Currently, I have two reasons for watching this show:
Russell's Alliance: Parvati and Danielle
Rob's Alliance: Sandra and Courtney
The Floaters: Jeri and Coach
Initially, Jeri was an intriguing player for a newbie such as myself, especially with the nickname "The Black Widow." It was even a bit endearing when the tribe speculated that there could be a romance forming between "The Dragon Slayer," aka Coach, and Jeri. I didn't really care about that nonsense, though, because I wanted a strong female player that I could admire. I especially appreciated that she wasn't stick-skinny. However, this episode revealed Jeri's false glamor. She spoke about being a bitter and heart-broken female for over thirty-eight years. Talk about a cliche! I couldn't believe how whiny and sorry for herself she was in this episode. It was quite a disappointment because I thought a "black widow" wouldn't be so needy. I mean, isn't this the 21st century and the age of the enlightened woman?
Because of her weakness in her own self-confidence, Russell was able to take advantage of her. He convinced her to align with him despite the fact that Jeri can't stand Parvati. I don't see why Jeri acts like she's better than Parvati, especially since it turns out that they are birds of the same feather. Perhaps it's because Jeri sees her own weakness emulated in Parvati. They are both women in need of a "man" to save them. I guess Russell will have to do since neither can tell that Rob is more of a man than Russell could ever hope to be.
Meanwhile, Colby talks about how it's "put up or shut up time" for him and the heroes. He's ready to make a difference for his tribe, and he will be granted this wish with their newest reward challenge. The teams are going to play water basketball/water polo. The team who gets three baskets first wins a food reward of beef, chicken, and fresh fruit. They are playing two against two with one person as a goalie.
Since this is a physical challenge, I was 100% positive that the Hero's Tribe would win. For some reason, they are fantastically ruthless when it comes to physical challenges. Colby and Coach go "man-to-man." Colby scores the first basket. Candice makes the second. And finally...Colby redeems himself with the third basket. During this challenge, everyone was brutal with each other. Russell and Rupert were really fighting hard even after the challenge was over! They reminded me of a cock fight. Those two looked like they wanted to peck their opponent's eyes out. Colby was especially brutal to Jeri when he made one of the baskets. She was hurled out of the way like a rag doll. This is why I equated the challenge to being like a water polo match, which is more aggressive than basketball.
The winning team enjoyed a waterfall picnic. They had a few minutes of peace before Candice found a clue for a personal immunity idol at their camp. Everyone was initially annoyed until it was agreed upon that they would find the idol as a team and use it later during the merge with the villains.
Next, we were taken back to the Villain's Tribe where some weird lovey-dovey music was being played as Coach approached Jeri on the beach. The music sounded like it was going to lead to a kiss between the two players. I was anticipating some sparks until Coach explained that Jeri "threw all her eggs into Russell's basket." Way to kill the romance, Coach! She's definitely not kissing you after that comment. Then, he spouted some other nonsense about being honor bound to Jeri, but that he feels torn because Jeri made a pact with "the devil," one that he hesitates to follow. Jeri plays coy to him, reminding me a lot of Parvati, and then explains in a confessional that "You can't be the good guy to everyone and win this game." Why didn't you give this advice to Coach, Jeri? It sounded important enough to share, and it was my main clue as to the result's of this episode's vote, which I had already called at the very beginning. This was some eerie and well-placed foreshadowing for the end of the episode.
The next part was the tribal immunity challenge. This one was a simple race across a trampoline with a mini-puzzle at the end. The contestants would have to climb up a net at the end of the trampoline to get the puzzle pieces, but it really did look like "a piece of cake" compared to challenges of the past. The heroes had an opportunity to win this one because the puzzle didn't look too intimidating despite many pieces to it. As predicated, the Heroes won again.
At the Villain's Tribe, the discussion was split about who should go home. It was really down to two players. Those two players rushed to get the flip-floppers onto the side without one oft hem knowing that Jeri had already pledged herself to Russell's alliance. This was actually a boring strategy discussion because of all the emphasis on trust and loyalty. Come on, people! This is Survivor; you are all in the wild. There's no such thing as trust and loyalty when "civilization" is gone. Just read Lord of the Flies if you don't believe me. Basically, Coach kept flip-flopping between alliances and making all sorts of promises he wasn't going to be able to keep. Again, let me reemphasize how boring this was, maybe because it was Coach doing most of the talking. Everything lead to the final vote and my predication as to who was voted off. Before leaving the show, this player left his "betrayer" with these final words: "You're a little man."
Overall, I really enjoyed the reward and tribal challenges, usually I find complaint with the fact that someone is flashing something at the other players (always unintentional but still...). Plus, I find many of the challenges have a sexual undertone to them. And why, not? Sex sells, especially when it's done this covertly. These challenges felt very straight forward, activities I might have played in a high school P.E. Class. The nature shots were also beautiful. I really enjoyed the sea green turtle; I love turtles, don't you? There were some repeat footage such as the geyser and the bat tree, but this time viewers got to see the bats actually flying above the island! Another new shot was a tree near the edge of the beach with ocean water and waves spilling over it.
Despite these positive aspects, I had to rate the show low. My hero is gone, and I really hoped this contestant would be able to use the money to aid the family back home. Plus, the strategies and deliberations were really boring, especially since I had figured out who was going home practically from the start of this episode. The person I wanted to win had also lost a lot of the will to fight during the end deliberations too.
This episode left me sad and disheartened. I know no one is really "evil" or a "villain" because they are all just playing a game. They are embracing roles that the producers gave them. Plus, would the show really be that exciting if everyone did the right thing and the person who most deserved the money won? The network wants the fans to be entertained, and betrayal is very entertaining for a viewing audience. Still, the fact that this show constantly reminds me of Lord of the Flies is really distressing when I keep hoping that "real people" are better than that dark interpretation of human nature.
The player's parting words left me ashamed to be a member of a race that values money over "friendships." Who would you betray if a million dollars was at stake?
What did you think of this review?