The scenes from last week’s episode show Parvati calling the female alliance the “Black Widow Brigade,” and Natalie describing blindsiding Jason as “flossing my teeth with his jugular.” But today the women show a softer side when they realize that James may have to leave the game due to a finger injury; although James was one unplayed immunity idol away from being voted off last episode, the women now pout that they don’t want him to go. Granted, some of the women’s reactions could have just been politeness — Cirie tells the camera that, being a nurse, she should feel more compassionate toward James’ finger and Alexis’ injured knee, but if they leave the game, “that’s two less people I have to fight against for a million dollars.”
The reward challenge is the one in which the contestants answer questions about their tribemates, and then predict the most popular answer. Each correct prediction earns a chance to chop a rope — three chops result in smashing the likeness of an opponent, knocking him or her out of the challenge. As if seeing their own likeness crushed isn’t emotional enough, the Survivors’ loved ones show up to watch the challenge. Erik ecstatically points to his hero and shouts to his brother, “Jeff Probst! That’s Jeff Probst! He’s just standin’ there!” Probst responds with, “Erik, you’re a freak.”
Erik, I would’ve done the same thing — unlike my coworker Elaine, who, based on the blog she wrote when filling in for me two weeks ago, apparently would’ve shouted, “Jeff Probst! That’s Jeff Probst! Let’s eat him!”
The results of the survey:
- Who does the most for the tribe? James. (Everyone gets this right except James, who says Erik.)
- Who never shuts up? Parvati.
- Who mistakenly thinks they are in control of the game? Parvati (who seems surprised at this).
- Who is the most honest? Alexis.
- Who are you least likely to invite to a family dinner? James. (Sitting on the sidelines, his dad says, in quite a James-like way, “What’s up with that?”)
Alexis wins the challenge, and she picks Natalie and Cirie (and their mom and husband, respectively) to go on the reward trip with her and her brother. They have a great time on Jellyfish Lake (which would be a terrifying name if it weren’t for the fact that the thousands of beautiful orange globs are non-stinging). There are cool underwater shots of jellyfish, which will look even cooler if the show goes to another jellyfish lake when it starts filming in HD next season. Cirie thinks the trip might have been a breakthrough for her, as she now realizes that “everything is not a threat.” Considering that she freaked out at leaves on the first season she was on, that’s a good thing to learn.
When Alexis is asked who she wants to send to Exile Island for a chance to search for the immunity idol, Amanda puts her hand up, and Alexis picks her. That right there ended up being the best and worst moves in this episode. While on Exile, Amanda follows the clues and searches for the idol. She finds the third clue on the ocean floor, and after digging through a lot of sand on the beach, she finally pulls something up. The typical “I found the idol” music swells, but she’s only discovered a fourth clue, which says the idol is back at camp.
After the challenge, a medic again looks at James’ injured finger. While James originally thinks the injury is no big deal (“a little clam cut, whatever — nothing really to bother with”), he says he needs his hands when he gets back home, so it’s important to him that it gets fixed. The medic says infection could disable the joint, and she deems the risk to his finger and hand to be too great for him to stay in the game. While Parvati gets teary when she hugs her former boyfriend goodbye, James leaves the game very matter of factly, and later shows up in the jury at Tribal Council with an IV.
(By the way, what kind of infectious island is this? Jonathan, James, to a lesser extent Chet — everyone’s getting infections. Back in Season 12, Bruce took a machete TO THE FACE, and he was just fine. Well, until he couldn’t poop, but that was a different story.)
With James out, the women realize that if Erik wins immunity, the women “will have to start eating each other,” as Cirie puts it. And sure enough, there’s a woman on the menu, since Erik fires a high-powered rifle better than any of the ladies and wins the immunity challenge.
When she returns to camp, Amanda tells her tribemates that she doesn’t have the idol, and she empties her bag to prove it. She says she couldn’t find the third clue, which was in the water, because the current was too strong. She then lets Parvati know that she really doesn’t have the idol, but she knows it’s at camp. Parv knows that Amanda is in danger of being voted out because she’s seen as a threat, and she warns, “Find that damn idol, lady.”
In case she doesn’t find the idol, Amanda tries gaining some support from her tribemates. Erik tells her he plans to vote against her, even though she tries playing the “I kept you around when you needed me” card (yeah, kinda, sorta. Ozzy’s more the one who Erik feels he owes his Survivor life to), and Cirie tells Amanda she’d like to vote Alexis, but she’s going to vote Amanda so the vote won’t be a tie.
At Tribal Council, Amanda says she couldn’t find the idol on Exile and that she knows Parvati is the only one not voting against her. Amanda really plays it up like she’s going to be voted out, looking all mopey and dejected. But when Probst asks if anyone would like to play a hidden immunity idol, she sashays over to him, happily swinging the idol. She points out that she didn’t lie, because when she said at camp that she hadn’t found the idol, she hadn’t found it yet. (OK, but she did lie about not being able to find the third clue.)
As a thank-you for sending Amanda to Exile Island to look for the idol, Alexis gets voted out. I know that Parvati felt that Alexis was more of a threat than Natalie, but as Alexis limps off the show, I wonder if Parvati’s thinking, “Hmmm — we sure could have beaten her in challenges.”