Originally aired on Thursday, 03/08/2007
Episode Rating: ** (2 stars out of 5)
Episode Overview: It’s Survivor: Groundhog Day. Another episode and more of the same. The Rich? Richer. The Poor? Poorer.
• Remember last week when I said, "Remember last week when everything kind of sucked for Ravu? Yes, that happened again this week." It happened AGAIN this week. We are stuck in an infinite loop of Ravu beatdown.
• Yau-man tries to find the immunity idol from clues he learned from last week’s trip to Exile Island.
• Moto’s sense of entitlement is starting to chafe within the tribe itself as well. Will pride goeth before a fall? Well, if so, it’s not this week, that’s for sure.
For Ravu, most of the focus has been on the survival of the tribe as they continue to be decimated by Moto in every immunity and reward challenge.
But this is Survivor, and the members of the tribe also have their eyes on the ultimate prize of one million dollars, and ergo, as still looking out for themselves. Yau-man Chan knows his status as one of the older members of the tribe makes him a possible target. So he is very focused on trying to get the chance to dig for the immunity idol.
Earl Cole, who has also read some of the clues on Exile Island, knows that Yau-man probably knows where it is. He also knows that Yau-man has read more clues and probably has a better idea than he does. So he decides to help out Yau-man by taking the rest of the tribe on a food-gathering expedition to give Yau-man the chance to dig for the idol.
Unfortunately, the only digging implement Yau-man has available to him – the machete – isn’t much of a digging implement at all, and he’s left with a lot of valuable calories expended and nothing to show for it.
Over at Moto, tree mail arrives. If you thought they had it easy get this: now they are tree mail-order catalog shopping. Well, not exactly, but they have received a photo book of possible rewards for today’s challenge. From the book, they get to select two choices. They opt for toiletries and coffee.
Over at Ravu, they are reviewing the same book of choices. James "Rocky" Reid is sorely tempted by some of the "treat" items, like chocolate cake, but Earl tries the keep the group on track, suggesting they select the items that would help them in the long-run. They select fishing gear and a pot of potatoes.
At the reward challenge, Kenward "Boo" Bernis shows up still snacking on mango. Whether it was intentional or not, it totally gets under Rocky’s skin. He can barely contain his rage at Dre "Dreamz" Herd reaction to Ravu’s irritation. While this gets him fired up for the challenge – which will be a one-on-one Sumo style knock-down fight – it’s to no avail. The better-fed Dreamz easily knocks Rocky off the platform, fittingly, into the mud.
And the rest of the game goes no better. It is completely painful to watch. One by one, the well-fed tribe easily picks off each starving Ravu member. The only exception is Yau-man, who is able to beat Stacy Kimball, although he seems unhappy about the "ugly win" of beating a younger, smaller woman.
All right. Producers of Survivor, you and I need to have a little chat.
I think I have had enough. Unlike other reviewers, I have resisted totally blasting this Haves vs. Have-Nots structure. I was interested to see what happened. I was willing to trust your judgment. I defended you in my weekly "What Others Are Saying" column. But this is too too much. Why oh why would you pick a challenge that using exclusively strength and body mass as its primary tools for success? It was like the challenge was designed specifically FOR Ravu to lose. And that’s just not interesting television. It’s more interesting when the challenges are at least slightly more neutral in structure, and then it also feels less like the producers are actively affecting the outcome. You can affect it all you want, I just don’t want to see it so much. Let me keep my willing suspension of disbelief.
Okay, now that that is out of the way, let’s move on.
Moto wins all four prizes (both their selections and Ravu’s) and send Earl to Exile Island.
At Moto, the group decides to make coffee using their prizes. Dreamz tries to make some, but is not familiar with the French press coffee maker. Instead of helping him, Stacy and Lisa Linares just look on scornfully at his efforts. It’s rather disgusting display; it would just be general human kindness to help out another person, and there’s no reason to look down on Dreamz for not being familiar with a French press coffee maker.
Even Alex Angarita, who is in an alliance with Stacy and Lisi, is grossed out by their behavior. He also thinks it’s just poor planning; after a merge, Dreamz and the other ostracized player, Cassandra Franklin, could easily switch over to the other team, leaving the alliance of five in a precarious position of no power. The women and Boo seem to think, "So what?" Clearly their power has gone to their heads. Edgardo Rivera gets it, though, and so he and Alex work to try to rebuild the team and make Dreamz and Cassandra at least feel to be a part of the group again. Dreamz appreciates the effort…but the damage is done. Once there is a merge, he’s switching sides. I don’t blame him one bit.
Back at Ravu Camp, Rocky has to focus his frustration on something, so he focuses it on the girls. This is not entirely surprising; he has made several comments over the past few shows that make it apparent he might not be the most equality-minded guy. Rita Verreos and Michelle Yi’s tendency to chit-chat early in the morning is what gets him going this time. He’s so annoyed he even vents to Anthony Robinson, who was the last person he took his frustration out on, for, of course, acting like a "broad."
Both teams have to set aside their internal differences, though, as it’s time for the immunity challenge. Earl returns from Exile Island, and the teams find themselves with a challenge that might, actually, be a relatively level playing field. It’s a memory game. The teams stand in front of a field of boards. There are matching pairs the individual tribe members must uncover one at a time and match. The first team to seven wins.
Moto gets off to a strong start, but when the group makes a mistake by speaking during Lisi’s turn, Ravu gets a chance to catch up. The tribes then continue to tie, point by point, until both teams are at six. It’s Ravu’s turn, and Michelle heads out for her team. She does not get a match. But neither does Moto, and their failed attempt makes a match clear for Ravu.
Or so it would seem, but Rocky takes the turn, and disoriented, loses it for Ravu. Moto wins AGAIN. ARGH.
The tribe returns to camp and Rocky apologizes for losing it for the team, but then sort of immediately blames it on everyone else. The group begins to splinter to try to decide who is going to be voted off. Rita and Michelle gun for Anthony, but Rocky pulls Mookie aside and says that Rita has got to go. Crime: being too talkative.
Hmmm…Sylvia was voted off for being too vocal a leader, Erica was voted off for mouthing off at a challenge, he wanted to eliminate Anthony for talking like a "broad" and now Rita is too chatty? I guess if Michelle wants to stick around, she better keep her mouth shut. It’s kind of funny that Rocky – as part of the alpha male pack with Mookie – is helping to control all these votes to get off the vocal women as he certainly seems to be one of the more voluble members of the tribe too. I guess if you are a guy, it’s okay? I still like Rocky, even with him being a total loose cannon and a possible misogynist, but I wish he would ease up on the girl-haters club stuff.
At Tribal Council, Jeff Probst does his thing of asking leading questions of the tribe, but there is no new news there. Then it’s time for the vote. After the vote, no one steps forward with the immunity idol, so it is time to read them off.
Anthony gets the first vote; Rita, the second. Then Anthony again, then Rita again. Then another Rita and…yep, Rita is the next person out. She seems to be pretty blind-sided as well.
Rocky reaches over to pat Michelle’s arm, and whether it’s to console her over the loss of her friend or a gentle warning that her and her two X chromosomes are next on the chopping block, it’s hard to say. I guess we’ll have to tune in next week.
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Images courtesy CBS)