Photo: CBS

Skeeball Showdown

John misses Candice. Colton is a horse's ass. Gervase is handy with balls. Should you watch last night's Survivor?

Is the "Blood vs. Water" season of Survivor legendary, or an overworked bust? It's really too early to tell (and there's no reason it can't be both), but here's what I can tell you: Colton and John both need to shut up. Should you watch, or wait 'til the season takes better shape?

Campfire Tribal Recap

Marissa arrives at Redemption Island HQ and is very salty about people punishing her for Gervase's over-celebration at the challenge, and about people putting smiley faces next to her name on their votes and THANK YOU. That has bugged me for years now, especially the ones that misspell the Survivor's name in the first place. Not that I would ever find myself on this show, because there's a little woodcut of me next to "indoorsy" in the dictionary, but if I got a "Sarha [sad face]" vote, I'd be busting on it forevermore.

At the main veterans' camp, the Survivors do a circle of shoulder massage while Colton interviews extensively about how he's over it with the Zen vibe, then announces that he's all about strategy and doesn't care about winning challenges. Which…creates strategy? I see what he's saying, but it's like going to church and bitching about all the God and singing -- what are you doing here then, ass? Aras sighs that Colton pretended he'd changed for about 36 hours, but he hasn't.

At Loved Ones Camp, Rachel (the future Mrs. Tyson) is trying to play it cool and get into the all-guys alliance, which might be more annoyance than it's worth, while John talks a lot about missing Candice and if she says she loves him at the Redemption challenge he'll feel so blah blah whatever.

Redemption Showdown

After Probst kind of mocks everyone for getting misty at the sight of their loved ones, it's on to the challenge itself, which is a spooly maze thing with sticks, and then you have to balance the spools on top of the maze. The winner can give any player s/he likes a clue to the location of a hidden immunity idol.

Gervase, having found out that Marissa got ejected because he was illegal-end-zone-dancing, vows to do it even more. Don't help, Gervase; the last time you played Survivor it was hosted by Jules Verne, for God's sack. He's also cheering Marissa distractingly, and the challenge does seem like something aimed at Rupert's skill set…but Candice is a physician and Marissa is pissed and they both beat Rupert. BYE, RUPERT.

Candice gives John the idol. John has a sad.

More Pointless Strategizing

The rookies make the rookie mistake of trying to think all the way out to post-merge as Vytas talks out of his ass about voting Rachel out so that Tyson will take her place. John, meanwhile, hunts for the idol on his own, thinking his alliance doesn't notice that he's off by himself rooting around the tree trunks.

And Colton is still complaining about how this isn't YMCA camp. When an entire braid of wild hairs falls across his ass in the form of Tina telling Kat that Colton is overthinking his strategy this early in the game, he does his Colton thing: "You're either gonna tell me what she said or I'm going to go get her." Kat is freaking out as Colton drags Tina over her and lawyers it so that Tina is the shit-starter and Kat needs to calm down. "I can rule in chaos," he smarms in a voice-over.

The next morning he wonders why everyone's acting sketchy towards him, and his delusional Hantzing is no more interesting to watch people get sucked into than it was the first time around.

Elimination Challenge

It's a barrel-rolling skeeball relay. …I don't know. It comes down to Hayden and Gervase rolling balls at the end (hee) and Gervase wins. Culpepper stares longingly at the missus while Colton endures the group hug of victory.

Pre-Tribal Scrambling

Culpepper is disproportionately pissed at Gervase, grunting about body-slamming Gervase into the water; something about it makes me uncomfortable. It's almost a relief to go back to John saying he doesn't want to vote for Rachel, because Tyson will go in for Rachel and Tyson can beat Candice, but even the editors are so bored with Dr. Lovesick that they keep intercutting pointed footage of insects devouring each other.

Hayden says "weary" when he means "wary." Ciera is sketched out by John looking for the idol. Zzz.


It's short, at least. According to Hayden, the Alliance Of Boy both does and totally does not exist. A hypothetical discussion ensues of the strategy of voting out loved ones and switching places, and finally, it's time to vote. Rachel is out. Probst patronizes the loved ones that they have to win some challenges.


In a season like this one, where there's a new or tweaked "strategy set" and you don't know yet how it's going to shake out over the arc of the season, it's hard to get invested. Colton's conflation of "mastermind" and "unbearable asshole" isn't particularly entertaining either, so tag back in next week.

Almost all readers disliked this episode
What did you think?