Survivor Review: Life After Jimmy Johnson

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Last night’s episode of Survivor, “Glitter In Their Eyes” was a reminder that as much as Survivor is a social game it is also still very much a physical game.  Despite his celebrity coming into the season and earned respect during his time with the Espada tribe, Jimmy Johnson couldn’t escape that he was the oldest and possibly weakest member of his tribe. 

Even though the women on his tribe loved him, he was unanimously voted out.

Jimmy Johnson Talks With Dan

This speaks volumes to how the tribe’s perception of Jimmy J varied from what we saw of Jimmy J on the screen.  Heading in to tribal council, it seemed very possible that Jimmy J, Jane, Holly, Yve and Tyrone would vote for Dan, out gunning Marty, Jill, Jimmy T and Dan’s votes for Jimmy J five to four.  A vote of eight to one means that everyone felt that Jimmy J was very weak and more of a liability to the tribe than any leadership skills he brought. 

Over the many years of watching Survivor we’ve all noticed numerous times when a tribe’s mental state affect its ability to compete in challenges.  When I heard about Jimmy Johnson being on Survivor, I was excited to see someone who is a proven leader and someone who would truly know how to lead a tribe impact the game.  Could the ability to motivate a tribe overcome other deficiencies such as age or a difficult environment?

What’s unfortunate for Jimmy is that he didn’t get the chance to be simply the coach.  Espada never had a numbers advantage on La Flor where he could sit out and be the coach, preventing his physical limitations from impacting his tribe’s challenge success.  By losing, Espada was guaranteed that whoever remained after tribal council would be forced to compete in every challenge for at least the next two episodes.  This was a liability Espada couldn’t afford. 

Fortunately for the viewers, the aftermath of Jimmy Johnson’s departure should be very interested to watch.  Marty feels as if the tribe will be forced to come to him as their new leader with Jimmy J gone.  At the same time, I’m sure that Jimmy T will be excited to let his self proclaimed leadership abilities come to the forefront with Jimmy J gone.  The best part?  Neither of them realizes that the other is excited to lead.  They both believe they are now in position to do so. 

Espada Competes During the Challenge

In the background of the Espada tribe are two castaways who are lurking in the weeds, so to speak, ready to break this game open.  Jill and Tyrone have played the beginning of the game as it should be played.  Go with the flow, so long as it is not you.  That’s basically what Jill told Marty when he said he wanted to get rid of Jimmy Johnson.  She preferred Dan, but realized that neither one really mattered. 

Beyond that, Jill recognized from the beginning that the hidden immunity idol is both a blessing and a curse.  She willfully gave up its location to Marty who is too blinded by its glitter (ironic, eh Marty?) to recognize the burden he’s put on himself.  Artfully, Jill then pressured Marty into telling the tribe about his possession of the idol.  Foolishly, Marty continues to contend that while the idol can be used for the tribe, it is still his.

Tyrone sees through Marty’s exterior and recognizes the selfish and insecure way that Marty is playing the game.  He recognized it with how Marty reacted to Jimmy Johnson’s presence and how he handled the idol situation.  I’m impressed with how astute Tyrone has been about his tribe.  Beyond that, he’ll certainly be a threat to win challenges if he makes it to the merge. 

Back to Jill.  She came out smelling like roses (or smelling like nothing really – no one was the wiser to who really found the idol for Marty).  Tyrone sniffed out the selfish nature of Marty’s idol actions, so Jill has effectively put the target on his back when she did most of the work. 

This brings us back to the number one tenant of Survivor – as long as it ain’t me.  I’ve mentioned it many times before, especially last season when Cirie tried to keep it going, but it was perfected to an art form by Sandra.  Jill is keeping the tradition alive this season.  She may have given up the idol to Marty, but she made a friend out of him being doing so and put the target on his back instead of hers in the process.  Very smart. 

Jimmy Johnson Voted Off

Outside of Jimmy Johnson being eliminated, this was not the most exciting episode of Survivor.  Beyond NaOnka blowing up, almost nothing happened with the La Flor tribe.  I hesitate to give someone as ignorant NaOnka any play, but I wouldn’t be doing a review of the episode justice if I didn’t address her explosion of hateful quotes after the hidden immunity idol clue incident with Kelly B.

“I’ll push you so hard, that damn leg will fall off”
“Don’t think I’m gonna be nice to you because you have one leg”
“My name is NaOnka, not fool”

I’m sure that NaOnka thinks that acting the way she is and saying the things she does makes her come off as a strong, confident person.  To quote Robin Williams from Good Will Hunting, “all I see is a scared, cocky kid.”

What does she get out of pushing around and then verbally trampling on someone who is missing a leg?  I understand her point that Kelly B should not get special treatment just because she was born the way she was, but I’m also certain that Kelly B is not asking for any special treatment.  Picking on Kelly B because she is missing a leg is no different than picking on someone because of their religion or skin color.  NaOnka doesn’t sound like a strong woman, she sounds like a bigot. 

More notes from this week:

  • I loved the scene with Espada interacting with the monkeys.  I know there’s only so much time in an episode, but I wish we could somehow see more scenes like this.
  • NaOnka wants to vote Alina out to shock Kelly B.  Why would Kelly B be shocked by this?  I’m sure she realizes she’s on the wrong side of the line with Alina.
  • La Flor got lucky not using the Medallion.  They probably believed that they could retrieve the barrels much faster than Espada making the advantage not as great to them as it is perceived.  The reality is that Espada completed that portion of the task only seconds after La Flor and if Tyrone had not gone cold throwing the bean bags, they probably would have lost.  That being said, they’re obviously in great shape going into next week.
  • I wouldn’t have voted out Jimmy Johnson or Dan, but Holly, instead.  She has no idea what’s going on.


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Survivor Quotes

Coach is running the show like Jesus.


Steve: Where's numbnuts?
Ralph: He went out to the big rock.
Steve: Maybe he'll jump off.