Previously on Survivor... Candice deserted her prosperous tribe where she had a tight F4 alliance, for a loser tribe where she’s near the bottom of the pecking order -- but why would that matter when she can spoon with Adumb again. Jonathan thought he and Candice were allies so he impulsively followed suit. And Raro, brain trust that they are, booted one of their own instead of a traitorous newbie. Which sets the tone for tonight (Read all about it in Snidget’s Excellent Ep 8 Summary here)
Welcome back to Survivor Cook Islands, a season so lacking in drama that they’ve resorted to inserting Shane and his imaginary blackberry into commercial breaks, as if to compensate.
Is this season color-blind? Well no, this episode at least is ALL ABOUT COLOR. Not race, color. There are exactly two colors relevant to tonight’s show -- BLACK & WHITE. No shades of gray.
On our RIGHT side, the WHITE HATS: the Unified, Competent, Focused, Smart, Hardworking, Teamwork Tribe
On our LEFT behind side, the BLACK HATS: the Fragmented, Inefficient, Dumb, Lazy, “We Eat Leaders for Breakfast” Tribe.
Yes, it really is that simple; don’t try to make this complicated by pointing out that the white people are all on the Black Hats tribe.
TRIBE AITU who we can now re-dub the “Fab Final Four” features King Neptune (Ozzy), King Management Consultant Guru (Yul), the Queen of Hearts (Sundra), and Princess of the Armpit Alliance (Becky).
TRIBE RARO who we now rename the Dum-Dums consists of: CANDUMB & ADUMB (all the “gag me” factor of Romber but too dumb to win); NATE “I don’t wanna be a big dum-dum”; REBECCA “Done-dum”; JENNY “Beeyatch-dum”; POVERTY “Ho-dum” JONATHAN “joinin ‘em was WAY dumb.”
Jonathan waxes poetic about his situation. He appears to think he's the first Jew ever to climb a tree. A mutineer Jew wandering solo in the wilderness, surviving by the sweat of his brow. He goes for vocabulary points with “pandanus nuts” and “trochus” -- and he’s the guy who gets ‘em for the slackers back at camp.
Adumb & Candumb demonstrate the essence of DUMB as we see them hanging out making a F2 pact while noting how Jenny is a suspicious Beeyatch so whatever they do they must play it UTR and never let her see them be close.
Cut to Jenny watching them and suspecting they’re making a F2 pact.
Poverty cleverly diffuses the Jenny Drama Queen moment with “Aw, they’re talking about MAKIN BABIES they are the ALL AMERICAN COUPLE aren’t they?”
Jenny Real Estate Agent crowds Paranoid Jenny out of Jenny’s brain, as she contemplates the happy prospect of selling A/C a large expensive home complete with white picket fence and a weight room that can be converted to “nursery.”
Later, Adumb kisses Candumb's Owies in the shelter. Way to keep it UTR guys!
FAB FOUR CAMP
Shot of buried fish flailing its way out from under a rock and swimming free! Ozzy -- walking on the water in front of breaking waves, busily collecting fishes to go with that day’s loaves -- provides narration for fish clip saying “we’re just like that fish, trying to get out of a deep deep hole.”
Producers (who want an “Underdog” quote really bad): Do you feel like your tribe is the Underdog at this point?
Ozzy: We ARE the Underdog Alliance, and I am the Happiest Underdog of the Family (woof woof!) He says they are being tested as no Survivors have ever before been tested.
This remark shows that unlike a number of this season’s recruits (oops, I mean “cast”) Ozzy’s aware this game has been played before!
Back at the Underdog Ranch, Sundra shows up with a literal “test” sample of nautical flags that correspond to letters and must be memorized. They all start studying industriously for the RC. They are all model students, individually and more importantly, as a TEAM.
Remember this “white hat” segment. We'll have a “black hat” contrast later, and there will be a quiz at the end.
Yul, our Silicon Valley management consultant explains that they are like a small resource-challenged company pitted against a giant bloated corporation, much like the Mac taking on evil Microsuck. (edited out as they are NOT doing product placement this season and both those companies refuse to have their name associated with Survivor: Quota Islands.)
Yul(retake): it boils down to work well together or we’re screwed. (Foreshadowing dum dum da dum dum)
JP: Brad's on jury (nya nya gotcha!), blah blah blah, this challenge is called “Grabbing Chests” (Adam perks up and insists on playing) and you follow coordinates to find chests to get puzzle pieces which are nautical flags which spell the word VICTORY.
Hold on a sec, he is TELLING them the solution? At least they had to come up with BOUNTY by solving a “clue.” OTOH, VICTORY has one more letter than BOUNTY so they may have been out there til it got dark if they didn’t hand it to them. This is NOT TAR where Phil waits patiently at the pitstop in the dark while the unlucky teams comb through sand pits. Jeff has a $1000 a night suite waiting for him!
JP: Do you want to know what you’re playing for? Has any tribe ever said, Not Particularly, Jeff! ? I would love to see the look on Jeff’s face.
Jeff informs them they’ll be taken to another island where they’ll take part in an “umu.”
I guess no one explained to Jiffy that an UMU is an earth OVEN, not something you want to take part in or be in. Captain Cook got the hell away from that island when the natives fired up the umu and asked him to join them for dinner.
Jiffy goes on to promise the winners HOME BREW – which is like wine (if wine were brewed), which is made at home, which is why–wait for it-- they call it HOME BREW.
Yes he really gave this idiotic explanation. They must have plied him with samples just before the challenge.
They should have named this "Coordinated or NOT." It’s a farce. Fab Four do EVERYTHING efficiantly while Dum-Dums flail. Black and white. Not even close.
Best commentary (actual comments, no embellishment):
Candumb: Why aren’t you helping him dig, Jenny? (Jenny is just glaring at Jonathan)
JP: They’ve been at this chest a LONG TIME Raro has lost all momentum Adam and Candice like slow motion over there Jenny just pushed more sand in the hole
Adumb: GET THAT THING UP!!!
Bonus bickering over the effectiveness of Jonathan’s “one-hand” style … Adumb’s a two-hand guy apparently.
Best single challenge performance by a Dum-Dum member – Nate on sidelines imitating a tragic actor by repeatedly burying his face in hands as if he’d rather get thrown in an umu than be forced to watch this debacle …
Candumb(watching them lose): oh waah, I’m going to exile for sure. Fab Four: One two three, betrayer it will be! Bye bye Candumb. They really know how to build the suspense this season, have you noticed?
High point of this scene is watching Candumb prep and eat a “sea cucumber” -- squeezing it until the innards pop out.
Candumb: (dribbling sea slug goo out of her mouth while choking it down) “Sooo DISGUSTING.”
Yeah well, some people enjoy this sort of thing. Let’s not be judgers
WE’RE OFF TO TAKE PART IN AN UMU
It’s a plane, it’s a road, it’s a native chief in a leafy costume with ceremonial spear!
Confused by the language barrier at the chief’s greeting, Becky confesses that when she first heard him deliver his piece she thought they’d been kidnapped by the Others (in full primitive costume), taken to another island, and were about to become subjects of an elaborate behavioral experiment ...
But no, it’s a victory feast, complete with a real little piggy snacking on the leftovers. Ozzy proclaims how fitting it is they receive a true Warrior’s Welcome as his small but mighty tribe just won a great victory. In Ozzy’s world, digging chests out of the sand and solving a word puzzle that SPELLS Victory is pretty much equivalent to fighting a mighty battle with spears and blood and death and conquest. Yep.
SUNDRA dubs her group “Orphan Tribe” while we see a cute island kid with big eyes. (not an actual orphan child but this is Symbolism 101 so let's not be picky)
Oddly, they have edited out the home brew ritual … and we know how much Survivor likes ritual. In this case the “tumunu” chief would have ritually offered the bush beer to the players and chiefs sitting in a circle.
A little birdie tells us they had a hard time getting Yul to loosen up and drink, so the segment was perhaps not suitable for airing what with EPM’s people twisting Yul’s arm and pleading with him to drink so he can look like a fool a la certain other Surviviors in the past who drank a little too much at the feast.
Hey Yul, EPM had a vision when he forked over the big budget bucks to charter a friggin plane, and you are NOT helping by being wound tighter than Poverty's butt …..
Finally EPM enlists two large and lusty Atiuan women, and we're back on camera as the two pin Yul in the sand. At this point his will is broken and (off camera) he dutifully drinks all his home brew.
Next thing you know, we see “didn’t know he had it in him” Yul dancing away with said hot-to-trot mamas, Yul finally collapsing into a quivering heap on the sand. But still, Yul getting happy is a long long way from Judd puking in the shelter. There's no gross out factor this season. Very bland.
(cue emotional music for WINNER F2 type quotes) Sundra tells us she never imagined anything so beautiful in life. Ozzy tells us they started out segregated in their own ethnicities but now it’s a BRAND NEW DAY and they’re taking the spirit of this new culture back with them and Raro better look out.
And you thought the White Hat editing was heavy-handed before.
Frank Jonathan, on his early morning run for water fish strides by the Samburu Dum-dum's “so ghetto” shelter while the GenXers Dumdums wonder if they should get up that day or is it too cold. Someone announces “it smells like a wet cat.” We don’t know what “it” she refers to and frankly we don’t want to know.
JON, Poseidon II complete with trident, catches a mess of fish. Impressive, Jon, but WHY did you hang a bunch of fish dangling in front of your crotch with their mouths pointed at your privates? I for one am disturbed by this image.
Jonathan: I’ve got the hang of it now, for sure. (yes, he really said that)
TREE MAIL & STUDY HALL
Told ya there’d be a compare and contrast to the Fab Four study hall! DumDums reading not at all ominous treemail – “disappointment shows” “losers” and “tribal council woes” sound fittingly as they gloomily grapple with yet “another map.” (heavy sigh)
Rebecca (Done-dum), who they cleverly sat out in the RC, which didn’t involve swimming, has to compete in this one. They tell her she needs to study. She looks blank. Does that make sense? She looks glazed. Poverty asks her if she’s confusing her? Rebecca looks confused. She’s busy thinking how much smarter Stephannie was just going for the Mashed Potatoes about 10 days ago.
Highlight: Poverty explains to Becca her mnemonic system for attaching the island group names to their picture. Example: Solomon “drives solo” and has the “one little guy that sticks out.”
We never hear how the other island groups are endowed, but we know it doesn’t matter. Really, haven’t we seen two puzzle challenges recently where DumDums got beat before they even got to solving the puzzle? Rebecca knows her tribe!
Immunity is kinda sorta up for grabs, considering it features swimming and Aitu has Ozzy while Dum-Dums have to use Rebecca. I'm trying to mention Rebecca a lot so you know who she is just in case her name comes up at TC
JP: Blah blah blah …. Swim out … blah blah … go down … unclip … swim back … blah blah … complete puzzle … blah blah … Losers take tonight’s Twistomatic -- sealed message in a bottle-- back to camp.
I told you so. Dum-Dums never even got the puzzle pieces untied. Underdogs can kick these guys’ asses even with Home Brew Hangover. Has there been a bunch of losers this pathetic since Ulong? Have the editors made their point yet? Can we fast forward? (you can, but I had to watch it so I could write this)
CAMP DUM-DUM PLAYS ‘GUESS WHAT’S IN THE BOTTLE’
Jonathan prays for a merge so he’ll be back in a tribe with a guy who comprehends multisyllabic words and compound sentence structure.
Adumb refuses to guess because, um, I’ll never get it right, I’m not brainy, dude.
Poverty is only interested in Jeff's "bottle."
Rebecca doesn’t give a shit what’s in the bottle because it’s not getting read til after the vote so she knows she won’t be there. She’s dreaming mashed potatoes.
Jenny is just smug that she knows who’s going home tonight, her unproductive best friend. (dum de dum dum!)
Nate is off getting more of his huge wood when Poverty asks him if he’s like, talking strategy. He rambles on about “NOT FAIR” and “NOT FAMILY.”
Foreshadowing translation: Nate has apparently never watched this show before. Next time on Survivor he’ll be TOAST. Nothing about this game is FAIR.
Candumb proves she has watched the show before as she guesses a Thailand fake merge retread.
Gets off to a promising start with Jeff rubbing it in how they suck at challenges. Jenny (Miss'pick ‘em off like popping zits') says she can’t pinpoint the head of the problem.
(Maybe because they don’t listen to instructions, they argue during challenges, pick the wrong players to do the wrong tasks, sit the wrong people out, and compound those sins by being cocky because their tribe has the BIG dudes? And then they boot the wrong person for stupid reasons? Nah.)
Jonathan reminds everyone he gets them fish. Apparently he’s seen this show before and knows this provider strategy can keep you around long enough to get your knife out and plunge it someone’s back. Or your trident. Whatever’s handy.
In an oh so suspenseful first round vote, they vote out Done-dum 6-1. They don’t even bother to hide it with the standard practice of only showing the two targets’ votes. No, they show Jenny voting Rebecca. Jeff snuffs out Rebecca who responds much as if she just came out from under anesthesia to hear her colonoscopy is over – spacey but relieved.
FINALLY we’re getting to the bottle twist, which is the ONLY area we weren’t 100% sure what was going to happen before this episode began. Jeff is toying with their tiny brains and asking them to guess. Poverty is holding on tight to that bottle and hoping Jeff thinks she's cute.
Dum-Dums explain they’re pretty sure it’s a merge and Poverty tells Jeff he can break out the buffet, ice cream, and coffee latte’s any time now. (No need to wait for that other tribe to have a merge feast)
At this point Jeff falls off his seat laughing that these losers don’t get how much he really really despises them … they think he’s going to give them a treat. (Edit that)
(Retake) Jeff keeps a straight face and makes Poverty read the message.
“You will now boot someone else out of this waste of space pathetic tribe.”
Clever how they gave ‘em the bottle to take to camp so they know it’s not decided at the last minute to play favorites. Guess they didn’t see that Jeff had two bottles in his pocket … if the Fab Four had lost if would say, “This is the merge, but first, you have the option of bringing the first two jurors back into the game.”
Poverty tells Jeff this twist is not FUN (cue Cindi Lauper) nor is it COOL. As if an old geezer like Jeff might be unclear on these concepts. Guess it’s Poverty who’s unclear on the concept of Tribal Council – a spot not known for fun and cool surprises.
Candumb had the right idea when she said: If it were a good thing, wouldn’t they have given it to the WINNING tribe?
Nate gets to recycle/mangle a Colby line with “Coulda woulda shoulda spilt milk.” Which does kind of sum up his tribe’s story.
They vote out Jenny and she exits like a blindsided bitch … Which negates any note of pathos the double boot may have conjured up.
Remember back in Episode One when Nate said the ethnic tribe division wasn’t so bad because at least he’s not the token brother on an all-white tribe? Say again?
Poor Nate. The ghost of Clarence is waving at you like the Shade of Survivor Past, mouthing ‘Ware the merge, brotha, ‘ware the merge!”
Jeff tells the Dum-dums maybe this is the wake up call they need to become a real tribe and work as a team. Of course he is secretly mocking them because he knows full well they are merging next time and they won’t be playing any more challenges as a team.
Funny how people who DON’T like you enjoy seeing you suffer.