‘Survivor’ recap: Pride before the fall

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It’s our last full serving of “Survivor” until after Thanksgiving (close your mouth, Holly. Next week we’ll see the usual midway clip show), and last night’s episode started out promising.

Once again, one or more players has seen the light, and feels he or she knows just what to do to make things right. This week it’s Holly and Jane, who’ve realized how smoothly Brenda and Sash are running things now that Marty’s finally and actually been voted out, and want them out badly.


But of course, things never go as they seemingly should in reality TV. Just ask Marty –- or heck, singer Brandy. And let’s not forget: Brenda and Sash kind of are running things.

From the beginning: Brenda’s shown being even more arrogant back at camp after voting Marty out, even throwing in a little jokey jab at Sash, saying he’s more the queen and she’s the king. OK, ma’am. The next day, the Libertad tribe is worried about its fire, so everyone surrounds it with wooden treasure chests. Seriously. And then they covered it with more wood and leave camp for their reward challenge. Sigh. Guess none of these people grew up both thankful for and scared of the space heaters near their beds at night. For reward, the tribe split in half to compete for a trip including a helicopter ride, volcano boarding (think sledding) and pizza, sodas and brownies. The competition’s basically an icebreaker we’ve all seen before, where you have to get your team from one point to another without touching the ground. Jane, NaOnka, Purple Kelly, Chase and Fabio win it rather quickly, and the others fall and get nowhere close to finishing –- all while host Jeff Probst holds very little back in his challenge commentary (“If this were life or death, you’d be dead”).

Brenda, Benry, Holly, Dan and Sash return to camp to find a good chunk of it burned down (no! –– wait, duh). Most of their food’s gone, all of the trunks are gone and some of their tarp roof has been destroyed. Insert dramatic reactions here, like Holly’s above.

Ignorant to all this, the rest are having a blast sliding down the side of a volcano and chowing down. Chase gets down to business, though, asking the others who they think is running the show. Fabio says it’s now unclear, so Na pulls him away from the table to talk. That makes Purple Kelly laugh, the two of them seeking more privacy on the side of a volcano, but leads her to show yet again why we’re not seeing more of her.

“You never talk really,” said Chase.
“I know. It’s kinda funny, huh?” Purple Kelly responded.
“Weird,” Chase said, nodding.

*Blank stare* If Purple Kelly or Dan wins this whole thing. …

Anyway, Na lets Fabio in on how everyone now wants Brenda gone, and of course he’s very much on board. Yet another great game plan has just fallen in his lap. Somehow Holly, who was just about out of this game long ago, has gotten everyone on her side against Brenda … except for Chase, who let Brenda know about the whole thing.

But Brenda’s not fazed! Oh, lordy. Brenda may have been the best strategic player so far this season, but she’s being ridonkulous here. And she’s starting to sound like Marty, calling other players’ moves dumb just because they’re against her.

Meanwhile, Chase isn’t looking any better for opening his mouth anywhere and everywhere. Let it be said, though, that I don’t think he’s under Brenda’s spell. He’s just honestly playing with his gut, his heart, and trusted her early on. He’s trusted others up until they proved him wrong –- like Na.

Oh, yeah, this week’s immunity challenge. As entertaining as it was, it had little effect on the episode’s endgame. Everyone had to hang from a rope while standing on a small, tilted platform above a pool. People fell. It was down to Chase and Jane, and Jane won, saying that lifting all those 80-pound dogs back home was worth it.

Tribal council is where it got juicier. Everything’s on the table, Brenda accuses Na of being the one to throw her alliance to the side, and “trust” is the main theme. But wait, Probst gives Purple Kelly another chance to talk! Asked for her “20 years of wisdom,” Kelly looks like the old Miss Teen South Carolina (did you see Marty’s face?). After a little more discussion, voting starts, and for the first time in a good while, the outcome was really unexpected –- not exactly in regard to who ultimately went home, but how it all played out. Sash didn’t give Brenda his immunity idol, Na kept hers, and Chase wasn’t in as much danger as it had seemed.

Yes, Brenda’s gone. Nine players remain. And if you paid attention to the preview for the next new episode, you had enough to get you by for two weeks –- they freakin’ show who wins immunity! But maybe more than one person wins it? Spoiler alert: see who I’m talking about here. Time will tell.

— Anthony Williams

Photo (top): Holly’s aghast after finding the Libertad camp partially burned down. Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS

Photo (bottom): Everyone leans with it for immunity in the tenth episode of ‘Survivor: Nicaragua.’ Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS


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