Survivor: Samoa, week four

One of the more painful aspects of the early episodes in a season is listening to all the terrible players bragging about their bulletproof game strategies. For example: Erik asks Shambo what the immunity idol clues were, and then Shambo told him. Told him! Her justification: “It’s not like it could do anything but help me. Unless it hurts me. So we’ll see!”

Then, later, we hear the reasoning behind Yasmin’s “lazy ass bump on a log” strategy. See, the way she figures it, if she doesn’t do any work around camp she can never screw anything up. And if she never screws anything up, nobody can ever be mad at her. Yasmin was way, way too proud of herself for coming up with this incredible master plan.

Here we have someone who very obviously has never seen this game played before. I’ve heard hundreds of variations of “So-and-so doesn’t do enough work around camp.” I’ve never once heard “So-and-so doesn’t do any work around camp, but at least she never messes anything up.”

We got to spend a lot of quality time with Galu in this episode, by virtue of them finally losing an immunity challenge. I was reminded of one of this season’s twists: each tribe tentatively has a leader; Mick on Foa Foa, and Russel on Galu. (Not the Russel I like. The other Russel. Black Russel.)

This twist hasn’t impacted the game very much so far, but it’s interesting how one tribe has apparently embraced their leader and the other hasn’t. Mick is, for all intents and purposes, just another face over on Foa Foa. He’s obviously not calling the shots and he doesn’t really take charge around camp or in challenges. Russel, on the other hand, is very much his tribe’s leader; he makes decisions, assigns tasks, and even counsels his tribe on who to vote for at tribal council.

The didn’t listen to him, of course. But it was cute the way he went on about it.

So Erik took Shambo’s clues and found him an immunity idol. Shambo was too busy doing chores or complaining about yoga or whatever to look for it herself, so she missed the boat. So we have one guy who found the idol with no clues whatsoever, and another guy who found it after shaking down his tribemate for clues. Nicely played, Erik.

Reward is worth mentioning for two reasons. For one, it was a completely Probst-less challenge. Contestants showed up for a game of botchi ball (bacci ball? bochi ball?) without any instructions. After a few minutes of staring each other down the tribes found their rulebooks and hashed it out. White Russel had just about clenched it for Foa Foa, then Dave won with an amazing toss for Galu. The prize was three chickens.

Shambo celebrated by clucking like a retard, setting one of the chickens free, then chasing the chicken around clucking at it like a retard. Excellent work, Shambo.

Despite Shambo’s almost soul-crushing ineptitude, she was nowhere near Galu’s chopping block. It was Yasmin and her stunning lack of work ethic versus Monica, who couldn’t have performed worse at the immunity challenge if she’d been blindfolded. I liked Black Russel’s logic here: the basis of the game is challenges. If you an take care of the challenges, everything else falls into place.

Using that logic, someone who is worthless at camp is more useful than someone who is worthless in challenges. Like I said, though, his tribe didn’t listen to him: they chucked Yasmin, who has been kicking a decent amount of challenge butt. This was probably a bad move for Galu. If I were on that tribe I wouldn’t worry so much about work ethic; they already have Shambo, who insists on pulling her weight three times over. Let her do the work Yasmin isn’t doing and sit Monica out of as many challenges as possible.

Alas, I wasn’t there to cast a vote. Farewell to you, Yasmin, and your literally-as-well-as-metaphorically gigantic mouth.

Who’s gonna win? This is probably the first step in evening these tribes out a little bit. I bet it turns out to be a 6/4 or 5/5 merge, and since I haven’t seen anything to change my mind I’ll stick with last week’s prediction of Russel. You know, Foa Foa Russel. White Russel.

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