Survivor All-Star: Monty Brinton/CBS
Dalton Ross
February 26, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Naked guy (that’s Richard Hatch to you) is gone

I hate people who say ”I told you so.” Which must mean there’s a sale on self-loathing this week, because I FREAKIN’ TOLD YOU SO!!! I’m referring, of course, to Boston Rob’s body slam of Ethan in the immunity challenge. I’ve been saying for weeks how much B.R. hated Ethan. Maybe it’s because they both came from the Boston area. Maybe it’s because Ethan made time with Rob’s new girl, Amber. Or maybe it’s because the so-called ”pretty boy” won a million bucks while B.R. didn’t even crack the jury.

For whatever reason, it was plainly obvious before the show, with Rob telling me that ”Ethan spends so much time in front of a mirror he should be in a f—ing VO5 commercial” (among other things), and plainly obvious during it when he would continually mouth off to him or stare him down during challenges. Well, anyway, he BRUTALIZED Ethan by tossing him off that plank on the ”Battle Bridge.”

Now, I have to crow about this for the simple reason that anyone that follows these columns knows that I am the WORST ”Survivor” prognosticator in the world. I never get to say I told you so, because, well, I’m never right. I mean, it’s almost comical. Take Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004, for example. Approximately 12 hours before ”Survivor” hit the air, I was chatting about the upcoming episode with host Harry Smith on ”The Early Show.” (At least I think I was. He called me ”Rob” at one point during the interview, so maybe it wasn’t me after all.)

Anyway, at one point ol’ Harry asked me who I thought was playing the game well. I had 14 contestants to choose from. So who did I pick? Who do you THINK I picked? Richard FREAKIN’ Hatch. Hey, the whole naked fat gay guy thing has made him a comical character, and his fellow tribemates don’t even seem to view him as a threat anymore, I said. Hey, he’s catching fish, I said. Hey, I’m an idiot, I said. Well, I didn’t say that last one, but I might as well have.

But this is why this episode was so great, finally delivering that ultimate drama we’ve been craving since the season began. I mean, can you remember ever being so tense watching a Tribal Council this early in the game? Colby versus Richard — perhaps the two heaviest ”Survivor” hitters of all-time. Throw in the fact that Ethan’s head was on the block for a while too, and you basically had the three men that ruled the first three seasons all fighting for their lives. Good, good stuff. But let me say this strategy-wise. It was a dumb move by Colby to change course and send Hatch packing. You vote the two new members out and maintain (original) Mogo Mogo unity. Now, it’s liable to be anarchy.

And why would Colby want Ethan around instead of Richard when Mr. Curly Locks’ best friend is Lex! HELLO!?! Now, nobody trusts anybody, and by initiating this decision by himself, Colby has just set himself up as a target. Not smart. Plus, Richard’s been catching their meals and doing great in the challenges. What have Ethan and Jerri contributed in those regards? I know they all deep down wanted to get rid of Hatch, but now was not the time? either for them or us.

As much as WE also kinda hated him, homeboy was entertaining. The shark incident? C’mon, give the guy his props. The game just won’t be as fun (or as naked) without him. (By the way, I don’t know WHAT the hell was going on in that challenge with Richard, Sue, and Kathy. Were they riding the threeway freeway there? That was mildly disturbing.)

The one thing I DID get right on ”The Early Show,” was that Rob is ruling this game. He dominated the challenge and seems in total control of his tribe. (Well, in control maybe of everyone but Sue. That woman is PERMANENTLY out of control, as we saw in promos for next week’s episode.) It will be really interesting to see how Rupert and Rob coexist. Those are two big personalities, ladies and gentlemen.

As for the Saboga tribe dissolution as a whole. I thought it was the right move at the right time for the show. For one thing, Saboga sucked. They just were bordering on pathetic. And we never got to see any good drama at Mogo Mogo, because they never had to worry about voting anyone out. Now with two tribes, the action is sure to get hotter and heavier. And yet with Richard Hatch gone, a little lighter at the same time.

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