Survivor — Season 29, Episode 4 — Live Blog and Discussion

If you’re interested–and who in the field of clinical psychology is not–John Rocker revealed to People mag how he’s wracked with angst over that notorious interview following him around for 15 years, just like random copies of Mein Kampf keep needling surviving Dachau prison guards:

“I said some things in an interview 15 years ago and I regret them. I’ve been asked about them over and over again by journalists. Journalists are the ones who made me into a villain over the years. And I got on ‘Survivor’ and those damn comments come up again.” Moreover, he added, “It’s low-hanging fruit at this point. It’s been a long time. It’s irritating because it was so long ago, and I’m still paying for those comments.”

A homophobic racist famewhore just cannot catch a break. I hope there are support groups for people like him.

Apparently unable to find any operas or museum exhibits to cover, the New York Observer’s Culture section talked to Drew, of the brothers Drew and Alec, whom I think I’ve been calling Alex all this time. Like it matters. He explains that he believes the pair were chosen because “we fit the ‘bro’ category that casting was looking for.” The man is brilliant at deducing nuance in casting decisions.

Addressing last week’s controversy, wherein he was discovered napping while the others worked, Drew not only asserted the tiresome “it’s all editing” defense, but claimed that he spent the lion’s share of his time opening coconuts for all of the girls and keeping the fire going all night, both of which actually may be euphemisms for something not very productive for the tribe at all. He also feels John’s only problem is that he thinks he’s still a kid. If so, he’s the kind of kid who got his mouth washed out with soap a lot.

Recap, recap, recap at the start of the show, repeating everything we just found out. It’s like listening to my great-aunt talk about her weekly trip to the Stop & Shop. Then Coyopa gets to celebrate John’s departure. Good riddance to bad racist. Dale worries that he’s toast now if he doesn’t work harder to improve his chances. He was coasting on everyone hating Rocker.

At the Blue Tribe camp, Natalie finds the flint they lost. Since they had forfeited their prize of fishing gear to get a new one, Drew proposes making a deal with Jeff to get it back, but the others frown their discouragement. Hungrily.

Off to the challenge. The chyron helpfully tells us that Jeff Probst is the scrubbed, well-fed person yelling “Hey, guys!” in greeting. Before the proceedings begin, Drew broaches the flint trade possibility. Can they offer it for half the gear? Some hooks? A worm? Jeff scorns them. “You made the trade,” he laughs dismissively. Drew feels vindicated that he was bold enough to even suggest the deal. He probably applied to Harvard using the same logic.

Now for the game. Balls, baskets, ropes, catapults, who the hell knows what’s supposed to happen with this rustic Rube Goldberg contraption. How they ever explain it to the prop people, I’ll never know. The prize for the victor is the choice between “comfort items,” like itchy-looking blankets and pillows, or campfire food including sausage, corn, and s’mores makings. They should check if the graham crackers are Honey Maid; otherwise, take the pillows.

It’s Jon against Jaclyn first. They throw ropes to lasso a bag with a hook and drag it back to remove the ball inside. Jon is not so good at this. Then suddenly he is ahead with all three bags in his hands. He launches his ball from the see-saw catapult and makes a basket. Jaclyn gets hold of her third bag. Jon makes four baskets. The tension! The last basket is so little and hard to target. This exercise really improves one’s foot-eye coordination, not to mention the viewer’s sense of nihilism.

Jon wins, sending his girlfriend to Exile Island. They embrace.

“It’s hard to send her, because it’s not easy,” Jon says somberly and redundantly. But he has every faith in Jaclyn. Jeff asks her if it hurts her feelings that Jon thinks she can handle the island. That Jeff, always looking for the negative.

Who will go with her? Drew is chosen. He’ll open coconuts for her all day.

The team chooses comfort as their reward.  They’ve spent too much time in the sun if Hershey bars and marshmallows are less attractive than some ersatz Latino-print blankets.

The Blue Team revel in their triumph, while Jon conjectures how it will be on the island for his babe and Drew. Julie, on the other hand, is hurt at how everyone hated her boyfriend John. “He’s automatically judged from Day One,” she says sadly, forgetting that no one knew who he was on Day One. Being without him here will be hard, she continues, overlooking the fact that their being on separate teams means she would see him far less often than if they weren’t on the show in the first place.

On Exile Island, Drew is pleased to have a hot chick with him. It helps that he’s a ladies’ man, he tells us, but he’s not looking to pick up one of his pal’s girls. What a relief for her. She’s just thinking about the game, anyway, and probably also about tan lines.

At Blue’s camp, Keith starts looking for an idol while a variety of scary creatures observe metaphorically. Apparently,  however, somebody was there first and found it. I have loosely translated from Redneck for those who do not speak the language: “Ah gart bayten toe thuh pawnch.” He keeps searching, though, seemingly randomly turning over rocks and poking the dirt with a stick. There it is, barely disguised by dust and loose stones! He is shocked. He shall keep his discovery secret from everyone but the camera crew, director, producers, and craft services.

Day 10 for Coyopa. A note arrives. The date card? No, something about swimming, jumping, and throwing. Perhaps they’ll be visiting water polo games. Alec explains that he likes to push people around, which has something to do with his father requiring it. It bugs Baylor and probably also did Alec’s mother.

Jaclyn and Drew return for the challenge. The Blues toss Jeff the immunity idol, which appears to be made of papier mache. Today’s game involves a round-robin of collecting rings from the water, swimming back, and tossing them onto posts. Optometrists, graphic designers, and college professors all earn considerably less to perform tasks far more complicated than this. Missy and Baylor leap into the water first. They swim to a platform and scale a ramp built on it, jump in again, swim to the rings and untie them from a buoy, take them back to the platform, climb a ladder, run down the ramp, into the water again, and trade off with the next pair.

It’s a longer swim now for Reed and Jaclyn, then Natalie and Alec. I wonder how many takes they had to shoot to capture all the underwater cuts and grim expressions. Wes and Keith follow, with Wes is in the lead. The teams start tossing the rings to catch them on the posts. I don’t feel as invested in this particular competition as I do in the Special Olympics or these scenes where Bond has to defuse a bomb while someone tells him over a radio which wire to cut.

Coyopa finally wins for the first time, the wusses. Hunahpu, or whatever the damn spelling, must face their first Tribal Council. Drew is pleased: He’s ready to eliminate some snakes from his team. Then they’ll just have jackasses, rats, and turkeys. They all plod sadly back to camp.

Drew admits to the camera that he threw the game in order to excise the dead weight from their team. That sounds like at least as good a plan weaving the palm fronds. Jon argues to eliminate the singles who are left, starting with Julie, although with those implants she’s really triplets. Drew feels his personal biggest threat is Kelley, since she’s watched every season of the show and therefore knows…what? How to wear a branded bandanna? What Clairol shade Jeff uses?  Jeremy thinks Keith is after him, so he wants the old geezer gone. They all pointedly ignore Natalie as they argue. It doesn’t take Kelley’s comprehensive expertise on Survivor history to predict a severely fractured vote.

Natalie goes to Missy and tells her that Drew thinks the girls are out to get the guys, despite the fact that the guys outnumber them. They decide to vote out Drew, who has cemented his status as a moron. A tarantula appears on screen to herald the appearance of Drew vehemently insisting to Reed and Jon that they should eliminate Kelley. She overhears him and is disgusted. Jeremy complains that the guys are all over the place, and maybe Drew needs to go. This is how I picture a typical day in Congress.

At the Council, Jeff quizzes everyone about their impressions and opinions. Missy thinks that half the tribe is selfish. Jeremy expresses again how angry he is at Keith for presuming he has an idol, a betrayal of their alliance. Keith is flummoxed. Drew tells Jeff he wants to get rid of bad energy. The others sneer. Kelley resents the fact that Drew felt the girls were targeting the guys. Jon is just confused about what name he is supposed to write down. How about “Christ on a cracker”?

The voting proceeds, and Jeff asks about immunity. No takers. Of course not, that would reduce the drama of the parade of names we’re about to see. Julie, Kelley, Drew, Keith, Julie, Drew, Drew, Drew. You could see this coming like the launch of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. “Good play, girls,” Jon mutters, cagily signaling his alliance with them now that the gender numbers are equal.

“Was this a brilliant Tribal or absolute chaos?” Jeff asks rhetorically, since all councils are merely a lot of kvetching by sweaty, irritable people who want more camera time.

Next week: Alec Sad Face, continued Julie cleavage, and yet another complex configuration of painted boards.

About E.M. Rosenberg 240 Articles
Favorite 40-volume series issued by Time-Life Music: Sounds of the Seventies. Favorite backsplash material: Subway tile. Favorite screen legend I pretend wasn’t gay: Cary Grant. Favorite issue you should not even get me started about: Venal, bloodsucking insurance industry. Favorite character from the comic strip “Nancy”: Sluggo, or maybe Rollo. Favorite Little Debbie snack: Nutty Bars. Favorite Monkee: Mike.