For those who were worried about the hangover from the spectacular Survivor: All-Stars season last spring, the Survivor producers give you episode two of Survivor: Nicaragua, “Fatigue Makes Cowards of Us All."
Survivor may not provide us with the sheer volume of ridiculous moments that other reality shows such as The Jersey Shore do, but in terms of jaw-dropping, did-he-really-just-say-that (and that and that and that) moments go, this week’s tribal council will certainly be on people’s radar.
Before we dive into one of the most epic crash and burn moments in Survivor history, let’s skim over the two topics I thought I’d be leading this review off with before Shannon stole the show. First, Holly was spared what should have been one of the best Survivor melt downs by the Medallion of Power. Heck, she even tried to eliminate that advantage by flailing through the haystack, but her teammates bailed her out.
Then there’s NaOnka who made one of the most dramatic and unexpected entrances in Survivor history (apologies about all of the hyperbole – epic! Survivor history! one of the best ever! – but this episode earned it, no?). In fairness to NaOnka, it sounds like she got the dreaded Brett edit from Survivor: Samoa in the premiere. NaOnka’s antics with the socks didn’t seem to shock Jud, but they certainly shocked us. More on her and Holly later.
So after Holly and NaOnka’s eccentric antics, who would think we’d be talking about Shannon and his tribal council debacle 45 or 50 minutes into the episode? Not me. But, it’s unavoidable now after Shannon, aka Captain Hatred, threatened his former ally Chase and then questioned the sexuality of tribemate Sash. Amazingly, the calming influence at tribal influence was the typically thick headed Jud. Needless to say La Flor is in trouble.
I’ve got pretty thick skin. The more politically incorrect the joke, the more I’m probably laughing. But I wonder if any moment of Survivor has ever left me more wide-eyed and slack-jawed in my life than when Shannon asked if Sash was gay and then responded to Sash’s heterosexual comeback by commenting that “New York is full of gay people”. This ruffled even the usually stoic Jeff Probst’s feathers. You got the sense that Jeff wanted to make an executive decision and toss Shannon out of the game for poor taste.
Certainly Shannon will pay for his actions when he gets back to the real world. I have to believe he sorely regretted them shortly after he said them and might not have even watched this week’s episode out of embarrassment.
The real catch with Shannon’s actions and statements – and the reason I love this game – is that they have consequences and the consequences typically are that you’re voted off. The Russell Hantz slash and burn Survivor tactic doesn’t work for most people. It didn’t for Shannon and I’m not sure if he thought they would or just lost his cool. Normally I’d guess the latter, but he seemed very confident prior to tribal and not that contrite afterwards.
Speaking of contrition, that brings us back to Holly and NaOnka, who live on the opposite end of that spectrum. Holly flips out at Jill about snails, has a hissy about the tribe making fun of her, takes it out on Dan by drowning his $1,600 alligator skin shoes…and then apologizes for it all?!? And Jimmy T. accepts her apology?!? Huh? She should give Shannon a big kiss and a hug the next time she sees him for taking the spotlight of this episode off of her.
NaOnka, conversely, leans the complete other way – she’s angry and not apologizing for it. Ironically, she’s furious at whoever gets in her path because she thinks someone took her sock vs. Holly who really did take someone’s shoes. Someone may fess up to it yet, but it seems unlikely there was any malice involved (Russell’s imprint on the game is now three seasons deep). Her solution – take someone else’s, anyone else’s, socks as retribution.
This leads to two ridiculous confrontations between NaOnka and Jud where, once again, somehow Jud/Fabio seems like the smart and reasonable person in the situation. Does anything sum up how utterly ridiculous NaOnka is acting towards Jud when she clarifies Jud’s statement that he’s trying to make things right by saying he’s not trying enough?
I’m sure that NaOnka is being very authentic on the show, this is who she is. She’s not going to apologize for who she is or what she thinks and she’s certainly going to be heard. What I wonder is, has this ever worked on Survivor before? Even the immortal Russell Hantz didn’t win either season he was in. What do people like NaOnka think is going to happen when they bring their inflexible personality to a game like Survivor?
None of us can say that NaOnka shouldn’t act the way she does or say the things that come out of her mouth. It’s her prerogative to live that way, who are we to tell her to do otherwise if it works for her. However, the point of questioning such actions as they relate to Survivor is that personalities like that have been shown not to win Survivor.
Same goes for Holly. We can sympathize with her frustration about the tribe making fun of her behind her back and wanting to get back at the big bully from Brooklyn who put her down. But, when have taking the pot of snails and dumping them out or sinking someone’s shoes and then confessing to the sin ever won someone Survivor?
Shannon. Holly. NaOnka. Perhaps people like these three who let their emotions get the best of them do not make for great Survivor players, but they certainly make for great Survivor characters. I don’t think we’ll need to worry about a Survivor: All-Stars hang over anymore.
More thoughts from a wild episode:
- Kudos to Marty for jumping on the Jimmy Johnson bandwagon. I’m glad to see that someone realized the value of having Jimmy be out in front of the tribe and take the licks when things are going poorly.
- Similarly, kudos to Tyrone for taking advantage of Jimmy’s presence to keep the focus on fixing the roof and shooting down Jimmy T’s attempt to fish.
- At first I thought Brenda’s chuckle at Sash’s suggestion of a minority alliance was at the idea itself. However, when she commented that people are on her side without her having to do anything, it dawned on me that she’s laughing because Sash and NaOnka on her side simply because the three of them are minorities.
- Quote of the episode from NaOnka “She has the heart, she has the mind, but she doesn’t have 100% of the body”. Did NaOnka mean that literally? Or was she just trying to emphasize that Kelly B has physical limitations and accidentally came up with a terrible way to express that? I’d hope the latter, but with NaOnka you never know.
- Jimmy Johnson is now two for two in having the title of episodes named after one of his quotes.
- Was anyone else shocked when The Others (aka Espada, a great nickname suggested by reader Goffy to pay homage to the La Flor tribe name sounding like James La Fluer of Lost lore) choose the fishing gear instead of the tarp after the scene about not sleeping because their shelter stunk?
- Brilliant move by The Others to hold the Medallion of Power until this week. It paid off in spades (which kind of looks like a Fleur-de-lis, which sounds like La Flor).