Deena Bennett: Monty Brinton
Dalton Ross
April 10, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Animal attacks, civil war, twist ending? All here!

”My strongest assets to this group are my athletic ability and intelligence.” — Heidi

That quote doesn’t really have anything to do with the rest of my column on the latest (and perhaps greatest) installment of ”Survivor,” but it’s so fantastic and hilarious, I just had to lead off with it. In fact, I’m still so in awe of it, I’m gonna have to go ahead and repeat it again: ”My strongest assets to this group are my athletic ability and intelligence.” — Heidi

There. Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, how incredible was this week’s episode? It had it all: people getting bitten by a variety of animals (spiders and piranhas), a civil war, an immunity victory to stave off sure elimination, and then a surprise ouster. And no ouster is as sweet as when it comes calling on a cocky competitor who doesn’t see it coming. In her parting comments, Deena told her fellow contestants that ”You’re gonna have to live with the decision for the rest of your life.” True, but at least they won’t have to live with BEING AN IDIOT!

I hypothesized in last week’s column that one of the big three (Rob, Deena, Alex) would eventually get antsy and turn on someone, but I never thought it would be this soon! For someone who prides herself on being so smart and cunning, moving against Alex so early was a pretty elementary blunder on Deena’s part. And the fact that she had such trouble reading her fellow contestants does not bode well for her career as a District Attorney. ”Everybody is still with me,” she explained on her decision to concede immunity to Matthew. ”Why even try?” Whoops.

Speaking of the immunity challenge, restaurateur Matthew seemed so at ease scarfing down those nasty-ass bugs that I began to wonder what sort of ingredients he actually serves his patrons back in Washington, D.C. But Matthew’s win was the best possible outcome for us viewers because it forced the Deena-Alex confrontation to center stage, and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. Deena was WAY too into herself and her ability to run the game.

The only downside of the development seems to be that everyone decided not to let Christy (a.k.a. ”the People’s Choice”) in on the plan. Must they continue to ostracize the deaf girl? What century is this? Unfortunately, it looks like her time may be drawing to a close. We can only hope that Rob’s time will close sooner. While occasionally funny, mocking Matthew at Tribal Council last week was both juvenile and mean. (It’s one thing to play someone; it’s another to be a jerk about it.)

And he topped that this week when he tried to convince the group to steal and eat Butch and Matthew’s share of the cookies from the reward challenge because ”they’re on the outside looking in powerwise.” For someone who’s so concerned with being amusing for the cameras, you’d think he would make a bigger effort to not come off like an arrogant slimeball. Besides, just take a look at where arrogance got Deena. I guess she just didn’t have the ”athletic ability and intelligence” (and hotness! don’t forget the hotness!) of a certain fellow tribemate.

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