Recap: 'Survivor: Nicaragua' - 'Running the Camp'
Immunity divides the camp by gender, but where does the power rest?
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"Survivor: Nicaragua" has become a weekly magic act courtesy of Fake Chess Grandmaster Marty, who has seemingly been targeted for elimination each of the past three weeks only to wiggle away, each time sending a female castaway home in his place.
Could Marty continue his grand mastery on Wednesday's (Nov. 10) episode? Click through...
Pre-credit sequence. Did you remember that the merged tribe is now called Libertad? Good for you. Anyway, we lost Alina last week, which makes me a little sad now. The Libertad castaways? Not-especially-sad, though NaOnka admits that Tribal Council was tough. But NaOnka is concerned on Jane's behalf, because she took some attacks from Marty and NaOnka isn't sure Jane can take the heat. NaOnka doesn't know Jane. Calling Marty, "the jackass known as Mr. Farty," Jane display's a 13-year-old's sense of humor and a 13-year-old's bluster, boasting, "I personally don't think he can beat me physically, much less mentally." Them's fighting words!
Behind the woodshed. You take somebody BEHIND the woodshed. Otherwise? Everybody can see you beating them. It's Day 23 for Libertad and Marty is being paranoid about who wrote his name down at the Tribal Council. Sash tells Marty that it had to be Holly, which reassures Marty that Chase must at least be half-intelligent. Marty knows that if he wants to escape elimination again, he's going to need a plan. That plan: Everybody should say they're voting for NaOnka. Instead, they should vote for Jane. That would flush NaOnka's Idol out and get rid of the Jane, who he continues to insist would be a jury lock. "I'd like to take him to the woodshed and whoop his ass," Jane says. Dang! She isn't even gonna go *behind* the woodshed.
Yeah. "Random." Right. It's Reward Challenge time. The castaways are randomly divided into two teams, who have to go through a lengthy obstacle course. Want to know what they're playing for? A canopy tour featuring a zip-line and a "Survivor" BBQ. Although Jeff Probst wants to make sure we know the selection was random, it's Men vs. Women, with Chase on the outside. Chase chooses to align himself with the Girls. The obstacle course is kinda fun, with lots of tumbling through hay and crashing through sticks and even bursting through a brick wall at the end, Hulk-style. The problem with the way the teams "randomly" played out? This is a task that favors the men. Significantly. In fact, were it not for Dan, this would be a rout for the Men. Fortunately, Dan belongs on a third team dedicated to Inanimate Objects. For all of her bluster, Jane tires early, proving to be nearly a female Dan, in terms of her ineffectiveness. Although things are close in the beginning, it isn't close by the end. The Men win reward. Silly Chase. "No faith, brother. No faith," Benry taunts Chase. Meanwhile, Purple Kelly is on the verge of tears. Jeff, never able to stand watching a cute -- but otherwise personality-free -- girl cry, asks the Men if any of them want to trade their Reward to any of the women. Marty assures Jeff that nobody's skipping a BBQ. Marty is flummoxed that Chase would choose to be with the Girls, comparing Chase and Jane to the movie "Dumb & Dumber." Marty's not smart enough to recognize that his BBQ has five people and the losers' pity party has six.
Wheeeeeeeeee!!!! The victorious men zip-line through the canopy. Wheeeeee!!! "It was a day for the boys," Benry cackles. Dan describes the zip-line experience as "OK." Marty has many additional adjectives, observing, "I felt free." Wheeeeeee!!! The look of discomfort and misery on Dan's face through every step of this experience is a bit pathetic. How is he still in the game at this point? A Fathead Wall Sticker of Brett Favre would be contributing more to this season of "Survivor" than Dan is. Over beers, Marty tries to convince the men that he's useful and that he's good at this game. He repeats over and over again his "Say NaOnka/Vote Jane" plan. Benry thinks the plan will "ruffle a few feathers." The lynchpin appears to be Brenda, who the men need to keep around for a while. Sash is OK with whatever Marty's saying, but he figures he and Brenda still have the power.
Is anybody surprised that Brenda isn't into sensitive dudes? The five women and Chase share a miserable group hug back at camp. Brenda, though, isn't impressed with Chase's choice, which she figures he made for Jane and Holly. "Chase doesn't make smart moves. That's his problem," Brenda says. Where'd the love go, Brenda? They all agree that if Marty doesn't win Immunity, he's the target. Holly and Chase recognize that Brenda is the lynchpin of their alliance as well. Everybody hopes they can trust Brenda, but nobody's certain they can. "My relationship with Brenda has definitely changed," Chase acknowledges. His great lament is that he and his former cuddle-buddy don't talk much anymore. He then goes over to the beach and repeated asks Brenda what she's thinking and if she's unsure. Because women LOVE that. "Chase is like a little baby who's always going 'Waaah, waaah, waaaah, waaah,'" Brenda says. She sees no Alpha Male power in Chase and doesn't think that his paranoia is sexy.
Brief filler segment. Feel free to skip. Monkey in the trees! And a bird of prey! In addition, the men return to camp, with Tree-Mail. The mail threatens a task relying on strength. Strength of memory! Jane thinks the game only has a single "evil, diabolical" player left in the game and that's Marty. If he doesn't get Immunity, she thinks the fat lady will sing for him and she wants to be that fat lady. Unfortunately, this may be a challenge that gives the advantage to an evil, diabolical genius like Marty.
Even hungry, I can remember six things. Immunity Time. Jeff Probst collects the two Immunity Idols and warns them that only one Immunity necklace is up for grabs. It's just a game of Memory. Jeff shows them a series of six symbols and then asks them to identify the symbols in order. Jane and NaOnka go out first, followed by Dan. Holly, Kelly and Sash go out next. Surely there was a better way of doing this challenge so that it didn't feel like a nautically themed "Big Brother" challenge? A second round of symbols eliminates Fabio, then Chase. That leaves Marty, Benry and Brenda. Benry goes out next, which leaves Marty and Brenda standing. Is anybody surprised? They're the game's two smartest players, from what I can tell. Who will crack first? Brenda puts up a musket. Marty puts up a ship's wheel. Brenda instantly smiles big. She knows she's got it. Indeed, Brenda's right and she wins Immunity.
Prom King and Queen. Benry is up in the trees picking some sort of fruit and tossing it down to Fabio. They agree that their best strategy at this point is to lay low and not tick anybody off. "I hate playing stupid so much, but it's the smartest thing to do right now," Fabio says. Marty bullies Chase to make sure he's with them, that he's going to vote with his head and not his heart. He makes Chase insist that he's voting NaOnka. So Chase is on the outside? Apparently. NaOnka thinks that the other alliance is going to go after her because she stole the flour. Does she forget that she also stole fruit? But Chase is smarter than he looks. He's figured out exactly what Marty has planned and he intends on voting for Marty. The Fake Grandmaster tells Brenda what the play is and she acknowledges the logic of his plot, but insists that she and Sash are running the camp. The power couple confabs to go over their options. Brenda doesn't want Chase, Holly and Jane making demands and Sash agrees that he'd rather keep Marty around for a couple weeks. Brenda tells the camera that when it comes down to it, she and Sash are making the choice.
Tribal Council. Alina arrives looking pretty and well-fed, the first member of the Jury. The conversation is banal. Sash agrees that the Men did some strategizing while they were away. Fabio acknowledges that the losers may have been strategizing while they were away, but at least the men were eating. Marty makes the same point about Jane's threat and Brenda agrees. Jane comes out rather diplomatic and admits that she and Marty just got out to a bad start. NaOnka doesn't want to discuss her theft, but Marty wants to make it sound like it wasn't trivial. "I'm a humanitarian. I'm a human. I screw up," NaOnka says, before agreeing that she doesn't like Marty, his hair and his walk. She makes a track analogy that confuses Marty and Jeff alike. "She is a liar and a cheat and a steal," Marty says. NaOnka says her daddy is in Inglewood and she doesn't need Marty's approval. Marty calls her "sister" and says her dad probably disapproves. Ew. Way to be condescending and possibly just a wee bit racist there, Marty. There's a lot of back and forth taunting. NaOnka's have a profane evening, as Marty laughs maniacally behind her. Jeff shakes his head in disapproval and says that he expects to see NaOnka in the Finale because of how unlikable she's being.
The Vote. Jane writes Marty's name and says he's a disgrace to fathers and that she'd never allow her children to play with his children. Weird. "Y'all's catfishing trip has been terminated, cuz y'all messed with the wrong gator, missy," Marty says, writing Jane's name down. Marty does an obnoxious walk back to the benches and earns an extended middle finger from NaOnka. Will anybody play the Idol? NO! NaOnka keeps it in her pocket. Jane. Marty. Jane. Jane. Jane. Marty. Marty. Marty. Marty. [NaOnka smirks.] MARTY. Marty is going home. Alina is giddy. Fabio is confused. Dan is old and dyspeptic. In his exit interview, Marty says he wouldn't change a thing. His only frustration is that there weren't even people playing the game, except for that particular night.
Bottom Line: I know y'all hate NaOnka. And I'm not a big NaOnka fan. But honestly, I thought she came off looking better than either Marty or Fabio at tonight's Tribal Council. If somebody steals food? You vote them out. But if you choose *not* to vote them out, you're just making a strategic decision and you can't make it seem like it's a huge issue, when obviously it's not. Marty and Fabio were doing a big, broad bluff to try to make NaOnka think she needed to play the Idol and she called their bluff without hesitation. That was a good play by NaOnka and she deserves credit. As for the rest? We certainly saw Jane's limitations this week. Last week she showed that she can out-endurance anybody, but this week she showed that in any mental or physical task, she'll be easy to dispatch. As for this week's vote? Getting rid of Marty was just good business. It would have been good business a month ago and it's good business now. He was never going to go on an Immunity run, but you're better served getting rid of him and I respect Sash and Brenda for understanding that. My biggest regret? That Jane didn't work that "Mr. Farty" nickname harder. She won't get another chance. I hope she's gone next.
What'd you think of the vote? How much are you gonna miss Marty? Did NaOnka at least vaguely impress you tonight? And are Sash and Brenda too cocky?