David M. Russell/CBS


S37 E2
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October 03, 2018 at 09:00 PM EDT

We all kinda knew it. Or suspected it, at the very least. There was anecdotal evidence. There was circumstantial evidence. There was hearsay, rumor, and innuendo. The only thing we lacked were cold, hard facts. But this second episode of Survivor: David vs. Goliath appears to have officially and emphatically proved it for once and for all. Men are dumb-dumbs.

I mean, okay, maybe not all men, but most of us are. It’s not like I have my old 1980s calendars filled with weightlifting schedules and beach week parties to back it up, but I could most likely point to plenty of moments over my lifetime that would illustrate just what a dummy I was. And we’ve seen this on Survivor time and time again. Quick, what’s the dumbest Survivor move of all time? I will bet you my entire Vanilla Ice bubblegum collection that whatever answer you choose to give is something idiotic done by a man. Erik giving up immunity. Brandon giving up immunity. Tyson essentially voting himself out. JT getting voted out… with his own immunity idol. JT telling Brad exactly whom his tribe was voting for. James getting voted out with two idols. Colby bringing Tina to the end. Woo bringing Tony to the end. Phillip Sheppard’s choice of underwear.

What do all these terrible choices have in common? ALL MADE BY MEN! All of them! How could men own every single spot in a list of the top (or, in this case, bottom) 10 dumbest decisions ever made on Survivor? That’s crazy! Plus, there was also that time on One World where the teams were divided by sex and one of the tribes decided to go to Tribal Council even though they won the immunity challenge. I’ll give you exactly one guess as to which gender made what has to be considered the stupidest collective move in Survivor history, and the answer is not “women.”

So, to recap, men are dumb-dumbs. And I couldn’t help but wonder if we were seeing the latest examples of that in this week’s episode of David vs. Goliath. First off, over on the Goliath beach, we had Angelina, Natalia, and Kara forming what could be a deliciously devious plan. They all felt they had a dude they could easily manipulate and control — and they’re probably right. Angelina said Natalia had Alec, Kara had Dan, and she had the Shaman of Sexy, or whatever the hell he is calling himself today. “We have these boys wrapped around our fingers,” noted Angelina. Considering how obsessed Dan seems to be with Kara, she may be on to something.

But I found what happened over on the David tribe even more fascinating. Now look, I may be reading too much into this, but did you catch that scene with Gabby and Christian down by the water? You must have because it was in the episode, but just to recap (this being a recap and all), Gabby was getting bad vibes from Jessica and Bi so wanted to flip the script, keeping Lyrsa and targeting Jessica instead. But look how she went about it.

“Do you want to play with me?” she asked Christian down on the beach

“Play with you?” he replied. “On the sand?”

“No, do you want to play this game with me?… I want to play with you. Are you comfortable protecting me?”

Gabby said this all while doodling — not playing, mind you, but doodling — in the sand, barely even making eye contact with her new protector. And Christian, even while proclaiming to us that it made more logical sense to get rid of Lyrsa, and even while telling us how the new Mason-Dixon alliance was controlling the vote, did exactly as she asked.

Watching this scene felt like taking in an old film noir like Double Indemnity. For those unfamiliar with the genre, film noirs usually involve some woman pretending to be sweet and innocent and in danger asking a man to do something to save her when really she is setting him up to be the patsy and take the fall. Did Gabby play Christian like Barbara Stanwyck played poor Fred MacMurray? Her intent may not have been as nefarious as that, but it did seem like some pretty successful manipulation. And Christian fell for it. Because he is a man. And men are dumb-dumbs. (Present company included.)

By the way, as a postscript to this entire incident, can I just say how impressed I would have been had Gabby actually wanted to play in the sand and then the rest of the episode was just them building castles and burying each other so only their heads were sticking out? Of course, we all know the problem with sand. (See video below for answer.)

Okay, enough of all that. Let’s recap what else went down this week. Hey, here’s a tip for all future Survivor contestants: Don’t play in odd-numbered seasons. Now granted, you have no say in the matter and if you get cast on Survivor as a newbie you really don’t have the luxury of saying “No, thanks, I’m holding out for an even-numbered season.” But maybe you should, because the weather is always much worse in the odd-numbered installments, which are shot at the tail end of Fiji’s rainy season. The Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers (season 35) folks got off relatively easy but both Millennials vs. Gen X (season 33) and David vs. Goliath (season 37) have gotten hammered.

Producers have been trying out a lot of new tricks when it comes to editing lately, and we got another one here as cameras went back and forth between the two tribes to show off the suffering as both teams were pelted by rain. There were tears. There was shivering and cuddling for warmth in the shelter. There was abject misery. You know, the good stuff. Eventually, Jeff Probst and Co. took pity on the poor bastards, delivering each tribe a fire-making kit and a tarp. Some old-school hardliners may take issue with that, but it seems to be the right call to me. These folks got brutalized and, don’t get me wrong, watching them suffer was suuuuuuper enjoyable. But you don’t want them wasting away on national television. You want them up and out and doing stuff, and that’s hard to do without any nourishment and protection. They served their time. Give them the damn tarp and fire.

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