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Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' - 'Don't Be Blinded by the Headlights'
Nocturnal cuddling leads to tribal tensions
Pre-credit sequence. Team Russell returns to camp after booting Zany Zane. "I know it might sound trite, but thanks guys," Russell's determined not to fall back into the Tribal Chief thing again. He's going to step back and let somebody else go on the chopping block in they fail. On cue, it's chilly in the Philippines and Angie and Malcolm are cuddling up at night, limbs intertwined. She insists there's nothing going on, but Malcolm is already instructing himself not to get "booty blind." "With Angie, literally it's a booby trap and Malcolm is falling for it," says Roxy, who worries that Angie and Malcolm could be dangerous together. Oh heck no. Don't take my Angie away, Team Russell!
Oh honey... Boo-boo. Let's not forget that there are two other tribes. Up first? Team... MONKEY. Sorry. Team Skupin. RC is worried about moldy rice, but in the process of protecting her grain, she discovers her tribe's clue. But did Blair Warner see what RC found? It's unclear. RC and buddy Abi-Maria unfurl the clue together and determine to keep it secret together. RC thinks this'll prove to Abi that she's trustworthy, but Abi is worried that RC is getting too close as she examines Skupin's latest boo-boo. "If she screws me over, that's it. She's dead to me," Abi insists, though RC swears that Skupin is just like a father to her. "She can go off like that and that really makes me nervous," RC says of Abi, who she suspects might be too close to Pete.
Nose candy is dandy. Over with Team Jeff Kent, the former second baseman is struggling a little. He likes sports metaphors and he's prepared to wait people out. He's enjoying the rain, because it gives him an excuse to be relatively sedentary. Hoping to fill time, Team Jeff Kent is playing makeshift checkers next to the shelter, which frustrates Jonathan, who just wants to find that Idol. He gets lucky when everybody leaves him to go make fire in a nearby cave and, in no time, he's scurrying around everywhere trying to find the Idol. He's nearly caught by Dawson, prompting an elaborate story about rain, contact lenses and his glasses, a silly story but one with no apparently blowback. Penner has a brainwave! The clue said something about being under a nose and on the rise was a bull with a prominent nose and... Yes. The bull insignia is, in fact, the Idol. Penner's overjoyed.
Much ado about mammaries. It's back to Team Russell and back to Angie and Malcolm's cuddling. Why is this still a thing? Roxy has decided she wants Angie out, because Malcolm is more useful, so she approaches Russell. Acknowledging that Angie is "a hot young chick," Russell's concerned and he agrees that, "It looks like she's got some boob thing going on." Indeed. "I don't blame Malcolm for wanting a little slap-and-tickle," Russell says, but he's opposed to "Survivor" couples. Roxy is inventing moans coming from the cuddling and she tries to get Denise in on the conspiracy. Denise, in an alliance with Malcom, admits that Angie would be pleasant to cuddle up to and worries that now there are huge targets on their backs. The cameraman is VASTLY more interested in the huge targets on Angie's front. Roxy's really invested in this. At least Malcolm is detecting the "strange vibe."
I never liked Blair Warner on "Facts of Life," either. They're hungry over at Team Skupin, where they're discussing favorite foods. "I'm an introvert by nature, so I don't do well with chit-chat," says the "very, very shy" Blair Warner, who says that her normal tendency is just to withdraw. When Blair withdraws, everybody worries that she's out looking for the Idol. Abi thinks Lisa's an outsider, which may have something to do with there be an alliance of everybody else in the tribe and then her (and Artis, who doesn't talk). Lisa sits on the well and cries. Everybody else seems to agree that they're going to vote her out. "It's hard being on the outside. Maybe I'm just not able to play this game," she cries. Geez. If she just started telling Charlotte Rea stories, people will surely love her.
I say a little prayer. Rain continues to fall on Team Russell. "I guess we're just going to be wet and miserable and it's going to suck to be us," Russell says. Malcolm senses that Roxy's mind isn't in the game. Will this be the thing to save Angie? Roxy, it turns out, had hoped that her Christian faith would support her in the game, but it's not. She hasn't been sleeping and she's missing her friends and family and church. Roxy's crying... But out comes the sun, answering her prayers. The seminary student sits on the beach and offers more prayers, which makes Denise nervous. "I don't pray for anything. If anything's going to get me to the end of the game, it's gonna be me," Denise says.
Sled men tell no tales. Immunity is back up for grabs. The challenge involves pairs getting puzzle pieces with a sled. Two people, with the help of a spotter, will then attempt to put three puzzles together. They're also playing for Reward. Want to know what they're playing for? The first tribe to finish gets blankets, pillows and a tarp. The second tribe to finish gets a tarp. They also get Immunity, of course. Team Russell is stymied on which player will go twice with the sleds, with Roxy's dehydration and Angie's relative weakeness. It's not surprising, then, that Team Russell is way far behind. Points to Jeff Kent's Knee for doing double-duty and leading Team Penner into an early lead. With Denise coaching, Team Russell makes up a lot of time. All three tribes have completed two puzzles and are on their third. Team Skupin finishes first. Team Penner finishes second. And Team Russell sucks once again. This does not bode well for Angie, does it? "Either go hard or go home!" yells an outraged Russell, who insists that his tribe ought to be unbeatable.
Roxy music. MONKEY! "This sucks. We lost again," Denise says. "At least we were close," Angie tries to rationalize. Russell's unimpressed with both Angie and Roxy, but he likes that Roxy is willing to narc to him about about happenings around camp. "It's a public embarrassment if you ask me," rants Roxy about Angie's performance, apparently uninterested in recalling that she herself refused double-duty. Roxy continues on and on about Malcolm and Angie being "up each other's butt," which is confusing and may reflect some confusion on sexual practices. She's convinced that Angie's only strategy is showing her boobs. Roxy's REALLY worked up about this. "We're gonna get called out," Malcolm finally tells Angie, who's clueless about the implications of her cuddling. "I know I shouldn't be cuddling with Angie, but it's cold at night..." Malcolm rationalizes. Yikes. Cobra? Russell takes Roxy's Angie-paranoia to Denise, who has become the swing vote. "There's something about Roxy that I just don't trust," Denise says, but it really sounds like she trusts Angie's "headlights" more. Why isn't Angie fighting for herself at all? Come on!
Tribal council. More Russell ranting. Denise thinks losing sucks. Probst asks Roxy what she'd change if she could. Roxy is pissed off that people are working too hard at camp. Wrong answer. Same question to Angie... "That we could have cookies," Angie says. Wow. That answer's so wrong it makes Roxy's answer suddenly look right. Probst is incredulous. Malcolm tries to defend Angie. A little. "Really? Really? In a game for a million dollars..." Probst asks. The Emmy-winning host isn't going to leave this aside. Russell says this is all new to Angie. Roxy takes the chance to out the Angie-Malcolm cuddling. "S'up," Malcolm says to Probst, before saying it's all about "mutual warmth." "She's like a little sister to me," Malcolm says. "Wow. Creepy," Roxy says. This is excruciating. This tribe need to vote Roxy and Angie out simultaneously. "That's her opinion and she can have it," Angie tells Probst, but he's in full-on "I'm Jeff Probst and I don't respect you women with your hormones and weak women parts" mode. He claps his hands to wake Angie up, he's so outraged.
The vote. "That was fun," Malcolm says. "God bless you and Shalom," Roxy says, writing Angie's name. Angie writes Roxy's name and says, "I can't stand you and I won't miss you." Probst tallies the votes: Roxy. Angie. Roxy. Roxy. WOW. Angie smiles an evil grin and then makes innocent "Who me?" eyes. "I have some good ties to this group, but if they think they've made the right decision, God be with them," Roxy says.
Bottom Line. Roxy overplayed her hand and she did it in an episode in which she didn't clearly display she had more to offer than the person who should, by all rights, be going home. Like if Roxy is smart enough to get people talking about Angie and Malcolm, without belaboring it, and then steps up at the challenge and does two legs even dehydrated, surely she's still around, right? I mean, other than eye candy and warmth, Angie isn't providing anything, but Denise made the decision that keeping her alliance happy had a greater benefit than keeping Roxy around. It's early, but I'm inclined to trust Denise's read on people. She hasn't led me wrong. I need to muse on two things: 1) Did Roxy get a fair edit or was it yet another of those patented "Survivor" Irrational African-American Woman edits? Do we think the ranting and gesticulating and speaking in tongues were all she was doing out there? Or is that just all we saw to kinda justify the decision the tribe made? 2) Did Angie defend herself in some way that we didn't see? Because what we saw was pathetic, but that doesn't mean that she didn't have a conversation with Denise at some point, reassuring the sex therapist and guaranteeing that deciding vote. The result as we saw it was a bit odd and I'd made my peace with Angie going home. Can anybody remember a "Survivor" episode in which more time was spent discussing the "attributes" of any contestant?
Bottom Line, II. So much time was spent on Angie's breasts and the politics of cuddling that the other two tribes were forgotten about, which is the big risk of the three-tribe structure. Penner found an Idol. Blair Warner isn't good at making friends. Otherwise, this episode was completely imbalanced towards Team Russell. It's hard to imagine this episode causing anybody to like any contestant on any of the tribes more than before. We went from near-total-representation in the initial 90 minute episode to an hour in which at least half of the castaways were silent.
What'd you think of the episode and the results?