Get in loser, we’re going to Tribal Council.
A Flash Of White (Collar): We saw very little of Masaya this week; in fact I’m pretty sure that after the scene at their camp which opened the episode, we never checked back in with them again. That’s fine, because when you’ve got three different tribes and around 42 minutes of airtime someone’s bound to get lost in the shuffle, but it did kind of give away the outcome of the immunity challenge. Around halfway through, Masaya were lagging behind and looking set for their second straight loss, but they clearly weren’t going to Tribal Council because the episode had spent almost no time establishing the dynamics in their tribe this week. So their eventual come-from-behind victory (a proper victory as well, meaning they got the good half of the immunity idol) was a triumph, but it was not a surprise.
Wacky Naked Hijinks With Max And Shirin: What little time we did spend with Masaya this week was basically Max and Shirin going “teeheehee we’re naked! This is brilliant Survivor strategy as demonstrated by Richard Hatch! It gives you time by yourself because people are nervous around you when you’re naked! It is not remotely a calculated bid to maximise our camera time! We are such scholars of the game! We are so awesome!” Come on, Survivor: show, don’t tell. Sadly, the fact that Max and Shirin were the stars of Masaya’s only segment this week suggests neither of them is going anywhere any time soon, so we’re probably stuck with their insufferability for the foreseeable. (I tweeted this about Max during the episode and within minutes he’d favourited it, which…yep, seems about right.) (I’m quite disappointed that Jenn doesn’t appear to have acknowledged my tweet in appreciation of her boobs though.)
This Week In Joaquin’s Ass: I mean I’m sure it was probably a coincidence that Joaquin leaping over the fence and turning away from the camera in his wet, clingy board shorts was accompanied by Probst yelling “look at that!”, but it certainly seemed apposite. (Not that I needed the encouragement, I was already looking.)
“Manties”: Over on Escameca, Dan’s pants fell off when he was weeing in the sea (?????), so he’s taken his shirt off and fashioned it into a sort of diaper instead. Lindsey wondered if he couldn’t just cut his jeans off rather than go shirtless: this was played as genuine concern on her part that he was going to get ravaged by the rays of the sun, but I have my suspicions that she was just hoping to avoid the possibility of having to look at his man teats for another 35 days. Elsewhere on the tribe, Mike seems to be losing his voice (possibly a side-effect of his scorpion-rich diet) but managed to find enough strength to complain about Rodney not doing enough work and goofing around playing basketball. This sounded quite silly given that a) they had plenty of firewood and b) the immunity challenge ultimately came down to what was essentially a game of basketball, but I’m still going to take Mike’s side over Rodney’s in pretty much any scenario you could name.
On Wednesdays We Wear Pink: Hoo boy. Right, first of all, I don’t know what’s really going on between Nina and Hali and Jenn, because I wasn’t there in Nicaragua and I only have this edited version to work with. I also wouldn’t dream of pretending that I know what it’s like to be in Nina’s position to lose your hearing, get a cochlear implant and then have to make nice with a bunch of strangers on national television. However, the fight where Nina got incredibly upset because Jenn and Hali didn’t invite her to go skinny dipping with them struck me as very, very silly for a number of reasons:
1. Despite Nina’s claims that Hali and Jenn were deliberately excluding her, we were shown actual footage of Hali trying to get to know Nina. True, she wasn’t exactly asking her deep, probing questions (unless “I like your top!” is a real soul-searcher), and it was probably hugely frustrating for Nina that every time Hali spoke she was facing away from her which is just about the worst way to communicate with someone who has hearing problems, but it was clear that an effort was being made there, so I don’t buy that there was a calculated attempt to not involve her in things.
2. Yes, Jenn and Hali decided to go skinny-dipping and did not invite Nina to join them. They also did not in any way forbid her from joining them. If she really wanted to be a part of that experience, and get to know them better, why didn’t she just strip off and join in? I get that it sucks when you start off at an obvious disadvantage communication-wise, but that doesn’t mean the onus is automatically on everyone else to do all the befriending while you sit there and wait for them to come to you.
3. They didn’t invite Will, Vince or Joe to join them either. Were the boys also being deliberately excluded by the Plastics?
4. No offence, Nina, but you kind of lost me the minute you gave that speech about how people exclude you in everyday life and you thought it would be different here. Really? You thought it would be different on Survivor? A reality TV show that is structured entirely around the concept of humans being fundamentally untrustworthy? Did you not see any of Amazon, where Christy was – wait for it – actively excluded by mean girls Heidi and Jenna because of her deafness (okay, fine, that particular alliance seemed based more on their mutual appreciation of their own hotness but I think the basic “people are assholes” message stands nonetheless)? I think the real problem here may have been Nina’s failure to manage her expectations appropriately.
No Collar, Mo’ Problems: So after Will completely blew Nagarote’s considerable lead in the immunity challenge, the divisions in the tribe were immediately apparent. Joe, Jenn and Hali are a fairly tight unit. Vince hates Joe (and maybe hates Jenn for not wanting his peen), Nina hates Jenn (and maybe also Hali, but mostly Jenn) and Will feels some sort of outsider kinship with Nina, making these three a much looser alliance. So Vince and Nina decided to “blindside” either Joe or Jenn with Will’s help (exactly how they planned to blindside an alliance of three with…an alliance of three was unclear, but it ended up being a moot point anyway), then Will went over to the other three who were discussing Nina’s oldness and Vince’s general untrustworthiness (god, it’s like last week all over again) and decided to split the vote in case of an idol, so Jenn and Hali were going to vote Vince and Will and Joe were going to vote Nina. Will then scarpered straight back to Vince to tell him that the others were vote-splitting, and they all agreed to vote for Jenn because she’s untrustworthy and they’ll need Joe’s strength for challenges (seriously, exactly like last week). Then Will went to Nina to inform her of this latest development and she was all MUAHAHAHAHAHA I SHALL HAVE MY REVENGE and then…things got weird. Seriously weird. Because Nina suddenly put on this bizarre Strategy Face and asked Will how he was feeling, because Vince had been raising all sorts of questions about his overall health and fitness to continue in the competition, like how The Doctor got rid of Harriet Jones, Prime Minister. This was, admittedly, all completely true but I have absolutely no idea what Nina thought she was going to achieve with this, because all it did – predictably – was make Will immediately suspicious of Vince as an ally. If Nina was working as some sort of double agent this would all make sense, but she was shitting all over her own plan and doing it with a giant smile on her face. It was so odd.
Bye, Sly: At Tribal Council, Joe, Jenn and Hali admitted to being a trio and Will and Nina admitted to being the opposition, and Vince tried to paint himself as the glue trying to bind the rest of the tribe together, fooling precisely nobody in the attempt. Jenn admitted that there was every chance that she was being targeted tonight but she didn’t care because she JUST LOVES BEING ON THIS SHOW SO MUCH, IT’S LIKE PROBST IS IN A TV EVEN NOW SHE’S LOOKING AT HIM. I love Jenn. Ultimately Will ended up flipping on both of his promises and voting for Vince, meaning that Vince was blindsided 3-2-1 (with Jenn getting two votes and Nina getting one), causing a confused Nina to look around at Will and ask if he voted for Vince. God, Nina – you didn’t vote for Vince, and he can’t vote for himself, what the heck do you think happened? You made all this happen! If you’d just kept quiet Jenn would’ve gone home and you would indeed have had your revenge! I mean, I’m happy Jenn stayed – especially at the expense of Vince – but I don’t think this episode was much of an advert for Nina’s social game.
Next week: shit gon’ go down over on Escameca.