Timothy Kuratek/CBS


S38 E3
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March 06, 2019 at 09:00 PM EST

Not since they had the audacity to stage a single season with a guy named Tarzan and a guy named Troyzan has there been so much name confusion on Survivor. Just look at all the moniker anarchy going on during Survivor: Edge of Extinction. First, there is Wendy, who wears a “Big Wendy” necklace, and told the press before the game that she would go by “Big Wendy,” and I have no idea why I keep putting “Big Wendy” in quotes, and yet everyone seems to only be calling her Wendy.

Then there is Rick, who told the press he wanted to go by Devens, and yet then asked Jeff Probst at Tribal Council to be called “Rick Devens,” and why am I putting “Rick Devens” in quotes when that is the guy’s name, but then he was told by Probst “I’m not calling you Rick Devens — the inmates can’t run the asylum when it comes to names,” and yet Probst DOES call him Devens while his tribemates call him Rick. Can they not come to a consensus on this?

Kelley Wentworth is an interesting one. Everyone seems to be calling her Wentworth. On that they can all agree. But when they try to vote her out, they keep writing Kelley. Or, even worse, Kelly. Are the rules different for writing and speaking? And can Kelly Wigglesworth please get a shout-out for appearing on Survivor: Second Chance, thereby elevating Kelley Wentworth to last name status to avoid duplicate name confusion?

But clearly, the most troubling name inconsistency of the season centers on The Wardog. The best part about The Wardog is the fact that he calls himself The Wardog. Not Wardog, mind you, but THE Wardog. Don’t believe me? It says so in his damn Twitter handle!! Seriously, go check out @IAmTheWardog! Instagram? Same thing! Incredible. He also made sure I understood in our pre-game interview that he was no mere Wardog. He was The Wardog.

So where does Jeff Probst get off just calling him “Wardog”? (There I go with the completely unnecessary quotation marks again.) Does Jeff not realize how much funnier it would be if he just added the word The in front of Wardog every time? It’s seriously bumming me out that Jeff is not doing this. I understand the inmates can’t run the asylum, but at least give them a little free time in the prison yard. By the way, The Wardog would totally rule the prison yard. Just tell me you couldn’t see him having some sort of racket involving trading smokes for favors. As another aside, somewhere out there right now a copy editor is gently weeping over my decision to capitalize the T in The when talking about The Wardog, but The is not a mere determiner but rather part of the nickname. The most vital part, dare I say.

THE WARDOG! Get with the program, Probst! Okay, I think that is firmly out of my system now, so let’s hit on the big moments from episode 3 of Survivor: What The Hell Should We Call You Again?

A Scoop of The Crispy (And One Scoop Only)
Cliffhanger resolved! But no sooner do we see Keith arrive at Edge of Extinction than he and Reem must climb up an actual cliff. There are lots of steps and lots of heavy breathing. At the top, they discover rice, but only a little bit of it, meaning they will need to make the climb every single day to get that’s day’s food. Reem’s pretty pissed about it, but, to be fair, Reem’s pretty pissed about a lot of things. I don’t know what her damage is. Does the walk interrupt her busy schedule of staring out at the horizon all day? Seriously, what else is there do to? What’s so bad about a little island Stairmaster action?

I also find it interesting that Keith seriously considered not continuing in the game and Reem told us she would have quit had he not showed up. And she felt the need to mother and take care of him. Who are these people?! The last thing I want to do is minimize how difficult a time they are having because it is super easy to talk a lot of smack from your living room couch. So easy, in fact, that I’ve somehow found a way to make a living off of it. But I think we all, as fans, had hoped the first two people sent there wouldn’t have been so close to giving up before the going even gets really tough deeper in the game.

Right on Target
Hold on, did someone say something about a challenge involving using a slingshot to launch sandbags at a target? Okay, let’s just get this out of the way right now. We all know it’s coming, so since it is merely a matter of time I may as well just embed the clip right here and get it over with…

Ahhhh, that’s the stuff. (Look, after all those nice things I wrote about Fishbach last week I had to bring the guy back down to earth. Natural order of things, and all.) The other main point I’d like to make about this challenge is the color of Jeff Probst’s hat. You all know I have given a lot of love to the orange baseball hat over the years. And It is rewarding to see that Jeff actually listened to my suggestions — taking it from a mere curiosity and little used chapeau to the pole position of go-to Survivor headgear. But I just want to say that the green lid is a solid back-up choice.

And this is a solid challenge from John Kirhoffer and his team. Basically, the tribes have to assemble a wheelbarrow, go through obstacles while collecting sandbags, turn the wheelbarrow into a slingshot, and then hit four targets. It’s a fun one, especially for Chris, who dominates in the target section of the competition, hitting all four and leading Manu to their first victory of the season. Way to go, Chris! I’m sure your tribemates will shower you with praise, and this should keep you safe for several votes at the very least!

Big Wendy Causes Big Trouble
Here are some fun facts about Big Wendy:

• She was not planning to tell the other players her last name was Diaz because she was worried they would think she was related to Sandra Diaz-Twine.

• She has had a stuffed animal named Scruffy for over 20 years that she slept with every night before heading out to the island.

• She makes and sells short-shorts that say things across the butt like “One booty to rule them all” and “Let me Pikachu” (which also contains a little Pikachu with little binoculars on it).

• She eats meat.

That last fun fact is particularly germane in terms of this week’s episode. That’s because after Manu wins the reward, they get back to camp and a hobbled Wendy becomes increasingly upset as the others talk about killing one of the chickens to eat it. Wendy decides she wants to release the chickens and asks Rick or Devens or whatever the hell his name is to do it for her. He says no. She then asks him to be an accomplice. He says no. Not even the “OH YEAH!” Kool-Aid man can agree to such shenanigans.

Around this time, I start sympathizing with Wendy. Not only does her ankle look like the entire cast played Schmergen Brawl on it, but now this poor vegetarian has to sit there while the others talk about how much they are going to enjoy killing and eating an animal. Look, I totally get it. This woman has her principles and it must be difficult to hear those meat-lovers over there salivating over draining the life out of another of God’s creatures. I can’t help but respect her for that. Hell, I too would be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees. Of course, we have seen this before on the show with other vegetarians, like Kimmi Kappenberg and Tai Trang. Now we can add Big Wendy to that distinguished list of people who have………

……I’m sorry, what’s that? Oh, right. Wendy eats meat. Ummmmmmmmmm… Seriously, I have no idea what to do here. I certainly don’t want to make fun of Wendy for having problems killing and eating things. But, at the same time, I think we can all agree it is a bit odd for a meat eater to start proclaiming “All creatures deserve to live” and “I wish we were in a meatless word” if that person is putting down a dozen nuggets slathered in honey mustard sauce and clearly chooses to exist in a meat world.

Maybe this is the big life-changing moment it takes for Wendy to never eat meat again, and if that is the case, more power to her. I’m all for it. But, not unlike The Wardog said, if we find out later that she just went back and started scarfing down Big Macs and chili-cheese dogs then, well, her reaction may have been a bit much — especially when the worst thing you can do is create waves when you are already on the outs.

But that’s the thing about Big Wendy that I have said all along. She goes big in pretty much everything she does. If anyone was going to go from full-on carnivore to the world’s most militant vegetarian in the blink of an eye, it’s Wendy. She even stole the tribe’s flint so they could not make fire and cook the chicken. Again, that is just a flat-out terrible idea if you are trying not to get voted out. It is also just kind of terrible to impose your sudden-out-of-nowhere culinary reawakening on everybody else. Just, you know, don’t eat the chicken! Obviously, Wendy is super lucky everybody seemed to believe that she did not steal the flint. Had they not, she would probably be hiking up on that bum ankle to get some rice (which at least has no meat in it!) at the Edge of Extinction. It should also be fascinating to see what Wendy does if she happens to win any food rewards going forward.

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