I have a funny feeling almost every Survivor blog posted after this episode will have that same title. I instantly thought of A Christmas Story, and I just have to give Probst serious props for calling Gochran out on the Reverse Duh Double Dare for saying and doing something incredibly stupid. Which we will get into in a bit.
Hooray – we do not have another Ulong! The ladies tribe did what the Ulongers could never do on Palau. They won an immunity challenge!! Way to go ladies! In fact, the ladies recovered nicely from their whipping in the first two episodes, and from the terrible storm that battered them this week. It reminded me of the storm from the first Samoa season when all of the castaways sought whatever shelter they could find to ward it off. I think Erik was holed up in a tree trunk, and Foa Foa had to huddle together in the shelter and not even strategize prior to Tribal. That appeared to be similar to this storm – where the men were protected by their tarp, but the women had nothing but leaves to protect them.
They had it rough. So rough that Chelsea’s hands became water logged. In fact, my pick to win it all was having a major crisis – the weather beat her down badly. Although, she still had on the thigh high socks, so there was good news. However, I think she was the one who unfortunately said that they were just girls and are not used to this. I won’t totally kill her on this because I am not entirely sure it was her, but to Ladies Tribe Member who said that…this is effing Survivor!! This ain’t no country club. For over 20 seasons, and since 2000 we have watched people starving, eaten by bugs, dehydrated, getting crazy ass injuries and getting battered by weather. This was not a mystery. Borneo contestants can bitch about not expecting the conditions – not season 24 contestants.
However, it did lead to some interesting One World dynamics. Every other past tribe has had to suck it up and deal with the weather, and their crappy shelter and lack of fire. The ladies had an ace in the hole – the dudes. Kim and Sabrina went over first on the day after the storm to ask the guys for an ember to restart their fire. The guys were dubious, but did it anyway. Later, Chelsea and Alicia went over again to warm up. The guys wanted to cut a deal now. However, the damage was done at that point – the ladies were down and out before. Now they had a Reward win under their belt, and soon would have some protein in the form of fish. The guys took their foot off the throat – and to be honest, they never stood a chance.
I am going to speak as someone with a Y chromosome. It is ingrained in our instincts that if we see a bunch of women suffering – we want to help. Especially if they look like Chelsea. The guys HAD to give them the ember and allow them to warm up. It’s instinctual. Is it bad Survivor game play? Hell yeah. But it’s human nature.
Speaking of human nature – I need to talk about a very subtle, but very good moment of game play in this episode. Jay the Model, who has made no impression so far this season, did something very impressive. As the dudes prepared for Tribal, the Misfit Alliance became public, and held a very open pow wow to decide who goes. Jay wandered into it and the subsequent silence was very telling. He instantly figured out that this was the power alliance, not his own. Jay could have done two things – be prideful and go back to his original group of four to await Pagonging, or do what he did. He flipped. Smart. It is pointless to be part of a doomed group of four, so being sixth in a majority alliance of six will do for now. He can worry about making a move later – just stay alive for now. Good job, Jay. Man, didn’t expect to say that.
As for a bad job, well, that would be Gochran. His strategy has been so bad; he got called out by Probst at Tribal Council for it. Probst just learned about Gochran’s penchant for hanging out with the ladies. You know, not his tribe. So Probst Reverse Duh Double Dared him. This is just some awesome wordplay. Probst incredulously reminded him that he is on this tribe, not the other one, and that he has placed a target on his back because the guys would be worried that he would flip the first chance he got.
And Probst is right. Gochran’s game is going to go one of two ways. Jay’s move could be the worst thing that happened to Gochran, since the Misfit Alliance can jettison him and not lose their numbers. It is very likely that he’s going to get so cocky that he will get blindsided and actually “pull a James” and fail to play his idol when they turn on him pre-merge. Also equally likely…that they don’t. Because just like Philip and Russell before him, Gochran is playing a game that cannot win, but can definitely make it to the end.
I do hope that he is watching this at home and is getting a good look at himself. I doubt he is, but I hope he is. Because I really want to believe that a man who called an African-American man “ghetto trash” on national television is not proud of himself. Sadly, I think Gochran is actually proud of what he sees. It is the dynamic of reality shows that have the longevity of Survivor – you get people on the show who simply want to see themselves on TV doing outrageous things. How many people this season – and in fact in many of the recent seasons – do you think would have survived in the first several seasons? No hidden idol, Final Twos, seasons where all they got was a machete and a dream.
What it came down to was that one of the Gym Rat Alliance was going down. And now that Jay has flipped, that left Matt, Mike and Bill as the only options. Mike was generally ignored for the elimination this week, which left Matt and Bill. Neither would be a big loss – Matt seems to think of himself as a leader of men who is unable to count to five, while Bill is the worst comedian in the world. Matt became surly at the end, something noticed by Probst, while Bill turned into a weird ball of energy that wouldn’t stop saying bro. In the end, Matt becomes the first casualty of the Gym Rats, and one wonders if he’ll be the last.