy with Mike and the only way to do that is to do what Mike tells her to do—and that is voting for Joe.

But Joe will not go quietly into that good night. He has one trick left up his proverbial sleeve. He channels his inner Bob Crowley and makes a fake immunity idol. Let’s be honest here, ladies and gentlemen—the thing looks pretty damn good. It’s certainly a far cry from the “f—ing stick” of Micronesia. Apparently Joe had a secret stash including part of a wooden crate and a piece of his torch that he used to make his fake idol, and while word on the street is that every kiss begins with Kay, I wouldn’t mind presenting my lady with this fine looking piece of island jewelry. I mean, don’t get me wrong—she’d just as soon cut off my penis rather than wear it, but hey, I respect the craftsmanship. Joe promises to give Mike the idol after the vote if Mike keeps him in the game. Mike counters and says he needs it before the vote while telling us “I will switch my vote…maybe.” TEASE!

Off to Tribal we go and indeed Joe does hand Mike his masterpiece. After all the talk about Jenn and the fact that she doesn’t want to be there and yet refuses to leave because she does want to be branded with the scarlet Q for quitter, it’s time to vote.

But wait! Mike wants to know if Jeff Probst has a side gig as an authenticator. “Can you verify something for me?” he asks. “Is this a hidden immunity idol?” C’mon, Mike! You think Jeff Probst is actually going to answer that? He would just as soon publicly admit to using Botox than…. Oh, wait. Never mind. “I cannot verify that until you decide to play it.” There! See! I told you. (Wipes sweat from brow in relief.)

Judging by everybody’s comments while voting, no one has any idea what is happening, but the voting seemingly does goes according to plan—with a side order of Mike paying the fake idol for Will. Alas, Jeff reads Joe’s name as the second member of the jury, which for some odd reason elicits a shocked, hand-over-mouth reaction from Hali. (It seems somebody wasn’t kidding when she bragged about how she was going to be hitting the whiskey at Ponderosa.)

So the fan favorite is gone and a person who doesn’t even want to be there remains. Great. Not to mention that Joe was my episode 1 pick to win it all, making this the 15th consecutive season I have failed to name the winner from the get-go. C’mon! You would assume by simple law of averages I would at least get one of them right. Bummer.

But not a bummer for you. Because no way is your prognosticating record as crappy as mine. Plus, you get to read my weekly Q&A with Jeff Probst, where I ask him if quitters are now allowed to vote on the jury. And you get to watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode in the video player below. And you get to check out my exit interview with Joe on Thursday afternoon. And you can get more Survivor scoop by following me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. And…actually, I think that’s about it.

But now it’s your turn. Is Jenn a quitter or not? How impressive was Joe’s fake idol? And does Mike deserve to win at this point? Hit the message boards and weigh in and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!

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