Survivor: “Don’t Be Blinded By The Headlights”
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Survivor: “Don’t Be Blinded By The Headlights”

If there’s one universal truth of Survivor contestants, it’s that they are far more scared of women with big mouths than women with big boobs. That’s why, despite the editors’ best intentions, in the battle between trying to create a compelling episode vs. 24 seasons of anecdotal evidence, it was pretty obvious who was going home tonight.

This is a shame, because last week’s elimination was far less easy to decipher, and thus, the episode surrounding it was much stronger. Tonight, so much time was spent at Matsing before the challenge even began that it was obvious that tribe was going to come in last again, despite a valiant comeback effort on the ubiquitous puzzle portion of the competition. It’s hard to fault the show for using some editing expediency, given it has basically the same number of people to feature and 30 fewer minutes to do so in. It was bound to feel like a more clipped affair.

Still, it was strange to go almost past the half-hour mark without hitting a challenge. It was almost set up to feel like Roxy—broken down from the constant rain and weird obsession with Angie’s physical beauty—was about to quit. Instead, the animosity she and the rest of the tribe feel over Malcolm and Angie’s decision to keep each other warm at night reaches a breaking point when the challenge is over, with Roxy on full-scale assault mode with Russell against Angie as the ultimate evil in their camp. It’s an almost uncomfortable sequence to watch, especially coming fairly unprovoked on Angie’s part and immediately following a scene focused entirely on Roxy’s religious devotion. Although Roxy’s animosity toward Angie seemed unreasonable and unmotivated, putting these sequences so close together felt a bit like the show deciding Roxy’s religion was to blame, rather than her saying that expressly. Listen, we’ve seen religion give way to animosity toward women in Brandon Hantz. To lead us that way by tricky editing when those associations aren’t necessarily there feels a bit gross.

After all, Roxy might just have been annoyed with Angie because she’s kind of dim. At Tribal, when she is asked if there was one thing the tribe could use, Angie responds with cookies. This astonishes the entire tribe so much and angers Probst so much he starts clapping like she’s some sort of small, dumb animal, because he’s Jeff Probst and that’s probably what he thought of her before she opened her mouth anyway. It all basically devolves into who Matsing would rather have around the tribe: the somewhat useless Roxy who makes everyone vaguely uncomfortable with her grand proclamations, or the somewhat useless Angie who likes cookies? Unfortunately for sharp-tongued women everywhere, the tribe chooses cookies, and Roxy goes home. She seems surprised, which is where I get surprised, because didn’t she notice that mouthy Zane went home just a few days before?

On the less weirdly charged side of the island, both Tandang and Kalabaw are deep in the throes of searching for the hidden immunity idol. On Kalabaw, Penner is still obsessed with finding the idol and practically seems like a drug addict looking for a fix until he can get the tribe away from camp long enough to find it. I missed both his previous seasons, so I don’t know if this is just his thing, or if the third time pressure is getting to him, but he is a twitchy mess. He does manage to figure out the clue so now maybe he can chill out and start playing the game.

Tandang’s clue, on the other hand, is still a mystery. RC found the clue and brought Abi in on her discovery, but they can’t find the idol, and sharing the clue looks like it could lead to more distrust between the two rather than a closer bond. Abi doesn’t trust RC’s friendship with Michael and calls her out on it, saying “I am your friend, but if you fuck me you’re dead. Just letting you know.” Point taken, crazy Abi! As for Lisa, she doesn’t seem long for this game. Her child star status doesn’t appear to be any closer to being revealed, but it will likely be her loner nature that does her in. In a game that relies on the relationships you make with other people, isolating yourself from your fellow contestants seems like the worst strategy of all.

Well, except being a woman with a big mouth. Then no matter your strategy, you’re probably toast.

Stray observations:

  • I’m trying to still like Malcolm, but his stupid “she’s going gangster” remark about Roxy was pretty horrible. Denise is definitely emerging as the standout Matsing tribe member, with her no-nonsense views and willingness to stand back and observe rather than insert herself into the fray.
  • Russell: “I don’t blame Malcolm for wanting a little slap and tickle.”
  • Roxy: “To me it was like a booby trap—sorry—but like literally.”
  • Angie: “That we could… have cookies!”

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