Guest Post: Survivor Philippines – Episode 6: Balls, Balls, Balls. Who has the biggest Grindr of them all?
Night 13 and the sad Kalabaw Tribe makes its way back to camp. Katie knows she will be the next target if Kalabaw loses again because she has a sixth-sense about these things being a former Miss Delaware winner. She tells the audience in her confessional that she would, like, do her, like, very best to fight, like, to remain in this game, like you know. World peace. [Translation: Katie knows she is in big trouble in case Dimples’s constant harping about her mega-sucky performance at the last challenge hasn’t resonated yet with the tribe. And world peace]. The tribe goes to sleep to the sounds of thunder and heavy rain. Day 14 and it looks like it is cold and windy this morning. Despite this, Katie takes the opportunity to strip down to her red bikini and be awarded with another confessional by the cameramen – [one more and she will equal the number of confessionals she had been awarded in the previous five episodes combined]. She says she has, like, her eyes on getting rid of like, Penner, because he is like, so dangerous. She says to stay in this game, she would like, you know, need to get rid of him, like, next time, so that she can, like, make it to the merge, like excellent. World peace. We see Katie and Denise chatting in their bikinis to commence the sexy-shot quotient of this episode. Katie and Denise both agree that they are positive that Penner has the hidden immunity idol. They agree that they need to blindside him next. And with that, the knifing of Penner foreshadowed these past few episodes begin. We head off into the brief intro.
We come back from the brief intro to be informed that it is now suddenly Day 15. Apparently all the sexy-shots of a bikini-clad Katie giving the audience some serious “fripples-action” on a cold, windy, and overcast day were deemed inappropriate for an episode sponsored by the good folks of Grindr: The place for like-minded men to meet and chat. We head over to Tandang territory to find out what the merry men and women have been up to. Turns out, not everyone is merry on that tribe which really shouldn’t surprise anyone given that Bella-Latina and Angry Bird Artis are in this tribe.
Cotton Wool has been allowed to speak again and yet another discussion ensues about the rice. Bella-Latina announces there is not enough rice left. She wants to eat some before the challenge because as everyone knows, she needs the energy to watch everyone else compete in another challenge she refuses to participate in (because of her “injured” knee). Team Jacob explains that the lack of rice at Tandang was solely due to Cotton Wool munching on uncooked rice at every given opportunity because he thinks raw rice will cook and inflate inside one’s body due to one’s core body temperature. He bitches about how stupid “Stupin” is (which he does have a point given that returning players know more than anyone else that food must be rationed carefully). Angry Bird Artis hitches a ride on the bitching train and is rewarded by being given his second confessional of the season where he gets to again act all angry about all things including Cotton Wool, racial profiling by police, lack of ethnic diversity on public television, and Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Artis says Michael is the reason why everyone is starving to death and now that they have Malcolm, Cotton Wool will be the first boot should Tandang lose immunity.
I probably should take this time to remind viewers that tonight’s Reward Challenge portion of the episode has been sponsored by Grindr. So an appropriate warning must precede the Reward Challenge as it contains a good dose of mud and sexually-suggestive homoerotic content from Dimples. Morality-prudes are advised to skip the next six paragraphs of Gentleman Chatterley’s Lover lest long repressed feelings are stirred. Dimples greets the tribes whilst wearing his second-favourite cargo shirt, the power-blue shirt, along with his favourite beige-coloured cargo pants. No one at Tandang seems surprised that Pretty in Pink Dawson was voted out – (wait till they watch her kiss-off from the game back at home). The challenge today involves Survivor’s version of soccer except with a giant bamboo ball. Three members from each tribe will do everything possible to score a goal on the muddy pitch whilst the rain continues pouring down on them. First to three wins reward. The reward will consist of being taken to a dry hut (smiles all round from everyone) and having a reward luncheon complete with muffins, potato chips, brownies, sandwiches, and soup. Dimples informs Tandang they have to sit out one man and one woman. Sick of being bagged by Dimples for trying to break the Survivor record of competing in the least amount of challenges, Bella-Latina insists on competing (much to Kalabaw’s delight). Both Angry Bird Artis and GC agree to sit out the challenge. Because the producers are on a tight budget, they don’t have enough money to bribe two hot young chicks to participate in this particular mud wrestling challenge, hence the Grindr sponsorship. Looks like Katie has to go in alone and get down and dirty in her bikini for (some of) the viewers’ pleasure. The first round will consist of Team Jacob, Cotton Wool, and Lisa vs Team Carter, Penner, and Denise. Much to Grindr and Mary Murphy’s delight, all the men remove their shirts and proceed to bring their sexy on in the mud today. And it will prove to be a very long day indeed.
Essentially the point of this challenge is to push the giant ball into the opposing tribe’s goal. What actually transcends, though, is an opportunity to delve into the hidden repressed psyche of homoerotic literature on the small screen. Team Jacob and Team Edward engage in wrestling one another, pulling and tugging at the other’s waist and body slamming each other on the muddy ground. Occasionally, they will get up breathless and push on the giant ball, hoping that it swings out of the way enough for them to score. Probably doesn’t help things that Dimples insists on yelling out that “Pete is going hard on Carter.” Out to prove a point to Katie and RC that mud-wrestling is not just for hot young chicks, Blair manages to jump onto Denise’s back and these two cougars engage in hair pulling and churning one another over and over in the mud. Denise tries to kick Blair away but Blair has a tight hold on Denise’s legs. Can Denise wriggle her way out of this sticky situation whilst managing to keep her bikini bottom on? [Watching from the sidelines, everyone else is practically peeing with laughter at how the challenge is unfolding]. Meanwhile, the veterans seemingly have their eyes on the game with Penner being more successful in pushing the giant muddy ball towards the Tandang goal. However, Cotton Wool is sick and tired of the young pups getting in on the man-wrestling action and he dives onto Penner’s legs and proceeds to tug his shorts down, forcing Penner to trip over. [You got some explaining to do back home Cotton Wool when you have to front your bible-bashing ministry over your seemingly earnest efforts to pull a grown man’s pants down!] After forcing Penner to eat some mud, Cotton Wool and Team Jacob swap places. Cotton Wool’s turn now to body slam Team Edward into the mud whilst Team Jacob tries to push the ball away from Tandang’s goal. Eventually, Cotton Wool manoeuvres himself over to Team Jacob and they both grunt really loudly in their attempts to push the ball together. However Penner, not content to let a homoerotic opportunity slip by particularly now that he has been named “Bear of the Year” on Grindr, positions himself behind Cotton Wool and then reaches down through his legs to grab a hold onto that giant, muddy ball. [Try explaining that to your wife later Penner!]. It is clear that the teams are equally matched. Just when you thought this challenge couldn’t get more suggestive, we are shown where the three pairs end up in a stalemate position around the ball in this challenge. Someone Penner has found himself face first in the mud with Cotton Wool sitting on his head. [Cotton Wool will have to do some explaining to his ministry after describing the experience of sitting on Penner’s face “as like heaven”]. Both of them are clinging onto that giant ball with both hands. Denise has managed to grab onto the muddy ball with her hands whilst sitting on the ground with Blair’s arms wrapped around her chest. [Blair also has some explaining to do at her ministry!] Over at the Twilight Zone, Team Edward is standing and pressing his face onto the giant, muddy ball because Team Jacob has positioned himself directly behind him. I assume their hands are holding onto the muddy ball. Don’t ask me which one though! J
An hour has elapsed and everyone is exhausted and the ball has barely moved. Penner shouts out to Team Edward if he has anything left in the gas tank but before he can respond, Team Jacob pries his grip from the ball and body slams poor Edward into the mud again. All the mud coating their abs has already sent Mary Murphy to the hospital with breathing difficulties. Penner somehow manoeuvres himself to stand opposite Cotton Wool and the two veterans engage in conversation with only a giant muddy ball separating their faces. It is clear that no one is going to win this challenge. Penner tells Cotton Wool that they have to cut a deal to end the stalemate. Penner asks Toothpick Jeff what he would do but Jeff isn’t interested in a deal. [So easy to judge from the sidelines]. However, Cotton Wool wants to cut a deal. He suggests a trade. Kalabaw can go on the reward lunch in exchange for something else. [The last time Survivor contestants bargained for food at a Reward, Heidi and Jenna memorably stripped naked for peanut butter on Survivor Amazon. Who knows what RC and Katie will bring to the table?] Alas, Cotton Wool is married and although flattered by his current Grindr approval rating, he knows that his wife isn’t going to be so easily convinced with his explanations regarding the muddy wrestling duels he just had with Penner. Therefore in an attempt to end the homoerotic foreplay, Cotton Wool suggests that Tandang will forfeit the challenge and let Kalabaw win the reward in exchange for all of Kalabaw’s rice.
Immediately there are protests from the non-participants. Dimples reminds them that although he is pissed that he has now gotten mud specks on his second-favourite cargo shirt, he will stay out here until someone wins or a deal is made. Penner wants this offer to be considered seriously by Kalabaw. From out of nowhere a sleepy-sounding monotonous voice somehow pierces the screen. Yes, Team Edward has had the muzzle removed by the off-camera producers and will no longer be silenced (unfortunately). He sleepily tells Penner that they need the rice as it fuels them in the long run. [Good point Carter, now go back to sleep and let the talking be done by those with professional television voices.] Dimples questions Penner about what he will do for food after the reward luncheon. Penner tells him that he has a boat and a fishing kit and like Jesus, he can feed the hungry with fish. Upon being reminded that he is Jewish, Penner hastily retracts that last comment and rephrases that he meant to say that he can be like past Survivor fishermen like Hatch, Rupert, or Ozzy and feed the tribe. Katie also helpfully adds that they have giant clams at their beach. [Now, now Katie. Former Beauty Queens can be seen but not heard.]
Apparently, today is also Artis’s birthday. Blair suggests that they all hear the thoughts of the Birthday Boy because frankly, the audience is still wondering if they have heard anything from him at all with six episodes into the season. Artis lives up to his Angry Bird reputation and he spits barbs from the sidelines. He tells Cotton Wool that he wants to win and he wants the reward and everyone else should STFU! RC immediately takes one big step away from Artis at this point whilst Toothpick Jeff tries to suppress his laughter. However there is no denying that the participants are exhausted. The deal is again laid out on the table for a vote. Tandang will forfeit victory and let Kalabaw win the reward luncheon in exchange for all the rice at Kalabaw. Blair says she will side with the majority decision. Penner looks at Denise and she is nodding in agreement for the deal. Team Edward is not in favour of the deal. Penner looks at him and asks Team Edward, “What would Jesus do?” Team Edward tells him that if Penner can pull a Jesus-move and catch enough fish to feed a starving mob, then he’ll reluctantly agree to the deal. Penner is confident he can provide for his tribe – [seriously after three seasons, when have we ever seen Penner NOT act confident?] RC is in favour of the deal whilst Bella-Latina says she will let the participants make the decision. Team Jacob agrees to the deal and Cotton Wool pulls rank and tells an angry Artis that he can’t judge them for wanting to make this deal after wrestling in the mud for more than an hour. Angry Bird Artis just tells Cotton Wool to do what he has to do before proceeding to mutter dark thoughts under his breath. Again, RC takes another big step away from him. You just know that Artis will have some sort of Bella-Latina-like meltdown soon. In the end Cotton Wool agrees with the deal and the two veterans shake on it. Tandang forfeits victory in exchange for Kalabaw’s rice. Once again, Bella-Latina doesn’t compete in a challenge. That’s five times she has been a cheerleader out of seven opportunities. I guess with that “inside voice” of hers, her tribe figures she is better suited at yelling from the sidelines.
Before sending the tribes off, Dimples takes the opportunity to rub it into Penner for making possibly the dumbest decision in the game this season. He points out that Kalabaw are banking on the fact that they can catch fish in weather conditions that has seen it rain everyday since they started playing this game. Toothpick Jeff chimes in saying that he knows all their energy will now be expended fishing and gathering clams with no rice to fall back to. With that, the tribes are sent away so that Dimples can immediately be helicoptered back to the safety of his five-star hotel and engage the services of a professional dry-cleaner to remove the awful spots of mud from his second-favourite cargo shirt.
We come back from the commercial break to see the “victorious” Kalabaw tribe arriving at the reward picnic. Despite not participating in the challenge, Katie is the first person to dive into the food and grab a chocolate brownie. Fortunately (or not), we are not shown the Survivors getting clean because it was deemed more important to be shown Team Edward’s second ever confessional for the season. He sleepily tells us that “the sandwiches were all great.” [Yes Carter, and cookies would be nice as well.] In fact, abiding by the rule that Beauty Queens can be seen but not heard, everyone but Katie is given a confessional. It is clear that Penner and Denise both think it was wise to give up the tribe’s rice. They both feel that the energy consumed today will last them till tomorrow and give them enough strength to fish the entire day. Toothpick Jeff, however, is not happy with the deal and is worried that if they don’t catch enough fish, they won’t have any energy to participate strongly at the next immunity challenge. All these thoughts are pushed temporarily aside when Penner discovers envelopes with their names on them on a side table. Letters from home time (aka “Let’s make emotionally exhausted contestants cry”). Team Edward is in tears because he is now afforded his third confessional for this season. I know he said something to the camera but unfortunately his zombie-like voice put me to sleep. Being a practicing Mormon, Toothpick Jeff knows it will take the rest of the day to read the letters written by his six wives and twenty-four children. Denise tells the audience in her confessional that giving up the rice was worth it to read letters from her family as it has now re-energised her emotionally to continue fighting in the game. Too bad her family couldn’t smuggle some sort of good-luck bracelet in the envelope in an attempt to break Denise’s curse.
Over at Tandang, we see the “losers” return to their shelter. Angry Bird Artis is about to flip out completely. Because nothing screams out racial stereotype more than an African-American contestant losing his/her cool on a reality-tv show – [think N’aonka’s fights with Kelly B or Fabio (Nicaragua), think Ghandia and THAT scream (Thailand), think Alicia “don’t waive your finger at me” (Australia), think Crystal making zero effort to lower her voice when voting someone out (Gabon)] – and you can now appreciate why Artis has been afforded his third ever confessional of the season. He is pissed that Cotton Wool, who apparently does nothing at the camp except eat the tribe’s rice, made the decision on behalf of all of Tandang to forfeit the reward and not give Artis his well-deserved present of muffins and brownies. Although he applauds Penner’s smart move to strike a deal, he feels that Michael made a bad decision by accepting the rice. [Um, Artis, Cotton Wool asked you to vote for or against the deal and you elected to abstain. Stop bitching about it!]. Artis spends the rest of the afternoon visually fuming and it is no surprise that no one is willing to tempt fate and waive a red flag in front of his face. Team Jacob returns glumly from the treemail area with Kalabaw’s rice. Instead of a bounty of rice they were hoping for, the tribemates can see that Kalabaw only had as much rice as Tandang had left. Blair, bless her soul, tries to explain that although she can understand why her tribe would feel that coming back from the Reward Challenge felt like a loss, she is choosing to see this situation with her “glass half-full” glasses.
Malcolm and GC are clearly “glass half-full” people as they are trying to put a positive spin on things but it is hard to remain positive when you have perpetually pissed-off Bella-Latina and Always Angry Artis on your tribe. Bella-Latina states, in her “inside voice”, that Cotton Wool’s decision was the dumbest move in Survivor history. You should see the looks on GC’s face when Bella-Latina goes on her mini-rant about how she would rather lose than give up her pride. Priceless on so many levels particularly since Abi-Maria refuses to compete in ANY challenge. GC tries to point out that by giving all their rice to Tandang, Kalabaw is in a much weaker position. However, Team Jacob, Angry Bird Artis, and Bella-Latina respond by harping on about how Kalabaw has a boat and fishing gear to catch fish and their bellies would be full of muffins, sandwiches, soup, and brownies. We later see Bella-Latina trying to ration the rice to cook dinner for the tribe. Upon the realisation that Tandang now only has two more days of rice left, she takes another swipe at how this is not the week-long ration of rice Tandang thought they would be gaining. Malcolm suggests eating smaller portions but Bella-Latina needs to get the last word in by looking directly at Cotton Wool and agreeing that although eating smaller portions was smart, everyone (i.e. Michael) is always hungry and wants to eat all the rice now.
Later we see GC having a chinwag with her daddy Michael. GC tells Cotton Wool how Artis is bitching non-stop about how Cotton Wool is the suckiest returned player ever for making that decision. They don’t understand how Michael is being blamed when everyone was asked to vote on the deal and both Angry Artis and Bella-Latina chose to abstain. They don’t believe that Artis has a right to bitch about a deal when he firstly did not compete in that challenge and secondly then chose to remove himself from the decision-making process. Michael is tired of Artis bitching about him behind his back and not confronting him. GC says in her confessional that her bullies on the tribe (Team Jacob, Bella-Latina, Angry Bird Artis) are incredibly mean, nasty, and negative individuals. However, they have the majority alliance and she will have to bite her tongue and hope to slide under the radar as the ticking bomb that is Abi-Maria threatens to explode in people’s faces.
Morning of Day 16 and we cross over to the Kalabaw tribe to see if Penner can make good on his Jesus promise and feed the mob with fish. It is a beautiful morning and the sun is rising and Penner has a good feeling about things. When told there was a stingray swimming near the edge of the beach, he confidently grabbed the spear. However, this stingray has eyes on the back of its head because everytime Penner raised the spear to strike him dead, Mr Stingray darts off. After a few attempts to spear Mr Stingray, the animal wises up and scuttles back out to sea. C’est la vie. Penner will now don the fishing gear and take the boat and go out and do some deep sea fishing for his tribe. Team Edward complains that he is so hungry and is wasting away to nothing but skin and abs. The editors feel sorry enough to allow him to draw even with Angry Bird Artis and have his third confessional of the season. He explains that he wasn’t comfortable with the deal of trading the tribe’s rice away because there was no guarantee that Penner will be able to perform a Jesus-like miracle.
Oh Team Edward, ye of so little faith. We see Penner diving in and swimming underwater with the miniature spear gun. Above ground, the youngsters (Team Edward and Katie) are moaning about how they are starving to death whereas the older contestants (Toothpick Jeff and Denise) seem to be soldiering on in dignified silence. We cut back to see Penner swimming underwater. There are plenty of big fish to catch. He spies a big fish and swims up to it and releases the spear gun and then surfaces. All the contestants stand up to see what Penner has caught. Penner reveals that he caught a fish……or more accurately a tiny guppy. As the weather was starting to turn again for the worse, Penner makes his way back to the beach to present his haul. Two guppies. Toothpick Jeff practically wets himself with laughter. Katie celebrates her personal milestone of equalling the total number of confessionals she has been afforded in this episode alone by complaining that Penner was no Jesus. He was absolutely pathetic fishing and that trading the rice away was now hurting them because that was their one constant source of energy. Penner is trying to put a positive spin on things by saying that eating the two guppies was like eating sushi because they were so fresh. However the looks of starvation in Team Edward’s eyes are clear. Sharing four scales of fish between the five tribe members was not enough to sustain them throughout this game. Jeff is praying for a merge soon because he knows the team will not last. Penner knows the heat is on him as he had confidently promised a seafood banquet but came back with leftover h’orderves. Because Penner came into this game with a few more spare tyres, he has some extra lard to keep him going for another 23 days but he can see that Team Edward and Katie are truly suffering. He says that they need to win immunity today in order to arrest the decline in numbers because they will be picked off easily if they enter into a merge with inferior numbers.
With that, we head off to the Immunity Challenge. Because the previous challenge sent the Grindr app into meltdown, the good folks at Grindr decided to extend its sponsorship to cover tonight’s immunity challenge portion of this episode as well. Nothing will stop Dimples from making more out of context, sexually-suggestive homoerotic innuendos. Dimples enter the screen and he has brought out his big guns – his dark navy blue cargo shirt with the two missing top buttons. Because Bella-Latina doesn’t compete in challenges, her entire role on Tandang consists of arriving at these challenges with the immunity idol in hand so that she can feel like she played some small, minor part in her team’s win. Who knows, maybe she’ll surprise everyone but participating in today’s challenge. Today’s challenge is a land-based challenge and it is a return of a classic. Basically, one team member from each tribe will launch fuzzy balls into the air using a giant slingshot whilst three members of each tribe attempt to catch the fuzzy balls in a lacrosse-like stick. A point is scored for the tribe even if a tribe member catches the opposing tribe’s balls. First to five wins. When this challenge was played in Survivor: Tocantins, JT memorably had a tooth knocked out of his mouth whilst diving to catch one of the fuzzy balls. Dimples explains that one man and one woman has to sit-out of the challenge for Tandang. Cotton Wool loses a rock, paper, scissor match-up with Malcolm so he volunteers to sit-out. And the woman sitting out for Tandang is……..Bella-Latina. Again. Dimples cannot resist yet another dig at the fact that Abi-Maria has chosen to sit-out in 75% of challenges she was eligible to compete in. She tries to defend herself by saying that “it wasn’t her choice.” Really? This is the same Bella-Latina that just tells people to their faces that if they F her big time in this game, they are dead. No one is buying her meek wallflower routine to Dimples.
Because Denise is a sex therapist in real life, she is comfortable with holding oversized fuzzy balls in her hands and launching them high in the air. Because Blair is a hardcore Christian in real life, she too is comfortable with holding oversized fuzzy balls in her hands and launching them high in the air. The match-ups on the ground are Malcolm and Team Edward, Angry Bird Artis and Penner, Team Jacob and Toothpick Jeff, and RC and Katie. Even though it is not raining, the sponsor has demanded that the men once again bring their sexy on and participate in this challenge bare-chested. [Because Mary Murphy has been sedated and placed in an induced coma, we the audience are spared her piercing screams for the rest of this episode.] The challenge begins. Both Denise and Blair pull their fuzzy balls back and releases them high in the air. Penner manages to catch one of his balls before they dangle down to the ground. Kalabaw leads 1-0. Second release of the fuzzy balls and this time both Team Jacob and GC score for Tandang. Tandang now leads 2-1. Third release and the whining starving youngster duo on Kalabaw suck big time and don’t even come close to catching the fuzzy balls. Fourth release and Malcolm throws his stick to prevent Penner from catching his ball. However Jeff managed to outrun Team Jacob and catch one of Tandang’s spare fuzzy balls. Scores are even at 2-2. Next launch and once again, Toothpick Jeff proves why he was a professional baseballer for two decades as he catches another fuzzy ball. Kalabaw leads 3-2. Next launch and again Toothpick Jeff outguns Team Jacob and catches Kalabaw’s fourth fuzzy ball. However, it wouldn’t be a proper challenge without a narky Dimples banging on about how badly Katie has sucked so far in the challenge. [Thank you Dimples for once again over-stepping your mark as a host]. Before the next launch, Cotton Wool tells Blair to aim for Malcolm. She does just that and Malcolm catches Tandang’s third fuzzy ball. Next launch and Toothpick Jeff almost catches a flying fuzzy ball but it is knocked out of his netting by Team Jacob. However, we see Malcolm making a flying dive in front of Team Edward and catches Tandang’s fourth fuzzy ball. The scores are now even at 4-4. Proving that Dimples has taken Grindr’s sponsorship of tonight’s two challenges seriously, he yells out that “Malcolm is owning Carter’s lunch.” Before the next launch, Penner tells Team Edward to swap places with Toothpick Jeff. The fuzzy balls are launched high into the air. Penner just misses grabbing one of the fuzzy balls in his battle against Angry Bird Artis. But a battle royale is happening between Malcolm and Toothpick Jeff. They both run towards where they think the last fuzzy ball will be landing. Both try to stand their grounds watching where the fuzzy ball is to land. At the last second, Malcolm pushes Jeff to the ground with his free hand and catches the last fuzzy ball. Once again, Tandang eke out a victory over Kalabaw. Tandang erupt with joy as we see Cotton Wool and Bella-Latina run over and engulf Malcolm in hugs. To keep the sponsor happy, Cotton Wool then proceeds to bear hug all the other men on his tribe. Dimples hand over the immunity idol to Tandang which is quickly grabbed by Bella-Latina as all her cheering from the sidelines was clearly the deciding factor in her tribe’s win. Dimples rightly puts her back in her place by pointedly telling her that Malcolm should be holding the idol. With that he sends the victorious Tandang tribe away. Dimples tells Kalabaw that they will be punished for their loss by being forced to watch Penner try and fish again this afternoon before a trip to Tribal Council tonight.
We come back from the commercial break to see the sad Kalabaw tribe returning to its shelter from another devastatingly close loss. Denise immediately apologises and explains to her tribe that it is her fault they are heading to Tribal Council again tonight. You see, Denise built her home on a sacred Native American burial site and therefore she is now cursed to attend every Tribal Council in this game. Toothpick Jeff tries to cheer her up by pointing out that Carter and Katie sucked big time in the challenge. As the time passes by, we see a shot of a reptile hissing and lurking around in the sand. Must be sneaky strategy analogy time as we are now privy to “The Last Dance of Penner” – [The knifing of Penner foreshadowed with clues in the previous episodes has begun]. Toothpick Jeff and Team Edward are having a pow wow in the shelter. Carter wants to keep Denise around as she is loyal and a hard worker. He wants to vote out Katie tonight. Toothpick Jeff agrees that it is better to vote out Katie tonight and keep Denise. However is Team Edward open to the possibility of making a big move to vote out Penner tonight? Toothpick Jeff has stated many times during previous episodes that he doesn’t want a veteran to win. This “shocking” turn of events to blindside Penner is so shocking that the producers momentarily let their guard down and somehow another confessional from Team Edward has slipped through the cracks. We hear Team Edward explaining that although Toothpick Jeff really wants Penner out of the game, he thinks it might be better to go into a merge with Penner so that the target remains focussed on the returning player. [Wow! Didn’t expect such logic coming from Team Edward! He may be blonde, have abs of steel, and a voice of a philosophy professor in a teen-sex comedy, but boy does this kid have some smarts on him!] Jeff tells Carter that he wants to knife Penner tonight but they have to work to blindside him as they don’t want Penner pulling out the idol at Tribal Council. Later in the day, we see Penner joining his two “allies” in the shelter. Team Edward turns to Penner and ask him if he wants to vote out “Katie or Penner” at tonight’s Tribal Council. [And with that statement, we now know for sure that Team Edward’s moment of logic and lucidity was fleeting]. Jeff is freaking out as he thinks Carter just blew the gig. However Penner must have been so distracted by all the approvals he got on Grindr for his last couple of challenge performances that he failed to pick up on Team Edward’s verbal faux pas. Penner reluctantly says that he thinks Katie should take her final bow tonight as Kalabaw needs Denise’s strength in the next challenge as there is no telling when a merge will occur. As he talks, Katie returns to the shelter and Penner immediately tells her that the vote tonight is for Denise. He then announces that he is going to do some fishing and asks if anyone wants to watch him. After this morning’s pathetic effort, no one wants to be let down again particularly after coming back from a devastatingly close loss at the immunity challenge.
After Penner leaves, Katie immediately turns to the other two and demands to know what all that bullshit was about. In her confessional, Katie insists that she isn’t, like dumb, like she knew that, like, something smelt wrong because, like, when she came back to, like the shelter, Penner, like immediately told her, like who to vote for, like without any discussion or asking her, like so suss. World peace. Katie, to her credit, calls out Penner’s lie and starts digging into Toothpick Jeff. She knows she sucks at challenges but as she points out to Jeff, the original Kalabaw tribe agreed that Penner would be the first vote as none of them wanted a veteran to win. She really works hard on both Toothpick Jeff and Team Edward, reminding them that this is the time to blindside Penner and flush the idol out. Katie reminds them that Denise is more trustworthy and that Penner is a sneaky snake.
With that, we cut to a shot of a yellow snake as the time lapse footage indicates that it is now late in the day. Team Edward and Toothpick Jeff are unsure how they will vote tonight. Jeff believes that the longer Penner stays in the game, the chances remain high that he will be snaked-over by Penner. However, would it best serve Toothpick Jeff’s game to snake Penner tonight or later on? He knows that voting Katie out tonight will be the easy vote but is the time right to make the hard decision to take Penner out when a merge may not be around the corner? As predicted by his cynical tribemates, Penner returns from his fishing expedition with zero fish. He approaches his two “allies” to double-check that the vote will be for Katie tonight. The fact that Penner cannot pick up on the clues that both his “allies” are not able to give him any eye-contact makes me think that Penner has grown way too comfortable in this game. There will be tears and tantrums tonight if Penner is blindsided. As the tribe head off to Tribal Council, we hear that Toothpick Jeff is still unsure with how he will vote tonight.
Tribal Council time and the Tribal Council snake makes its usual cameo appearance. Dimples is back wearing his favourite Tribal Council cargo shirt – the light indigo/blue shirt. Dimples starts off by announcing to the viewers at home that because Carter has gone over his allotted confessional quota for the season, he will not be asked any questions tonight and therefore will revert to the background player we have all grown accustomed to seeing all season. Back to the game and Dimples asks everyone to confess if he/she feels he/she is in trouble tonight. Both Denise and Katie raise their hands. Denise explains that as the newest member of the tribe, she hasn’t formed the bonds that the others have for each other. Plus she is a cursed individual having built her home on a sacred Native American burial site. Dimples then asks Katie why she thinks she is vulnerable when clearly Denise would be an easy vote. She says that, like, she is vulnerable as like, she is the other girl. She like, sucks in challenges because like, even Dimples have to like, constantly harp on about, like her suckiness, but like, she hopes her loyalty shown, like over sixteen days, is like, enough to keep her around, like a few more days. World peace.
Dimples pulls Penner up for not volunteering earlier that he feels in trouble tonight. Penner explains that whether or not he feels vulnerable is not the point. He thinks it is smarter to give the impression that he feels confident. Toothpick Jeff says that every vote going forward is going to be hard because they all like each other and that is why tonight’s vote is going to be a blindside. Thinking that his man-crush may be in trouble, Dimples again goes back to Penner and asks him to pick up on the hints that tonight he may be the victim of a blindside. Penner, clearly oblivious to the clues, explains that blindsiding someone that you like and get along with is just easier and cowardly to do in this game. He hopes that the person going home will understand it is not personal but just gameplay. Penner says that if it was him that was blindsided tonight, he would like to think he would take it within the context of the game and realise that it wasn’t a statement of people’s personal feelings towards him.
Short of passing a note to Penner and telling him that he is in trouble tonight, Dimples has to find another subtle way to warn his mancrush lest accusations that the game is rigged is laid against the show. Dimples asks Toothpick Jeff to elaborate on the blindside comment he made earlier. Jeff explains that he finds it difficult to play a game where you face the brutal elements together and work intimately with people for 24/7 and you become good friends with them. But when it is time to vote at Tribal Council, you have to blindside your friends only because you don’t have the balls to tell the person you’re friends with that he/she is going home tonight. Katie agrees with Toothpick Jeff’s comment and drops a hint that her vote tonight would be a sign of loyalty from her because she is a trustworthy person who keeps her word in this game. This time, Penner’s ears prick up. He wonders outloud if Katie is sending a message to somebody in the tribe about her intentions. Whatever the case, Penner explains that blindsides happen because no one wants to betray or be betrayed. It is easier to blindside someone without having to deal with the fall out of the aggravation and agitation caused if someone knows he/she is going home. [Denise nods furiously as she has certainly not forgotten how brutal Tribal Council was when Roxy and Angie knew they were on the chopping block].
I know there are a lot of Penner fans out there. He is a great orator but his achilles heel is that he does not know when to shut up. He goes on about how if he was to be blindsided tonight, he would congratulate the other four for not giving him the opportunity to scramble to try and turn the votes in his favour and get one of his plotters voted out instead of him. That is why blindsides occur in the game as it is “cleaner” to deal with than the mess left behind when people fight, claw, and scramble their ways to stay in the game. Penner says that is why he is comfortable in the knowledge that tonight will be a blindside. Penner cannot see that all his other tribemates are trying to suppress smirks. He has unwittingly told his other tribemates how they should be taking him down tonight.
Dimples announces that it is clear that tonight someone is going to be shocked about the vote. And with that, it is time to vote. We only see Katie voting for Penner and telling him he cannot be trusted. Penner returns the favour by telling her that she is a great kid but is the weakest member of the tribe. No other votes are revealed. Team Edward, Toothpick Jeff, and Cursed Denise are doing excellent jobs at not giving any eye contact to either Penner or Katie, thereby not telegraphing to the audience who they voted for. Dimples calls for the hidden immunity idol to be played and everyone looks at Penner. Because he is confident the vote is not going to be him tonight, he does not play the idol. Meanwhile, Katie breaks out into a wide grin. First vote is for Katie (Penner’s vote). Next vote is for Penner (Katie’s vote). Upon seeing his name on the parchment, Penner laughs and looks over at Toothpick Jeff who tries to avoid his gaze. It dawns on Penner that he might be in trouble tonight as he was not expecting any votes. Next vote is for…..Katie. She is shocked and she knows she has been blindsided. Dimples proceeds to reveal the next vote and Katie’s face has turned from shock to anger. And the seventh person voted out of the game is Katie (with a sad face scrawled on the parchment). She quickly picks up her torch to have the fire snuffed out by Dimples. She is so pissed off that she can’t be bothered groping Dimples on the way out. Plus she doesn’t even turn around and wave to her tribemates. Instead she hurriedly takes her Walk of Shame. In her Final Words, she admits she was blindsided and although she thought she would be a strong player, she found the game extremely tough for her physically. However, she is still happy to tell people that she had the wonderful opportunity to play Survivor. World peace. When the votes are revealed of who voted for whom, we see that Katie’s vote was unanimous and that even whilst voting Katie out of the game, Team Edward just reveals his parchment in silence. Even at the sanctity of the voting booth, Carter remains silent.
Dimples tells the remaining Kalabaw members that although Survivor is a game about numbers, hopefully the four remaining can stay strong and anything can happen. He leaves Kalabaw with the hope that they may not be facing a merge just yet. However, the editors prove to be dastardly bastards as the audience gets a glimpse of next week’s episode. Although Dimples’s voiceover in the sneak preview of next week’s episode tries to play up the “shocking twist,” a boat can clearly be seen in the distance approaching the Tandang beach. A merge is on and Tandang outnumber Kalabaw 7 votes to 5. Penner fans you can weep now as he is screwed and will most likely be the first target.
About the only “shocking twist” about the ending to this episode was the fact that the jury did not begin with Katie’s ouster. In the past, there has been a nine-person jury for a Final 3 finale. Will we be getting a Final 2 finale? Will Angry Bird Artis be prescribed a major dose of chill-out pills on the next episode? How many confessionals will GC be given since she is now the last remaining hot chick left in the game that is willing to parade around in a bikini? Is Grindr on Team Jacob or Team Edward? Will Penner convert to Christianity in a latch-ditch attempt to catch fish? Will Bella-Latina ever smile on camera? Find out more on the next exciting episode of Grindr: Survivor-style. (Oppa Grindr style. Heyyy, sexy daddies!)