Reward Challenge – This was a fun, wacky obstacle course. Divided into teams of five, they had to race across a few balance beams, duck under a bridge and slide down a water slide into a mud pit where they dig out a bag of balls. Then shimmy under a bar in a sand box, or should I say a rice box, before hitting the platform. All five had to do it before they could start tossing balls at a hoop. First to sink all 12 wins a trip to a resort – showers, swimming pool, big ole meat lunch, cocktails. Malcolm is super excited for the cocktails.
The teams break down to Reynold, Erik, Dawn, Cochran and Phillip against Eddie, Malcolm, Sherri, Andrea and Brenda. Erik and Malcolm lead off and Erik elects to dig out a path in the rice for them all, while Malcolm chooses to dig out all of the bags. He struggles a bit. Reynold follows Erik and digs out the team bags, while Malcolm then takes to clearing out the rice. Malcolm’s strategy only works if his team can fly through the course after he is done. Sherri is the one to struggle. They never even get to toss a single ball before the challenge is over.
Things I loved…Cochran and Dawn doing face plants in the mud, with Cochran earning Probstian praise. Phillip doing a war cry down the slide, not thinking that perhaps a closed mouth approach to a mud pit was wiser. And, well, muddy Andrea and Brenda crawling through the rice box, and…um…well, just watch it again and see what I am talking about.
Immunity Challenge – This one was brutal. So brutal that you knew the women were never going to win. That’s not sexist – seriously, you’d need to be Missy Franklin to win this one. Survivors had to dive off a platform and pull themselves by a rope underwater to the other side, grab a ring, run across again, hang up the ring, do it all again. Essentially, it is a sprint above and under the water along with the upper body push onto the platform after a month of malnutrition. The ladies were ok with two passes in the opening heats, but for the win you had to do it five times. I think Brenda could have beaten Cochran or Phillip here, but not Reynold or Malcolm.
Reynold and Andrea win the first heat over Cochran, Dawn and Sherri. Phillip opts out of the challenge claiming a traumatic underwater dock incident as a child. So, Malcolm wins that leg and Eddie was going to win but failed to hang up his second ring, allowing Brenda to slip in. Malcolm and Reynold go mano a mano in the title round with the women nowhere close. Probst was bursting at the seams watching this. Reynold wins it in the end.
It is ironic that Phillip opted out the week he went home, but of course, there was no chance he was going to win this. It was probably a bit arrogant for him to sit it out – trauma or none – because he was certain he was safe. If he was on the bottom alliance, would he have raced? I think so.
Tribal Council – Really, not much else I can say here. It was wild. This season is being redeemed by some insane tribal councils for three consecutive weeks. Let’s see it is keeps up.
Treemail Top 10
• Last week’s promos implied a big Dawn breakdown. A breakdawn. I called it! Trademarked! And she did have a big moment. She let out this horrible wail and urged the tribe to run and help her. Why? She lost her retainer. That’s right, she’s 11 and careless in the Dairy Queen. She freaked out because she has a fake tooth and…I don’t know…just got vain? She’s been on TV in a bathing suit and no makeup for 10 weeks but she draws the modesty line here? Anyway, Brenda is a rock star and dons the snorkel and mask and finds the retainer for the hysterical woman.
• The whole BreakDawn just proves one thing – you need to get ample sleep. Or you turn into a raving lunatic. Although, on a season with some real lunatics, that’s probably unfair.
• Brenda actually gets a confessional and it makes no sense. So, now she’s wary of Dawn because she cried ugly?
• Manners were on display at the resort – good and bad. They all dig into the food ravenously, but Erik apologizes to the hosts for this behavior. Meanwhile, with a shower literally right there, Phillip goes in the pool covered in filth. It’s not even hidden, Dawn was using it! There were others in the pool already, so they too must have used it. He may be the fun sponge, but he is also the grime sponge as the water turned a different color around him as if he was peeing his body weight in the pool.
• Things you never want to hear from Phillip – “I’m already naked.”
• Andrea eats Dawn’s burned coconut. Uh oh. However, this is no crispy rice argument.
• You knew when they had the discussion to take out Reynold(s) before the immunity challenge that it wasn’t going to go that way. And you doubly knew something was going to be up when Cochran said he was confident and his alliance had the numbers.
• I wonder how much time lapsed during that final round of the immunity challenge. Was it a quick sprint throughout, or did they take lots of breathers.
• Loved how no one other than Brenda was paying attention to Phil’s childhood trauma story – they were busy looking for the re-hidden idol. How awesome would it have been as Malcolm found the idol in front Eddie, Reynold, Andrea and Dawn if they decided to team up right there because of that coincidence?
• Best line of possibly the last several seasons, from Cochran – “Whatever happens tonight, this is why I love Survivor and have for 13 years.” Word.
Vote – Phillip 4 (Malcolm, Eddie, Reynold, Erik), Eddie 4 (Andrea, Brenda, Dawn, Sherri), Malcolm 2 (Cochran, Phillip). Votes for Eddie and Malcolm negated due to hidden idols.
Next week – AMC makes a play for Sherri and we have the auction. Yay!