Shirin watches nature in action, while a disastrous strategic decision in the challenge dooms the No Collars.

Credit: Robert Voets/CBS
S30 E3

There have been many shocking moments so far on Survivor this season. People are either getting naked or wearing “manties” and feathers. People are watching howler monkeys have sex and then giving a detailed play-by-play analysis after. People are telling lies (“neutral”) that simply make no sense. But those all pale in comparison to the shock of what unfolded tonight. First of all, there is some woman on the Blue Collar tribe I have never seen before. Not the woman with the face tattoo who’s always bitching about something. Not the other tall skinny one who always nods in agreement when the face tattoo lady starts bitching about something. No, there’s some other woman there too, it seems. Cathy, maybe? Kenley? No, wait! Kelly! That’s it.

Who is this woman and where did she come from? Is she on a mission to give a fellow Kelly—Purple Kelly from Nicaragua—a run for her money as least visible Survivor contestant ever? (Brett from Samoa, Rick from South Pacific and Laura from Caramoan might have something to say about that!) So that was the first shock, seeing some person who seemingly just snuck onto the Blue Collar Tribe on day seven and hoped nobody noticed because they were too busy yelling at one another about who thanked whom for what work they did around camp.

But then came shock number 2: This Kelly woman went on to compare the arguments around camp to a bar fight. Okay, fine. But then she also went on to say how she is a cop, and when they get a call from a panicked public citizen about a bar brawl they purposefully do not go break it up because it is better to just let the drunks fight it out. Am I the only one who finds this fascinating? Now, I’ve never been in a bar fight because A) I have the good sense to do my drinking in the privacy of my own home where people cannot judge me for the cheap swill I pour down my throat, and B) If I get into a bar fight, I am going to lose. It’s that simple. Maybe I get one good knee to the scrotum in before all is said and done, but to quote Michael Jackson, I’m a lover not a fighter. And, if we’re being completely honest, I’m not much of a lover either. (Also, with the benefit of time and years of legal action now to guide us, that MJ quote reads creepier than I remember, so sorry about that.)

So I can’t claim to quite understand all the nuances of a good barroom brawl, having spent my entire life avoiding any kind of physical altercation, but the fact that police are intentionally allowing such fisticuffs to occur is simultaneously horrifying and amazing. Say someone slams a pint of beer across some dude’s face, thereby blinding him? Hey, they’re just letting off some steam! What if a stray projectile shot glass misses its intended target and knocks out an innocent bystander instead? Well, boys will be boys! And what if some drunkard slides his foe across the bar so his head lands in the jukebox, immediately cueing up George Thorogood’s “Bad to The Bone,” because federal law dictates that “Bad to the Bone” be played in every dive bar jukebox from coast to coast? C’mon, sometimes you just got to let folks work out their issues! Speaking of which, did I tell you about the monkeys I just watched having sex? Okay, it started with the male monkey took out his enormous…

Hold on, who gave you a badge, Shirin? Since when did you become a cop and how did you barge in on this story? Dammit. Now you got me all distracted and I forgot what Kelly looks like. And we probably won’t see or hear from her for another three weeks. Oh well. To bide our time, let’s go recap another installment of Survivor: Worlds Apart.

We kick things off over on the No Collar beach after Will upset everybody by voting out the person nobody wanted voted out. Will says he got rid of Vince because he didn’t trust him. Congratulations! Now nobody trusts you! This is what happens when you say you are going to do one thing but instead do another. Will says it’s because everyone else is playing checkers while he’s playing chess. In a related matter, it has just been revealed that Will is a terrible chess player. It’s like he just lost his queen, both knights, and a bishop in a single move, which I realize is technically impossible… but he managed to do it anyway!

NEXT: Looking for a reason to stop looking for idols

Nina is crestfallen, telling her tribe “I know I’m the next one out,” and “You don’t need to whisper behind my back. I know you guys are going to vote me out.” Well, with that defeatist attitude, yeah, they are. Jenn has lost patience with Nina and says she is using her deafness as an excuse for everything. Before all is said and done, she will not be the only person to make this claim. Later, Jenn and Hali will use driftwood to go boogie boarding because they are No Collars and No Collars are just free spirits, man. Jenn thinks this is what Survivor should be about. “I don’t know why everyone takes this game so seriously,” says Jenn, apparently not realizing that a million dollars is at stake and it is more than a vacation to some.

Question: Have you ever been just kind of hanging out and then some monkeys appear? And then one monkey mounts the other monkey to take care of business and you sit there and watch the entire thing? And then you run back to your friends and tell them “I just saw monkey sex—start to finish. I’ll regale you with the details”? And then you regale them with the details? Has this ever happened to you? I’m guessing not. But it’s now happened to Shirin, who even proved she watched the entire act by assuring her tribe there was “no snuggling after.”

Okay, it seems a bit gross that Shirin seemed so delighted by her front row seat to Monkey Sexplosion 2014—by the way, the name of my second concept album—but you have to remember, things can get pretty damn boring out there. You’re basically just sitting around all day. Watching some live entertainment in such a setting is not exactly the same thing as typing the words “watch monkey sex” in your browser. (I should probably take this opportunity to note that if you have ever typed the words “watch monkey sex” in your browser I sure as hell hope you have deleted your history. Also it’s Monkey Sexplosion 2014 because they filmed this last summer… in 2014. Monkey Sexplosion 2015 will be the inevitably disappointing rock opera follow-up that goes a little something like this.

But when Shirin is not looking for monkeys gettin’ funky, she is looking for an idol. As is everyone else on White Collar not named Carolyn (who already has it). Eventually, however, Shirin gets tired and attempts to call a tribe truce that nobody will search for it anymore until after the challenge. This is absurd. Just because she wants to take a break doesn’t mean everyone else has to. If I decide that 15 years of writing about Survivor is enough and want to stop, I can’t call the Internet and ask everyone else that has started doing it since then to stop as well. Sure, the Internet might respond, “You have spent 15 years of your one and only life on this earth writing about a reality television show? That may be the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. AND I’M THE INTERNET! MY ENTIRE EXISTENCE IS BASED ON PATHETIC LONELY RAMBLINGS!” The point—beyond my life having no purpose—is that other people don’t have to base their actions around mine. And as much as I hate to praise Joaquin, he’s correct that he shouldn’t have to stop searching just because Shirin wants to—especially, if, as he alleges, she has been searching for it more than anyone.

But let’s pause for the cause to give props to Tyler. Let’s be honest, Tyler’s inclusion on the White Collar tribe is a bit of a head-scratcher. If this is the tribe that “makes the rules” as Jeff Probst alleges, I am not sure how many rules a former assistant at a talent agency was etching into proverbial stone. Tyler’s background also includes being an unemployed football kicker. Again, not seeing a whole lot of rule-making on that resume. That aside, however, I like Tyler. He seems to be playing well, and I love the way he searched for the idol along with everyone else even though he knew Carolyn had it. (If Carolyn had half a brain, she would have been searching as well to eliminate suspicion.)

NEXT: Singing the Blue Collar blues

Tyler’s strategy seems to pay off as Joaquin then shares his idol clue with Tyler because “he’s my boy.” Now, if Joaquin knew what he was doing, he would realize that in the one vote-off the White Collar tribe has had, his “boy” went against him by booting So. Let’s just say I would not be so hasty to start sharing (albeit meaningless) clues. Then again, I also wouldn’t brag about being into “fast money, loose women, lots of champagne,” so I’m not sure Joaquin and I have a whole lot in common to begin with. Just a hunch.

It’s time to head over to Blue Collar—incidentally, we are three weeks in and I honestly have no idea what any of the actual tribe names are—where Mike is upset that Rodney is not working hard. “I’ll do the work when I want to do the work,” responds Rodney. “Ain’t nobody my daddy out here.” My guess is that were Rodney’s daddy out there, he might not be too psyched about Rodney constantly referring to Rodney in the third person. “Rodney’s gonna do what Rodney’s gonna do,” says Rodney. “I’ll do what I want to do on Rodney’s time,” says Rodney also. When not talking about what else Rodney is gonna and not gonna do, Rodney spends his time mocking Mike for being a hick from the sticks, opining that “Ain’t nobody want to live in Texas.” Uh-oh, did Rodney just do what I think he did? He did, didn’t he? HE MESSED WITH TEXAS!!! You don’t mess with Texas, Rodney! It’s, like, their state slogan!

But “jacked” Rodney is not the only one sick of Mike. Lindsey is also giving the oil driller the business for not thanking her for getting firewood and tending the fire. “How the f— do you think this fire is going right now?” she yells. “How do you think that got here? Magic? Your God? Did your God come down and do it with his f—ing beard?” Okay, first things first: If the fire got there via magic, that is completely awesome. Like, the most awesome fire in the history of fires.

As for the God fire-making theory, I just don’t see it. God strikes me a bit more as a No Collar type. Sure, his son was a carpenter—a lot of hard work involved there. But the whole free spirit, follow your dream and passion vibe of the No Collar lifestyle—I can see the Big Fella getting behind that. So no way he’s going to help the Blue Collars by zapping their driftwood with his finger to make fire. (By the way, I don’t understand what Lindsey’s talking about with him starting the fire with his “f—ing beard.” Does she mean God is going to set his beard on fire and then use that to light their flame? So confusing. Why would he do that? God’s beard is incredible. God’s beard makes Santa Claus’ beard look like a freakin’ Fu Manchu of some Seattle grunge-rocker’s soul patch. Get those weak-ass whiskers out of my face, Kringle!) In addition to all of that, I hear God has Joe in his Survivor pool this season. Word is the Almighty has been a bit of a pill ever since the whole Woo-Tony thing—appreciating the way Woo selflessly brought the best player to the end, yet bitching to anyone who would listen how “that ninja stealth moron just cost me a cool $20 to that loudmouth archangel Gabriel” who had Tony picked from the start.

Regardless, Lindsey is pretty cross about the whole situation. “Mike always said ‘And if that’s why you want to send me home, send me home,’” she relays before pausing. “Wish come true, motherf—er!” Hey, language! Remember, God is watching! In between her dissing Dan, yelling at Mike, and the preview of next week’s confrontation with Rodney, it appears Lindsey is not a particularly difficult person to upset. Mellow out, woman. I mean, the only time I get upset is when Jeff Probst does not look to the ground when he welcomes players to a challenge, but thankfully that never happens. Speaking of challenges…

NEXT: The No Collars can’t plug holes in their awful strategy

This week’s challenge is simple, but also kind of genius in its simplicity. The three teams must carry a large bucket with holes through obstacles to a water tower, fill it, and then carry it back while trying to plug as many holes as possible to keep the water from leaking out. They then must pour whatever water makes it back into a larger barrel. Last team to fill the barrel loses. That’s it. In addition to immunity, first place gets a massive comfort reward with chairs, blankets, pillows, and a tarp, while second place gets a tarp. Blue Collar has an extra player and God tells them to sit Lindsey as penance for her lighting His beard on fire.

As I mentioned this is a pretty simple challenge with no real cause for strategy of any sort as you just need to… WAIT, WHAT THE HELL IS NO COLLAR DOING?!? Joe just sent Nina away from the rest of the tribe. That means one less person to plug holes as they carry the bucket back. It also means Joe is a lot less smart than I thought. “What you’re doing is not working, No Collars,” yells Jeff Probst, which I could have told them before the challenge even started. “For some reason it makes sense to No Collars to have Nina not participate,” continues the host. Ohhhhhhh, Probst is loving this. Loving it! Here was a contest in which the only drama would be a race to the finish—but now, inexplicably, the No Collar tribe has come up with a cockamamie strategy roughly equivalent to punching themselves in the face as many times as possible until whenever that cop lady from Blue Collar whose name I have already forgotten decides to finally come over and break it up.

The downside for producers of this dumbass strategy is that there is little doubt as to which tribe will lose (I don’t get so caught up in terms of whether a tribe gets first or second place). Blue wins by the way. Back at the losing No Collar beach, Joe apologizes and takes full responsibility for what happened. “I screwed her over today,” he says of Nina. Yeah, and you’re going to screw her over again tonight when you vote her out! There’s some talk by the women about getting rid of Will instead due to his sucky challenge performances, but it feels like an empty threat as we head to Tribal Council.

And at Tribal Council, much more talk ensues about the challenge. “They didn’t have enough faith in you to let you play,” Probst tells Nina in one of the harshest—yet 100 percent accurate—assessments possible. After Nina brings it back to her “disadvantage,” Probst replies “but today’s challenge had nothing to do with hearing.” And therein lies the great mystery of the No Collar tribe. Nina repeatedly has said how the tribe has been excluding her because of her deafness, while the tribe maintains that it is Nina who keeps focusing on this and not them. “It always goes back to her being deaf,” says Will.

So who’s right? Who knows? Seriously, how can we know from the mere snippets we’ve seen? And isn’t it possible that they’re both right—that the tribe could have made a much better effort to include Nina while she also could have been overusing that as an excuse as to why she was not fitting in? Again, who knows? Regardless, the evening ends with Hali and the others telling Nina to work on making adjustments… and then immediately voting her out, thereby rendering any adjustments null and void.

So episode 3, on the whole—not as great as the first two. There was hardly any strategy talk at all this episode—mostly just arguing and questions about who was at fault over things. That’s fine. I love a good fight as much as the next guy, but I also do like to see movement and shifting in gameplay, and that was pretty nonexistent this week. Nothing to get bent out of shape over—it’s only one episode and the vote-off for the losing tribe was pretty telegraphed from last week, so there’s only so much you can do at times.

Speaking of stuff to do, you need to watch our exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode in the video player below. And you also need to go check out our weekly Q&A with the Hostmaster General, Jeff Probst. Our exit interview with Nina will be up soon, and for more Survivor scoop delivered right to ya, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. But now it’s your turn? Did the No Collars give Nina a raw deal? Who is out of line on the Blue Collar tribe: Mike or Rodney and Lindsey? And would you watch wild monkey sex? Hit the message boards to weigh in and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!

Episode Recaps

SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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  • 41
  • CBS
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