'Survivor' Recap: Now That's What I Call a Challenge
'Survivor' Recap: Now That's What I Call a Challenge
Ben Watson
Ben Watson
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
And just like that, Survivor is back! After a string of less than stellar episodes, Survivor: Nicaragua came through with the best episode in this young season. I can't really tell if the episode was incredible or if it's just the first non-lame episode in a while. Either way I was riveted the whole time, and for the first time this season, I feel great about where we stand.

Things got underway real quick-like when Probst told everybody to drop their buffs. The look on Marty's face was priceless when he realized that his evil empire may come crashing down. Others like Alina and Jane saw this as a great opportunity to rise from the bottom of their respective tribes.

Holly and Brenda drew the lucky stone from the bunch and were able to pick members for their new tribe. Here's how it went down.

New Espada
: Alina, Benry, Chase, NaOnka, Dan, Holly, Tyrone, Yve

New La Flor: Jane, Jill, Marty, Brenda, Kelly B., Kelly Purple, Fabio, Sash

I have to say, these new tribes are pretty dang even. This will make watching the show so much more interesting because I wont always have to root for the underdog (for now at least).


The Reward Challenge is Back

I'm so glad to be back to the two challenge format of Survivor. The stakes are high and both newly revised tribes are at an equal advantage. Add to the mix the reward of two chickens and a rooster, and we've got ourselves a challenge.

The challenge wasn't the most physical, it required some mental capacity as well. I kind of got the impression that this is the kind of challenge the old Espada could have won. The challenge was pretty neck to neck but I found it pretty fitting that it came down to Marty losing it for La Flor. Espada wins ... something finally!

NaOnka Weathers the Storm

I've been hard on Nay the last few weeks (she deserved it) but tonight she did not seem well. She was having a near breakdown and I was almost sure she was going to throw in the towel. Kudos to Chase for showing his soft side and sharing that story about his dad dying.

During Nay's breakdown I was really convinced this was the last we'd see of her. But then Tyrone entered in and went gangster (his words) over the chicken consumption. Tyrone, seriously, all you had to do was follow your own advice and be consci3ntious of your neighbor. Oh well, his loss.

Immunity Back up for Grabs

What the hell kind of challenge did we see tonight? I'm not complaining; I liked it. It just has to be one of the more bizarre challenges in recent Survivor history. My earlier complaint of the show not having "challenging" enough challenges can be put to rest after this macabre little ditty.  

The challenge was mulit-faceted but the strangest part involved three castaways from each tribe tied up to some sort of windmill looking device. Their tribe mates spun them around as they were being submerged in water they had to gather water in their mouths and then spit it into a funnel. It was very difficult for me watching the girls go round and round on that torture device. I'm pretty sure I would be puking in the funnel instead of spiting water.

Like in the reward challenge things were pretty even. I noticed now that we have new tribes I don't really have a rooting interest. I usually go for the underdogs but now I'm just content watching the game without a dog in the race.

Espada's Fourth Tribal in Five Weeks

Heading into tribal it looked like it would either be Nay or Tyrone who gets their torch snuffed. During tribal Nay wasted no time telling people that she was struggling out in Nicaragua and that the Survivor experience is the toughest experience she's ever had. I even found myself feeling for her (a little bit) when she talked about her divorce being so painful. Then I remembered how mean she can be at times and I snapped right out of it.

It didn't matter what she said though because it looks like everybody was ready to say goodbye to Tyrone and his lack of chicken etiquette (he should have learned from James' banana etiquette). Tyrone seemed pretty shocked and Probst even called it a "blindside" (it wasn't, settle down Probst), but in the end it really was a matter of taking out a competitive player early, while keeping Nay around as collateral. 

Well Survivor Nation, what did you think? Was this a return to form for the 21 season franchise or do you still need a few more solid episodes before your back in? Let me know below!

(Images courtesy of CBS)