Thursday, October 27, 2011

You Gotta Sack Up And Go For It

It might surprise all of you good people to know that I spent the majority of my young formative years locked up in a Catholic prison (i.e. all girls school). It was there that I first heard the phrase "lamb of God". I'm not exactly sure what it means (I was much too busy clanking the bars of my cage against one another), but I think it has something to do with sacrifice and it is sacrifice that I want to address today. The Free Online Dictionary defines sacrifice as "to give up, abandon, relinquish, lose, surrender, let go, do without, renounce, forfeit, forego, say goodbye to." Applying this definition to Survivor I'm thinking things like: "give up on logic", "abandon all ye hopes and dreams", "relinquish your Idol", "lose you loser", "surrender what you've worked so hard for", "let go of sanity", "do without the title of Ultimate Survivor", "renounce the title 'Veteran' while you're at it", "forfeit the goddamn game", "forego glory", and "say goodbye to one million dollars." In politics or religion, the notion of sacrifice is usually one of admiration and selflessness. But in the world of Survivor, it is merely but a fleeting fancy of a pig-tailed girly man trying to make his mark in this world. This sacrifice is, at it's core, selfish and therein lies it's fault. This isn't a lamb of God before us. This is more like a horny toad of God. Let's ribbit, I mean recap, shall we?

We continue our turgid tale in the thick of night under a full moon where the air is damp and the insects are singing at the tops of their tiny lungs . The Impalas (Upolu) are returning from Tribal Council and the one thing on everyone's mind is: "Hot damn, that Brandon is a freak!" Tiny dust particle Edna doesn't exactly like it that her name keeps popping up when in the presence of Dimples (Jeff Probst), but she is somewhat thankful that Lil Hantz is clearly off his meds and is taking some of the heat off of herself and her toothpick appendages. Speaking of toothpicks, the one in Rancher Rick's mouth is all chewed to hell. That Brandon makes his 'stache twitch and he's not so sure the Impalas can walk into the Merge with their heads held high with that bipolar liability doing his crazy dance every time someone has to make a move that isn't ordained by God. Coach calmly puts his hand of Rancher Rick's shoulder and whispers, "If I can't keep him under control, we'll have to put a bullet in his head." Coach insists that John Steinbeck gave him the idea, but as a hardcore fan of Sons Of Anarchy (I weep for you people with DirecTV), I'd like to think that the idea came from Clay Morrow. If someone gets in your way or threatens your livelihood, you take care of it like any rational man on the back of a Harley would - with a 9mm and a scratched off serial number. Duh.

Without further ado and zero pleasantries from Dimples, we are whisked away to Rhode Island (Redemption Island) and hurled smack dab into the duel between Christine Michael Montgomery and bra-wielding mute brute, Mikayla. Sophie and Albie are there representing Impala with Ozzy and Cochran representing Savannah (Savai'i) For today's duel, players will take apart a crate made of wooden planks. They will then use those planks to create a bridge. After the bridge is complete, they'll take the bridge apart, flip the planks over, and use some of those planks to solve a puzzle. Winner stays in the game while the loser burns their buff and cries about how much they've grown as a person. *rolls eyes* It's beginning to bother me that the players can't just have their buffs snuffed and then get sent off into the night under a cloak of humiliation like in the good old days. Rhode Island has turned our beloved little cutthroat game of Survivor into a self-help class and I object!

Survivors ready, go. The challenge begins as both women tear into their crates. Christine Lou Retton quickly figures out that if you scoop the planks up from the bottom that all of the planks will then go flying. Seeing this, Albie shouts from the stands to Mikayla, "Pick it up from the bottom!" We see Ozzy glance over to the Impalas with what I thought was a look of annoyance on his face. However, knowing what I know now, perhaps it was a look of confusion instead.

Both women quickly get their planks free and move onto the bridge portion where Mikayla begins to catch up with Christine Jean King. They move swiftly through their bridges, but Mikayla gets stuck when she can't find a plank she needs. Again Albie shouts from the sidelines, "Right side! The right side! That'a'girl!" Dimples rightly takes this opportunity to point out that both girls came from the same tribe, but only one is getting any help from them.

Since Christine Ty Bryan was clearly too busy competing to give Albert the finger, she finishes her bridge and moves on to tearing it apart in search for puzzle pieces. Mikayla finally finishes her bridge as well and with help from Albie she tosses her painted planks towards the puzzle and throws the blank planks at Christine Jacob Astor's head.

After a narrow competition and a false finish from Mikayala, CHRISTINE TYLER MOORE STAYS ALIVE!!! Albie shakes his head his anger as a thin-lipped Sophie begins to blow steam out of her ears. Dimples congratulates Christine Gordon Levitt and says, "You're becoming a legitimate force." With a wave of her hand and a furl of her lip, Christine Rogers Nelson barks back, "I've always been a legitimate force!" You know, a "thank you" would have sufficed. Through sniffles and heavy shoulders, panty wearer Mikayla walks off into the distance to a future where she'll fight endless gaggles of women over garter belts and slips. Good luck with that Mikayla.

It is here that we begin to hear rumbles of Ozzy's cockamamie plan to turn himself into the horny toad of God. For some reason, even after all the yelling and interference from Albie at the duel, Ozzy thinks that Christine James Elliot could still possibly side with the Impalas at the Merge. Oh sure, Albie was all but waving a flag that said "CHRISTINE KNIGHT PULLIAM SUCKS DONKEYS!", but yeah, ok, I guess they could still welcome her back with open arms. *makes a 'W' with fingers*

On the way back to Savannah, Ozzy stops Cochran and tells him that they need to begin helping each other. They need to start giving each other handjobs, I mean, wash each other's backs and whatnot. Ozzy wonders if perhaps it's not a good idea to send someone, like himself, to Rhode Island to get rid of Christine Ingalls Wilder. Oh sure, she hates her tribe and likes to give them obscene finger gestures whenever the fancy strikes, but what if Ozzy were to go to Rhode Island, give his Idol to Cochran, and make the most daring move this game has ever seen? As a girl who has her wits about her, I can't help but wonder if Ozzy hasn't had this plan in his curls all along - maybe even pre-season. I mean, how else can you explain that even though Christine Wilkes Booth completely abhors her tribe (and they the same in return), Ozzy is worried that she'll skip off happily with the Impalas. It makes no sense!

Ozzy calls all of this his "Worst Case Scenario" plan, but I call it his "Daringly Unnecessary Mad Bonkers" plan (D.U.M.B. for short). Cochran listens to it all with wide eyes and a sly smile and after completing his herky jerky tarantella of joy, he tells Ozzy that the D.U.M.B. plan is indeed a genius one. In reality, all Cochran cares about is that he isn't going to Rhode Island and who can blame him? If Ozzy came up to me and said he wanted to be the horny toad of God, I'd let him.

Meanwhile over at Impala, we are finally treated to our requisite "Coach On The Beach Doing Tai Chi" scene. It usually consists of Coach waving an imaginary sword around while riding an invisible horse and trying to rescue a damsel in distress from a tower, but this time he's actually talking to God in some sort of kinetic prayer. With a raise of his arms and closed eyes, Coach thanks God for helping him in the game of Survivor because, you know, God doesn't have enough to deal with right now in the world. Up on that cloud of His, instead of sitting behind His big desk in that executive office, He's plastered to His sofa with a bag of Cheetoh's on His lap thinking to Himself, "I wonder who I can help today..." Children in Cambodia are being sold into the sex trade, babies in Bangladesh are starving to death, prisoners of war are being tortured, and somewhere a country is experiencing genocide right about now, but none of that matters in comparison to 18 greedy Americans on a tropical island competing for a million dollars. Yes Coach, you are the one whom God chooses to help. Dude, take a little credit for yourself! You found the Idol. You are worthy Wayne Campbell.

After prayer time is over and he has pointed many arrows at the sun, Coach comes to the conclusion that God wants him to lie to his tribe. God wants Coach to help his fellow Impalas by sending them on a wild goose chase for an Idol he already has in his back pocket. The logic being that if the tribe feels like they've worked together towards a goal and achieve said goal, then their spirits will be buoyed and victory is only a heartbeat away. It's a sneaky plan that sort of makes sense. I question the legitimacy of it really coming down from God, but, hey, whatever works.

Squirrelly Brandon seems to be having an OK day so far. I mean, his head is screwed on straight and he's not hiding in the trees leering at women so today is as good a day as any for Coach to pull off the big dupe. After a huddle, a cuddle, and a prayer, the tribe disperses in search of the Hidden Immunity Idol. Sophie feels a little icky about the giant ruse, but there is a million dollars on the line so - icky feeling be gone! Let's dupe these bitches! While the tribe searches in vain, Sophie and Coach stumble upon Tree Mail and it's a giant cornucopia of paints and adornments for the upcoming challenge. Coach thinks it'll be delicious to deliver both the Idol and the Tree Mail at the same time - a twofer from God if you will. As twofer deals are always fun for everyone involved, the tribe is ecstatic. Brandon spins Edna on the edge of his finger while Rancher Rick does a line dance in the sand. Merriment and joy - plan complete. The only problem now is that Brandon thinks God is the 7th person on their tribe. Using Albert's blanket, Coach's pillow, Edna's rice bowl, Rick's hat, and Sophie's dress, Brandon has given God his own wing in the shelter and a food ration out of their very limited supplies. I wouldn't be surprised if later the young lad constructs a God Scarecrow and stays up all night talking to it.

And that brings us to the promotionally sponsored Immunity Challenge where both tribes have arrived dressed in their Tree Mail finery. Come on in guys!

We have the crackerjack group of girls from Savannah.

And the escapee Mexican wrestlers from Impala.

For today's challenge, tribes will be divided into pairs - twins if you will. One set of twins will be the callers and the other two sets will be the sad blindfolded sacks who get to bump their heads into things. The callers will guide the blindfolds through an obstacle course where the blindfolds will retrieve bags of masks. Once all the masks have been gathered, one set of twins, using only their sense of touch, will pair up the masks into their matching pairs. In addition to Immunity, the winning tribe will also get a reward trip to the Survivor Cinema which is sort of like that lonely $2 theatre in your town that runs Plan 9 From Outer Space on the weekends and caters to sweaty boys who live in their parents basement. If you'll remember, the Survivor Cinema ran Gulliver's Travels last year. Keeping with that pedigree, it's now running the new Adam Sandler movie Jack & Jill. How this is a reward I do not know, but the accompanying popcorn and hot dogs is something at least.

Mary Jane (Jim) and Cochran will be the callers for Savannah while Coach and Rancher Rick The Mute (???) will be the callers for Impala. Survivors ready, go!

Brandon and feather sprite Edna take off for Impala while Energizer Bunny (Keith) and Dawn take off for Savannah. Coach instructs his pair to "Get down!" while Mary Jane guides Dawn smack dab into a pole. I covered my mouth and giggled to myself as Dawn cried out for Calgon to take her away. Meanwhile, Edna has no idea what "duck" or "stand" means and she crashes hard into an overhanging beam. A hit like that on a mosquito like her, we're lucky she's still in one piece and not splattered across that poor innocent beam. Both teams continue through the course and successfully get their bags.

Next up is Albert & Sophie and Ozzy & Whitney and it's almost incident free until Sophie makes a painful ankle twisting splat into a giant ditch of sand. As a girl with ankles like a hummingbird, I felt that pain all the way over here in my dungeon of delights.

The game continues and it seems like the pairs are finally learning to listen to their callers. If only Dawn could tear her nose away from the deli aisle and get her head back in the game! Over at Impala, Edna has decided that climbing up onto Brandon's back is her best mode of transport. It's a good thing the girl only weighs as much as a ball of lint. Although knowing Brandon, he probably thought he was giving Jesus a lift.

The pairs wait to get hitched up to their next obstacle course, but there's a problem on Savannah. It seems that rope twirling isn't second nature to Cochran like it is to Rancher Rick over at Impala. Cochran has let his ropes gets all tangled up and now Ozzy & Whitney are stuck with nowhere to go. Mary Jane leaps off of his soap box and is forced to assist as Cochran takes a step back and his entire body turns a lovely shade of scarlet. Sophie's booby was flopping, Ozzy had ropes coming out of his armpits, Whitney almost hung herself on an accidental noose, Albie forgot how to untie knots, and it was awesome, I mean, it was mayhem!

In the end, Coach led another prayer circle, Ozzy & Whitney never recovered from the lasso mess, and IMPALA WINS IMMUNITY!!! Coach inexplicably shouts, "On your knees! On your knees!" while over at Savannah, Ozzy was tearing up the joint. With braids bouncing, he punched the sand. With tufts of angry curls framing his face, he karate chopped a wall in anger and growled one of those primal growls you might hear from a hunter or maybe a serial killer. Meanwhile, Coach is busy reprimanding his tribe for celebrating. He yanks Edna's arm out of socket and pushes Sophie down by the head, "On your knees! Let's pray!" I looked around the room I was in and wondered if perhaps someone had slipped some of the naughty stuff (LSD) into my gin fizzy. I took a sniff of my cocktail and tried to remember back to my college days if LSD indeed has a smell or not. *shrugs shoulders and drinks* Eh, I can't remember. All I know is that on my screen an angry little girl with braids is brutally beating the shit out of a bespectacled spindly kid while a man with a giant cross on his back is forcing his tribe to eat dirt. I don't know if it's a hallucination or not, but it is bee-you-tee-full.

Enter Jack & Jill schmooze fest here.

Back at Savannah with an ice pack to his head and his neck in traction, Cochran sits ready to be yelled at. He's wiped away his tears and put on his big boy face. If the tribe wants to talk to him, he's ready to hear it now. The only problem is that Ozzy keeps throwing rocks at the poor kid's head, Mary Jane is kicking sand in his face, and Energizer Bunny is flicking his ear with his fingers. I'm surprised a wedgie didn't show itself. It was like that scene in Can't Buy Me Love when all the cool kids turn on Patrick Dempsey and he has to go sleep on the floor of the tool shed all alone. *tear* Ozzy continues to mumble profanities to himself, but all the Bunny wants to know is - who is going to Rhode Island? Cochran sits in silence as Ozzy announces, "I hate to say it, but Cochran - you lost it for us." Hold up there Pippy! Wasn't it you who wanted to sweep down and be the big hero of the game and take out Christine John Silver?

What follows next was either a comedy of lies or a tragedy of errors. Pick one. Both work. Sitting in my squishy chair watching the Savannah's halfheartedly tell Cochran that this is his one chance to redeem himself, "This is what Rhode Island is all about.", and "Don't be scared. Intimidate her!" I again wondered to myself if I was on some sort of hallucinogenic. I felt very much like Cochran did in that moment. The more Dawn spoke of redemption and the opportunity Cochran now has before him, the more I wanted to steal her coupon binder and squirt her in the face with some hairspray. In fact, it reminded me of a cheerleading meeting I had when I was 12. One girl on the squad was feeling inadequate and we all sat in a circle Indian style and told her "Oh no, you're not inadequate at all. We lost the competition as a team. It wasn't just you." Lies, lies, 12 yr old lies. Of course that bitch lost the competition and of course Cochran will be eaten alive at Rhode Island! To try to pretend otherwise is just silly.

When all hope seemed lost, when the future was all but etched in stone, a mess of tendrils fell into bed and had a fitful night of sleep. Barrettes, ghouls, and sugarplums danced in Ozzy's head and when he awoke - he knew what he now had to do. He needs to retrieve his Hidden Immunity Idol, pass it on to a surrogate, and go to Rhode Island where he can decimate Christine Dean Stanton and have a ticker tape parade thrown in his honor. Ozzy doesn't think this is Cochran's time for redemption. Ozzy thinks it's his time for redemption. I'm not sure how, but the young lady has convinced himself that Rhode Island is actually a gift. It's his opportunity to be the hero and daggummit, Cochran is not going to take that chance away from him. I'm not sure if Ozzy is trying to get a tv show like Colby and Rob and Russell, but his motive seems disingenuous. I can't shake the feeling that this is something he's had planned all along, something designed to make himself stand out. Whatever the reason, you better believe that Cochran doesn't give a fig. If Ozzy wants to go to Rhode Island, great. Let him. Let him go under the guise of heroism. Let him have his fancy schmancy hero party for one. However, Energizer Bunny and Mary Jane aren't so eager to let him to go...

And this brings us to Tribal Council. The finger pointing is immediate and Cochran is on the receiving end of it. He admits his faults. He screwed up. It's not like he can pretend that it wasn't he who tangled up the ropes. What he won't admit to, no matter how much Dimples tries to make him feel like a lifelong walking accident, is that this sort of thing happens all the time in his life. I think I agree with Cochran. He strikes me as the type of guy who avoids embarrassing situations. Let's just say, I don't think he's out playing flag football in the park with the guys on the weekend and then getting yelled at for not holding onto his flags tight enough. Cochran doesn't even know what flag football is!

Sick of all the attention Cochran is getting, Ozzy announces, "The thing is Dimples, I'm putting my life on the line." *intense music thumps in the background* Ozzy goes on to describe this magical dream of hair ribbons he had where he saw the Merge and he saw himself winning that Rhode Island duel. You see, the last time Ozzy played Survivor he neglected to listen to his heart. Well, this time his heart is saying, "Get voted out of the game sucka!" He has decided that he won't make the same mistake of ignoring it twice. There's this need he has to prove himself, to prove his worth, and that need, that nagging inside, is greater than logic. It's greater than common sense. Shit, it's greater than a million dollars I guess. What Ozzy doesn't realize is that the nagging isn't his heart and it isn't his gut. It's his ego. Eckhart Tolle taught me that. It's the only part of that damn book I actually understood.

The soliloquy continues and you can almost see Ozzy's ego taking over and speaking for him. "I'm going to play the craziest game that I want to play. I also have the Immunity Idol, Dimples. I'm going to pass it off an then collect it later after I've dominated and proved to everyone what a bad ass I am." *snickers* Dumb. Ass. There are too many unknown factors at play here. First, he has to win the duel and since none of the duels have been remotely physical, it's just too risky. Second, what if the damn Merge doesn't even happen tomorrow?! And C) what if the Merge happens, but the person from Rhode Island doesn't come back until later? See? Too many "what if's" hanging out there. A million dollars buys a lot of hair gel. Is Ozzy really willing to risk all of that on a dream (or a pre-planned ploy to get some air time)?

In the end, Cochran is now the proud owner of an Immunity Idol and Ozzy is the 7th person voted out of Survivor South Pacific. So, what did you guys think? Do you really think Ozzy is doing this for the good of the camp? Wouldn't it have been better for the Savannah's to dump Cochran and pick up Christine Van Camp? Do you think Cochran will give back the Immunity Idol if Ozzy ever returns? Will they Merge next week? Do you really believe that all of this came to Ozzy in a dream? Comment it out bitches and have a great day!