Survivor: "Going For The Oscar" (plus Amazing Race)
B-

Survivor: "Going For The Oscar" (plus Amazing Race)

B-

Survivor

"Going For The Oscar" (plus <I>Amazing Race</I>)

Season 15, Episode 11


I'm going to keep it short this week, because we're down to the wire and there's not much to say that hasn't been said. The big moment this week was the arrival of the castaways' relatives, helping out with the reward challenge. Who would've guessed that not only does Courtney have a father–I'd assumed she'd been carved from a hunk of shale–but he's English! There goes the theory that she's some Oklahoma girl who's gotten all haughty since she moved to New York. Apparently she's to the manor born, or some such rot.

Actually, I confess that I've had a partial change of heart about Courtney. I don't like her any more than I ever did–especially after she laughed about Todd's sister's miscarriage this week–but I've decided that I want her to make the final three, because I can't wait to see her explain to the jury why she deserves a million dollars. (This is what it's come to in the America of 2007: When it comes to our villains, we no longer expect justice, so we're willing to settle for public excoriation.)

I do like Todd more and more though, if only for his meta approach to the game. He's like that first generation of Hollywood directors who went to film school, and converses exclusively in the language of old movies. Todd's made some weird choices along the way–hey, so did Scorsese back in the day–but the way he talks constantly about "the game," and who's with who and why, has made him the de facto decision-maker. People seem to assume that he's several steps ahead of them, and that if they don't go along with his plans, they're bound to be on the outs. (Perhaps they know that old line about looking around the poker table and not knowing who the sucker is.) I don't know that I've ever seen a Survivor competitor have more fun just in the playing.

Myself, I'm ready to have just a little more fun than I'm having right now. After the surprise ouster of James last week, this week was pretty predictable. Either Erik or Peih-Gee was bound to go, and with Peih-Gee winning immunity, the only remaining suspense was whether Denise would flip. Since Denise is as cowed by Todd as everyone else–with the possible exception of Amanda, this season's dark horse–she sent Erik home, thus practically assuring she'll finish fourth. So at this point, I'm kind of impatient to get to the finale, and the Courtney-roasting I so dearly require.

Grade: B-

Stray observations:

-Hey, Amanda pulled her pants down enough to eliminate the blur during the immunity challenge. Maybe her sister whispered something discreetly into her ear.

-"Sprint, also known for speed in communication, is making this all possible."

Bonus Amazing Race observations:

-One of my favorite bits of Amazing Race visual grammar: the sudden shift to slow motion after a team makes a choice, indicating that a terrible misstep may have just been made.

-Paying a taxi driver to lead the way is basic AR strategy, but not only was it used this week for the first time this season (I think), the team that used it acted like they'd come up with something brilliant and new. Where are the Todds of The Amazing Race?

-Trying-too-hard "dating Goths" line of the week: "I've always wanted to go somewhere like Romania…somewhere with lots of gothic architecture."