Survivor: Philippines – Episode 6 – Let’s Make A Deal!

Every once in a while I get to say this, and I am always surprised when it happens. Perhaps I should stop being surprised. But, we are in Season 25 of Survivor and something happened which never happened before. And frankly, I love it. This really just proves that the Survivor formula simply works. By putting 16-20 people together in this format, with crazy challenges, you put them in situations where something unexpected is bound to happen. In this case, we got some good old fashioned wheeling and dealing between the tribes.

The Reward Challenge (welcome back to the game RCs) was a classic Survivor theme. Pit contestants against one another in a challenge where the main object is to wrestle and slam each other to the ground. The task itself is a bit of a MacGuffin. The purpose is to have some violence, arguments, and potentially some removed bathing suits. In this one, three members had to move a Large Wicker Ball across a very, very muddy field to a goal. The first tribe to three wins a reward of dryness, sandwiches, soups, chips and brownies. And as we learn later, letters from home, but teams do not know that. Tandang sits out Artis and RC. So in theory, Abinormal actually gets to play. However…

…that was not meant to be. The first matchup pitted Blair/PBP/Skupin against Penner/Carter/Denise. To sum it up – Carter and PBP kept body slamming each other. Mostly PBP body slamming Carter. Blair grabbed a hold of Denise and wouldn’t let go, no matter how much the therapist writhed. Penner and Skupin focused on the Large Wicker Ball before getting into it themselves. To prevent Skupin from moving the ball, Penner got awfully close to, well, his Skupins, as he reached underneath the Outback veteran to grab some wicker and give some wedgies. In return, Skupin chose to sit down. So, to recap. PBP and Carter wrestled, Blair and Denise wrestled, Penner had Skupin’s crotch, and Skupin was sitting on Penner’s face.
Best line? Skupin – “This is like heaven.” Penner – “Yeah, it’s like something.” HA!!

And then, they sat. Frozen. For an hour. No movement. Essentially, they beat each other up to the point that their exhausted bodies were spent. The lack of any traction whatsoever thanks to the mud made it impossible to move the LWB anywhere. This was an impasse. The only way to move the ball at this point would be for one team to give up. And that’s where Penner and Skupin went to work. Penner suggested a deal where Kalabaw would win the reward. What would it take?

Earlier, we got a glimpse of Tandang camp life where Skupin is oblivious to the anger surrounding him from The Most Obnoxious Alliance on Earth. PBP, Artis and Abinormal are bitching about Skupin, because that’s what they do. At least, in this case, they have a point. Skupin keeps eating the raw rice, claiming that it will cook in your body. And, um, I’m no chef, but I don’t think your stomach works the way he thinks it does. So, their rice supply is running very low.

So, presented with a swap option, Skupin suggests the challenge for the remainder of Kalabaw’s rice. And the tribes began to debate it. Tandang looked to Artis for thoughts since it appears they wanted to win the challenge to give him a birthday celebration. He didn’t want to give up. Big words from the guy sitting out the challenge. Did he not see the impasse before them? Probst tells the tribes that for the deal to take place, the tribes must all agree. That means Artis, PBP, Carter and all of the others who later complained said yes. If they thought the deal stunk for them – they should have said no. They only have themselves to blame.

As for me, my knee jerk reaction was that this was a terrible deal for Kalabaw. They get the big feast, but give up all food reserves in the process. It seemed like a huge gamble. Penner especially took on immense risk by not only proposing the deal, but by selling it with a claim to be able to catch fish. Should he fail – and he basically did – that is huge reason to vote him out. They also are gambling that they can bridge the gap to the looming merge with fish, foraging, and the feast.

That’s a big risk for a tribe already down in numbers to potentially compete on very empty stomachs. What we didn’t know until later is that Kalabaw’s rice supply was quite low as well. They had barely enough to get through the next cycle of days to the potential merge. Tandang also risked the Curse of the Blown Challenge which has burned so many tribes in the past. So, the bottom line – it was a good deal. Both sides took risks, both sides earned gains.

However, Carter sure complained a lot, albeit verrrrrry, verrrrry slooooooowwwlllllyyyyy. Man, this guy takes a week to finish a sentence. Also complaining? All of Tandang’s Evil Alliance. Not sure what Blair is doing with that trio – they are insufferable, and she’s pretty interesting. Malcolm tried to “put a positive spin on it” and was literally taken aback by the hissing and venom from the tribe. Not literal venom, but he visibly moved his body backward after speaking as if to avoid the bad energy from this group.

Penner failed to spear a wayward sting ray and then set out to fish in deeper water. He got nothing but a couple of tiny bites. That meant the tribe would head to the challenge, presumably rather hungry.

Immunity Challenge – Another classic Survivor challenge. One member launches a ball with a giant slingshot, while the others try to catch them in the net. It doesn’t matter which color ball you catch, it is a point. The four pairs of outfielders start off by grasping a pole (shut up) together and can only move once the ball is in the air. The first team to five points wins. Of course, Abinormal sits out for Tandang, along with Skupin. Blair and Denise are the launchers. The paired off catchers are – Artis/Penner, Malcolm/Carter, Kent/PBP, and RC/Katie. In a nutshell, Artis and Katie are useless. Neither do anything at all – Katie is only mentioned when she forgot to “put her hand on the pole.” Heh. (Shut up – let me have this). Carter is only mentioned because once again PBP is wiping the floor with him – not literally this time. Penner lands the first one before PBP and RC simultaneously catch the next two points. Kent intercepts PBP for the tie. Kent spent a career getting under pop ups in the infield – albeit not often fighting with a younger, fitter man to catch said pop ups – so one would expect he’d be the star of the challenge. After Kent catches the third and fourth point for Kalabaw, it appears he will be the star, as the tribe now lead 4-2. At this point, Skupin calls in some advice – Blair just should keep shooting it over to Malcolm. Why was this not the original strategy?

Of course, Malcolm makes short work of Carter on two in a row, meanwhile Kent dropped the potential game winning catch. With the score tied and the next point deciding the winner, Kalabaw switches Kent over to defend Malcolm and even that battle up. However, Kent flails and misses, while Malcolm scoops up the fifth and deciding point. Boom. Look how much has changed thanks to the 50-50 chance of the buff pull between Malcolm and Denise. Tandang got a challenge monster, and Kalabaw got a jinx. I love Denise, but she will now be attending every single Tribal Council possible. And if she goes deep post-merge, she could be a part of every one for the season.

Amazing Race 21 – Ep 4 – C’Mon Twinnie!! Long, Strong and Hard!

A strange thing began to happen during this week’s Amazing Race – the team I think the show wants me to root for began to annoy me to epic proportions, while the team I think I am not supposed to like began to grow on me quite a bit. This phenomenon truly took form two other times in Race history. The first was the Charla/Mirna vs. Colin/Christie battle in Season 5. The world loved the cousin team, except for me. They were nails on the chalkboard whenever they spoke, and Mirna was just as much of a villain, if not more of one, than Colin. The worst things Colin did were to himself and his own team (i.e. almost going to jail for failing to pay a cabbie). I rooted hard for the girls to lose and for the intense Texan to win that season and would have loved for C&C Music Factory to have come back for All-Stars (supposedly Christie’s pregnancy held them back)

Again, in Season 7 I think we were meant to root against Rob/Amber and root for the snarky Lynn/Alex. Instead, I found the cattiness of the boys to be too much, while Romber ran far from a villainous Race. Their big villain moment – not stopping to check on Breg after their car crash. Which, in theory, was just racing. Again, I was against the grain on that one.

This season, I feel as if the editing wants us to root for the Twins. They are shown in such a way that I think the editors would like us to pull for their enthusiasm. But the opposite is working on me. I want to ram a sewing needle through my eye every time they talk. I am sick of every Sri Lankan reference they make – it’s like S7’s Ron constantly talking about Iraq. It’s becoming a drinking game. The ladies speak like a bad cheerleading squad all the time – specifically one which was erased of all memory and thought and are only now beginning to relearn the English language and require constant repetition to fire up the ole neurons in the brain.

Wanna hear the most annoying sound? C’mon Twinnie!!!!

Meanwhile, at one point the Twins called Team Apprentice a couple of idiots, and another time called them psychotic. Am I alone in wondering what > alternate amber-inundated universe they are living in? Nothing I have seen of Apprentice makes me think villain from those two. Even their self-proclamed intensity has yet to make its way on screen. In fact, they had an incredibly endearing moment during the Detour. When they chose to construct a mattress, they did so because of Abbie’s experience during her one year at the Fashion Institute. Ryan was wise enough to step back, praise her skills and tell her to tell him what to do. This was no alpha male ego problems taking hold here – it was team first. Now, I don’t know what those broad hand gestures they were doing at the beginning of the leg were all about. That was weird. I couldn’t tell if they were landing a plane, playing a bad game of charades with Phil or telling me I needed to steal second base.
Even Apprentice and the other teams have begun to grow tired of Team Twinnie’s…volume. During the Roadblock, several of them looked about ready to start shoving that bus spackle down the Twins’ constantly-open pie holes. The best part was Abbie’s fake gun blast to the head in the background as the Twins went on and on. > Their volume not only goes to 11 – it stays at 11. As George Carlin once said about the broken air conditioning – it’s either effin’ on, or effin’ off. Pick one. I pick effin’ off, please.

Anyway, the Race went from Indonesia to Bangladesh which could be renamed “The Country Without A Sanitation Department.” You know you’re country is filthy when the Amazing Race task assigned to your region is cleaning up dead rats. I mean, it doesn’t even have roads in some places in the capitol city! This leg may have featured the dirtiest inhabited city ever on the show. More than anything from India. At least, that’s the way it looked to me.

Speaking of the rats, the Hairs were the lucky team this week to take part in the Fast Forward. I still lament the loss of the weekly Fast Forward option. They had to go to three locations and collect several dead rats as part of the cleanup of the city’s vermin problem. You know you have a dirty city when the term “vermin problem” is used and reality show contestants are recruited to help out. The one thing interesting to me was that there really wasn’t much of a search for the rodent corpses involved. They were just kind of placed in a pot upon arrival at the location. I think it would have been some interesting visuals to have the two of them looking around the sewers and visible piles of trash looking for the bodies, or even better, have them chase them down and bludgeon them with their backpacks.

Although, if my kid went trick or treating and got a bag full of rats, well, > even Charlie Brown would be offended.

But they found the rats – the real rats, not the proverbial ones from the music industry – and made their way in first place. That FF finish kept Team Apprentice out of the top spot for the third time in four weeks. Make no mistake – they are going to be a force this season, barring some random event or unexpected unforced error. I can see them and Magic Mike battling it out down the stretch for the win. And how interesting would that be – Apprentice with a shot at $2 million. Only Sandra from Survivor has pulled that off and she had to starve herself for about 80 days to get that done
Meanwhile, Fantasy Island struggled. Again. Gary is a superfan – and as a fellow superfan, I appreciate that. And I have no idea how good or bad I would perform on the Race. My issues with directions would probably lead to some serious car meltdown at some point. However, Fantasy Island did not do well on anything in four legs. This was an overmatched team – and one that appeared defeated before this leg even began. I liked these guys a lot, but this was a very poor Race team.