The first episode and season premiere of Survivor Nicaragua
The third episode of Survivor Nicaragua takes the game into high gear. The strategizing has already begun this season and it definitely continues to play out in this latest episode. Last time, the two tribes went head to head in a fierce immunity challenge which had the Espada tribe coming out on top. La Flor had to go to tribal council and vote off someone whom no one suspected would be going home early. Shannon seemed to have the game in his back pocket, but his poor choice of words and bad demeanor overall sent him home. Who will be voted off this episode? Let's get this review underway and find out.
The episode begins with the La Flor tribe heading back to their camp after their first tribal council. Alina tells the other tribe members that they should all work as a team and not worry so much about plotting and scheming against one another. Naonka, however, is not buying Alina's words at all. Naonka believes that it is a copout that Alina is using in order to try and buy herself more time in the game. Naonka says that Alina, Kelly B. and Fabio were shocked after Shannon got voted off because that puts them on the wrong side of the numbers. Naonka says they're not a happy family and she's ready to vote them off. Naonka is correct in that the tribe is definitely not one big happy family. However, Naonka is starting to show an ugly side here. She seems to have a strong hatred towards people who are not in her alliance and this will become even more obvious as this episode rolls on.
Heading to the Espada tribe now, we see the tribe members walking around in the forest looking for food. As they're scavenging, they see some howler monkeys hanging out in the trees. JJ makes howler monkey sounds in a comedic attempt to try and communicate with them. Yve seems really taken aback by both the howler monkeys and JJ's crazy impersonsation of them. She then goes on to say that JJ is hysterical and that he is an inspiring man and that extends down to his soul. Marty, however, is not drinking the JJ kool-aid. Marty feels very threatened by the celebrity status of JJ and feels that everyone has "glitter in their eyes" when they talk to him. Marty tells his buddy Jill that JJ is a threat in a post merge situation and must leave immediately. Jill tells Marty not to stir things up too early and that he should reveal to everyone in the tribe that he has the hidden idol in order to make the tribe believe that he cares about team unity more than himself. Marty seems to have a point here. JJ is someone who is very likable and could easily win a million bucks should he made it to the final tribal council. Getting him out now would be a great strategic move on his part. However, showing everyone that he has the idol may backfire on him, Even though it's generally a good idea for everyone to know you have the idol, that could also put a target on his back if the tribe decides to vote him out sooner rather than later. We'll see how Marty's situation plays out as the game progresses on.
Back on the La Flor tribe, we see Fabio trying to blow onto a campfire that the tribe has started up and he gets smoke in his face for his efforts. Fabio says that his strategy is to make people laugh and hang out, but he hopes that the tribe doesn't just see him as the funny, goofy guy. He hopes that they'll look deeper than that when evaluating him. Naonka voices her opinion of Fabio in her confessional and it's no surprise that Naonka thinks Fabio is stupid and an airhead. She says she doesn't like anything about him. Naonka really loves to hate people for no reason, doesn't she? lol. Well, watch out because we haven't even seen the full wrath of Naonka yet. That will occur later on in this episode. A little bit later on, we see the alliance of Chase, Sash, Purple Kelly, Brenda and Naonka on the beach discussing who they want to vote out next. They all come to the agreement that Alina should be the next to go because of her potential to stir things up in the tribe. It definitely looks like Alina is going next should La Flor lose the next immunity challenge. She's defintiely got to kick the strategizing into high gear because she may not be around in this game for too much longer.
Going back to Espada yet again, Marty decides to gather the other tribe members around because he has a special announcement. He shows everyone that he has the hidden idol and all of his tribe members clap and cheer for him. Jimmy T is very proud of Marty for being man enough to reveal that he had the idol. Soon afterwards, Jimmy T adds that if he himself had the idol, he would've kept it a secret, lol. Jill says in her confessional that Marty's revelation of the idol to his fellow tribemates was a good idea since it helps his standing with the tribe. Tyrone has a different outlook on Marty's actions. Tyrone says that even though Marty won integrity points with his reveal, he still feels that deep down, Marty is shady and cares only for himself. Marty confirms this in his confessional saying that revealing he had the idol early was a good move, but at the end of the day, only one person has the idol and it's him. I don't know what to make of this move. It could be beneficial down the road, sure. But had he kept it a secret, he could've used it at a future tribal council if he became a target on his tribe. Now it won't be so easy to do that since everyone now knows that he has it. Even though I slightly favor the opinion that he shouldn't have revealed it to everyone, it still doesn't change the fact that this reveal might benefit him later and put him in a power position on the tribe. So we'll see how Marty's idol shakes up the game as this season rolls along.
Also, Dan of the Espada tribe doesn't seem to be doing too well these days. After over a week of living out in the wilderness, Dan is already starting to feel the effects of major fatigue. Dan has not been sleeping very much, he's very hungry, and he is worried that the rest of the tribe will see him as weak due to a weak knee injury that he has. He doesn't think that he's the weakest person on the tribe, but he's also well aware that he's not the strongest competitior on his tribe either. Yve notices that Dan has been struggling for the past few days and she's concerned about him. I feel sorry for Dan also. He seems like a good guy and it must be difficult being out there when you're not feeling your best. However, many of the tribe members seem to believe that Dan is the weakest link and should go home next. If Espada loses the next immunity challenge, Dan could very well be the one going home tonight.
It's now time for this week's immunity challenge. Both tribes must go and grab ten barrels from out in the forest and put them right side up onto ten different platforms. Once each team has done that, they must take a bag and toss it on top of each of the barrels. The first team to get all ten bags on top of all ten different barrels will win immunity and be safe this round. The tribe that loses must go to tribal council, where one person will be voted off the tribe. In addition to this, both tribes will also be playing for a reward which is a Survivor garden, containing spices and fruits. Also, the La Flor tribe has the Medallion of Power and if they use it in this challenge, two of the ten barrels will be up on their platforms with their bags already on top which could give the La Flor tribe a huge advantage in this challenge. However, the La Flor tribe decides not to use the Medallion, with the thinking that they won't need it in order to beat the other tribe. It turns out that was a good decision on La Flor's part because they end up winning the challenge. La Flor receives immunity and reward. La Flor also still has the medallion of power to use in a future challenge if they would like to do so. Espada has come up short and now, one of them will be leaving the game tonight.
As La Flor grabs their reward and heads back to camp, both Kelly B. and Naonka notice a clue to a hidden immunity idol inside one of the fruit baskets. They both see it right after they win the challenge and they both pick up the basket with the clue in it and take it back to camp. Both girls are eye-ing each other and the clue all the way to camp and the moment they both set the basket down, an all out cat fight begins. Both Kelly B. and Naonka knock the fruit over as they both fight each other to obtain the clue. When it's all said and done, Naonka wins the battle and walks away with the clue. The rest of the tribemates are a little stunned as to what just occurred, but those in Naonka's alliance seem thrilled that she received the clue. After getting the clue. we get a confessional from her where she talks nothing but smack about Kelly B. Naonka says that she "got hood" when she fought Kelly B. and she also says that she's not going to be easy on Kelly B. in this game just because she has one leg. Naonka also adds a nice little sprinkle of meanness into the mix when she says that she would rip Kelly B.'s leg off if it meant getting the idol clue. You know, it's pretty obvious that Naonka's not a nice person. She always has to bring up Kelly B.'s leg when attacking her which is pretty petty and childish. But I couldn't stop wondering if the producers fed her those lines. I mean, Naonka's remarks about Kelly B.'s leg were so over the top that I'm wondering if someone told her to say that in order to cement her status as this season's "top villain". Russell played the annoying villain role very well last season and now, the producers might want to rehash that in the form of Naonka. I don't know. Either way, Naonka's attacks on Kelly B.'s leg are sure to get progressively worse as the season continues. Oh joy (not).
Meanwhile, back at the Espada tribe, everyone is trying to figure out what went wrong at the immunity challenge. Tyrone gave the Espada tribe quite a lead when he landed five out of ten bags on top of the barrels. However, that lead quickly evaporated when La Flor caught up. JJ sent Jimmy T in to replace Tyrone at the last minute in a desperate attempt to catch up, but it didn't work and Espada lost anyway. Jimmy T blames JJ for not sending him into the challenge earlier to replace Tyrone, who was not doing well after a certain point. Tyrone defended himself by saying that he had to stay in in order for the team to have any chance of winning, and that "passing the ball", as Tyrone calls it, would've led to defeat. I know Tyrone thinks he could've won the game, but Jimmy T is right. After a certain point, Tyrone should've stepped out and given Jimmy T a shot at throwing the bag on the barrels. But the fact of the matter is that it's in the past and they lost. Nothing they can do about it now. Marty, however, is quickly cooking up a scheme to try and make sure that his arch nemesis is the next person to get voted off.
The tribe now starts discussing amongst themselves who is going to be the next person leaving the game. JJ and Marty talk on the beach about getting Dan out. However, Marty has a different idea which is to try and remove JJ from the game. We see Marty try to sell this plan to a few different people. Jill agrees to vote out JJ. Dan agrees to vote out JJ. Jimmy T agrees to vote off JJ. But when Marty approaches Tyrone (who would be the crucial fifth vote that would guarantee JJ's departure), Tyrone feels differently. He thinks Dan should leave because he is the weakest physically. He's not the only one who feels that way. Holly, Jane, and Yve also seem to think that getting rid of Dan would be the best option for the tribe. It seems as though JJ has the upper hand on Marty at this point. Five people want Dan out and four people want JJ out. It seems like a done deal that Dan will be leaving, but JJ still feels nervous about tonight's tribal council. He has good reason to. When the Espada tribe arrives at tribal council, Jeff asks each of the tribe members individually if there are any weak links in the tribe. Everyone says that there's not a weak link except for JJ, who says he could very well be the weakest because he is the oldest. That comment might've very well sealed his fate. By a unanimous vote, JJ is the third person voted off of Survivor Nicaragua. The former football coaching legend just couldn't cut it in a game as ruthless as this.
I have to admit, I did really enjoy watching Jimmy Johnson play this game. He may have been the oldest out there and he may not have been very strong from a physical standpoint, but he does come across as a good man. He doesn't seem as obsessed with winning and cutthroat strategy as some of the other Survivors are. He really seemed to want to help the tribe get back on its feet and I have a lot of respect for that. His finest moment was when he was helping Holly with her issues last episode. He didn't judge her and he did everything he could to get her head back in the game. That is pretty admirable in my book considering that Holly really didn't deserve to be coddled like that due to her actions last episode. But still, it shows what a standup guy JJ is. I think ultimately, he was just too nice for this game and the whole aggressive atmosphere of Survivor did him in. Did the tribe make the right decision in voting Jimmy Johnson out of the tribe? I would say yes. Some people might disagree and say that Dan should've gone, but I can see why JJ would've been a tremendous threat in the long run. He's a well known celebrity, he's very likable, and he easily could've won the game had he made it to the end. Better to get a threat like him out of the game now instead of waiting until it's too late and handing the million dollars to him. Plus, it did look like he was ready to leave anyway. The physical conditions out there seemed to take their toll on him and he looked as if he was ready for his time to end. But still, I think he's a good guy and I'll miss having his good natured attitude in this game. I wish Jimmy Johnson all the best.
Well, that ends the review for this episode. I'll be back for next week's installment. Till then. :-)
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