Is it really a blindside if you know it’s coming? And, the bigger question, what viewer did not see Katie’s impending "blindside" a mile away?
To be blunt, Penner, Skupin and Russell may very well be the worst returning players of all time. Russell’s out, thankfully, so we don’t have to deal with his dramatics anymore, and it seems Skupin and JP may not be far behind him. At this point, the guys are really stirring up some resentment by meddling with the food supply on their respective tribes. When hungry, wet, tired people get their last bit of sustenance taken from them, all bets are off. I’m just hoping there is some kind of merge coming up soon so we don’t have to witness the bloody carnage after these kids go all Lord of the Flies on Senior Skupin for polishing off their rice supply.
While we’re on the subject of rice, let’s discuss the mud wrestling reward challenge. Words cannot do justice to the swell of pride I feel in my chest when I watch Denise prepare to do battle. The woman is just so badass. But, I digress. The real issue at hand (pun intended) is the grown-man crotch grab. I believe Penner patented this sneaky move in another wrestling challenge in Cook Islands and that he has been silently pleading with the Survivor gods for a chance to pull it out of his bag again ever since. Well, ask and you shall receive! Not that his move does any good though: Skupin is evidently quite familiar with mud-wrestle groping and is completely un-phased by such close genital contact. It’s a standoff.
Challenges like these are really tough because they go on forever until everyone is completely exhausted and, finally, one person has a last burst of power to break out and claim victory for the tribe. The winners go fall asleep in their mashed potatoes. The losers go home completely spent, distraught, caked in freezing cold mud and yell at each other.
Penner, knowing this through his own Survivor experience, comes up with a scheme to bypass the whole messy thing. He offers his tribe’s rice for the challenge win. Skupin concedes and that’s a wrap. Either way, this is a lose-lose for Penner and Skupin. They are the ones who step up and make the deal. No one else has to claim responsibility and, therefore, can remain blameless. On top of all this, Penner promises to catch boatloads of fish and now has the added pressure to feed his tribe. We’ve seen how that works out for him ... two baby fish ... not so much. These guys are in trouble.
The only thing saving these two right now is the fact that they are both stronger than some of the girls in challenges. I, for one, would love to see our little Brazilian spit-fire, Abi, perform in a challenge. I don’t understand why she constantly sits out. Yes, RC is a major force in challenges, agreed. But wouldn’t Abi at least be comparable in athleticism as Lisa? Why not let those two girls take turns? Come on Abi, the world wants to see you get physical!
At the reward, Jonathan’s tribe members get their much anticipated letters from home. Rewards with letters from home are a double-edged sword. I actually don’t believe getting a letter full of love from home is very helpful within the context of playing to win Survivor. Reading the words of a spouse or parent have the effect of filling a contestant with love and a longing to be home and to be held by the ones he loves. This longing can take a person’s mind off the game and plant a seed of homesickness that can seep over into making some really bad decisions. I’ve seen people check out completely after reading their letters. Survivor is a really tough game, mentally, emotionally and physically. Staying focused on each moment in the game and the desired goal at the end is literally the only mindset one can have in order to win.
Speaking of winners, how amazing is Carter? I know that’s not really the most accurate adjective to describe him, but come on, the guy is so hilarious. Jeff and Carter are like the island version of David Spade and Chris Farley. Just try it on for a minute before you disagree.
Allow me to set the scene for you. Jeff (D. Spade) is busy masterminding a plot against Penner in the shelter, describing his scheme to vote out the old veteran to his very blonde partner in crime, Carter (Farley). Just then, Penner sits down with the boys. “Who are we voting?” he asks, in typical Penner panache. Carter replies, “Penner or Katie.”
What did he just say?!
Penner doesn’t even bat an eye as poor little deer in the headlights, Carter, bumbles around to retract his latest statement. Doh!
“Ummm.. I mean Denise, Denise or Katie.”
Riiiiiight, that’s what he meant.
Hats off to the producers of this episode. They did a fine job of leading me to believe that, with Jeff Kent heading up the charge, Penner may just be getting the old heave-ho. Even when they finally do get to tribal, Probst’s line of questioning leans toward the notion of Jonathan becoming the latest victim of an old-fashioned Survivor blindside. He doesn’t play the immunity idol and I’m squirming in my seat. Is this really happening? Tonight would be the night to make a bold move and unseat the clear leader of the tribe and the holder of the immunity idol before the numbers start to dwindle later on. Is Jeff Kent going to characterize himself as a gamer, someone who is willing to put his neck out and make a bold move??
Nope. My spirits settle back into their comfortable spot on the sofa. Katie, the tribe has spoken and another hot chick bites the dust.
When are these guys going to do something exciting and unexpected? I’ll continue this journey with you guys and hope that some twists and turns are heading our way very soon!
Love you all.. xoxo