Like sports, you watch Survivor for those stand-up-and-cheer moments when the people you’re rooting for make a great play and stomp hated rivals into the dirt. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
Sometimes instead you just wind up screaming at the TV in horror as everything falls apart. Last night was kinda like that.
In what turns out to be foreshadowing of the ironic variety, Kalabaw returns from Tribal Council and Penner’s all neurotic about having received a vote from the outgoing Katie. The take-away: he needs to be more on guard in the future, because sometimes people on Survivor lie to each other.
Meanwhile, on Tandang, Skupin celebrates the fact that he’s managed to injure himself far less severely than he did the first time he played Survivor. He notes that in Australia, the tribes merged right after he fell in the fire, and now that he’s surpassed that benchmark the rest of the game will be uncharted territory…so good on ya, mate!
Because it is, indeed, Merge Time! The tribes each have ten minutes to load their valuables onto outriggers before traveling to a new beach they’ll now share as one big happy family (inexplicably named Dangrayne*).
Or rather, it would be a big, happy family if half the castaways didn’t openly loathe the other half: Artis looks ready to bite through his own bottom lip in disgust whenever he thinks of Skupin, multi-millionaire ballplayer Jeff Kent (who was only cast on the show ’cause he’s famous) can’t stand the injustice of Penner getting to be on Survivor again, the mutual hatred of Abi and RC is hot enough to cook rice and Pete is the Lord of the Flies and thus despises all goodness and light in the world.
Which means the presence of Blair must scald him like holy water, since she continues to be just about the sweetest, nicest person who’s ever lasted this long on the show. She’s so nice, in fact, that she takes it upon herself to dry everyone’s laundry and…whoops! Accidentally finds Malcolm’s Hidden Immunity Idol!
Malcolm can’t stay mad at her, though, and winds up with an older lady alliance that will hopefully outwit, outplay and outlast the sourpuss trifecta of Abi, Pete and Artis.
Denise, for her part, once again proves she’s no slouch in the “outplay” side of the equation by winning the first individual immunity necklace (women’s division) in a “hold the heavy bucket” endurance challenge. Dopey ol’ Carter (who, as my wife notes, is like Sean Penn’s Spicoli without the charm) somehow manages to snag the men’s immunity necklace. And with that, we bid a sad farewell to the Filipino Immunity Chicken. B-gawk!
Evil Pete and his cronies are overjoyed by the results of the Immunity Challenge, since it means their scheme to flush the Hidden Idol by splitting votes between Penner and RC can now proceed as planned.
Penner, sensing trouble, interrupts a meeting of the Carter/Jeff Kent brain trust to suggest that bringing the disgruntled RC and Skupin into the Kalabaw Alliance (which may also bring Malcolm over, thanks to his alliance with Denise) would obviously be their best play. Because…well…DUH!!!
But no. Jeff Kent’s ridiculous obsession with Penner causes him to throw in with Pete, and dopey ol’ Carter goes along for the ride (figuring it’s better to be at the bottom of an alliance than on top). Denise sides with the majority and Skupin (who seems to be a likable dimwit of the Michael Scott/George W. Bush variety) figures it makes sense to vote with the alliance sworn to his destruction against his only two real allies in the game.
No dimwit himself, Penner plays his Hidden Idol, with the tragic result that RC and her bangin’ Bettie Page bikini bod get sent to Ponderosa. Grrrrr….
Next week: Penner goes ballistic.
*And, as for the mystery of Dangrayne, while The A.V. Club’s Carrie Raisler notes (awesomely) that it sounds like a house name on Game of Thrones, SurvivorSucks.com was the Google result that hipped me to the fact it’s not “Dan Grayne” but “Dang rayne,” which kinda demystifies the origin a bit!