'Survivor' Women Punch Out Hanging Chad
(Thursday, November 18 09:17 PM)
By Daniel Fienberg
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) Remember when the cast of "Survivor: Vanuatu" contained men? As Thursday (Nov. 18) night's episode begins, the only two guys remaining in the Alinta tribe are Chad and Chris.
Gathered around the campfire, Chris explains, sounding genuinely heartbroken, that recently departed Sarge instructed him to write down his name because everybody else was already going to. In reality, Chris voted for Sarge because he wanted to stay close to the women.
On the surface, the female alliance looks strong, but Scout is already sensing that there won't be any room for her or Twila in the Final Four, so she hints to the men that she may have another strategy. She wants to boot Eliza and then Ami. What are the odds of Ami letting that happen?
At Reward Challenge, host Jeff Probst reveals the purpose of the pig we were briefly introduced to last week. The tribe is split into two teams of four and the winning group gets to spend the night with a native tribe. There will be a feast and parlor games. However, before fondu can be prepared and Trivial Pursuit can be played, guests are required to bring a housewarming present. After reminding the players that the natives are very different from them (read: scary and just plain weird), Jeff explains that Piggie is meant to be offered up to their hosts.
The challenge is a intricate obstacle course in which Eliza and Julie are tied up and treated like bikini-clad buoys, physically shoved, yanked and tossed through a variety of holes, hurdles and mazes. The competition is fueled by a healthy undercurrent of bondage and the camera crew is predictably enthralled by the trussed extremities, splayed limbs and sand-coated flesh.
Eliza, Chad, Ami and Chris win the race, leaving Julie wondering why she let herself be manhandled (or, more appropriately for her team, woman-handled) in a losing cause.
Piggie senses that he's being taken off to a bad place and he decides to urinate on the floor, adding an unpleasant aroma to the traditional plane flight to a primitive civilization. The four winners arrive, are surrounded by children, and present Piggie to a guy they think is a village chief (not that they'd know). They get a new pig in return, though their new porky pal is soon misplaced amidst the jubilation. That's it for the pig? Yup, that's all folks. Well, at least they didn't bring small pox-infected blankets.
Everybody is singing and dancing and, of course, nobody in the tribe speaks much English and nobody from the game speaks whatever the local language happens to be, so the white interlopers learn absolutely nothing about the culture into which they're intruding. It's sure a fun show, though.
Chris drinks a bit too much kava and soon his eyes are huge and he's stumbling around, ultimately collapsing into a shivering heap. Rather than feasting with the tribe, the four winners sit in a corner by themselves picking at undercooked beef. It's unclear if this is an honor or if they're being ostracized. They're allowed to return to the campfire to sing songs with the children.
Back at the Alinta camp, rain has begun to fall and the remaining women are wet, complaining, miserable and bitter toward their more successful comrades. The next morning, there's even more complaining, since nothing makes for better television than drenched people whining. Such is their discontent that even the younger ladies are amenable to the idea of eliminating useless Eliza and keeping the men around to gather wood and make fire for a few days more. Plus, as long they keep a man around, they'll be able to repopulate the Earth.
Chad and Chris are eager to play ball. They're even willing to be sensitive and caring. Chris explains that if you open up your heart to a woman, they open up "that back door." I'm not sure what he means. I'm not sure I want to know what he means.
The struggle for Immunity requires the players to cling to a post for as long as they can. It's exactly as exciting as it sounds. Julie is the first to hit the ground, with Chris the next to go. Literally holding on by her teeth, Twila outlasts Chad, who makes a valiant effort to no avail.
Scout tries suggesting her anti-Eliza plan to Ami, but the younger woman is having none of it. She's certain that she doesn't need a man to keep the home fires burning and quickly sways weak-willed Julie and Leann back to her way of thinking. Scout reassures Chad, but he understands that she doesn't have the power that she claims. Twila, every bit as spineless as Julie and Leann, can't look Chad in the eye and has to run to Ami asking what the vote is. Then she has to scurry to Scout to understand the play.
Only one person in this game appears capable of independent thought and that's Ami. Without any kind of physical domination or overarching intellectual plan, everything has revolved around her for weeks, In her own smug and unappealing way, she's been every bit the malevolent and dominating force that Boston Rob was during the "All-Star" season.
With Ami pulling the strings, the women remain true to their distaff alliance at Tribal Council. Chad, a respectable performer who never let his missing leg become an issue, becomes the second member of the jury.
There is a certain irony in the fact that the guys lost the season's very first challenge entirely because Chris couldn't master the balance beam and now, he's the last man standing. http://tv.zap2it.com/tveditorial/tve_main/1,1002,271