It’s funny how a single moment, or just a few words, can change the entire course of the game. On Wednesday night’s episode of “Survivor: Kaoh Rong,” the phrase “up in the air” was a game-changer, in more ways than one. First, those spoken words cost someone their shot in the game, at a very strange, chaotic, and shocking Tribal Council. But for another player who was previously in trouble in the game, hope was found way “up in the air,” when a hidden Immunity Idol was located far up the trunk of a giant palm tree…out of reach, but within plain sight. Are you thirsty for an episode recap? Well no need to boil, Deb has 20 years of experience and tells me this recap is good for consumption. Here’s the full recap:
Night of the Living Brawn. Returning from the season’s very first Tribal Council that saw Darnell sent packing, Alecia thanks her fellow tribe mates for allowing her to remain in the game. “Now do you trust us?” Scot asks her. Alecia knows she is clearly on the bottom, and although she was spared at Tribal, she did hear the whispers that were going on there between Cydney and Jason. “I’m just really confused right now,” Alecia says. Alecia still seems to be on the bottom of everyone’s list, and is already annoying people even before they head to bed. Jen for one, is having second thoughts about not getting rid of Alecia. In another “blonde moment,” Alecia calls the fire’s ember an “embryo.” Shaking their heads, Jason and Scot vow that Alecia will be the next one to go.
Idol, with a Twist. It’s the morning of Day 4 and Tai is still kicking himself about getting caught looking for the Idol. He knows it has raised suspicion against him, but he figures crap or get off the pot. When the others are swimming, he sneaks off again to search for the Idol, working a strong hunch as to where the Idol may be. First, he uncovers a swarm of red ants, but wouldn’t you know…Tai sees something in a hollowed out part of a tree trunk (where else do these things lurk?) It is actually a clue instructing him to dig at the foot of the tree. Excited that he found an Idol, Tai digs away, but doesn’t find exactly what he’s looking for. In a Survivor first, he uncovers a box that we only think contains a hidden Idol. A note attached says that he will need a key to unlock the box and he also finds a tool that the note says will be helpful in finding the key. There is a hint about the key’s whereabouts, and Tai does locate something attached to a palm tree trunk…attached WAY up towards the top. What gives? Has this new twist been designed only to make it harder to come into possession of the Idol, or is it possibly designed so that it requires more than one person in order to retrieve it? Tai decides to scale the tree himself, and about a quarter of the way up begins questioning how that looked so easy back when Ozzy would do it effortlessly. The attempted tree climb leaves Tai bloodied and scratched up, and he is forced to leave the key up in the tree so that he can get back to his tribe mates at camp.
Fire and Water. Over at the Brains tribe, Neal nearly lights himself on fire after Joe douses the fire with their recently won bottle of kerosene (later in the ep, the kerosene bottle is tipped over not only wasting the liquid, but ruining a box of matches in the process. Aren’t these supposed to be the smart ones?). There seems to be a great deal of foreshadowing going on as well dealing with the drinking water at camp…as most of us know who have watched the show, all of the contestants are given access to a water well, but are instructed by producers to boil the water first before drinking. Deb though, considers this a recommendation and not a rule. She tells her tribe mates, “Keep in mind I have 20 years of experience analyzing water.” Peter and Liz are trying to keep track of all of her careers and hobbies already mentioned by her, but says the golden question regarding Deb is: Does she have 30 cats or 40 cats? “And the answer is that she has 40 cats,” Peter says. “At her house. Right now.” But for all of the fun that is made on Deb’s behalf, Peter shows some game-smarts when he tells the audience that because Deb is seemingly bat-crap crazy with little to no game-play, he intends to keep Deb around as an ally “as long as I can.” But while the focus is on Deb, can someone just get the fire going and boil some damn water so that Liz can get a drink? Unlike Deb, Liz is worried about the germs and pathogens that might be in the standing water, but their kerosene-and-match dilemma has them struggling to build a fire. As to Liz’s complaints, Joe says, “Pathogens my butt,” which hopefully gets #pathogensmybutt trending on Twitter immediately. Joe seems very annoyed (it’s what old people do on Survivor) with Liz’s babying, and calls it “Kindergarten camp.”
#StolenKiss. One hashtag that did appear was #stolenkiss, referring to a hilarious segment showing the unlikely bonding of Beast-Mode Cowboy Caleb and gay, life-loving gardener Tai. Tai seems to be flirting with Caleb big-time, and kudos to Caleb for being secure enough in his masculinity to play into Tai’s advances for humor. We learn that Tai asked to lay next to Caleb “for warmth,” calling Caleb “cuddlelicious.” At another point, Tai actually goes in for a kiss, shocking Caleb and leaving him speechless…or wanting more (might as well play up this bro-mance and see if it goes anywhere).
Lighting a Fire. After opening on the Brawn tribe returning from Tribal, it was nearly 20 minutes until the show revisited them at camp. And it may have been because not much was going on. They again take time to point out how brutal the conditions are, with Jason’s horrible sunburn (he’ll be fine). Nobody can get the fire going and the result is no water and no food…so no energy. Alecia is still feeling vulnerable and on the bottom, so she meticulously works with the flint to try to get a fire going for over five hours! To her credit, she does get fire, which results in a chicken dinner for her tribe, and much needed nourishment heading into the upcoming challenge.
Immunity Challenge. A very cool, complex challenge had the tribes racing through knee-high water and thick mud, to untie a 300-pound log and then navigate the log – as a team – through a small obstacle course. Once through, they had to untangle a long rope and then use a slingshot to launch bags at two team targets. The reward for first place – an ultimate Survivor Fishing Kit and a boat back at camp – went to the Beauty Tribe, who was also made safe at Tribal. The 2nd place winner took back a smaller fishing kit…and that was the Brains. That means that the Brawn Tribe finished in last place once again and that they would be going to their second-straight Tribal Council. “You don’t want to go down as the worst tribe in history,” Jason tells us. “But let me tell ya, our ship is sinking, and we’re on our way to that right now.”
Flip-Flops and Shenanigans. So it’s fairly obvious right? Alecia is going home, right? “Blondie?” Jason asks. “She’s a ditz-and-a-half. A ditz. I’m sure she has a good heart and good intentions and stuff. She’s just dumb.” Ouch. Jason goes on to also call her “useless” among other things. Not giving up, Alecia goes off to look for a hidden Idol, but makes it so obvious that she is doing so that the others can only laugh. Could the tribe be under-estimating Alecia? Nobody thinks to follow her. But as Jason continues to hurl insults about Alecia, we learn that all of this negativity is actually rubbing Jen the wrong way. She really is growing tired of Jason, so she devises a plan: She approaches Alecia and tells her that the best thing you can do on Survivor is “get out the strongest players while you can,” referring to a potential blindside of Jason (Alecia had guessed “be honest” and “win challenges” when asked by Jen what is the best thing you can do in the game before Jen decided to just tell her). Pulling Cydney aside as well, Jen, Alecia and Cydney contemplate making a big move to blindside Jason…the mythical “all-girl alliance” that way more times than not, fails miserably for whatever reasons. Jason picks up on weirdness and wonders if something is up, but Scot reassures him all is good. Jen, after admitting that she does like Scot, seems to have second-guesses already on the new plan that she had put into motion. Cydney smartly – and hilariously – just pretty much stayed out of the whole thing and barely said a word. But it was clear heading into Tribal that it might not be as clear-cut as we might have thought it would be.
Tribal Council. Remember at the beginning of this when I mentioned how a few words could change the course of the game? All signs pointed to Alecia going home, until Probst asked Jen a question. Her response to him was that her vote “was definitely up in the air” earlier at camp. When she said this, Scot and Jason immediately started freaking out. Jen just made a grave mistake in admitting to her allies that she actually pondered flipping on what they had discussed earlier. This immediately cast shade on Jen’s loyalty to her alliance, as she admitted that she contemplated flipping. When questioned about it, Jen seemed to give all of the wrong answers. Like the wise Silent Bob, Cydney didn’t say much this episode, but when she did speak at Tribal her words were chock-full of wisdom. Describing Jen’s sudden predicament, she said, “I think it comes down to saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong people.” In all my years of watching Survivor, I’m not sure I’ve seen too many epic Tribal Council melt-downs like we experienced watching Jen tonight. But as she continued pushing her foot into her mouth deeper and deeper, Scot was looking for something – anything – from Jen to explain where she coming from and what she was doing. Inexplicably (this Tribal got weirder and weirder), Jen suddenly stood up on top of the Tribal Council stumps that they sit on, and appeared to try to invoke some ancient Survivor mystic voodoo spirits (that’s my best guess) in an attempt to have her tribe mates forget about what had just happened. She instead channeled the spirit of Keith Nale when she told the others “just stick to the plan!!!” and vote out Alecia. After all – she argued – the tribe could not win challenges with Alecia (and checking the recent-history books, they could not win challenges with Jen either). After a wide-eyed Probst declared he had never quite seen a Tribal like this, Jason tells him, “This is how Brawn does it.” With that, it was time to vote.
The Vote. The votes were read: Jenny – Alecia – Alecia – Jenny – Jenny. In a 3-2 vote, Jen was the second person voted out of the game (Scot and Jen cast their votes for Alecia). “This is a dramatic example of how quickly the game can change,” Probst tells them…and this will be prolific this season, mark my words…because we know that medical evacuations are on the horizon, and we’ve now gotten through two episodes without one. Yes, the game will change quickly, and often, this time around.
Analysis. As always, I will post a separate article with my personal thoughts on the game, you can find my Episode 2 analysis here (link will be active once analysis is live and online).
Next Time On…“Deb enlists a soldier and plans an attack,” Probst tells us as we see Deb and Joe chatting and plotting. We also see that there is all-out war over at the depleted Brawn tribe, as the remaining four are shown reading an Idol clue and racing frantically to find it.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for my exclusive one-on-one interview with Jenny, and be sure to follow me,@tomsantilli.
And I hope you didn’t miss my recent Podcast with Gordon Holmes of XfinityTV.com! Be sure to take a listen as we discuss all sorts of Survivor-related things and take an in-depth look at each cast-away this season. You can find the Podcast link below under “Suggested Links.”
Also, be sure to check out one of my favorite Survivor sites, SurvivorFever.net.