Dot dot dot HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
Well, I guess I had the measure of the early part of this season all wrong. I thought that it was going to be some sort of Philippines redux with Brains in the place of Matsing, slowly but surely tanking each challenge until the tribe was down to its barest of bones and they had to be asborbed by the others. Now, I’m not saying that I’m suddenly filled with optimism about the Brains tribe’s chances for the rest of the pre-merge game because they’re still pretty hopeless, but it appears that the challenge theme for these early episodes is in fact “one team takes an early lead only to choke hopelessly on the final puzzle while the other two catch up and breeze right past them”. Brains were given a brief reprieve from Tribal Council this week after the Beauty tribe came face to face with the ugliness of a vertical revolving maze-type thing and found themselves unequal to the challenge. But more on that later.
In the wake of the double-blindside, we got to see what passes for harmony on the Brains tribe. Essentially nobody was thrilled about voting Garrett off and keeping J’Tia The Rice Pudding, but everyone bar Spencer felt that his ridiculous performance last week left them with no choice. Tasha actually admitted that she probably would’ve voted the same way as Garrett if he’d actually let her, y’know, PLAY SURVIVOR PROPERLY IN THE FIRST PLACE, but since he was more interested in Show & Tell, he had to go. Now that she’s free from Garrett’s rule, Tasha fancies setting up a women’s alliance because…well, it’s pretty much her best option at this point. However, hearteningly, the tribe refused to resign themselves to always losing and actually went off to practice the water-throwing techniques they’d need to use in the challenge, which was one of those classic Survivor “pass water along the line by chucking it from bucket to bucket” deals, and for once they seemed to be making progress and working harmoniously…until they actually got to the challenge, at which point something seemed to break down in the link between Tasha and J’Tia, inevitably meaning that by the time the water got to Kass at the end of the line, she was basically squeezing a few drops out of her t-shirt into the bucket. They’re lucky the Beauty tribe suck at puzzles, anyway.
Meanwhile, over on Brawn, Tony decided it was time to come clean with Sarah and admit that he’s a cop. For some reason, Sarah responded to the revelation that Tony is a habitual liar by unquestioningly accepting everything he said from that point onward as unvarnished fact. Oh, Sarah. I had such high hopes for you. So Tony told Sarah that Cliff and Lindsey wanted her out because she’s smart and dangerous – ah, the lie that flatters the ego – and Sarah appears to have fallen for it wholesale. Oh, and their alliance is called Cops R Us, which is fractionally less stupid than Stealth R Us, but only just.
Also this week: it rained a lot, but while the majority of castaways rode out the bad weather by lamenting the (lack of) quality of their shelters, LJ suddenly remembered that Morgan had been acting super-shifty when they arrived, and was lurking around the rocks. As his beautiful synapses started to fire, he deduced that she either had the hidden immunity idol, or the clue to its location, so he decided to climb around the rocks in the rain (smart idea!) while everyone else was distracted, and was rewarded with the idol. Well-played, LJ. Garrett says: don’t forget to take it to Tribal Council with you. And Reynold says: wear baggy trousers when you do.
The Beauty tribe turned out to be surprisingly interesting when they were on the outs, as it became clear that the alliances within the tribe were actually quite sketchily-drawn. Brice, Jeremiah and Morgan wanted rid of Alexis, and thought they maybe had LJ with them, but LJ wanted rid of Brice, and Alexis and Jefra were on board with that plan, as much as Jefra is ever on board with any plan. She doesn’t strike me as the brightest torch around the campfire. Then everyone started worrying about flushing out idols and establishing back-up plans and I started to lose track of who was on what side any more, other than knowing that the eventual vote was guaranteed to be a clusterfuck. Then Alexis reminded us that she exists with a brief, functional confessional and everyone headed off to Tribal Council where Brice said “talk of the town” about 70 times and made sassy gay friend faces at Jeff Probst. Not that it did him any good, because after a three-way tie between Brice, Morgan and Alexis in the first round of voting, Jefra, LJ and Jeremiah unanimously voted for Brice the second round time and sent him on his way. And as much as I liked Brice and thought he could’ve been an interesting player, it was all totally worth it for Brice giving the best exist speech since Jeff “THANKS OBAMA!” Kent by declaring that he couldn’t even remember anyone’s names anyway. Just as well he wasn’t on the jury, I guess. I’d hate to see Probst’s face when he’s tallying the final vote and pulls out a piece of parchment with “Her. You know, that one with the hair” written on it.